This is an L shaped building with entrances on 7th Ave. & 17th St. Three walls have faded signs, including above: READ, which was a sign for
Read Printing Co. located here from 1911 to 1925. Read Printing was founded by Harry Van Duerson Read, born New Jersey, 21 July 1880. He appears in the 1900 U. S. Census, 19 years old, the son of George Read, a fruit salesman, living at 2126 8th Ave. (near 115th St.), Manhattan. In 1918 Read registered for the World War I draft, age 38, living on Forest Road in Glen Rock, New Jersey. He described himself as "Printer, Read Printing Co. 106 Seventh Ave. New York City." In 1926 Read Printing relocated to the "printing district" downtown on Hudson and Varick St. just below Houston St. They were in business there until the early 1970s.
Higher on this same wall:
Henry Romeike / Press Clippings (click for image) cut by a window. Henry Romeike (1855-1903) was the Search Engine of his day. He provided a service where he searched for newspaper items of your particular interest, clipped them, and provided you with the clipped article. This ad for Romeike at 110 5th Ave. appeared in Trow's New York City Directory, 1892.
This ad for Romeike's at 106-110 7th Ave. appeared in Polk's New York City Directory, 1918.
This one for Henry Romeike, Inc. also at 106-110 7th Ave. appeared in the Cornell University Alumni News, June 20-23, 1919.
The company claimed to have been established in 1881, and to have provided clippings from all New York dailies since 1884. They were located here at 106 7th Ave. from 1912 to around 1920. The current jargon calls this kind of service "media services" or "e-clips." Cision (formerly Romeike) is a current provider. They are a UK business who trace their beginnings to founder Henry Romeike who "was selling newspapers in Paris ... [when] he saw artists in Paris pay high prices for back copies of papers containing references to their works." The original Romeike was Romeike & Curtice in London, 1881. Curtice was a wholesale newsdealer who provided the back issues of newspapers used in the service.
Romeike's obituary in the New York Times (4 June 1903, p. 9) reads in part: "Mr. Romeike was born in Menel, Eastern Prussia, Nov. 17, 1855. He attended school at Munich and when fifteen years old entered the employ of a Berlin dry goods firm. Later he went to Paris and became interested in newspapers and their work, and in 1881, in London, he founded the first press clipping bureau. He was successful from the first, and four years later he established an agency in this city. Here among public men the business filled an even greater want than abroad. Politicians, lawyers, and heads of great enterprises found it of great value to know what the newspapers had to say of themselves and of their adversaries. Theatrical folk, too, were good customers. So quickly did the business gain a footing that in 1886 Mr. Romeike came over and took personal charge of it. He had lived here ever since. He also had branches in Berlin and Paris. His efforts coined the word 'romeiked,' meaning books or pamphlets compiled from press clippings."
This portrait of Henry Romeike appeared in Moses King's Notable New Yorkers of 1896-1899 (1899).
The first Romeike in New York directory listings is Romeike & Leavitt at 171 Macdougal St. in 1889. A year later Leavitt seems to be out of the picture, and Henry Romeike "cuttings" is located at 706 Broadway. In 1891 Romeike is listed at 110 5th Ave., where they remained until Henry Romeike's death in 1903. From around 1900 a manager at Romeike's was Albert Ruebe (1861-?). Ruebe became president of the company in 1904, and Henry Romeike's brother, Albert Romeike (ca.1863/64-?), became secretary-treasurer. The company moved to 33 Union Square West at this time. A little later they moved to 112 W. 26th St., then to 106 7th Ave. in 1912. Around 1917 Henry Romeike's son, George D. Romeike (1895-1925), entered the business. Apparently the two Romeikes had disagreements, and the business split into Henry Romeike, Inc., controlled by George Romeike, and Albert Romeike & Co., controlled by Albert Ruebe and Albert Romeike. The two Romeikes continued to compete until George Romeike's death in 1925. Henry Romeike Inc. then came under the control of David J. Handler. Albert Romeike closed his business in 1932. Henry Romeike Inc. continued in business in New York until the late 1960s.
An account of Romeike and the clipping business appeared in Time Magazine 30 May 1932. This is currently (Aug. 2007) available online at Time.com.
Two signs down from Romeike, also cut by a window, is Brandenstein (click for image). This was the "trimmings" business of Arthur Brandenstein (1885-1951). Arthur Brandenstein is found in the U. S. Census of 1900 as the 15-year-old son of Harry Brandenstein, an infant's wear manufacturer living at 195 Carlton Ave., Brooklyn. Arthur's occupation was given as "Neck Tie Errand." Brandenstein, Trimmings, was listed in the New York telephone directory in 1907. Four years later the New York Times (1 Aug. 1911, p. 14) reported that Arthur Brandenstein & Co. had leased a loft at 106 7th Ave. When in 1918 Brandenstein registered for the World War I draft, he gave his occupation as "Treasurer & Assistant Manager Arthur Brandenstein Co., 106 Seventh Ave., New York." Most city directories cite Brandenstein as president of the company. The business stayed here on 7th Ave. until 1919, then relocated to 113-115 4th Ave. A Brandenstein sign is also found on the building on 4th Ave. From 1924 to 1931 they were in business at 34 W. 14th St. and then seem to have closed down. Arthur Brandenstein registered for the World War II draft in 1942 when employed at Uptown Fabrics Inc., 499 7th Ave. In 1947 he placed this ad in the New York Times, offering his services as a shoulder pad salesman. The New York telephone directory listed him working in this field from 1945 to 1949.
Another member of the firm Arthur Brandenstein & Co. was Sollie Lewis (1878-1942), Brandenstein's brother-in-law. Arthur Brandenstein married Lewis's sister, Lillian Lewis, ca. 1909. Sollie Lewis was born in Louisiana, the son of Adolph and Hannah Lewis, immigrants from Prussia. Sollie appeared in the 1880 U. S. Census, age 1, living with an extended family that included two aunts and numerous cousins in Beauregard Precinct, Copiah County, Mississippi. According to the Copiah County website, copiahcounty.org, copiah means "calling panther" in the Choctaw language. Lewis had his own company, Lewis Mills Inc., manufacturing millinery goods, in the mid-1930s.
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