Schnabel, Oscar
Manuscript Memorandum Book of Business Travels of Oscar Schnabel, Manager of the National Library Bindery Co., Indianapolis, Indiana, 1925-1931

Thick octavo, 563 mss pages, bound in limp library cloth, and three steel rivets, worn at corners, rubbed, otherwise good, written in ink, in a legible hand, includes several old newspaper clippings, notes, rubbings of various bindings executed by his firm, and other loose papers tucked in.

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This volume is arranged alphabetically by account. It would appear that Oscar Schnabel kept these notes while visiting clients and contacting customers just before and during his presidency and management of the newly formed National Library Binding Company. Most of the institutions he visits include public and school libraries, mainly in Indiana, but with a number of visits to Ohio, and also to Illinois and Missouri. Schnabel appears to have later had his notes bound up in alphabetical order for the names of the towns he visited for easy reference in the management of accounts. Additionally, he tucked in various related items such as newspaper articles, brochures, pencil rubbings of spines of books, other notes, etc. Entries in the book sometimes run several pages for each account and include either some or all of the following: who the contact people are, who was "in" when he visited, when the particular library was open, what the possibilities for business might be, or what business was conducted, when the client last ordered, what arrangements were made, etc. This volume is a very insightful memorandum book for this newly emerging national bookbinding company, kept during a time when the American economy was wrecked by the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression. Brief History of the Firm Christopher A. Schnabel first appears in the Indianapolis City Directory in 1876 as a bookbinder. He established the firm of Schnabel Bookbinding Company in downtown Indianapolis, a rapidly growing railroad city with a dynamic publishing industry aimed at providing printed materials for the American West. In the 1890s, Christopher was joined by his sons, most notably Oscar, who took over the company in 1919. Oscar Schnabel was born July 31, 1879, at Indianapolis. He married Edith V. Dewald in 1901. Under Oscar's direction, the Schnabel Bookbinding Company began expanding to become a prominent bindery in the Midwest known for its high quality craftsmanship. At roughly the same time, the Ohio Library Bindery Company and the New England and Empire companies merged to form the National Library Bindery Company. Schnabel Bookbinding Company became part of the National Library Bindery Company in 1925, with Oscar Schnabel joining the Board of Directors and serving as its President from 1927 to 1933. At its peak, the National Library Bindery Company operated six plants throughout the East and Midwest. The untimely death of Gerard Van Deene, the driving force behind this alliance of companies, led to disassociation of the National Library Bindery companies and each branch once again became an independent entity. The Indiana branch was incorporated under the name National Library Bindery Company of Indiana, Inc. and continued servicing public and private libraries with Oscar Schnabel at the helm. Oscar's son, Ralph Schnabel, assumed an active role in the company and operated it until 1987 when he retired and sold the company to Joseph Cox. Oscar Schnabel was still living in 1942 when he was required to file for the WWII Draft Registration.