The Definitive Dwiggins no. 14—Looking for Goddard (sp?)

Tracking down the ephemeral work of W.A. Dwiggins is a painstaking endeavor that often involves wrong turns and dead ends. An instance of this is my search for “Border, music title, Goddard Collection”, an April 9, 1907 entry in Dwiggins’ account books. The job was for D.B. Updike of The Merrymount Press which suggested the ultimate client was G. Schirmer, the large New York music publisher. For many years Schirmer, and its subsidiary Boston Music Co., commissioned The Merrymount Press to print the covers and title pages of its sheet music. The interiors with the musical scores were done elsewhere by specialists in music printing.

Knowing this, identifying Dwiggins’ design seemed easy. I had a year, a name, a potential client and a description of the work. However, when I began my search eight or so years ago, I immediately ran into the question of who “Goddard” was. Just looking for “Goddard”, “music” and “1907” turned up Mary Adeline Goddard, Bert Goddard, and Joseph Goddard. The latter, author of The Rise of Music, Being a Careful Enquiry into the Development of the Art from Its Primitive Puttings Forth in Egypst and Assyria to Its Triumphal Consummation in Modern Effect… (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1907) seemed to be the most likely. Except that the item was a book, not a musical score and the publisher was Scribner’s, not Schirmer. This was not really a problem since Scribner’s was another important client of The Merrymount Press during these years.

There was nothing else in OCLC, or anywhere on the internet that better fit the information I had than The Rise of Music. But without visual confirmation of Dwiggins’ contribution to the cover design I was uneasy. For years the only edition available online was from GoogleBooks, but it was not searchable—and it was a British edition, published by William Reeves. More recently another copy of that same edition became available online from HathiTrust. But where was the Scribner’s edition? Worldcat lists copies by Scribner’s at the New York Public Library, Bryn Mawr College, Cornell University, Harvard University, the Peabody Conservatory, and Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. Unfortunately, two of them—at the New York Public Library and Cornell University—are the Reeves edition. Not willing to travel to Baltimore, Pennsylvania or Cambridge simply to look at a copy of The Rise of Music, I  reluctantly added it to my Dwiggins inventory.

Over the years I have tried to look for other titles by Joseph Goddard that might fit better, but with no luck. And—knowing how unreliable Dwiggins’ spelling can be—I have wondered if I should be looking for someone named “Godard” instead. Today, I accidentally came across someone named Godard as a viable alternative.

Drawing-Room Pieces for Violin and Piano.

Drawing-Room Pieces for Violin and Piano (New York: G. Schirmer, 1910).

While looking at Dwiggins’ title cartouche for the Schirmer series “Drawing-Room Pieces for Violin and Piano,” I noticed that “Godard, B.” was among the composers in the series listed below. A simple internet search indicated that the full name was Benjamin Godard (1849–1895). But when I began googling him to find a musical composition of his published by Schirmer in 1907, I came up empty handed. All of the titles seemed to be from the 19th century.

Then, out of the blue, as I loosened my search terms—getting rid of “Drawing-Room Pieces for Violin and Piano”—I stumbled across a PDF of Compositions for Pianoforte by Godard posted by urresearch.rochester.edu. As soon as the first page popped up I realized I had found the elusive “Border, music title, Goddard Collection”.

Compositions for Pianoforte

Compositions for Pianoforte by Benjamin Godard (New York: G. Schirmer, 1907)

The style of the border was unmistakably the sort of thing Dwiggins was doing for Updike between 1907 and 1912. And, best of all, it was signed. Case closed.