DATING THE PUBLICATIONS OF WILLIAM T. TRUMAN, ELIZABETH TRUMAN, AND
TRUMAN AND SPOFFORD
William T. Truman ended his long time partnership with Winthrop B. Smith in 1843. The Cincinnati publishing firm of Truman and Smith of Cincinnati was active from 1837 through 1843. As the story goes, Smith made two piles of their publications, the children books in one and the McGuffey Readers in the other. Truman chose the children books while Smith got the McGuffeys.
Truman published two children's series under his name alone in 1844: Truman's Entertaining Toy Books and Truman's Entertaining and Instructive Toy Books. His name, William T. Truman, and the date, 1844, appeared on both the wrapper and title page. Truman died the following year on March 16, 1845 in Cincinnati.
Following his death, the name William T. Truman appeared on the wrapper and title page of both children's books series but without a date. His wife, Elizabeth who was active in the book trade as both a book seller and stationer, continued to publish under his name from 1845 through the middle of 1849. In 1849, she formed a publishing partnership with Ainsworth R. Spofford, and they continued to publish the children's series under the name, Truman and Spofford again with no dates either the wrapper or the title page.
The publication dates for William T. Truman and his successors I suggest are as follows:
1843-March 1845 William T. Truman's name and date, 1844, are printed on wrapper and title page.
1845, April-1849 William T. Truman's name with no date printed on title page. Elizabeth Truman is the publisher.
1849-1858 Truman and Spofford name with no date printed on wrapper and title page.
The above dating works for all the children's titles I have examined. Typographical characteristics are repeated throughout each new publisher indicating that the same plates were used with the date removed and publisher name repeated in the case of William T. Truman by his wife, and Truman and Spofford. In several instances engravings were dropped, replaced, or repeated on the wrappers.