Clayton L. Traver (1857-1941): Antiquarian Bookseller & New Jerseyana
FELCONE, JOSEPH J. Clayton L. Traver (1857-1941): Antiquarian Bookseller & New Jerseyana Specialist. Princeton: Joseph J. Felcone Inc., 2019. 55 p. Illus. Wrappers. Fifteen-year-old Clayton Traver moved to Trenton with his parents in 1871. While in school he worked evenings and weekends in his father's secondhand furniture store. Gradually young Traver introduced old books into the family business, and this department became so successful that by the mid-1880s books had supplanted furniture as the store's main stock-in-trade. Clayton Traver had a strong interest in New Jersey history and an understanding of the value of publicity, and for more than fifty years he combined the two to create a highly successful book business. With three floors and a full basement, Traver's Book Store was the largest book store in New Jersey in the first half of the twentieth century. The present work explores just the second floor of that store--the antiquarian part of the business--and specifically Traver's niche specialty of New Jerseyana. Nearly every New Jersey collection today--institutional or private--contains books or government reports or manuscripts that once passed through Clayton Traver's hands. This book tells the Traver story from beginning to end, with emphasis on Clayton Traver's role in creating a collecting specialty of New Jerseyana. Described in detail are his historical reprints, his new publications, and the many antiquarian New Jersey items that he discovered and moved along to new homes. For more than forty-five years the author has continued this New Jerseyana specialty within the antiquarian book world, and this monograph is a small measure of his thanks to his predecessor.