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Portia Pratt Dahl Papers, 1864-1955
2 boxes (.75 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 175

Abstract:
Bookbinder. Papers include documents related to Dahl's work as a bookbinder from her student days in Paris, France and her workshop in Boston, Mass. Seth F. Pratt's commonplace book also includes documents and papers related to him. In addition, there is an artist's sketchbook of Peter Dahl (1857-1929) and related papers.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Mortimer Rare Book Room.

Restrictions on use:

The Portia Pratt Dahl Papers are the physical property of the Mortimer Rare Book Room, Smith College. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors of the works or their legal representatives.

Mortimer Rare Book Room
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Biographical Note

Helen Portia Pratt Dahl was a graduate of Smith College Class of 1914. After graduation she traveled often between the United States and Europe and in 1926 was in China. She studied bookbinding in Paris in the late 1920s and eventually established a bookbinding studio in Boston, Mass., where she designed and bound many rare editions of English and French texts. In 1932 she married Dr. Ernst O. Dahl, M.D., a Danish physician. Together with him they traveled often to Europe, spent summers on Cape Cod and extended periods of time in California. Dr. Dahl died in 1949. Portia Pratt Dahl died on Jan. 20, 1970 without heirs and left the bulk of her estate to Smith College.

Ms. Dahl's father, Seth F. Pratt, attended Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois, and at one time was a cashier at the Roseville Union Bank, Roseville, Illinois.

Nothing is known about Peter Dahl (1857-1929) except that he was born in Jutland and died in Copenhagen, Denmark. He likely was a relative of Dr. Ernst O. Dahl.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Portia Pratt Dahl papers consist of .75 linear feet and include documents related to Ms. Dahl's work as a bookbinder from her student days in Paris, France and her workshop in Boston, Mass. The papers also include a commonplace book, documents and photographs of her father, Seth F. Pratt. In addition, there is an artist's sketchbook of Peter Dahl (1857-1929), possibly a relative of her husband's, Dr. Ernst O. Dahl.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Mortimer Rare Book Room.

Restrictions on use:

The Portia Pratt Dahl Papers are the physical property of the Mortimer Rare Book Room, Smith College. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors of the works or their legal representatives.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Portia Pratt Dahl Papers, Mortimer Rare Book Room, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

History of the Collection

The Portia Pratt Papers were donated by Portia Pratt to Smith College and transferred from the Smith College Archives to the Mortimer Rare Book Room in August 1993.

Processing Information

Processed by Melvin Carlson, Jr., 2006.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Mortimer Rare Book Room
William Allan Neilson Library
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2906
Fax: (413) 585-2904

Email: mrbr@smith.edu
URL: http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/rarebook

Language
English; French

Contents List
SERIES I. PORTIA PRATT DAHL'S PAPERS



Diary. Scattered entries in English and French related to Dahl's bookbinding studies in Paris. The diary is a leather bound volume,
1927.
(21 cm.)
Box 1: folder 1
Bills of sale related to bookbinding tools and purchase of books, as well as other miscellaneous materials,
1914-1955.

Box 1: folder 2
Note:

(Removed from the back of the diary)

Leather samples for bookbinding.


Box 1: folder 3
Note:

(Removed from the front of the diary)

Drawings by Dahl for bookbinding,
n.d.

Box 1: folder 4
Note:

(4 examples)

List of books bound,
n.d.

Box 1: folder 5
Trade card for French bookbinder H. Noulhac with cloth sample,
n.d.,

Box 1: folder 6
Photograph of E. Maylander, Dahl's binding instructor in Paris, France,
n.d.

Box 1: folder 7
Note:

Autographed by Maylander to Dahl.

Sketch for residence, Boylston Street and Fisher Avenue, Brookline, Mass. by Angel & Swift, Architects, Providence,
n.d.

Box 1: folder 8
Note:

(Contains some genealogical information about the Pratts on the verso)

SERIES II. SETH F. PRATT'S COMMONPLACE BOOK AND PAPERS



Commonplace book kept by Seth F. Pratt, 1873-1896. It bears the inscription Monmouth College, Monmouth, Ill.,
May 8th, 1873.

Box 1: folder 9
Note:

This commonplace book was kept by Pratt and is largely poetry and prose Pratt has copied from other sources or printed materials he pasted into the book.

(The commonplace book is written in a commercial book with the following title-page: Index rerum ; or, index of subjects; intended as a manual to aid the student and professional man in preparing himself for usefulness, with an introduction ..., by John Todd. Northampton, Mass.: Bridgman & Childs)

Holograph materials copied by Pratt on separate sheets of paper,
n.d.

Box 1: folder 10
Note:

(Removed from the commonplace book)

Clippings from printed sources (poetry and prose) kept by Pratt,
1896, n.d.

Box 1: folder 11
Note:

(Removed from the commonplace book)

Ms. related to financial matters of the Roseville Library Association, Roseville, Illinois, late
1890s.

Box 1: folder 12
Note:

(Removed from the commonplace book)

Confederate States of America five dollar bill, Richmond,
Feb. 17th, 1864.

Box 1: folder 13
Note:

(Removed from the commonplace book)

Miscellaneous items, including a business card for the Roseville Union Bank, Roseville, Ill., with Seth F. Pratt listed as cashier, items
n.d. 3

Box 1: folder 14
Note:

(Removed from the commonplace book)

Correspondence (carbon copies) of business correspondence,
1901-1902.

Box 1: folder 15
Note:

Fourteen letters, most signed by H. H. Jenkins.

Photograph of Seth F. Pratt, J. G. Lansing and J. H. Mason, Monmouth, Illinois.
May 1873,

Box 1: folder 16
Note:

(Removed from the commonplace book)

Daguerreotype of Seth F. Pratt,
n.d.

Box 1: folder 17
Note:

(Removed from the commonplace book)

Miscellaneous photographs with no identification,
1893, n.d.

Box 1: folder 18
Note:

(Removed from the commonplace book)

Photograph of Seth F. Pratt(Monmouth, Ill., Root & Son),
June 1875

Box 1: folder 19
Another copy of photograph in folder 16 of Pratt, Lansing and Mason.


Box 1: folder 20
Photograph that includes Seth F. Pratt with male classmates,
1870s.

Box 1: folder 21
Photograph of H. Portia Pratt, Roseville, Ill., in childhood.
n.d.,

Box 1: folder 22
Pages from printed sources (high school yearbooks?) that include photographs of Portia Pratt, late
1900s.

Box 1: folder 23
Miscellaneous photographs, unidentified,
1898-1899.

Box 1: folder 24
Commercial photographs from the Southwest and California consisting largely of the California Mission churches and of American natives,
1900, n.d.

Box 1: folder 25
SERIES III. PETER DAHL'S SKETCHBOOK AND RELATED MATERIALS



Peter Dahl's sketchbook,
1893-1928.

Box 2: folder 26
Note:

Dahl was born 1857 in Jutland and died Dec. 1929 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Largely pencil drawings on small pieces of paper and mounted into a bound volume. Includes one drawing by Paula Dahl.

Letters,Kobenhavn and , Smedegade.
1884 May 24, 1884 Apr 15

Box 2: folder 27
A 1950 Christmas greeting to Portia Dahl from "Sven and Hulda"; postcard addressed to Dr. Ernst O. Dahl dtd .
1940

Box 2: folder 28
Commercial colored prints (2), Bockel Studio,
n.d.

Box 2: folder 29
Photographs of an unknown young man,
n.d.

Box 2: folder 30
Photograph of two unknown women,
n.d.

Box 2: folder 31

Search Terms

The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. To find additional materials use these headings to search this web site, the Five College Library Catalog, or other library catalogs and databases.

The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

Subjects
  • Artists, Danish.
  • Commonplace-books.
  • Dahl, Peter, 1857-1929.
  • Dahl, Portia Pratt, d. 1970.
  • Pratt, Seth F.
  • Women bookbinders-United States.

Contributors
  • Dahl, Peter, 1857-1929.
  • Dahl, Portia Pratt, d. 1970.
  • Pratt, Seth F.


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