Smither, James (Philadelphia, PA)

James Smither

Engraver and Bookbinders' Tool-cutter*

At the Golden Head in Strawberry Alley  


Pennsylvania .1.  (1767-1800)

*not in Tom Conroy's, Bookbinders' Finishing Tool Makers. Perhaps Americas first Bookbinding finishing tool cutter, per Conroy.

  1. "said to have been formerly an engraver who ornamented guns in London" 
    Probably arrived in 1767. He was a Loyalist and would leave Philadelphia with
    the British, returning in 1786, and is thought to have died in 1800. Joseph
    Jackson, Market Street Philadelphia, pg. 39.

  2. (1768), At the first house in Third street, "Performs all manner of
    ENGRAVING in gold, silver, copper, steel,and all other metals; coats of arms
    and seals, done in the neatest manner. Likewise cuts stamps brands, and metal
    cuts for printers, and ornamental tools for bookbinders, he also ornaments
    guns and pistols, both engraving and inlaying silver, at the most reasonable
    rates." Pennsylvania Journal of April 21, 1768. Quoted in: Stefanie A.
    Munsing, Made in America: Printmaking, 1760-1860

3.  "Charged with High treason in 1778 he  apparently left with the British
army and soon advertised his trade in New York" ibid.

  1. Engraved an early six sheet  and  map of the city of Philadelphia,
    published by Thomas Mann, in 1774.

  2. (1791) 21 Walnut street: Philadelphia City Directory,  pg. 130. Same
    address in 1793.  In 1794, pg. 142.  In 1795, pg. 141. In 1796 pg.172. In 1797
    pg. 169. In 1798 pg. 132. In 1799, pg. 130.

  3. (1803) 100 Chestnut

Back to list