M.F. Tobin Litho, NY, U.S.A

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M.F. Tobin Litho., N.Y. U.S.A. (American Publisher, c1877-1907) were wholesale and retail art publishers, art printers, and engravers who published and sold millions of Victorian trade cards, window advertisements, art prints, war pictures, books, children’s books, baseball trade card sets, and various other advertising publications in the late 19th Century through 1907 in New York City. They were one of the largest and most successful publishing houses in the city and supplied thousands of businesses such as butchers, bakers, shoemakers, grocers, dry goods houses, and saloons—every kind of store used their publishing and printing services for their advertising needs.

The company was started by Michael F. Tobin (Irish-American, c1844-1907) around 1877 and the company was located at 299 Broadway and later expanded to 273 Broadway in the city. They are also sometimes listed as M.F. Tobin, New York. The company employed artists, engravers, lithographers and they had their own shipping division with the manager of the publishing house being Mr. F. Segemann. Tobin originally emigrated from Ireland to the United States and had served under the U.S. Navy Admiral David Glasgow Farragut (American, 1801-1870) in the Civil War. For over twenty-five years, Tobin had also been the commander of the Associated Veterans of Farragut’s Fleet, which had their headquarters located at the Company’s 299 Broadway location. In addition, he was the historian of the Battle of Mobile Bay (1864), and had numerous letters and other historical data in his collection from President Lincoln, Admiral Farragut and other prominent persons.

Tobin lived at Coney Island on the shore near Seagate, Brooklyn, NY, and had a daughter by the name of Elizabeth (née Tobin) Maxwell. Tobin died at his residence at Coney Island on Wednesday, September 11, 1907 and the funeral was held that following Sunday at his daughter’s home at 128 Halsey Street. The mass service was held at the Church of Our Lady of Victory, Throop Avenue & McDonough Street. Twelve Rear Admirals of the Navy were present at the service along with Admiral Dewey, of whom Tobin had also written a book about, titled Records and Battles of Admiral George Dewey. Tobin was also an avid art collector and his large collection was worth about $2,000,000 at the time of his death (about $47,100,000 in today’s standards), which is a huge sum for that time period. It was purported that he never sold any of his paintings.

(Rewritten & compiled chronologically by Mark Strong of Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc., East Aurora, NY, 11/2010, www.meibohmfinearts.com, Sources: Wikipedia.com; books.google.com, online digitized pamphlet, Printers’ Ink: A Journal for Advertisers, “War Pictures for Advertising Purposes.”, Volume 23, No. 13, June 29, Pg. 6, George P. Rowell & Co., Publishers, 10 Spruce Street, NYC, 1898; measuringworth.com, “Purchasing Power of Money in the United States from 1774 to 2009”; query.newyorktimes.com, article preview from the obituary section, The New York Times, “Obituary Notes: Michael F. Tobin; M.F. Tobin’s Funeral.; Dewey to Attend Services Over Commander of Farragut’s Veterans.”, September 14, 1907; books.google.com, online digitized memoirs, A Sailor of Fortune: Personal Memoirs of Captain B.S. Osbon, by Albert Bigelow Paine, McClure, Phillips & Co., NYC, Pearson Publishing Company, Pg. 197, 1906; books.google.com, online digitized directory, Caspar’s Directory of the American Book, News and Stationary Trade: Wholesale and Retail, by C.N. Caspar, Milwaukee, WI, Pg. 901, New York, Offices of “The Publisher’s Weekly.”, Riverside Printing Company, Milwaukee, WI, 1889.)