Scribner's logo

Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966), Scribner Press Logo, [1902]. Pen and ink drawing attached to block. Graphic Arts GA 2006.02471

In July of 1902, Maxfield Parrish completed his design for a colophon device commissioned by the new Scribner Press. “The Scribner logo, with its three key elements of burning antique (Greco-Roman) lamp, books, and laurel wreath, dates back to the Beaux-Arts architect Standford White’s original design for the cover of Scribner’s Magazine (January 1887).”

“The symbol of the book hardly needs to be explained; the laurel crown is a symbol of the highest achievement in poetry or literature, or the arts in general, and it is associated with the classical god of Apollo; the lamp is not Aladdin’s lamp but rather the lamp of wisdom and knowledge. There is a long tradition in art, going back at least to the time of Petrarch, of a poet being crowned with a wreath of laurel, and such scholars as St. Jerome and St. Thomas Aquinas are traditionally depicted beside such a burning lamp” (Charles Scribner III, unpublished memo dated 2 June 1994).

This printer’s seal appeared on the copyright page of all books printed by the Scribner Press. For more, see John Delaney’s webpage: Charles Scribner’s Sons: An Illustrated Chronology: