Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Gumuchian mss., 1933-1940, consist of correspondence between Kirkor Gumuchian, 1886?-1949, of Gumuchian & Cie, bookseller in Paris, France, and George Alexander Ball, 1862-1955, manufacturer of Muncie, Indiana. A collector of many things, Ball purchased a large number of children's books from Gumuchian during the period 1933-1940 and this collection records those purchases. In 1930 Gumuchian had published a two volume catalog Les Livres de L'Enfance du XV au XIX Siècle (Lilly PN1037 .Z9 G9) of about 6200 items he had in his collection, and during the course of 1935 Ball managed to purchase almost the entire catalog "en bloc." Within their correspondence for this period, Ball and Gumuchian discuss the Charles Todd Owen and Roland Knaster collections of children's books as points of comparison with that of Gumuchian.

In 1936 Gumuchian began to express his concern about the Léon Blum government in France, events in Spain, economic conditions in Paris, and the problems of a bookseller in such a climate. By 1939 he felt compelled to move his book stock and selling operation to New York City.

A brief description of the Gumuchian collection may be found in Barton Wood Currie's Fishers of Books, p.334-336 (Lilly Z992 .C976 F53). A biographical sketch of Gumuchian appears in The American Scholar, vol. 10, no.3, Summer 1941 (Lilly PN1009 .A1 G97 1941) for which he wrote the article "From Piety to Entertainment in Children's Books."

Other materials include duplicate copies of the invoices for the Gumuchian purchase and a numerical inventory by George Ball of the purchase.

A finding aid is available.

Gift. Ball Brothers Foundation. Muncie, Indiana. 1989

Collection size: 79 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.