Buenos Aires: Anglo-Argentine Tramways Company, 1919.
Hardcover. Custom made presentation and friendship album. Folio. Approximately 13" x 16". Approximately 450 leaves. Weighing about 15 pounds. Full polished deep purple calf with a gold-plated (or possibly 14k gold) elaborately engraved plaque set onto the front board, with winged figures bearing a cartouche with the monogram of "C.S." Gilt decorated dentelles, all edges richly gilt, heavy white silk endpapers, gilt (binder's?) stamp of Talleres J. Peuser on rear endpaper. A little rubbed at the base of the spine, still easily fine.
A majestic and superb album made and given by the Anglo-Argentine Tramways Company to American businessman Charles H. Sanford. Hand engrossed calligraphic manuscript title page on vellum with hand-painted decorative floral and vine border, large hand-illuminated initials, and four original mounted albumen roundel photographs of Sanford at the on the occasion of his laying the foundation stone of a home he donated for the children of the employees of the Company in Quilmes, Buenos Aires, with a long handwritten address in Spanish. Each leaf is finely printed in green and gilt to mimic 30 calling cards per page on the rectos only, with each of the calling cards in-filled with the ink signature of one of the workers, totaling more than 13,000 signatures of workers and their families. The Anglo-Argentine Tramway Company was founded in 1876, and at its peak operated around 430 miles of track. Buenos Aires, once known as the City of Trams, had one of the most extensive networks in the world, but most of it was dismantled during the 1960s in favor of bus transportation
Sanford was born and raised in Englishtown, New Jersey just outside of Freehold, in 1840 and went to Argentina in 1866 where he joined an American bank. He participated in the development of Argentina, and particularly the then little-more-than-a-village of Buenos Aires, where he owned thousands of acres. In 1882 he placed an issue of Argentine bonds with New York bankers, which represented the first direct financial relations between the United States and the Argentine Government. He was noted for his philanthropy in Buenos Aires, especially as the founder of this home for children; he was deeply involved in the restoration and rebuilding of the United Methodist Church in Princeton, New Jersey, and when he retired at a relatively early age, spent much of his time on philanthropy, and lived most of the time in London, with several months of each year spent in Freehold, where he continued his philanthropy.
A unique and impressive volume representing what must have been a large and fairly important cross section of Argentine families.