notice that his name is spelled as two words in the article and
as one word under the picture - is that his own handwriting?
||Papers from Ashley A. Vantine's
Successful Men of Affairs
editor: Henry Hall
pub. New York Tribune 1895; 96,
two volumes 1:689
Ashley Abraham Van Tine, one of the most notable
of the up-town merchants of this city, was born Oct. 12, 1821, in
Chazy, N.Y., and died at his home, No. 153 West 57th street in this
city, Jan. 25, 1890. He traced his family line back to old Holland
stock, and his father, David Van Tine, followed the occupation of
a farmer. It was upon the farm that Ashley A. Van Tine began life.
He grew up rugged in health, practical and energetic, and, with a
country school education, took the first step in the way of bettering
his condition by becoming captain of a canal boat, while yet under
age, graduating from this latter service to engage in teaching a school
in Plattsburgh. This latter experience was useful to Mr. Van Tine,
and by constant study he became a well informed man. Early in life,
the subject of this memoir joined the throng of residents of the Eastern
States, who were pouring into California, drawn by the glowing tales
of discoveries of gold. Being detained on the Isthmus of Panama, a
hundred days, he followed a custom usual with him and not often followed,
of making the most of every minute of time, and at once began to study
the Spanish language, becoming so proficient that the Alcalde offered
him great inducements to remain. But the glitter of California gold
proved too tempting to the New Yorker, and he pressed onward to San
Francisco. For a number of years he carried on a profitable trade
in general merchandise in the cities of Marysville and San Francisco,
during which period he experienced some of the hardships of life in
a region in which the comforts of civilization had not yet been introduced,
but steadily gained ground and made his way without serious interruption.
It was during his mercantile experience upon the Pacific coast, that
Mr. Van Tine became acquainted with the beauty of the ceramic and
textile productions of the two great nations beyond the western ocean.
About 1866, he came to New York City and with small capital began
to import Chinese and Japanese goods, and to introduce the beautiful
productions of Asiatic art to the attention of local buyers. He may
thus be said to have become for the second time a pioneer, and, as
before, in an almost unexplored field. Little was then known by the
public at large concerning the variety and beauty of Chinese and Japanese
goods, because scarcely anything of this nature had ever been received
in New York up to that time beyond a few invoices of silk, porcelains
and lacquered ware. Mr. Van Tine entered upon his new enterprise with
his accustomed good judgment and after prudent study of the markets.
A love of beautiful objects, formerly cherished by a few, had finally
taken possession of the people of New York city and the American public
at large, and the adornment of the home was leading to the purchase
of every article, which would gratify a refined taste, including hangings,
pictures, decorated pottery and elegant trifles of all kinds.
Mr. Van Tine opened his store just at the right time and throngs of
buyers rewarded his enterprise. His first day's sale amounted to $50
only. Although insignificant in itself, this result was a surety of
success to his mind and he prosecuted his business with vigor and
confidence. When he finally began to order hundreds and thousands
of the various articles which composed his stocks, the Japanese merchants
looked at him with amazement, while buyers in new York were captivated
by the variety and extent of the goods he spread before them. In time,
he finally added the importation of Turkish rugs to his business and
rose to be the leading merchant in the field in New York city. His
operations compelled him to maintain branches and representatives
in every part of the United States and in many countries abroad. At
one time, he had customers in every State of the Union.
In 1870, he admitted to partnership, under the name of A. A. Van Tine
& Co., James F. Sutton, who remained with him for twelve years and
then retired. James I. Raymond was made a partner in 1875. Various
other changes took place in the firm, and finally, in 1887, Mr. Van
Tine retired, after an honorable career of nearly fifty years in practical
business. He was able to enjoy a few years of well earned rest before
his death. His wife and two daughters survived him.
New York Times
Ashley A. Vantine
Ashley A. Vantine, the well-known importer of Oriental goods, died
early yesterday morning of pneumonia at his residence, 153 West
Fifty-seventh-street, in the sixty-ninth year of his age. Mr. Vantine
was among the first to establish the Oriental goods trade in the
city and in it he was not successful [that's what it says].
Mr. Vantine was born Oct 12, 1821, at Chazy, Clinton County, N.Y.,
and when a young man he went to California, making the trip around
Cape Horn in a clipper ship. On reaching California he established
a general provision and supply business at San Francisco, and afterward
opened a branch establishment at Marysville, Cal. These enterprises
were successful and he continued in California until 1869, when
he came to New-York and established himself in the Oriental goods
business, opening a store on Broadway, near Eighth-street. A few
years later he moved to 831 Broadway, and from there, in 1883, to
879 Broadway, where the firm, A.A. Vantine & Co., has done business
since. Two years ago Mr. Vantine retired, the business being carried
on under the old firm name. In connection with his business Mr.
Vantine traveled a great deal, particularly to China and Japan,
crossing the Pacific sixteen times. He made six visits to Turkey
and Southern Russia.
Mr. Vantine leaves a widow and two daughters. The burial will be
|Two Postcards showing Vantine's
Reverse of Post Card:
Dear Sybil 12-30 this is the spot we are in, hope we will hear from
you to-day Madge & Mart
To: Mrs. S. Yoshimi, Boardwork[sic], Atlantic City, N.J.
Postmark October 7, 1908, New York City
This post card is unused but slightly damaged. I cropped it a little.
| A book I would love to see. Listed on Amazon.com.
||A little journey to Vantine's (Unknown Binding)
by Elbert Hubbard (Author) , The Roycrofters (1912)
A. A. Vantine's Book Ink Stamp
--In the It's a Small World section:
Robert works about 5 minutes away
from my office. I visited with him and
saw this mark.
Thank you, Robert,
for your consideration and charming
kindness to a co-worker.
I just came across your page on Ashley Abraham Vantine and I thought you might be interested in the attached scan of an ink stamp found on a book in the collections of the Marriott Library at the University of Utah. The original is 26 mm in diameter and is on:
The spirit of Japan, by Ernest Adolphus Sturge (Tokyo : The Yurakusha, 1905)
Its presence in a book about Japan, published in Japan,
which was given to this library by a library in Tokyo, suggests that A.A. Vantine & Co. sold books along with all the other Oriental objects mentioned on your page.
The Japanese and Chinese flags with the crescent moon and star in between are the same symbol used on some of the porcelain associated with A.A. Vantine and Co. See
20thcenturyjapan.shtml#aavantine (which has a link to your page).
Feel free to use the image on your site if you're interested.
Science and Engineering Division
J. Willard Marriott Library
University of Utah
Salt Lake City
A Little Journey to Vantine's
by Elbert Hubbard
|The Gotheborg.com site has uploaded most of the pages to this charming booklet. I'm very grateful to Peter Romanskiewicz for the link.