Name authority headings for the book trade

This article discusses situations where it is not immediately clear whether an entity should be established as a personal or corporate name heading. While these situations are well-documented in early modern materials, less attention has been paid to them in 19th- (and, to a lesser extent, 20th-) century items.

The Folger is currently in the process of deciding on an approach to the "personal vs corporate" name heading problem, and is collecting a pool of examples, both to inform our decision-making process and to assist other catalogers considering the same issue. We are disregarding at the moment the current existence of authority records that may pertain to these entities for the purpose of establishing a general principle for tracing these names.


Here follow tentative proposals on a default approach to book trade entities presented as individuals.

Individual presentation

If an entity presents itself consistently within a more-or-less defined time period as an individual, establish and trace the personal name.

  • Example: Nakładem Karola Wilda (see below) would be traced as Wild, Karol, 1824-1885

Simultaneous individual and corporate presentation

If an entity presents itself inconsistently as both an individual and a corporation within a more-or-less defined time period, establish and trace the corporate name.

Consecutive individual and corporate (or corporate and individual) presentation

If an entity presents itself consistently within a more-or-less defined time period as an individual, and subsequently presents itself as a corporation, or vice versa, establish and trace as personal and corporate names, respectively.

Individual presentation after death of individual

What to do if an entity presenting itself as a person continues that presentation after the person has died?

Danish examples

G. E. C. Gads forlag.JPG I kommission hos Ejnar Munksgaard.JPG
Folger PR2807.P4 Folger QB85.B8

English examples

ND497.F95 K7 v1.jpg

Folger ND497.F95 K7 v.1


Folger DA949.B2 (digitized Bayerische Staatsbibliothek copy)

R Bentley.JPG

Folger E166.B9

Frederick Arthur Crisp.jpeg

Folger CS435.S7 M2

PR2825.A334 Sh.Col. French.jpg

Folger PR2825.A334 Sh.Col. (title page)

French examples

Alphonse Lemerre, editeur.JPG Imp. A. Lemerre.jpg
Folger PR2796.F6 A13 Sh.Col. v.3 (front cover) Folger PR2796.F6 A13 Sh.Col. v.3 (back cover)
Librairie de Charles Gosselin.JPG
Folger PR2796.F6 1842a Sh.Col. v.1

German examples

Verlag von Eduard Leibrock.jpg Gedruckt bei Friedrich Krampe.jpg
Folger PR2831 1840 Sh.Col. (title page) Folger PR2831 1840 Sh.Col. (colophon)

Italian & Latin examples

Typis Martii Truelsen.JPG G. C. Sansoni editore.jpg
Folger QB41.B8 E6 1896 Folger PR2796 I8 K6 1946 Sh.Col.

Polish examples

Wilhelma Zukerkandla.JPG Karola Wilda.JPG
Folger PR2796.P5 H1 A13 Sh.Col. Folger PR2796 P5 J1 1859 Sh.Col.