HERBERT PEMBROKE (1853-1934) *

One of our young and clever citizens is the subject of this sketch. His line of art is in job printing, but he is a decided artist and not a mere compositor. He is acknowledged to be the best printer that has ever worked in Salt Lake City, and he has also won reputation in New York, San Francisco, and other cities.

Herbert Pembroke was born in Bedford, England, in 1853. He is the son of James Earl and Sarah Day Pembroke, who were amongst the first of Willard Richards' converts to Mormonism in England, and who remained the wheel-horses of their section of the English mission till 1866, when they left for America. The family remained in New York two years. Herbert commenced to work at the printing trade, and to such a degree did he love the trade chance had thrown in his way, that after being in Salt Lake a year, he determined to back to go [sic] New York and endeavor to master his calling. He was a journeyman printer at the age of eighteen, and soon after left for his home in Salt Lake, where he was foreman of the Tribune job office, under the management of Fred Perris for a year. At the end of that time he felt still that there must be a great deal to learn and left for for [sic] San Francisco, where he soon became foreman of H. S. Crocker & Co.'s large printing office. This position was held for three years until he determined to make Salt Lake City his home. Leaving a bright future there, he came home; finding the printing trade in a very unsatisfactory condition, he engaged as clerk in mining and mercantile business for four years.

H. Pembroke, Salt Lake City [Utah] (23mm dia., ca. 1885)

During this time he married a daughter of the late Richard B. Margetts. In January, 1882, having received a call from his old employers, he again went to California to take charge of the Sacramento printing business of H. S. Crocker & Co., but in 1884, feeling that with the commercial capacity which the previous four years had developed within him, he could steer a mercantile craft safely, he left California, came home and engaged in the book, stationery and news business, where by strict and untiring attention to business he has demonstrated that success is attending him. Being still a printer at heart, he associated himself as neary as possible with the craft of Utah, by attaching to his business several printer's supply agencies, which he still carries on. Referring to Mr. Pembroke as a printer it may not be out of place to extract from the American Model Printer the following:

"H. Pembroke, late superintendant of H. S. Crocker & Co.'s, Sacramento, California, is a man of remarkable skill as a printer, and the specimens before us bears [sic] full evidence of this fact. * * The most elaborate piece of work in his samples is a business card in colors, representing a set stage with side scenes; doors are represented in each of the two scenes, a centre panel in one of them displays a red devil carrying off a silver composing stick, and in the other a steam press; these appear on gold grounds surrounded with black circles. The rule work on this job is certainly well carried out, the tint plates were cut out of cardboard, and have been so well printed that little remains but to consider it a novel and interesting piece of handicraft."

H. Pembroke, Salt Lake City [Utah] (24mm dia., ca. 1887)

Mr. Pembroke is not in any sense an orthodox religious man. He is perfectly liberal and tolerant in his views, and believes in a grander spirit of humanitarianism than the sectarian strife of the present day makes possible, and he likes to dream of the day to come when all mankind will be united in a universal brotherhood.

  * Edward W. Tullidge, The History of Salt Lake City and Its Founders (Salt Lake City, Utah: E.W. Tullidge, [1886]). This work has somewhat complicated pagination: viii, 896, 172, 36; this sketch is found on p. 126-127 of the 172 p. sequence.   (Return to top)

Robert Behra of the Marriott Library, University of Utah, who contributed the Pembroke labels and found the biographical sketch, writes:

By 1906 the company founded by Herbert Pembroke had narrowed its focus to the stationery business, and was evidently very successful in that niche. He retired as head of the firm in 1916, being succeeded by one of his sons.

Mr. Behra also brought to our attention that the second label shown was printed elsewhere -- odd, considering Pembroke's reputation as a talented printer. (Printers' marks on these labels are not at all common -- this example is unique so far in our collection.)

A.Gast & Co., St. Louis and New York -- printer's mark on H.Pembroke's label

"A. Gast & Co., St. Louis and New York"

For comparison with the Pembroke "Fancy Goods" label see that of James Dwyer, another Salt Lake City bookseller.

Back to the "Pembroke" labels

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