4to (206 x 155 mm).  pp. Pictorial woodcut title border, title and calendar printed in red and black, woodcut astrological symbols. Interleaved with 11 leaves of contemporary manuscript notes in two different hands, in brown ink and graphite, on heavier paper. Small inkstamp on title with initial G and “6x”. Title-leaf soiled and frayed, some creasing to corners, faint dampstaining in second half, small filled hole in fol. C4. Original woodblock-printed armorial publisher’s wrappers, both covers with the same design incorporating the arms of the Emperor (rebacked, soiled, a corner of front wrapper restored, a few small holes of which some repaired). ***
A copy of one of the longest running Schreibkalender, in its original printed publisher’s wrappers, interleaved with manuscript notes. Schreibkalender were printed in Graz already in the 16th century, by the Widmanstetter family, the sole printers to operate in the town for 200 years, until Andreas Leykam, the printer and publisher of this edition, broke their monopoly. Leykam had worked in Vienna as a printer and bookbinder before moving to Graz, where he went to work for Aloys Joseph Beckh-Widmanstetter, becoming the latter’s competitor in 1781, after receiving the unprecedented authorization, by decree of Emperor Joseph II, to establish a second printing press in Graz.
Calendars, almanacs, newsletters and schoolbooks were the mainstays of Leykam’s early activity. The Widmanstetter press had made this a priority and had literally flooded the market with such ephemera. Among their publications was the local Schreibkalender, issued since the mid-18th-century under variants of the present title, Grätzerischer or Gratzer Schreibkalender. In 1783 Leykam had begun publishing his own annual under that title. In 1785 he purchased from Widmanstetter the printing stock for the yearly Neuen Bauerncalender (Thiel, p. 313), and it is likely that he also acquired legitimate “rights” to the present Schreibkalender, which in appearance and contents continued the Widmanstetter tradition. The first part contains the calendar (with a riddle containing an anagram at the foot of each page), and the second part articles on local markets, sights of nearby towns, various topics of domestic economy (how to fight ants, snakes and moths, the natural history of bees, etc.), diverting tales of superstitious beliefs concerning rainbows and lunar influences, and 12 pages of tariff and currency charts. Only the woodcut title border, which includes a view of Graz with surrounding mountains, “showed some independence” from the Widmanstetter precedent (Thiel, loc. cit.).
Leykam covered his almanacs in paper wrappers with printed ornamental decors: often brightly colored and “charmingly decorated in rococo style,” the wrappers were probably made from paper produced nearby, at the Voitsberg paper mill, founded by Adolf, Graf von Wagensberg in 1763 (Thiel, loc. cit.), Leykam himself may have been responsible for the design of the present rare wrappers. They show the arms of Franz II, Holy Roman Emperor from 1792 to 1806 (and Emperor of Austria from 1804 to 1835) within a beribboned circular cartouche framed by garlands and leafy sprays, with 8 wheel-like roundels at corners and sides.
Intended to be used as personal notebooks, copies of Schreibkalender seem to have been invariably sold durchschossen, or interleaved. The 22 pages of interleaved notes in this copy refer to dates from 1796 to 1830. Mainly a record of financial transactions, they include several charts of names with symbols and numbers. Repeated mentions of Lohn or wages paid out to various individuals indicate that at least one of the owner-writers had employees. He was probably a city-dweller rather than a farmer, as there appear to be no references to agricultural activities.
Cf. Viktor Thiel, “Andreas Leykam 1752-1826. Das Wirken eines deutschen Druckers im südostdeutschen Grenzraum,” Gutenberg-Jahrbuch, 1942/43, pp. 310-319. Item #2878