Brentano’s started in 1853 as August Brentano’s kiosk in New York. Brentano’s opened its first store in 1883, and the first foreign branch followed in 1887 in Paris. Brentano’s Paris was located at 37, Avenue de l’Opera and specialised in English-language publications1. The store sold glass stereoviews of the First World War in the 45 x 107 mm and 6 x 13 cm formats, and a limited range of paper card stereoviews. The seller offered a large number of images of the American Expeditionary Forces in France.
The stereoviews were sold in branded cardboard boxes. These boxes also showed up in the United States, and the images were sold there by Over There Review and STERECO. The images appeared with different numbers, descriptions and presentation styles. Bob Boyd of The Great War in 3D concluded that Brentano’s Paris might have been a publisher and wholesaler to other sellers, and he classified the different style types. However, research has led to new insights, and today it seems unlikely that the store was a publisher and wholesaler. No known source confirms this role for the company. Brentano’s probably sold the stereoviews in their bookshop, and because of their connections in New York, the stereoviews were also distributed there. There is more evidence that the images were supplied by publisher Stéréo-Éditions F. Meiller, or by an affiliated collective of publishers who printed their own stereoviews from a shared pool of negatives.
Brentano’s Paris closed its doors in 2009 but reopened in 2010. The company no longer has archives from the wartime period, so the exact role of the company regarding the sale of stereoviews will remain unknown. While it is unlikely that the bookstore was a publisher and wholesaler of stereoviews, the wartime stereoviews associated with the store are still categorised as “Brentano’s”.
Examples of the same image with different numbers, descriptions and presentation styles: