"By hammer and hand all arts do stand" (NY Mercantile Library)

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Tue Jun 13 17:40:40 UTC 2006

The NY Mercantile Library has this motto: "By hammer and hand all arts do  
Does Fred have this? He should.
How old is it? Where is it in Early English Books Online?
It's also "by hammer and hand all things must stand" and "by hammer and  hand 
all arts doth stand" and "by hammer and hand all arts doe stand." (See  
below.) Also, sometimes "hammer and hand" is reversed as  "hand and  hammer."
By Hammer and Hand All Arts Do Stand (Mercantile Library)
“By Hammer and Hand All Arts Do Stand” symbolizes the Mercantile Library. 
Its  logo features an arm and hammer. 
The “by hammer and hand” slogan has been used in New York City trades since  
at least the 1700s, and it was used in England before  that.
17  East 47th Street, New York, NY 10017
Tel. 212.755.6710
Fax  212.826.0831
info at mercantilelibrary.org 
A membership library and  literary center made for the  public.
The  mission of The Mercantile Library of New York is to promote the reading, 
 writing, study and enjoyment of literature. To accomplish this, the Library  
acquires works of fiction and related non-fiction and circulates these works 
to  its members, provides low-cost work-space to individual writers and 
non-profit  literary organizations, and produces and presents programs of literary 
The Mercantile Library of New York was founded in 1820 by merchants and their 
 clerks before the advent of public libraries. By the mid-nineteenth century, 
it  was thriving as one of the foremost cultural institutions in the United 
States,  with an extraordinary collection of books in the humanities, and a 
popular  lecture program that featured such renowned speakers as William 
Makepeace  Thackeray, Frederick Douglass, and Mark Twain. The Library offered classes 
on  many subjects and was considered a meeting place for social and 
educational  pursuits. 
The Library currently focuses on collecting and lending fiction, both  
literary and popular, presenting literary programs for the general public, and  
renting low-cost space to writers and other literary organizations. It has  
developed one of the best collections of fiction in the United States and had  
benefited from six National Endowment for the Humanities grants for literary  
programming in the past ten years. 
The Mercantile Library of New York is a not-for-profit institution classified 
 by the Internal Revenue Service as a public charity under the statute 501© 
3.  Contributions to the Library are tax-deductible to the extent provided by 
Mercantile  Library (“By hand and hammer all arts do stand”) is at 17 E. 
47th St. between  Madison & 5th Aves. (212) 755-6710
Early  English Books Online Text Creation Partnership By hammer and hand all 
arts doe  stand. Bossuet, Jacques Bénigne, 1627-1704. Exposition of the 
doctrine of the  Catholique Church in the points of …
www.lib.umich.edu/tcp/eebo/  New_Text/New_Texts_December2003_full.html – 183k 
– Cached – Similar pages  
They  left only because quickening trade made demand on the shore. In a 
street called  the Side – a real Northumbrian name – is the house in which Lord 
Collingwood was  born. Only a public-house now, it is remembered for the sake of 
Nelson’s friend  and a national hero. In Low Friar Street is a building of 
the greatest historic  interest. It is the Smiths’ Hall, and bears over a door 
the motto: 
By  hammer and hand
All Artes do stand. 
Some  mottos are so long that to place them on a ribbon or scroll prompts the 
artist  to consider alternatives. That of the Worshipful Company of 
Blacksmiths of the  City of London is By hammer and hand all arts do  stand.
Premises  were secured near the old city wall of Newcastle, at a spot which 
had endured  Scottish sieges, the hall of the old Smiths’ Guild. Above the 
arched door were  the carved stone arms of the Guild, a shield bearing the motto “
By hammer and  hand do all things  stand”.
1798  New York City Mechanics and Tradesmen Directory  
CATALOGUE  OF MEMBERS NAMES. New York: Printed by Geo: Forman, No. 64, Water-Street,  
Between Coenties and the Old Slip, 1798. 8vo, rebound in mottled cloth, paper 
 title label on spine, book plate (detached of Frieda Lowinson). 24pp. 
Two-thirds  of spine cover missing. Sporadic foxing to the interior pages. A very 
sound  copy. 
“The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen was founded on 17  November 
1785 and was incorporated by the state of New York on 14 March 1792.  
Membership was limited to craftsmen who were at least twenty-one years of age.  The 
by-laws also required that a candidate be proposed by two members who could  
attest to his “industry, honesty, and sobriety” and be approved by two-thirds of  
the membership. There was an initiation fee of five dollars, and monthly dues 
 were twelve and a half cents. The address used at the initiation ceremony 
urged  that new members “let sobriety, industry, integrity, and uprightness of 
heart  continue to be the ornaments of your name.”  
The aims and organization of the General Society were typical of the craft  
benefit societies that flourished during this period. These groups combined the 
 functions of a private charity with the camaraderie of a fraternal lodge.  
Normally craftsmen in a particular trade would band together and pay dues into 
a  common fund. Members or ther dependents would then be entitled to 
assistance in  times of economic distress. Before the days of insurance companies, 
pensions,  and government relief, craft benefit societies were an important source 
of aid  during the recurring depressions of the early nineteenth century. 
Although the  society was permitted to loan money to members and nonmembers, its “
leading  motive” was to “relieve the distressed of its members that may fall 
in want by  sickness, or other misfortunes.” Four “overseers of the indigent”
 were elected  annually to appropriate aid to destitute members or the widows 
and orphans of  deceased members. In an apparent reference to these 
appropriations, the  initiation address required that new members of the society “on 
its private  transactions be as silent as the grave.”  
The General Society during this early period celebrated the mutuality and  
centrality of the craft community. Besides its charitable activities, the  
society played a prominent part in the festivities that marked patriotic  holidays, 
carrying banners emblazoned with its slogan ‘by hammer and hand all  arts do 
stand.’ Members considered the craft system of production to be the  
embodiment of republicanism. Although republicanism is inherently difficult to  define 
outside of a specific historical context, its central tenets were  moderation, 
simplicity, reciprocity, and civic virtue. The ideal citizen  conducted his 
affairs with due regard for the public weal and guarded the  republic against 
the corrupting influences of the greed and luxury associated  with 
commercialism. The craftsman’s workshop, in which the master was a fellow  worker as well 
as an employer and was bound to his workers by reciprocal  obligations, was a 
microcosm of the ideal polity. Members of the society during  these early 
years so conflated the values of the craft community and the virtues  of the 
republic that, in the words of Sean Wilentz, “as far as they were  concerned, 
republicanism and the system of ‘the Trade’ were so analogous as to  be 
indistinguishable from each other.” (Glynn, Tom. Books for a Reformed  Republic: The 
Apprentices’ Library of New York City 1820-1865. Libraries and  Culture, Vol. 34, 
No. 4, Fall 1999.) (3213)  
“By  Hammer and Hand All Arts Do Stand.” The artisan’s symbol adorns an 
announcement  in New York’s General Trades’ Union newspaper, The Union, calling 
for a  demonstration to support union tailors convicted of conspiracy in 1836.  
The  Process of Forging Metal 
The hammering of metal—by hand and with  mechanical hammers—has been 
practiced for over two thousand years. The Old  Testament phrase “By hammer and hand 
all arts do stand” is believed to be a  reference to the importance of 
blacksmithing in making tools for the other  trades. For hundreds of years every 
town, village, and neighborhood supported a  local “smithie” that supplied and 
repaired various necessities ranging from  wagons and plows to elegant 
architectural ironwork for palaces and cathedrals.  Although these local smithing shops 
are rare today, their one-time predominance  in our world lingers 
linguistically in such expressions as “strike while the  iron is hot” and “too many 
irons in the fire.”  
Worcester  Tech! Our Alma Mater! Proud are we to sing thy fame.
Vision, Faith, at last  triumphant! Honor, glory to thy name!
John Boynton’s sons are scattered now  on mountain, plain and shore.
Ten thousand men from Worcester Tech have  roamed the planet o’er.
“By hammer and hand, all arts must stand” on this  foundation sure
Their works shall be his monument, his dream shall rest  secure.
The  crown and hammer is the symbol of the Hammerman’s Guild. The motto was “
By  Hammer and Hand, All arts do stand” and its membership embraced all 
crafts which  used a hammer on metal.
18 October 1851, The  Albion, pg. 495:
The hammer and civilization go together, and 
By Hammer and hand
All arts do stand!
18  April 1999, New York Times, pg. NJ18:
Gustav Stickley was a furniture  maker, a businessman, a publisher and one of 
the leading forces of the American  Arts and Crafts movement. A favorite 
maxim of his—“By hammer and hand do all  things stand,” from a blacksmith’s song—
epitomizes his approach to his life’s  work.

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