1928/1929 Stevens-Davis Men of America (H572) Set and Checklist

‘It’s In The Details’

Title Stevens-Davis Men of America Booklets (H572)
Year 1928 and 1929
Size 2 1/2″ x 4 1/4″
Images Black and White
Type Trade
Number in Set

1928/1929 Stevens-Davis Men of America Overview

bobby jones h572 men of america golfh572 men of america walter camp footballThese interesting items were listed in the American Card Catalog as H572. As is the case with numerous listings in that book, these actually not trading cards, though. Instead, they are miniature booklets.

Produced by the Stevens-Davis Company in Chicago, the title explains a little about what they are. These are a booklets featuring some of the greatest men in the country up to the 1920s.

These were created as a motivational tool for various companies to use with their employees. An employee gift box was originally included to hold the booklets. The original gift box is dark blue (or black, as some might consider it) and is a faux book that opens up to hold the cards. While fairly rare, these original boxes do appear for sale on occasion.

To the inside of the boxes, almost all of the lids are found with lines of gold paint. That paint was used to coat the insides of the boxes and much of it seems to have made its way on the inside lid of the box.

The booklets all have the same general design – a larger black and white image of the subject against a series of colorful backgrounds. There are some color variations known as well (mentioned below), which can make a master set tricky.

The booklets mostly comprise non-sports personalities, such as presidents, inventors, and businessmen. However, they are of interest here as a few depict those from the world of sports. One of the most popular booklets in the series is that of Walter Camp, the father of modern football.

Arguably the most sought after, booklet No. 35, is also very important as it depicts American athletes. Hall of Fame golfer Bobby Jones is found on one cover side and baseball Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby is on the other. The inside of the booklet also pictures tennis Hall of Famer Bill Tilden, Penn/Navy college football, and swimmer Johnny Weismuller.

Date of Issue

The date of issue has confused many collectors. Dating of these booklets varies with some sources citing them as a 1928 set while others claiming they are from 1929.

The reason for that is simple. On the inside cover of some of the booklets, a 1928 copyright year of issue appears. On others, a 1929 copyright print is there. That leads us to believe that the series was issued in at least both of those years. It is even possible that the set was issued beyond those dates.

Kenesaw Mountain Landis ‘Rookie’ Card

Another popular booklet is one featuring Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis. Landis was a federal judge that became baseball’s first commissioner in the wake of the 1919 Black Sox scandal.

Depicting a cartoon scene of baseball players on the front, it is one of his few baseball issues.

Landis’ booklet is an important one because the legendary figure appears on a surprisingly small amount of pre-war baseball items aside from photographs. In fact, this is his only known cataloged issue and is recognized by many collectors as a rookie card of sorts.

However, Landis does appear on at least one very rare postcard that might predate this issue. Additionally, he appeared on a team photo with the Hartford Senators in 1916, though he was not yet commissioner at that time.

Here’s a bit more on the Landis booklet as well as a few of his other collectibles from the pre-war era.


While 52 booklets is often the cited amount there are actually a total of 55 as three checklisted numbers have more than one variation.

There are No. 11 booklets for both Independence Day and Thomas Jefferson. Myles Standish and William Bradford are both No. 19. And Haley Fiske has two different variations – a portrait and a full body picture on booklet No. 42.

Additionally, color variations in the set exist. Shown here are two of those for famous pilot Richard Byrd. Some believe that those are the product of different booklets being printed in different years but that is not the case. For example, some of the same color variations have different copyright years on them.

Often times, no real price premium exists for the color variations. But some dealers that are knowledgeable about the set can ask for them as some are very clearly rarer than others.

A final note on variations is that print ink levels may have played a part in some. Some variations appear very clearly to be intended color changes while others may be only modest.

Different Sponsors

Yet another type of variation (of sorts) in the set lies in the companies that distributed these booklets.

We typically know very little (if anything) as to which companies used these for their employees. That is not helped by the booklets themselves, which are almost always unmarked. However, some instances of apparent companies distributing these booklets are occasionally seen.

On the backs of some of the booklets I own are advertisements/stamps for The Toledo News Bee, a now defunct newspaper that existed from the early 1900s into the 1930s. While rare, I have several of these that have their name added to the back, much like trade cards, which were usually designed to be used by multiple businesses. It is unclear how they used these (i.e. given away to paperboys, given to customers, or distributed among other internal employees), but they were almost certainly given away by the publication at some point.

On occasion, you will find some of these marked with their name or with the names of other companies.

1928/1929 Stevens-Davis Men of America Checklist

I’ve added known color variations below, though others almost certainly exist.

  1. Teddy Roosevelt – Variations with brown and green “Men of America” headers
  2. Thomas Edison
  3. John Pershing
  4. George Washington
  5. Charles Lindbergh
  6. Charles Schwab – Variations with white background and green background
  7. Ben Franklin
  8. Will Rogers
  9. Robert Dollar
  10. D.W. Brosman
  11. Independence Day and Thomas Jefferson
  12. Richard Byrd – Variations with orange, green, and maroon backgrounds
  13. Alvin York
  14. Abraham Lincoln – Variations with white nameplate/trees and green nameplate/trees
  15. Luther Burbank
  16. Charles Steinmetz – Variations with orange and red nameplates
  17. Walter Camp
  18. John Wanamaker
  19. Myles Standish and William Bradford
  20. Walter Gifford – Variations with brown and purple backgrounds
  21. George Goethals
  22. George Dewey
  23. Gustavus Swift
  24. William Hoskins
  25. A.P. Giannini – Variations with yellow and orange “Men of America” headers
  26. Owen Young
  27. George Westinghouse
  28. Orville Wright – Variations with white background and green background
  29. James Davis
  30. Russell Conwell
  31. Cyrus Curtis – Variations with orange background and yellow background
  32. Douglas Fairbanks – Variations with blue and green nameplates
  33. W.W. Atterbury
  34. Elbert Gary
  35. American Athletes (Bobby Jones and Rogers Hornsby) – Variations with purple and green bottom
  36. Donald MacMillan – Variations with brown and purple picture frame
  37. Frank Woolworth
  38. Elbert Hubbard – Variations with blue and green name plates
  39. E.M. Statler – Variations with blue and green “Men of America” header plates
  40. John Patterson – Variations with blue and green picture frame
  41. George Eastman
  42. Haley Fiske (two variations – full body pose and portrait)
  43. John McCutcheon – Variations with gray and orange backgrounds
  44. W.M. Burton – Variations with blue and green top/bottom
  45. Calvin Coolidge
  46. Julius Rosenwald
  47. Harvey Firestone
  48. Alfred Sloan
  49. Kennesaw Mountain Landis
  50. Cecil De Mille
  51. Walter Head
  52. Henry Ford

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