Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Bodley Books by Horace Scudder

The Bodley Books are an interesting travelogue series of the 19th century. Written by Horace Scudder (1838-1902) a Boston native who was famous for his editorship of the Riverside Magazine for Young People, this group of books was divided into two separate series.

The first series tells of the Bodley family adventures beginning in 1848 and ending in 1852. The second series outlines the adventures of the Bodley grandchildren in the early 1880's.

The Bodley family originally however did not appear in book form but rather was introduced in the Riverside Magazine in 1867 .

Both series relate the history of the areas traveled in. The books are filled with illustrations taken from various non-original sources.

This travelogue series of eight books also illustrates how some publishing houses evolved as they changed name partners. Certain books in this series can be found with different imprints.

Hurd and Houghton was the first publisher of books #1 and #2. This house was active between 1864 and 1878. In 1878 it merged with James R. Osgood and Company to become Houghton, Osgood and Company. (They were the original publishers of books #3 and 4 for the In 1880 Houghton , Osgood and Co. was succeeded by Houghton, Miflin and Company which is still extant today. Houghton and Miflin published the first editions of Book #5 and the three books of the second series.

The books:
First Series
1. Doings of the Bodley Family in Town and Country-- 1875
2. The Bodley's Telling Stories-- 1877
3. The Bodleys on Wheels--1878
4. The Bodleys Afoot--1879
5. Mr. Bodley Abroad--1880

Second Series
1. The Bodley Grandchildren and Their Journey to Holland-- 1882
2. The English Bodley Family--1883
3. The Viking Bodleys --1884

The publishing history
Books #1, #2 Hurd and Houghton
Books #1-4 Houghton, Osgood and Company
All the books-Houghton, Miflin and Company


  1. I do not now recall whether I have told you "my" Bodley story. I bought a copy of "The Bodleys on Wheels" (1878) on ebay for a modest price. When it arrived There was an inscription to a young woman named Phebe, signed

    "J.G.W., Danvers, 1878."

    Turned out to be John Greenleaf Whittier's inscription, to an adopted niece.

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