Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Today I thought I would show some holiday book covers from various Henry Altemus publications.

Have a great holiday season!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Gusky's Store and a Henry Altemus Publication

The four volume Shakespeare non series set was first published by Henry Altemus in 1891. Interestingly this set has been discovered with the Gusky Store of Pittsburgh imprint on the title page and Henry Altemus 1891 on the copyright page. With the exception of the imprint and the elegantly decorated end papers in the Altemus book, the four volume Altemus set is identical to the four volume Gusky set. It would appear that Altemus published this set for Gusky to sell in his store. Although I have seen some non-Altemus advertising in several other Altemus books, I have never seen a book that Altemus published for a department store. This is especially interesting considering that the Gusky set potentially could compete with the Altemus set. It is unclear at this time exactly what year the Gusky set was published (I assume in the early 1890’s) and what sort of deal the Gusky Store and Altemus had. Of note is that there are no books with the Gusky imprint listed for sale anywhere that I can find on the web.

J.M. Gusky (1845-1886) bought out a mercantile establishment called S. Cohen in 1882. He renamed it the Gusky Store. The Gusky Store is considered by most to be Pittsburgh’s first department store. The store occupied five stories and sold mainly a variety clothing. After Gusky’s death from pneumonia his wife owned the business and the De Wolf brothers managed it. By 1888 it had more than two million dollars in sales.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dotty Dimple Series Boxed Set

A previous post on 10/16/2009 reviewed a Lee and Shepard boxed set of the Dotty Dimple Series. The set shown at that time was dated from 1876. The box had nice illustrations and decorations on the appliques on the top and the side. The box was glued together.

Today I have an interesting contrast. Here is a boxed set of the same series. The books are all dated with the last one having 1870 on the title page. Thus this set most likely dates from that year. There are no ads from any later books. The box as compared to the box from 1876 is quite plain with appliques which just list the books. In addition the sides and bottom of the box are stitched together-not glued. This is an interesting distinction.

Although I am far from an expert on this, I wonder if a new process for making the boxes became common and cheap enough for general use during the 1870's. So the stitching was phased out

Friday, December 4, 2009

Oliver Optic Magazine Broadside 1871

I thought I would stay on the same subject as the last post. 19th century advertising broadsides from book publishers are quite unusual. Here is a wonderful example of one that advertises Oliver Optic's Magazine in 1871. This item is 25" by 20".

It probably was printed around the time of the magazine that it mentions--i.e. January of 1871. For interest I have included a picture of the January, 1871 Oliver Optic's magazine.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Lee and Shepard Advertising Cover

Here is a great advertising cover on which Lee and Shepard advertised Oliver Optic's Magazine. Although the date is not noted anywhere on the envelope, Lee and Shepard was located on Franklin Street from 1874 to 1885. Since Oliver Optic's Magazine was discontinued in 1875, this cover is from 1874 or 1875.

Oliver Optic (William T. Adams) was a prolific author of children's/juvenile books in the second half of the 19th century. In addition to his books he also was associated with children's periodicals. He edited Student and SchoolMate starting in the 1858 and later in 1867 he became the editor of Oliver Optic's Magazine.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Advertising Cover- Webster's Dictionary-1880's

Here is a great advertising cover for Webster's Unabridged Dictionary. The front and back of the envelope utilize almost all of the space not necessary for an address. In addition a flyer was found within the envelope with a price list for various editions.

It is an interesting project to date this item.
Key points in the ad that I worked from were
1. The number of words in the dictionary-118,000
2. Number of state superintendents recommending it-36
3. It is unabridged not international

In 1880 the number of words in the ads was noted to be 118,000. But other 1880-1881 ads note that only 35 state superintendents recommended this dictionary. In a June, 1882 ad in Literary World the number of superintendents is 36.

In 1890 the Unabridged Dictionary was revised and enlarged to become the International Dictionary.

Thus, I believe the date of this item is between 1892 and 1889.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Elmer Gregor and his juvenile series

The author Elmer Gregor (1870-1954) wrote a number of children's booksabout Indians and the frontier. Included in his output were four juvenile series that are listed in Mattson's bibliography. He was a world class ornithologist. He was one of the founders of the the Buckskin Men of America which was a predecessor of the Boy Scouts.

His series books were published by Appleton and Harpers. Even though they were quite popular and reprinted a number of times, they are still on the somewhat scarce side.

The four series are:

1. Camp Life Series- Harper and Bros. 1912-1913
2. Eastern Indian Series- Appleton 1918-1930
3. Jim Mason Series- Appleton 1923-1928
4. Western Indian Series- Appleton 1917-1927

Here is a nice inscription found in White Otter which is a book from the Western Indian Series. In the next blog entry I will review that series.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Dick Arnold Series by Earl Reed Silvers

Today's series is the Dick Arnold Series This three book series was written by Earl Reed Silvers and published by Appleton. These books highlight the life and athletic adventures of our here-Dick Arnold-at the fictional Raritan College. The stories of his athletic prowess are quite entertaining. I especially was interested in some of the times run by the athletes. In Dick Arnold of the Varsity, Dick runs a mile in 4:21. Now, of course, most decent high school boys can beat that but in 1921 that time was really good.

These books are quite uncommon. Appleton did not have high volume print runs. I remember a researcher found that the 1922 Andy Blake juvenile book had less than 1000 copies leave the factory. Although possibly overreaching, I am of the mind that most all of the Appleton juvenile series books of the early 1920's had similar low print runs. That makes these series very hard to find with or without jackets. That also accounts for dealers' high prices.

Earl Reed Silvers was an educator as well as a relatively prolific author. He was born in New Jersey, educated at Rutgers University and went on to become the Dean of Men at his alma mater. He died from a heart attack at the age of 57 in 1948. He wrote more than 25 juvenile books for boys as well as over a 1000 short stories.

His book for boys frequently revolved around college life and athletics. This is understandable as Silvers was a great athlete at Rutgers starring in track, baseball basketball and football.

He wrote five juvenile series (including this one) listed in Mattson's guide. He also wrote the Carol Series which is about a girl in camp and high school. All of these series were published by Appleton and thus are relatively scarce.

This series was reprinted by Appleton-Century

The Dick Arnold Series
1. Dick Arnold of Raritan College 1920
2. Dick Arnold Plays the Game 1920
3. Dick Arnold of the Varsity 1921

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Unknown Series

Here is the cover applique for a juvenile series.

Today's hints:
Author was the dean of men at a well known university.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dick Series by A.W. Dimock

The Dick Series by A.W. Stokes is a four book series written by A.W. Dimock. In many respects it can be considered a companion series to the Jack Series also published by F.A. Stokes. Both series involved adventures of boys in the wild.

This four book series chronicles the adventures of Dick and his buddy Ned in different outdoor scenarios. The title of the book tells of the adventure. The books have photographs done by Dimock.

Anthony Weston Dimock (1842-1918) was an interesting fellow. Well educated at Phillips Academy and George Washington University, he made a fortune in the gold market while working on Wall Street. He subsequently spent time in the West with ranchers and Indians and later was a real estate developer in Elizabeth. New Jersey. He wrote a number of books including Florida Enchantments and this series.

The great stories about Dimock include how he made and lost millions several times. In the 1860's he had invested heavily in Pacific Mail stock . The company went down the toilet so fast that it broke Dimock. Subsequently he remade his fortune in real estate in New Jersey. The financial crash of 1872 wiped him out for the second time. At the age of 41 after making another fortune on Wall Street his investments failed him during "financial disturbances"in 1884.

He was living the good life in 1894 even in significant debt in Kingston, New York when he and his family were served with papers. Dimock was forcibly removed from a rental house with his furniture and family during a rainstorm.

The Dick Series
1. Dick in the Everglades 1909
2. Dick Among the Lumberjacks 1910
3. Dick Among the Seminoles 1911
4. Dick Among the Miners 1911

Monday, November 23, 2009

Unknown Series

Here is an unknown cover for a series that will be reviewed tomorrow.
It amazes me how many fish related covers there are on series books.


1880-1930 series.
Author made a fortune in the gold market in the 19th century.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Advertising Cover for the Lothrop Publishing House.

I have shown a number of advertising covers over the past few weeks. Here is a very special one. The Lothrop Publishing Company was one oif the most prolific publishers of childrens' book in the late 19th century. Their magazines for children and juveniles were also very big sellers. These magazines have been noted before. Here is a great advertising cover.

Of course, what makes it a bit unusual is that all the advertising is on the back of the envelope. Four of Lothrop's magazines are noted here. The Pansy, Wide Awake , Babyland and Our Little Men and Women.

I thought you might enjoy seeing this cover.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Jack Heaton Series by E. Frederick Collins

The Publisher Frederick A. Stokes did not print many juvenile series books. Mattson's guide only lists two series. Here is one of them: The Jack Heaton Series.

The Jack Heaton Series is a three book series published between 1919-1921. Jack Heaton encounters mysteries and adventures in the Yukon, Mexico, Oil fields, and with submarines. The books have numerous glossy ilustrations by different artists-Owen, Morgan Dennis and Charles E. Cartwright. Typical well constructed books by Stokes.

The author A. (Archie) Frederick Collins (1869-1952) was more well known as an inventor and engineer than as a writer. He wrote the Radio Amateur's Handbook which is still in print in an 80 plus edition.He invented a form of a wireless telephone in 1899. With his inventions he founded the Collins Wireless Telephone Company. The history of this inventionj is quite fascinating. Read here for more:

In a blast from the future, Collins partnered with some businessmen to help take his company public. Unfortunately he was indicted and convicted for using the mails to defraud in selling worthless stock. Apparently claims were made by some of his partners that calls could be made in a similar way to cellular phones of today.
Collins spent one year (1913)of his three year prison sentence incarcerated.

After his release he wrote numerous books including the series noted here.

Here are the books:

1. Jack Heaton, Wireless Operator 1919
2. Jack Heaton, Oil Prospector 1920
3. Jack Heaton, Gold Seeker 1921

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Deer Lodge Series by W. Gordon Parker

The great outdoors was a popular theme for juvenile series books in the late 19th and early 20th century. This three book series is a good example. The Deer Lodge Series was published by Lee and Shepard and written by W. Gordon Parker.

The stories follow Grant Burton, Perry Langdon and their buddies on various outdoor adventures. Hunting, fishing, and water sports are just some of the highlights. "The Boys are manly, honest and of good principle". The books have one glossy picture, the frontispiece, and numerous other line drawn illustrations.
The line drawn illustrations as well as the frontispieces were done by Parker himself.

The three books were copyrighted between 1898 and 1900. Although I am showing only covers here today, based on the previous patterns of Lee and Shepard, the books did originally come with dust jackets.

W. Gordon Parker was an author as well as a ranked tennis player as a young man. He shot himself through the heart with a pistol at his home in Charlevoix, Michigan in 1928

The Books:
1. Six Young Hunters; or, The Adventures of the Greyhound Club 1898
2. Grant Burton, the Runaway; or, The Mishaps of a Schoolboy 1899
3. Rival Boy Sportsmen; or, The Mink Lake Regatta 1900

Unknown Series Book

Here is another unknown series book. The series will be reviewed on 11/20/2009.
Here are the hints.
1. Series book published between 1880-1930. (Bad clue)
2. Author spent a year in prison because of stock fraud. (Great Clue)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Franconia Series-Boxed Set- Harper and Brothers

The Franconia Series second editions were published by Harper and Brothers in the early 1880's.
Here is the boxed set for this edition. Unfortunately I do not have the box top. The side of the box doies however have the book label.

19th century series most often were published at one time by their publishers in boxed sets. This is a nice example

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Unkown Series Book

Here is a another unknown series book. It dates between 1880-1930. How's this for a hint. The author shot himself . You need another hint. OK. The author did all the illustrations for the series.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Franconia Series by Jacob Abbott

As has been noted before, Jacob Abbott was an incredibly prolific author juveniles in the 19th century. The ten volume Franconia Series was one of his series.

These moralistic stories revolve around Beechnut. He is a youngster from Switzerland who lives in the White Mountains and interacts with the other characters in the series.

The books as noted here were initially published in the 1850's by Harper and Brothers. As opposed to many of the other Abbott books , these stories were only published by Harper and Brothers (in the US), Allman published the English editions.

1. Malleville 1850
2. Mary Bell 1850
3. Ellen Linn 1852
4. Wallace 1850
5. Beechnut 1850
6. Stuvyesant 1853
7. Agnes 1853
8. Mary Erskine 1850
9. Rodolphus 1852
10. Caroline 1853

Later between 1878 and 1881 the books were reprinted by Harpers. At that time there were only 5 Franconia books. Each new book had two of the early books combined into one volume. They were as follows.

Ellen Linn/Stuyvesant
Mary Erskine/Mary Bell

Two late editions were published by Harper and Brothers. The green book with the peripheral cover decoration was published in the early 1900's. The books with the reading boy was also published in the early 1900's but the books of this format had only one Franconia book within it as opposed to the two story books.