Thursday, June 25, 2009

Rollo Travels by Jacob Abbott-First Editions

(For a complete updated review of this series and its publishers-see:
Jacob Abbott (1803-1879) was a minister and author of great note in the mid 19th century. Although he was a life long Congregational minister and teacher, his accomplishments as a writer are the main focus of this and follow-up entries about Abbott.

Abbott is most well known for the Rollo books. These didactic little books were vehicles to teach morality to youngsters. Of the several series that Rollo either starred in or was a supplemental character, the most popular was the 10 book Rollo's Tour of Europe Series. In these tales Rollo and Mr. George toured Europe learning more about character and morality than the individual lands visited.

These books were initially published between 1853 and 1858. Thereafter up until the early 1900's they were reprinted by at least 30 publishers in at least 50 formats.

Later printings are frequently misidentified as first editions. The reality is that the first six books were initially published by W.J. Reynolds of Boston and volumes 7-10 were first published by Reynolds' successor, Brown, Taggard and Chase. Both of these companies used the same maroon cloth cover and the same boat title page.

Brown, Taggard and Chase (BT and C) also reprinted volumes 1-6 when they took over from Reynolds-thus publishing the second editions of those volumes. Later in 1861-1862 Brown and Taggard succeeded BT and C and reprinted the whole series.

The early history of printings is relatively simple to follow as Fred'k A. Brown succeeded Brown and Taggard in 1862 and Taggard and Thompson followed in 1863. Both published the entire series. Thereafter the myriad of reprints from various publishers began. Because a number of these later publishers used the same title page with the picture of the sailboat, it can be hard to discern the dates of later printings. This will be discussed in a future blog entry.

The Series:
1. On the Atlantic 1853
2. In Paris 1854
3. In Switzerland 1854
4. In London 1855
5. On the Rhine 1855
6. In Scotland 1856
7. In Geneva 1857
8. In Holland 1857
9. In Naples 1858
10. In Rome 1858

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