Thursday, April 8, 2010

Morse's Design for The Giunta Series - New Binding Variant Identified

The Giunta Series, 1890-1893
Charles Reade
New York: Dodd, Mead & Company
167 x 103 mm
(Dubansky Entry 90-1, p. 49)

The new information in this reference is that the Giunta Series was also available in leather binding variant. I have not seen an example of this variant. From the Publisher’s List at the back of Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush, Dodd, Mead and Co. 1895; see p. 239 on Harvard’s copy on Google Books:

Including the classics of literature. Named after the great Florentine printers of the fifteenth century, the brothers Giunta, the books are made at the University Press, Cambridge, on type imported from France, and are models of typographical excellence. 16mo, cloth, per vol., $1.00, Also in a variety of dainty bindings in leather at various prices.
Photograph: Eileen Travell

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Monday, April 5, 2010

Morse’s Design for "The Woman's Book" and Its Adaptation for "The House and Home"

Morse’s book cover design for Stevenson’s Ballads was featured in two nearly identical woman’s guides, published by Scribner’s in 1894. Both include chapters on occupations for women, principles of housekeeping, the art of travel, house building and decoration, and books and reading. The Woman's Book and its successor, The House and Home, introduced Morse as an excellent example of the successful woman designer. In P. G. Hubert Jr.’s chapter titled “Occupations for Women,” the field of book-cover design was recommended as a viable occupation for women. The author buttressed his point by printing color illustrations of two woman-produced book covers: Morse’s Stevenson’s Ballads (Dubansky, 90-8); and Songs About Life, Love and Death, designed by Margaret Armstrong. Here is a link to Harvard University Library's digital copy of House and Home (1896). This later binding is entirely different from earlier printings. The book cover design is not attributed to Morse.
The unsigned cover design for The Woman’s Book can now be attributed to Morse, as a reference has been found in an issue of The Book Buyer from 1894-1895 (see reference below). The 1894 book cover design on House and Home is an adaptation of this cover. Only Morse's design for the outer border was reused for this cover. The central cartouche and border are omitted from its design. I have seen copies of House and Home in red cloth only.

Morse's signed personal copy of The Woman's Book has recently been identified by Jackie Killian, Curatorial Assistant in the Department of Drawings and Prints, Cooper Hewitt Museum. It is in the collection of the Cooper Hewitt Museum library, New York City.
Reference: The Book Buyer. Vol. 11, February 1894-January 1895, p. 484.
Seen on Google Books, March 30, 2010, p. 484.
On p. 701, a full page advertisement for The Woman's Book:

...The Woman’s Book is issued in Two royal octavo volumes. Bound in durable Boston Linen, with Design in silver by Miss Alice Morse. Price, $7.50: Half Morocco, $10.00. Sold only by Subscription. Agents Watnted Charles Scribner’s Sons, APublishers, 153-157 Fifth Ave., New York.

In the third paragraph: The work of those artists who are distinctly cover-designers is shown in the Scribner books, by Miss Margaret Armstrong upon the cover of "The Bird’s Calendar", and by Miss Alice Morse upon the covers of "Polly" and "The Woman’s Book".
This reference also mentions Morse’s design for Polly, which I speculate is the design on one of the four-volume set by Thomas Nelson Page. Morse is known to have designed the first title in this set, Marse Chan (See Dubansky 92-12).

Buy a copy of The Proper Decoration of Book Covers: The Life and Work of Alice C. Morse