Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Missing Link, Century Company's Thumb-Nail Series

Morse's cover design for Writing to Rosina, published in 1894 by Century Co. (Dubansky entry 94-1) remained somewhat a mystery to me until now. The mystery began to unravel when Christina Kraus sent me a photograph of Tracings by E. Scott O'Connor as a Christmas email (thank you Christina!). I had always thought that Rosina was from a series and I did see some pictures of books online that looked very much like it in format but not necessarily by design. Fortunately Morse signed her cover for Tracings, so that it can easily be attributed to her. It took me awhile to get to the business of finding a copy for my Morse collection, but a few weeks ago, I devoted myself to the task and found one in excellent condition, as it was still in its original box! That was lucky for many reasons, but in particular, the printed label on the box was titled The Thumb-Nail Series and it listed the titles of the entire series, including Writing to Rosina. So now I can say with authority that both books are part of this charming series of small, decorative, blind-stamped bindings. It is possible that Morse designed others in the series, but that will take some time to determine.

Thumb-Nail Series
E. Scott O'Connor
Tracings, or a Reflection on Nature
New York: The Century Co., 1899
Printer: The De Vinne Press, New York
130 x 72 x 12 mm

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

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