Lyra Americana, 1915 – 1920

Note: The following catalogue list, with minor alterations, is taken from Vilain and Bishop’s Thomas Bird Mosher and the Art of the Book (Philadelphia: F. A Davis, 1992), pp. 11-54, with the kind permission of the publisher. Cross references to the illustrations which appear in the book have been eliminated.

Mosher, once again giving vent to his resurrectionist impulse, created this series “to show the high regard I have for American authors, not necessarily the latest or loudest singers, rather those earlier voices . . . become less evident in new editions.”

The works of these lyrical poets, then nearly forgotten, now footnotes in poetry anthologies, have been given charming physicality in the format of this series. Each volume, measuring 180 mm x 110 mm, was printed in Caslon Old Style, with Chiswick ornaments and red initial letters [identical to the volumes in the Lyric Garland Series; see entry 40). Each volume was bound in Fabriano boards, mostly green, red, and grey, and came in a slide case. There were 425 copies issued on Van Gelder paper and 25 (for the first edition only) numbered copies on Japan vellum. Were it not for the cheerful Fabriano covers and the different logo decorating the title page, these books would be indistinguishable from those of the Lyric Garland Series.

Six titles appeared under this heading, three of which were reissued, for a total of ten volumes.

  1. THE VOICE IN THE SILENCE, Thomas S. Jones, Jr. Portland, Maine, Thomas B. Mosher, MDCCCCXVII.
    46 pp., Lyra 5, Hatch 657. Number one of twenty-five copies on Japan vellum, bound in Fabriano vellum with blue pattern.

    This is the fourth edition of this extended meditation on the permanence of nature and the evanescence of man (the first two had been published by George W. Browning of Clinton, New York) and the second Mosher edition; the first had been privately printed by him for the author in 1915. In 1909 Mosher published the fifth, his third, containing four additional poems. The author’s printer’s dummy shows Mosher’s attention to detail, from correcting minor typos, to changing the pagination and the dates, to moving a tailpiece. (See also entries 20, 38, and 48 for other printer’s dummies).

  2. A HANDFUL OF LAVENDER, Lizette Woodworth Reese. Portland, Maine, Thomas B. Mosher, MDCCCCXIX.
    (Fig. 49) 52 pp., Lyra 2, Hatch 675. This is one of 425 copies on Van Gelder paper bound in green Fabriano boards.

    This is the second half of a book of Reese’s poems published in 1892. Mosher had published the first half in 1909 under the title A Branch of May. A reprint of these poems was published in 1921 by Norman, Remington Company.