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.
In his 1899 catalogue, Mosher explained that under this heading he had “brought together such of his publications that from variety of format and still greater variety of subjects, would seem impossible to include in any special series.” It is in this series that Mosher’s genius and versatility as a designer are most clearly revealed. Ninety-six titles comprise the Series, some appearing in multiple editions (the most often reprinted were R.L. Stevenson’s Father Damien, with 14 editions, and In Praise of Omar by The Hon. John Hay, with 10) for a total of 149 volumes, almost one fifth of Mosher’s output. Formats and print runs varied for each volume.
- HOMEWARD SONGS BY THE WAY, A.E. [George Russell]. Portland, Maine, Thomas B. Mosher, MDCCCXCV.
147 mm x 112 mm, 86 pp., Miscellaneous 1, Hatch 13. Printed by Smith and Sale; 925 copies on Van Gelder paper and 50 copies on Japan vellum.
Originally published in 1894 in Dublin by G. Whaley, with a second edition printed in January 1895. This is the first American edition. Mosher felt obliged to add that it was copyrighted, and contained, by special arrangement with the author, fifteen poems not present in the Dublin edition.
In the colophon, Mosher states that the designs (two vignettes on the front and back cover, and two fleurons) and the three headbands (two of which bear the soon-to-be famous initials “BR”) were created by Bruce Rogers. Rogers in a 1909 letter to Mosher reminds him that these were his first freelance work.1 Rogers’s trademark, the caduceus, appears for the first time on the back cover.
An original drawing for the headband on the preface page (given to the Houghton Library by Oliver Sheean, an avid collector of Mosher’s books2 consists of interlacing vines, a vaguely Celtic motif that Rogers used very successfully that same year in Gruelle’s Notes: Critical and Biographical (published in Indianapolis by J.M. Bowles), and in Shelley’s The Banquet of Plato (published in Chicago by Way and Williams).
The title page of the second edition, published in 1904, is newly decorated with the logo of a sword within two concentric circles, designed by George Russell for the Cuala Press (run by Elizabeth and Lily Yeats, sisters of the poet W.B. Yeats).
- FROM THE UPANISHADS, Charles Johnston. Portland, Maine, Thomas B Mosher, Mdcccxcvij.
155 mm x 85 mm, 59 pp., Miscellaneous 2, Hatch 42. Smith and Sale printed 450 copies on Van Gelder paper, bound in grey boards, and 50 numbered copies on Japan vellum.
The intricate cover design (unattributed) for this translation of ancient Vedic hymns is an oddity in the sedate Mosher corpus up to that date. The combination of stylized eastern decorations and lettering with stylized western flowers, printed in green, is effective and attractive. Johnston intended to show the parallel “between these ancient thoughts and that depth of reflection and the fervor of aspiration which gave Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essays their eminence.” Mosher’s design is a faithful translation of the author’s goal.
- IN PRAISE OF OMAR AN ADDRESS BEFORE THE OMAR KHAYYÁM CLUB by the Hon. John Hay. Portland, Maine, Thomas B. Mosher, MDCCCXCVIII.
144 mm x 113 mm, 9 pp., Miscellaneous 4, Hatch 88. Second Edition consisting of 925 copies printed on Van Gelder paper, and 50 numbered copies on Japan vellum (this is copy 22).
Edward FitzGerald’s 1859 translation of Omar Khayyám’s Rubáiyát was not an immediate success, but by the turn of the century that slender group of quatrains had become a venerated icon. Every publisher worth his or her salt had issued a version. The brevity of the work and the certainty of selling the print run made it an attractive prospect for most private presses. Mosher was an ardent Omarian, and this title appears twenty-four times in his list: ten editions in the Old World Series, two in the Bibelot Series, nine in the Vest Pocket Series, one in the Reprint of Privately Printed Books, plus two editions privately printed.
Omar Khayyám clubs were formed in England and the United States, and this slim book is the text of the address that John Hay, American Ambassador to the Court of St. James, presented to the London Club. In its first year, 1,850 copies were sold on Van Gelder paper, at 25 cents a copy, 200 on Japan vellum at a dollar: in addition four copies were printed on pure Roman vellum. 3 Ten separate editions appeared under the Mosher imprint.4
The most striking feature of the book is the cover with its stylized lily plant printed in red on old-style blue wrappers. The design was created by Herbert P. Home for Divers: Colores (1891) printed by Chiswick. Horne was one of the founders of the Century Guild and designed its organ, the Hobby Horse.
- VIRGIL THE ECLOGUES done into English Prose by J. W. Mackail. Portland, Maine, Thomas B. Mosher, MDCCCXCVIII.
155 mm x 90 mm, 96 pp., Miscellaneous 5, Hatch 68. Smith and Sale printed 450 copies on Van Gelder paper and 50 on Japan vellum.
VIRGIL THE GEORGICS done into English Prose [by] J. W. Mackail.Vols. I and II. Portland, Maine, Thomas B. Mosher MDCCCXCIX.
Vol. I: 155 mm x 90 mm, 81 pp., Miscellaneous 6, Hatch 107. Vol. II: 155 mm x 90 mm, 90 pp., Miscellaneous 7, Hatch 108. For both volumes, 450 copies were printed on Van Gelder paper and 50 on Japan vellum, at the Thurston Press.
Mosher meant the Eclogues and the two volumes of the Georgics to be a set and offered them boxed together; although he also sold each separately, he described them together in his catalogues. These charming volumes stand out among the Mosher books because of their complex, almost Victorian, decorative scheme. The cover, framed by rustic stylized branches, is aptly illustrated with a pastoral scene of a plowman for the Georgics and of grazing sheep for the Eclogues. The title and text pages are also framed in a classical border of leaves nestling the type. In addition, each volume has a different frontispiece, “reproduced in Albertype from Samuel Palmer’s unsurpassed series of Virgilian etchings.”
John William Mackail, a prominent British classical scholar and professor of poetry at Oxford, was also the first biographer of William Morris. The two volumes of the Georgics are from the collection of Joseph Manuel Andreini, a collector of press books and friend of Mosher’s.
- HAND AND SOUL, Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Portland, Maine, Thomas B. Mosher, November 1899.
150 mm x 110 mm, 54 pp., Miscellaneous 8, Hatch 109. 450 copies were printed on Kelmscott handmade paper, and 100 copies on Japan vellum. The colophon indicates that this title is reprinted from The Germ (see entry 30). A second edition appeared in 1900; another edition, in 1906, was included in the Ideal Series of Little Masterpieces.
- EMPEDOCLES ON ETNA, A DRAMATIC POEM, Matthew Arnold. Portland, Maine, Thomas B. Mosher, September MCCCC.
220 mm x 150 mm, 50 pp., Miscellaneous 13, Hatch 143; 450 copies were printed on Kelmscott handmade paper and 50 on Japan vellum. This copy on Van Gelder paper, hand illuminated by Bertha Avery. (Fig. 22)
Mosher, as Thompson remarked, admired Morris but he was not strongly influenced by the latter’s Arts and Crafts books. (Mosher did, however, use Jenson type on the covers of his Brocade Series, with block arrangement of Jenson type on the front, including Kelmscott-style floral initials and fleuron filler.5) These two volumes represent Mosher’s homage to Morris and his acknowledgment of the Arts and Crafts style of bookmaking.
Hand and Soul is a nearly exact facsimile of the edition printed by Morris in 1896 and sold in the United States by the Chicago firm of Way and Williams.6 The only differences are (1) the insertion by Mosher of a four-page preface, printed in black and red ink, between the left title page and the beginning of the text; (2) the use of red ink for the initial letters in the first pages of the preface and the text; and, (3) the binding, in old-style boards, rather than vellum (which is liable to warp, as Mosher correctly pointed out). Mosher was justly proud of his achievement. Asked by Irving Way how he had succeeded in getting so close a duplicate, Mosher responded that unlike Morris, who printed on dampened sheets, he dry-pressed the sheets, thereby taking out the impression of the type.7 The paper edition sold for $1.50, significantly less than the Kelmscott edition.
Empedocles is also an unabashed tribute to Morris, in which Mosher tried to create the book Morris would have done had he lived long enough. The format, borders, red initials, and Golden type are those of the Kelmscott Poems of Coleridge. This copy, from the library of Flora Lamb, has a title page and two initials (on the preliminary title page and on page 49) sumptuously hand-illuminated by Bertha Avery in a style strongly reminiscent of the work of Cora J. Cady and Emilie M. Whitten for the Craftsman Guild’s The Perfect Woman and Love Songs. Hand illumination, less common among British private presses, had a prominent role in American presses; it was used most successfully by the Roycrofters. Illuminated Mosher books are very rare, and seem to have been commissioned mostly by Lamb. (Two other volumes in this exhibition,The Mosher Books, 1909 [entry 64 and Upson’s Sonnets and Songs, entry 49], also from Lamb’s library, have more modest hand illuminations.)
- THE BLESSED DAMOZEL, Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Portland, Maine, Thomas B Mosher, Mdccccv.
150 mm x 130 mm, 32 pp., Miscellaneous 15, Hatch 340. Third Edition, consisting of 450 copies printed on Kelmscott handmade paper, 100, numbered, on Japan vellum, and 10 copies, numbered and signed by Mosher, on pure Roman vellum. The first edition was published in 1901 and the second in 1902. Another version, part of the Bibelot Series, appeared in 1895.
In his 1901 A List of Books, Mosher announced that he aimed to rescue The Blessed Damozel “from the trifling prettiness of the Vale Press edition” of 1898. Although one might strongly disagree with his evaluation of the Vale book, it is evident that Mosher’s “harmonious page proportions” have produced a felicitous result, due, in part, to his use of Ricketts initials throughout the text. The title page spread, elegantly ruled in red, displays effectively a red decorated initial “A” borrowed from the 1896 Vale Press Empedocles on Etna. The other decorated initials in the text appeared in Empedocles also and in the 1900 Poems of Lord Alfred Tennyson.
In spite of his deprecating comments, Mosher admired Ricketts’s work and owned thirty-eight Vale Press books. In the bibliographic essay to his 1911 The Sphinx, Mosher calls the Bodley Head edition, designed and illustrated by Ricketts, a marvelous book. This admiration is evident in his lavish use of decorations, borders, and initials borrowed from the Vale books, most significantly in The Germ (entry 30), The Poetical Works of Oscar Wilde, and Wine Women and Song (entry 26) and most publicly in the “Silverpoints” cover of the 1906 The Mosher Books (entry 63).
This edition of The Blessed Damozel represents a significant scholarly addition to the Rossetti corpus, since it contains the original version published in The Germ (1856) as well as variants from the Oxford and Cambridge Magazine (1856), Poems (1870), and the Collected Works (1885).
- PRIMAVERA: POEMS BY FOUR AUTHORS. Portland, Maine, Thomas B. Mosher, MDCCCC.
195 mm x 1 15 mm, 43 pp., Miscellaneous 11, Hatch 141. 450 copies on Kelmscott handmade paper, 50 numbered copies on Japan vellum, 4 copies on pure Roman vellum.
This collection of poems by Laurence Binyon, Arthur S. Cripps, Manmohan Ghose, and Stephen Phillips, to which Mosher added an introduction by John Addington Symonds, was originally published by B.H. Blackwell in 1890 in a brown wrapper with a woodcut design of stylized, undulating flowers and leaves by Selwyn Image. For his reprint, Mosher reproduced the design on the half-title page, but commissioned an unidentified artist to create a charming two-color cover of seven stylized burgundy flowers and dark-green leaves on gray boards. A single plant adorns the simple title-page. This ornament was used again by Mosher, most notably on the back cover of George Meredith in 1911.
- MIMES WITH A PROLOGUE AND EPILOGUE, Marcel Schwob, translated by A. Lenalie. Portland, Maine, Thomas B Mosher, MDCCCCI.
210 mm x 130 mm, 96 pp., Miscellaneous 17, Hatch 186. Smith and Sale printed 550 copies on Van Gelder paper, 50 numbered and signed on Japan vellum (this copy is number 32), and 6 copies on pure Roman vellum.
The remarkable cover and the title page, designed by Earl Stetson Crawford, are clearly influenced by European Art Nouveau. The asymmetrical pattern of stylized poppy plants ending in realistic blossoms is, once again, proof of Mosher’s appreciation of the artistic trends at work in the printing and graphic arts.
This work had been previously attributed by Laurie Crichton8 to the young Thomas Maitland Cleland, but in his List of Books for 1901 Mosher announces that the original cover design in violet and gold is by Crawford.9
Although Crichton’s attribution is in error in this case, her attribution to Cleland of the Art Nouveau covers in the Old World Series that were signed with the letter “C” (Cleland’s “signature”) is reasonable because these designs are consistent with Cleland’s still-developing style. Other Art Nouveau covers in that series bear Crawford’s logo.
This exquisite book is also remarkable for the fact that Lenalie, the translator, was Mosher’s first wife. Until recently, there had been no trace of her after their divorce. (see Chapter One). It is tempting to see this unusually lavish production as Mosher’s romantic tribute to his former wife, Aimee Lenalie, née Ellen Dresser.
- POEMS, Francis Thompson. Portland, Maine, Thomas B Mosher, MDCCCCXI.
195 mm x 145 mm, 111 pp., Miscellaneous 53, Hatch 532. 450 copies printed in Van Gelder paper, and 50 numbered on Japan vellum, of which this is number 32.
Now mostly forgotten, Francis Thompson had achieved a considerable reputation as a mystic poet by the time he died in 1907 at the age of 48. His best-known poem, The Hound of Heaven, appeared in seven editions under the Mosher imprint.
Mosher uses Chiswick ornaments in the text, but in the title page he combines, not too successfully, a Chiswick initial with the device, printed in red, created by Laurence Housman for the 1895 English edition published by John Lane at the Bodley Head. Designs by Housman appear also in other Mosher Books, most strikingly in the title page of The Present Crisis printed in 1917 for Mr. and Mrs. Woods (see entry 51).
- SALOME A TRAGEDY IN ONE ACT, Translated from the French of Oscar Wilde by Alfred Bruce Douglas. Portland, Maine, Thomas B. Mosher, MDCCCCXI.
195 mm x 140 mm, 75 pp., Miscellaneous 51, Hatch 530. 500 copies on Van Gelder paper and 50 numbered copies on Japan vellum, of which this is number 39.
Mosher’s version of this controversial play both reflects his ability to borrow effectively from other publishers and is a part the history of the play. The French edition featured an illustration of a sphinx by Felicien Rops. In 1897, when John Lane published the English translation, he commissioned Aubrey Beardsley to illustrate the text. Mosher felt that Beardsley purposefully created “so-called illustrations” out of loathing for Wilde and that these “diabolic fascinations of art” contributed to the outcry against the play.10 Mosher’s solution is an elegant one: He reprints the text from the Bodley Head edition, sans illustrations. On the title page Mosher reproduces Rop’s drawing and, on one of the free end pages (a sheet of Japan vellum in both the Van Gelder and Japan copies), the last of Beardsley’s illustrations: a grotesque and a faun laying the dead Salome in what appears to be a gigantic powderpuff! (See entry 59: a copy of Salome bound by Sangorski and Sutcliffe).
- ROSES OF PAESTUM, Edward McCurdy. Portland, Maine, Printed for Thomas B. Mosher and published by him, MDCCCCXII.
180 mm x 110 mm, 196 pp., Miscellaneous 56, Hatch 556. 700 copies for sale in America printed on Van Gelder paper, bound in old-style green ribbed boards, and 25 numbered copies on Japan vellum, bound in vellum.
In spite of his “piratical” reputation, Mosher maintained friendly relations with English authors. McCurdy, at Mosher’s request, revised the original title, first published in 1900 by Grant Allen in an undistinguished format.
This volume gives an insight into Mosher’s modus operandi. A copy of the Grant Allen book bears Flora Lamb’s copy-editing and corrections.11 Notes, written by Lamb for Mosher, tell the printer to use the style of an earlier Miscellaneous volume (Earthwork Out of Tuscany), where to break the pages, and where to place the headband and tailpieces. (For other publisher’s dummies see also entries 3, 38, 46, and 48.)
- MEMORIES OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN, Walt Whitman. Portland, Maine, Published by Thomas B. Mosher at XLV Exchange Street, MDCCCCXII.
300 mm x 225 mm, 19 pp., Miscellaneous 59, Hatch 559. This is one of 300 copies printed on Italian handmade paper, bound in old-style olive-green Fabriano boards. 50 numbered copies printed on Japan vellum were bound in vellum-covered boards, and 10 copies on pure Roman vellum were bound in classic vellum.
The photograph of Lincoln on the frontispiece (printed on Japan vellum) is a reproduction of an original photo, reproduced in the size of the negative.
Memories is one of the six large volumes published in the Miscellaneous Series. The other five are William Blake’s XVII Designs for Thornton’s Virgil (1899), The Kasîdah (two versions, one published in 1905 and another, more complete but slightly smaller, published in 1915), Leaves of Grass (1919 and 1920), and Ten Spiritual Designs by Edward Calvert (1913).
Here Mosher has managed to weld the disparate design elements into a coherent whole that is a fitting tribute to the revered president. The title page, divided into seven rectangles by thin rules, harmoniously combines an imposing Kelmscott initial with a classically inspired oval border printed in green that frames the Mosher logo. A large Renaissance headband at the beginning of each major part of the book is balanced by a large decorated initial over a pattern of leaves, reminiscent of Ricketts, printed in green. In a set of page proofs for the Japan vellum press run, the initials are different and are printed in green outline on the page.
The large roman type and the generous margins echo the majesty of the poems, which are printed on one side of the page only.
Mosher, an ardent admirer of Whitman, had forged a long-lasting friendship with Horace Traubel, Whitman’s friend and literary executor. His library included 129 items related to Whitman, many acquired through Traubel.12
- EDWARD CALVERT, TEN SPIRITUAL DESIGNS Enlarged from proofs of the Originals on Copper, Wood and stone MDCCCXXVII-MDCCCXXXI. Portland, Maine, Thomas Bird Mosher, MDCCCCXIII.
335 mm x 255 mm, 15 pp., plus a portfolio of 10 plates tipped in; Miscellaneous 65, Hatch 589. 400 copies were printed on Van Gelder paper and bound in old-style blue boards, and 25 copies were printed on Japan vellum, bound in vellum-covered boards, with the plates printed on Japan vellum and tipped in, with a broad blue rule border.
Why Mosher would choose designs from Eragny books to decorate a book devoted to the mysterious and otherworldly works of this mystical artist is not known. But he did, and the result is very effective and not at all incongruous. Equally unusual is Mosher’s acknowledgment of his use of the initials, headbands, and tailpieces designed by Lucien Pissarro, cut on wood by him and his wife Esther for their Eragny Press Abrégé de l’Art Poétique, 1903 (see also next entry).
- THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT. Portland, Maine, Thomas B. Mosher, MDCCCCXIII.
165 mm x 100 mm., 28 pp., Miscellaneous 52, Hatch 586. 900 copies were printed on Kelmscott handmade paper and 50 on Japan vellum.
Mosher’s predilection for the books of the Renaissance and those printed by the Chiswick Press is evident in his use of rules in the opening spread of the text. He might have been influenced also by the work of Updike and Rogers at the Riverside Press. However, his combination of red rules with his dolphin logo and the initial “A,” also printed in red, is both successful and original. Rules appeared in his book designs as early as 1900 (in his List of Books) and reappeared throughout his career, most notably in The Blessed Damozel (1901; entry 15), Circum Praecordia (1906), and in the volumes of the Ideal Series of Little Masterpieces (entries 41 and 42). Rules also appeared on the title page of the volumes from the Golden Text Series, (entries 43 and 44), in the title page of the 1912 edition of Memories of President Lincoln (entry 21) and on the cover of Tam O’Shanter, privately printed in 1913.13 The typeface in this volume is Golden, the first typeface designed by William Morris for his Golden Legend; this is one of the very rare occasions when Mosher used a Morris type.
The decorated initial is borrowed, without acknowledgment, from the opening spread of The Descent of Ishtar (1903), designed and printed by Lucien Pissarro for the Eragny Press. Mosher used Eragny initials in other books, such as George Meredith (1911) and Ten Spiritual Designs (see entry 22). In addition, the covers of some Miscellaneous Series titles, Magic in Kensington Garden (1916) and The Last Christmas Tree (1914) are reproductions of the cover for Histoire de Peau D’Ane, published by the Eragny Press in 1902; and that of Ecclesiastes appeared first in the 1896 Eragny The Book of Ruth and The Book of Esther.
- RUNES OF WOMAN, Fiona Macleod [William Sharp]. Portland, Maine, Thomas Bird Mosher, MDCCCCXV.
190 mm x 140 mm, 43 pp., Miscellaneous 72, Hatch 621. 450 copies were printed on Van Gelder paper and bound in boards of Japan vellum, and 25 numbered copies were printed on Japan vellum.
That this series of poems dealing with woman’s sorrows, dreams, hopes, and discovery of her essential self was written by a man (see entry 7) gives them an additional dimension.
The cover reproduces a design by Aubrey Beardsley (whose initials appear in the lower right corner) for the 1896 edition of Dowson’s Poems, published by Leonard Smithers in London. Mosher also used this design on the cover of his By Bendemeer’s Stream A Book of Lyrics (1917). (See entry 19 for another work by Beardsley.)
The three sinuous gold lines rising from the lower left corner of the gold frame that surrounds the cover are another departure from Mosher’s usual covers; they give the book restrained elegance and vivacity.
- SIRENICA, W. Compton Leith [O.M. Dalton], with an Introduction by William Marion Reedy. Portland, Maine, Printed for Thomas Bird Mosher and published by him at 45 Exchange Street, MDCCCCXV.
190 mm x 140 mm, 142 pp., Miscellaneous 74, Hatch 623. 450 copies were printed on Van Gelder paper and 25 numbered copies on Japan vellum.
Mosher’s choice of cover and interior design for this vigorous meditation on man’s search for himself and his need to go beyond accepted boundaries is odd. The restrained elegance of the ruled page, though very pleasing, does not match the sonorous prose, and the four gold-stamped designs on the cover give an impression of ethereal serenity at odds with the sentiments expressed in the text. These designs were created by D.G. Rossetti for the cover of the 1863 edition of Swinburne’s Atalanta in Calydon, published by Moxon in London.14
- WINE WOMEN AND SONG MEDIEVAL LATIN STU-DENTS SONGS now first translated into English Verse with an Essay by John Addington Symonds. Printed for Thomas B. Mosher and Published by him, Portland, Maine MDCCCCXVIII.
185 mm x 140 mm, 187 pp., Miscellaneous 84, Hatch 663. 500 copies on Van Gelder paper, old-style blue ribbed boards, and 50 copies on Japan vellum. The frontispiece, a pen and ink drawing of Symonds, is by Samuel Richards.
This copy is from the library of Frank Low (also of Portland and an early collector of Mosher, Roycroft, and other private press books) and is signed by Low on the first free end sheet. Low also corresponded with William M. Reedy, requesting signed copies of books published by Mosher for which Reedy had written a preface (see entry 74).
If the majority of Mosher’s books tend toward melancholy and quiet introspection, these lively, lusty, sensuous songs of the goliards (wandering medieval students} must have satisfied Mosher, the bon vivant and amateur of spicy anecdotes.
Although Mosher used the work of an American for the frontispiece, he looked to England for the rest of the decorative scheme of this book. The title page illustration and borders, as well as those on the first page of text and two text illustrations, are the work of the English artist William Strang, who illustrated a few of C.R. Ashbee’s Essex Press books. The book’s two decorated initials, printed in red, were designed by Ricketts for his Vale Press.
This is one of the few books for which Mosher acknowledged the source of his decorations. An insert, surviving in some copies, states that “the border of violets on the wrapper was designed and cut on the wood by Charles Ricketts and is taken from an edition (210 copies only) of Fifty Songs by Thomas Campion, London: The Vale Press, Mdcccxcvi.” In copies on pure Roman vellum, color facsimiles of the front cover and spine designs are reproduced on two extra leaves at the end of the book. (For other Ricketts designs, see entries 15, 30, 62, and 63 and the Golden Text Series.)
An earlier version of this title appeared in 1899 as Volume Four of the Reprints of Privately Printed Books. For that version, the only decorations were a red decorated initial by Pissarro on the first page of text and a delicate border of leaves and pansies on the Japan vellum wrapper.
- LEAVES OF GRASS, Walt Whitman. Facsimile Edition of the 1855 Text. Portland, Maine, Thomas Bird Mosher, William Francis Gable, MDCCCCXIX.
287 mm x 205 mm, 96 pp., Miscellaneous 87, Hatch 667. 250 copies were printed on Old Stratford white wove paper, 100 numbered copies on Van Gelder paper, and 50 numbered and signed copies on Japan vellum; the Japan vellum and Old Stratford copies have a frontispiece consisting of the Lear photograph of Whitman.
Strouse rightly called this volume startling and Mosher’s tour de force. Mosher owned a copy of the first edition of 1855, given to him by Horace Traubel (see entry 21), and, to honor the one-hundredth anniversary of Whitman’s birth, decided “to the best of my skill” to publish a facsimile of this epic work. Mosher’s skills were equal to his admiration for Whitman, and this volume is an exact facsimile of the first edition. His attention to the minutest details is also evident in the green cloth binding, identical to the original down to the gold rule frame and the blind-stamped gold floral designs on the front cover and spine. With this publication, Mosher also honored his friend Traubel, who had died in 1918.
This is one of two recorded occasions when Mosher co-published a book (for the first, see “Reprints of Privately Printed Books,” page 37). William Gable, an admirer of Whitman, was a wealthy merchant from Altoona, Pennsylvania, and founder of the Gable Department Store.
- Letter dated 30 Dec. 1909, in the collection of the Houghton Library (bMS AM 1096 1357).
- Houghton Library collection (Ms TYP 437).
- Strouse counted forty-five Mosher books printed on pure vellum, “an amazing but little-known record.” Strouse, op. cit., p. 36.
- Mosher was an active member of the Omar Khayyám Club of America, which met each year at the Algonquin Club in Boston. He produced several publications for fellow club members, including Edward Clodd’s Concerning a Pilgrimage to the Grave of Edwar d FitzGerald (1902) and A Bibliographical List of the Editions of Edward FitzGerald’s Rubáiyát compiled by Mosher in 1907.
- Thompson, op. cit., p. l 94.
- 300 copies on paper, at $3.50, and 11 on vellum were printed for American distribution; 225 copies on paper plus 10 on vellum were reserved for English distribution.
- Strouse, op. cit., p. 65.
- Laurie W. Crichton, Book Decoration in America 1890-1910, Chapin Library, Williams College, Williamstown, Mass., 1979, p. 46.
- Earl Stetson Crawford, a painter and illustrator, was born in 1877 in Philadelphia and studied at the Academy of Philadelphia and at l’École des Beaux Arts and l’Atelier Whistler in Paris.
- T. B. Mosher, Foreword to Salome.
- Mosher’s use of his right arm was impaired as a result of a stroke suffered in the winter of 1909-1910, and although he regained some use of it, his handwriting became very poor. Lamb’s assistance, already invaluable, became vital.
- Strouse, op. cit., pp. 35 and 36.
- Rules were used by many succeeding book makers, and most successfully by John Henry Nash in San Francisco, who made them his virtual trademark.
- This volume is inscribed by Mosher to William Francis Gable (who co-published the 1919 Leaves of Grass with him): “My dear Gable, This book I love and want you to love it.”