The Golden Text Series, 1908 – 1911

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.

Eight titles appeared under this rubric. Two, The Hound of Heaven and Rabbi Ben Ezra, were reprinted, five times and twice respectively; altogether thirteen of these slim volumes were published in this series.

The fluidity of the series concept is again evident with the Golden Text Series. Mosher announced in his catalogue for 1910 that this series, whose “aim was to present single poems of exceptional beauty,” began in 1908. Yet neither the 1908 nor the 1909 catalogue has a separate listing for a Golden Text Series. In addition, the first three titles Mosher ascribes to this series appear under Miscellaneous.

The books, measuring 140 mm x 150 mm, were printed in old-style Roman type on Van Gelder paper and Japan vellum. There were 925 copies on Van Gelder paper bound in wrappers of various colors, with a Ricketts border of twining vines and violets framing the title, author, and anchor and dolphin logo (see also entry 26.) Another 100 copies were printed on Japan vellum, with vellum wrappers decorated in the same manner; and 200 copies on Van Gelder paper were bound in marbled boards, a type of binding also used in the Miscellaneous Series. Each volume was wrapped in glassine and placed in a slide case.

  1. THRENODY AND OTHER POEMS, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Portland, Maine, Thomas B Mosher, MDCCCCXI.
    43 pp., Golden Text 8, Hatch 541. Two copies, one on Japan vellum and one on Van Gelder paper. (The title page and the slide case give the title as Threnody and Other Poems, but on the cover the title is Threnody and Other Lyrics.)

    Christopher Morley said of Mosher that he favored “the literature of rapture . . . that kind of rapture which is so charmingly indistinguishable from despair,” and this collection of nine poems is additional proof.1 Writing from the depth of sorrow, Emerson transcends personal loss, accepts death, and sings of eternal gain.

    As with the other books of the series, the title page is ruled, divided into three panels, and dominated by a red initial designed by Laurence Housman, while the text pages are left unruled.

  2. SNOW-BOUND A WINTER IDYLL, John G. Whittier. Portland, Maine, Thomas B. Mosher, MDCCCCXI.
    41 pp., Golden 7, Hatch 540. This copy is bound in marbled boards.

    This memoir of New England life affirms the power of life and love over death and is the only work of Whittier’s published by Mosher.

  1. Christopher Morley, “A Golden String,” in Amphora, Second Collection, p.111; also reprinted in An Outline of Distinguished Reading, New York, Wm. H. Wise & Co., 1925.