To: The Lucile Project Home Page
To: Frequently Asked Questions
To: Lucile's Publishers
To: Houghton Mifflin Company

Boston, 1880-1908

1908- ----




PRINTERS in all ages since the invention of their art have been wont to employ distinctive emblematic devices or trade-monograms. Before title-pages were introduced, and in many cases afterward, an inscription or "colophon" appeared on the last page of every book, containing the place or year of its pub­lication, or both, and the name of the press at which it was manufactured.   Dual shields appear on the excellent books published by the firm of Faust and Schoffer. An anchor embraced by a dolphin was the emblem of Aldus; the anchor signifying stability or slowness, and the dolphin swiftness, the combina­tion presenting symboli­cally the Aldine legend, Festina lente, — " Make haste slowly." The father of printing in the English language, William Caxton, decorated his books with a monogram. Iodocus Badius, besides his initials, employed a wood-cut showing the interior of a printing-office, with a hand-press of the period.


In relief upon a handsome window of stained glass, these devices of classic printers greet the visitor as he enters the Park Street office, and Houghton upon the same window appears the device adopted by the firm. The old firm of Hurd and Houghton used a monogram designed by Mrs. B. F. Stevens, the daughter of Mr. Whittingham, proprietor of the famous Chiswick Press, London, who designed most of the typographical ornaments which give distinction to her father's printing office.

Hurd & Houghton publisher's device


When Mr. Elihu Vedder published with this firm his accompaniment to "The Rubáìyát of Omar Khayyam," he furnished for the volume a title-page ornament, representing a boy on the bank of a stream sailing paper boats. On a scroll was "The Riverside Press." The firm asked Mr. Vedder to repeat this device in a form practicable for ordinary title-pages, and he did so, substituting the motto which had long been in use by the head of the firm, Tout bien ou rien, — "Do everything well or do nothing." This emblem began to be used in 1885,

but in the fall of that year Mr. Sidney L. Smith, whose decorative work is found in some of the most notable illustrated books, produced another design upon the same general theme, and the Vedder-Smith sketch is now familiar to the public on the books which Houghton, Mifflin and Company publish, either in its form as at first adopted, or as still later simplified by Mr. Bruce Rogers. Its special significance readily appears when one considers that the printing-house which is identified with this firm took its name from its position on the banks of the Charles.

 Houghton Mifflin device designed by Elihu Vedder      Houghton Mifflin device designed by S Smith  


Still further modifications of this device have been made from time to time to meet special exigencies; in which, however, the piping boy has always remained the essential symbol. Representations of several of these designs follow.


Smith device simplified by Bruce Rogers


To: The Lucile Project Home Page