PUBLISHER: JAMES R. OSGOOD & CO., Boston, 1880-1885

ABOUT: For a succinct overview of the formation and dissolution of Houghton, Osgood & Co., see Tebbel BC, pages 119-120. When Houghton, Osgood & Company dissolved in 1880, Osgood formed a second company at 211 Tremont Street (DLB 49). "Another publisher who unites the literary instinct with business capacity in a remarkable degree is Mr. James R. Osgood.... he was partially lost sight of in the temporary house of Houghton, Osgood & Co., from which he voluntarily retired nearly two years ago again to resume business in his own name. He is now head of one of the most promising houses in Boston. With him is associated his brother Edward and the two Ticknor brothers, sons of Mr. William D. Ticknor; he has the growing heliotype business in hand; few men are more popular with the book trade, while authors have the feeling that he is faithful to their interests." (1881 PW Sept 23). The firm was reorganized in 1885 as Ticknor & Company, under which name it continued to 1890.

LUCILE’s ISSUED BY JAMES R. OSGOOD & CO.: For imprints dated 1871-1878, see the earlier James R. Osgood & Co.

George DuMaurier Illustrated 8vo Edition.
1881 PTLA: The Osgood catalog lists this edition in cloth at $5.00, morocco, antique, or tree-calf, $9.00, but no copies are known. When Houghton, Osgood & Co. dissolved, Osgood agreed to assign rights to the various formats of Lucile and Meredith's Poetical Works to Houghton, Mifflin & Co., so this may be an error in the catalog or it may be that Osgood retained a right to sell already printed copies (which probably bore a Houghton, Osgood imprint).

Holiday Edition.
For 1881-1882 reviews of this edition in The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, and Harper's, click here. Sheets of this edition were sold to Kegan Paul, Trench & Company for binding and sale in England.

1881 PW. James R. Osgood & Company’s 1881 Autumn List  --Will be published September 9th. THE HOLIDAY BOOK OF THE YEAR. LUCILE, ILLUSTRATED. An entirely new edition of Owen Meredith's (Lord Lytton) famous poem from new plates with one hundred and sixty new illustrations by the most famous American artists. Elegantly and appropriately bound with full gilt edges in box. Price in cloth $6 in tree calf or antique morocco $10. –The Publishers Weekly Nos. 504-505, Sept 17, 1881.

Sept 24, p406: Mr. Houghton is par excellence the American printer, and the University Press has only just reached, under its new management, the quality of work which has long been done at Riverside, in the illustrated edition of Owen Meredith's "Lucile".

----, p409, ad: 1881 Autumn List, Now Ready, The Holiday book of the Year. LUCILE ILLUSTRATED. An entirely new edition of Owen Meredith's (Lord Lytton) famous poem, from new plates, with one hundred and sixty new illustrations by the most famous American Artists. Elegantly and appropriately bound, with gilt edges, in box. Price, in cloth, $6; in tree calf or antique morocco, $10.

Scribner’s Monthly (XXII:6) Oct. 1881, Book Buyer’s Guide: A NEW ILLUSTRATED LUCILE. – The Holiday Book of the Year. “Lucile,” the famous poem by Owen Meredith (Lord Lytton), was first published in 1860, since which it has passed through innumerable editions, in England and America. The twenty-first year of the perennial life of this melodious romance is signalized by its appearance in a superb illustrated edition, printed from new plates, embellished with more than 160 woodcuts, made by Anthony, Linton, and others, after drawings by Moran, Garret, Smillie, Waud, Sheppard, Mary Hallock Foote, and other famous artists. This beautiful Fine-Art edition of “Lucile” forms an octavo volume of 330 pages, richly bound, with full gilt edges, in a neat box. The price is $6. In full morocco or tree calf, $10. Certainly no poem of this present age has gained as great a popularity as this, and of the myriads of people who have been interested, entranced, and uplifted by the grace and purity of “Lucile,” very man will welcome this new edition de luxe a worthy of it subject. High poetic and artistic merit herein combine to illuminate each other, and the result is a standard work of imperishable beauty.

----,PW 12 Nov, Weekly Record: 1882 [i.e., 1881] 332p. il. O. cl. $6; tree cf. or mor., $10. Illustrated holiday edition of the well-known poem, printed from new plates,and having 12 full page pictures and about 150 in the text; the drawings are by Mary Hallock Foote, E.H. Garrett, E.P. Hayden, L.S. Ipsen, F.F. Lummis, T. Moran, W.L. Sheppard, James D. Smillie, A.R. Waud and others; the engraving by Anthony, Andrew & Son, Chandler, Closson, and other well-known engravers, handsomely printed on tinted paper, and handsomely bound.

----, PW Christmas Number: The Illustrated "Lucile." Owen Meredith's "Lucile" has for more than twenty years held the affections of readers. It possesses every quality to recommend it. It is romantic, dramatic, poetical, cynical and witty, and exceedingly pure in tone. It narrates in a rhyme full of melody, a passionate love story, in which Lord Alfred Vargrave, the Duc de Luvois, and Lucile, the Comtesse de Nevers, are the chief actors. And it offers a succession of gay and sarcastic pictures of fashionable life that still retain their freshness and piquancy. It is not strange that the Messrs. James R. Osgood & Co. should have selected it as a fine subject for illustration; it is only remarkable no one thought of doing so long ago. Its many and varied moods, its pen sketches of people and scenery, its digressions, grave, gay, and serene, offer innumerable opportunities, for the play of the artist's imagination, and for the realization of his finest ideas. The publishers have spared neither expense nor trouble in the artistic or mechanical details -- hence the result is one of the handsomest works of the year. It is both dainty and elegant, and embellished with many beautiful illustrations. These are from the designs of the best American artists of the day -- Mary Hallock Foote, E.H. Garrett, E.P. Hayden, L.S. Ipsen, T.E. Lumis, Thomas Moran, J.E. Palmer, F.B. Schell, W.I. Sheppard, W.P. Snyder, A.R.Waud, James D. Smillie, and others -- engraved in the very finest style by Anthony Andrew & Son, Dana Closson, Russell & Richardson. Scarcely a line in the text that offers any excuse for an illustration but has been taken advantage of -- "fresh strawberries," "violets," a "scene at Bigorre," "Matilda's bracelet," Lucile's "letters -- a portrait-- a ring," the cigar Lord Alfred Vargrave offers to the Duke, a portrait of Leonardo and Aristotle -- all appear between the letterpress, in quite a novel and attractive style. Artistic head and tail pieces, carefully elaborated and sharply worked out, decorate the beginning and ending of the various parts of the poem. Specimens of two of the best are given upon this page, others will be found in various parts of the number. The full-page pictures, of which there are twelve similar to the facing page, are the most ambitious efforts, and the perhaps the most successful in the book. They embrace portraits of all the various characters as they crystallized in the artist's imagination. Mrs. Mary Hallock Foote, we believe, is the artist of the page we have selected as one of the most characteristic, and which appears in the book as a frontispiece. It represents Lucile alone in the forest separated from the Duke's riding party.

---- PW Christmas Number, p632: Lucile Illustrated. A sumptuous edition of the famous poem by Owen Meredith (Lord Lytton), printed from new plates, and containing 160 new illustrations by Anthony, Linton, Closson, etc., after drawings by Mary Hallock Foote, Granville Perkins, J.D. Smillie, E.H. Garrett, Thomas Moran, W.L. Sheppard and other well-known American artists. The utmost care has been taken to insure for the engravings the traits of precision and accuracy, as well as of grace and delicacy. The magnificent scenery of the Pyrenees, the beauty of the Rhineland, the desolate Crimean hills, have been reproduced in these pictures, from sketches and photographs made at the localities celebrated in the poem. In like manner, the costumes and uniforms of the personages have been made historically accurate. Fourteen artists and twenty engravers have been engaged in this great work, under the supervision of Mr. A.V.S. Anthony, whose management of works of this character for many years past has met with such a high measure of success. "Lucile" is the only book prepared under Mr. Anthony's direction this year. One vol., 8vo, full gilt edges, in box, $6; in full morocco or tree calf, $10.

"Admirably designed." -- Boston Traveller. "Extremely handsome." -- Springfield Republican. "A very handsome book." -- Christian Union. "Exquisitely done." -- Chicago Inter-Ocean. "Perennial freshness and beauty." -- Boston Journal. "Artistic poetry and skill." -- Hartford Courant. "Sumptuous." -- New York World. "Elegance and beauty." -- Philadelphia Times. "Exquisite taste." -- Boston Advertiser. "The charming edition." -- Providence Journal. "Without peer." -- New Orleans Picayune. "Superb." -- Quebec Chronicle.

The Dial 1881 II:20 (December), p137 Osgood ad: LUCILE (ILLUSTRATED). The superb holiday edition; embellished with one hundred and sixty new illustrations by the most celebrated artists; printed on tinted paper; an elegantly bound octavo. in box; the peerless edition of the most famous and popular poem of the last twenty years. Price $6.00. In full morocco, or tree calf, $10.00. -- The poem of Lucile is one of the most exquisite things in the language. -— Boston Traveller. -- Decidedly one of the most charming gift-books-—a poem without peer. -—New Orleans Picayune.

The Dial 1881 II:20 (December), p176: No poet was ever more strengthened by the support of the artist than Owen Meredith has been in the holiday edition of Lucile. Designers and engravers of the highest order of ability have expended with prodigal spirit their skill and ingenuity in the illustration of this work. Not content with full-page designs, with figure-pieces and landscapes of superb conceit and workmanship, they have scattered profusely among the lines miniature engravings as delicate in finish as they are expressive in sentiment. Such elaborate and elegant illustration has rarely been bestowed upon any product of prose or poetry, and it must be regarded as a flattering tribute to the author thus honored. However critics may protest against the structure and substance of Lucile, the credit it has with the multitude cannot be easily shaken. It has a host of admirers for precisely the reason that it is not poetry of the loftiest type, but slips easily along in a flowing measure invariably within the comprehension of the reader. Its rhymes are smooth, its figures do not escape the average capacity, and its philosophy, always trite and commonplace, is shrewdly couched in apposite phrases which hit the popular taste. More than this, the poem is steeped in an atmosphere of romance which is captivating to the great majority. Lucile is a heroine who wins universal homage. She has been met with repeatedly in fiction, but never adorned with more subtle graces than Owen Meredith's muse has thrown about her. In England, the poem, in its present exquisite form, has been received with such favor that the first edition was immediately exhausted. Its sale in America will, without doubt, be correspondingly rapid. (Published by J. R. Osgood & Co.; price $6.)

---- PW Christmas Number, p673: James R. Osgood & Co's. leading holiday book is a new illustrated edition of "Lucile," fully described elsewhere, printed from new plates, and embellished with 160 illustrations drawn expressly for this edition. The illustrations are varied in character and style, but harmonize in lending fresh and enduring attractions to Owen Meredith's exceedingly popular story- poem. The binding is tasteful and the book must be very acceptable as a gift-book.

The Nation. XXXIII (15 December 1881), p472-473. “Notes”. Owen Meredith’s 'Lucile' is always a favorite with many readers -- those who like plenty of lords and ladies, and of high life at foreign watering-places, and who also like to have this gay society attuned to high sentiments, leading at last to the triumph of the truly virtuous. There is not much more than this in 'Lucile,' but this is something, and it is certainly a poem which lends itself readily to illustration. In some respects this new edition (Osgood & Co.) has very rare merits in its artistic execution, but the illustrations pass too readily from the sublime to the ridiculous. The two young men who appear singly, in the engravings, as persons of fashion and elegance, unrepresented together (on page 196) in the guise of two drunken foot men, returning home from a carouse; while the heroine herself is now a robust young damsel at the piano, and then a pallid nun among the rocks. Would it not be safer, in preparing an illustrated book, to entrust each personage to one artist, on pain of death in case of any varying representation? However, we gladly recognize 'Lucile,' with whatever faults, as the most creditable illustrated book that has lately met our eyes.
We ought also to speak here of a sort of pale parody on Owen Meredith‘s book, under the name of 'Geraldine: a Souvenir of the St. Lawrence' (Osgood) -— a parody all the more interesting because the resemblance is alleged in the preface to have been unconscious. The hero is an American lecturer, trying as hard as Bunthorne in the play to extricate himself from his female adorers, and a good deal of it reads like the less offensive parts of the Beecher trial; the lovers and ladies and rivals having endless metaphysical discourse, sometimes in very lonely places and at very late hours, with a great deal of Platonic embracing, but without guile.

See also Reviews for further 1881-1882 reviews of Osgood's Holiday Edition in The Critic, Harper's, and The Literary World; also advertisement on front flyleaf of Rosemary and Rue, another Osgood publication.

1881 PTLA announces "The Holiday Book of the Year," in box, cloth $6.00; tree-calf or morocco, $10.00.

1882 PTLA offers Holiday edition in box, cloth $6.00; inlaid wood binding $7.50; tree-calf or antique morocco $10.00. Presumably all early copies were ready for Christmas 1881 but carry an imprint date of 1882. All copies approximately 165x230mm with 332p.; a frontispiece (drawn by Foote) of Lucile sitting on a shelf of rock in mountains; the verso of the title page: Copyright 1881 By James R. Osgood and Company and a cartouche at bottom: John Wilson & Son, University Press; cloth and wood veneer copies are stamped black and gold; edges are beveled, all edges gilt; floral endsheets printed in grays.

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1883 PTLA offers Holiday edition in box, cloth $6.00; tree-calf or antique morocco $10.00.
1883 PW Christmas Number: LUCILE Illustrated........... beautifully bound, with full gilt edges, in box. Price, $6; in morocco antique or tree calf, $10; mosaic inlaid, $12.50; crushed levant, extra, $25. Tremont Edition.... [prices as above]; mosaic inlaid, $7.50. Pocket Edition... [prices as above]; mosaic inlaid, $4.50. [1876-84 American Catalog. ill. 8o. '82['81]. $6 tree cf. or mor., $10. ill. 8o.]

1884 PTLA offers in box, cloth $6.00; tree-calf or antique morocco $10.00; calf or morocco, inlaid mosaic $12.50; crushed levant, silk linings $25.00.
1884 PW Christmas Number: Lucile Illustrated... A very sumptuous edition of a popular and favorite poem, with beautiful pictures of scenes in the Pyrenees, the Crimea, Italy and Germany, and exquisite portraits of the fair and fated heroine. / "Lucile" is the most popular poem of the age, and this edition de luxe, made with rare precision and delicacy is a treasury of art and literature, and one of the most desirable of holiday gifts. [Tremont and Pocket editions offered at 1883 prices, no mention of mosaic inlaid].


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Reported copies dated 1882: Green cloth: BAP O4b: inscribed Christmas 1887; BAP: inscribed January 1st, 1883; Brown; Cleveland Public NL 0594608; Free Library of Philadelphia. Cloth not known: Duke (2 copies); University of Dayton. Full brown leather (calf or sheep) blind stamped (same plate on both boards), title gold. Marbled endsheets. BAP O4.5: copy1; copy 2 inscribed Christmas 1881, photographic postcard laid in. Binding unknown: Brooklyn College. Rebound: Ohio State NL 0594608; University of Colorado. Microfilmed, original discarded: Columbia. NL 0594608 copies no longer held: New York State Library; University of Michigan; Florida State; Library of Congress (copyright copy dated 9/12/81). Rebound: Boston Public; Harvard.


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Reported copies dated 1883: Pale blue-green cloth: Brown University. Olive cloth. BAP O5. Full brown leather (calf or sheep) blind stamped with a 5mm wide Greek key motif (same plate on both boards), title gold. Marbled endsheets. BAP O4.6: titlepage inscribed April 19, 1883.


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MACDONALD & SONS, BINDERS (Cambridge & Boston).

Macdonald & Sons may well have bound the entire run of the Holiday Edition, but they certainly bound the mosaic bindings as well as, very probably, the wood veneer, tree calf, and full leather copies. The cloth and wood veneer copies share the same stamping plates, while the tree calf and antique morocco copies have a binder's stamp on the verso of the front flyleaf. The three "mosaic" bindings carry a thin gold line stamped bottom of verso of top board that reads "MACDONALD AND SONS BINDING patent appli'd for". Descriptions of the bindery have been found in three trade publicatons:

MACDONALD & SONS / BOOKBINDERS, 51 Chardon Street.. There is probably nothing that so much adorns an apartment as well and handsomely bound books, and it is to the enterprise of such houses as MacDonald & Sons that we are indebted for having these at our disposal.
The concern was originally founded in the year 1856 by Donald Macdonald, and it has since that time developed, until it has achieved the important position in the trade that it now fills. The premises at the address indicated consist of a floorage of 13,500 feet, and are fitted up with all the latest and improved machinery. Messrs. Macdonald are ready at all times to adopt any improvement that is possessed of merit; and their success has been, to a large extent, the result of this spirit of enterprise. The concern employs from seventy-five to a hundred operatives, and execute [sic] all descriptions of binding; but extra work is their special branch. The house is the only one in Boston which binds books in the beautiful tree-calf style.
The individual members of the concern are Messrs. William, Edmund J., and Alexander L. Macdonald, all of whom are thoroughly practical men, and obtained the complete knowledge of the business they possess with their father, the founder of the concern, who thoroughly mastered his business in the cities of London and Glasgow.
The trade of the house is mainly situated in New England; but they also execute work for New York and Pennsylvania.
Some of the finest specimens of binding have been executed by these gentlemen and their prices can fully compete with other contemporary concerns. One very interesting piece of work lately executed for a Boston society was the binding, in crushed levant, of a letter and envelope sent by Mrs. Garfield. This was truly an artistic piece of work.
In concluding our remarks, we will say that the reputation achieved by the work of this house is its best recommendation, and we call with pleasure the attention of publishers, libraries, and the public to the enterprising book-binding concern of Macdonald & Sons.... Commerce, Manufactures & Resources of Boston, Mass., a historical, statistical & descriptive review. [Boston:] National Publishing, 1883, page 103.

Macdonald & Sons. The most attractive invention of late years in the way of book-binding, appears this season in the sumptuous editions of “Lucille,” [sic] “The Lady of the Lake,” and “The Princess,” published by James R. Osgood & Co., for the holiday trade. It is an elaborate mosaic, brilliant in color and attractive in pattern, covering the outside of each book, back and front. The bindings are of calf or morocco, into which, by the most delicate and careful processes are set small squares, circles and crosses of the same materials, richly colored, and giving a unique and charming effect. The work has been done with such consummate thoroughness that it is absolutely impossible to realize it is a mosaic and not a choice bit of hand-painting; while the colors are imperishable, and jointures are imperceptible. In each book cover there are from 120 to 150 separate and individual bits of inlaid material, in geometric patterns, and of various colors, producing an artistic and picturesque effect, which, with the delicate gold-tooling of the edges and the fine finish of the inside covers, recalls the daintiest work of the ancient French book-binders. This ingenious and beautiful process is patented by MacDonald & Sons, the famous binders; and James R. Osgood control its product, and are now sending out large orders of their illustrated holiday books, bound in this style, which promises to be the most brilliant and attractive novelty of the season.... The American Bookseller, a semi monthly journal published in the interests of publishers, booksellers and newsdealers. New York: The American News Company, 1883, page 779.

Macdonald & Sons, whose bindery occupies the upper floors of the building on the north-east corner of Bowker and Chardon Streets, are among the most famous binders of books in this century, their work not being excelled in quality by any firm in this country. The business was established in 1856 by Donald Macdonald, who began in a small way in Harvard Square, Cambridge, taking his two sons into partnership with him from the beginning. His bindings were soon found to be of a superior quality; and the business so increased that in 1874 the firm was obliged to remove the bindery to Boston, and nearly three years ago, to their present quarters. They employ regularly about 75 persons, including men and women; but at times the number of employés [sic] exceeds 100. While their specialty is fine bindings, -- such as full morocco, Russia, tree-calf, and other rich varieties, -- they are largely engaged in doing for leading Boston, New-York, and Philadelphia publishers, all kinds of binding, from the costliest to the cheapest. They also do an extensive business for public and private libraries. Edition after edition of books which have proved to be popular favorites have been bound by this house. A characteristic feature of the Macdonalds is their originality and progress. They are never satisfied with present achievements, and are always experimenting with noted success. For example, in 1881, they successfully used veneers for the sides of books. They were the first to introduce tree-calf binding into this country, and many popular designs for book-covers are due to them. The business is carried on by Donald Macdonald’s three sons, who still retain the old firm name.... King’s Hand Book of Boston. Cambridge, Mass.: M. King, 1883. Fifth Edition, thoroughly Revised and Enlarged, Profusely Illustrated.

Although intuitively, and as some of these sources imply, the feature most likely "patented" by the Macdonalds would seem to be the mosaic working of covers, in fact, the patent, awarded to William Macdonald in March 1885, was for a machine sewn stuck-on endband with multiple beads and a distinctive chain stitch feature at the bottom. [We are entirely grateful to Steve Beare, Wilmington, Delaware, for bringing these facts to our attention; he has also kindly allowed the Project to reproduce an article he wrote on his research for the Deleaware Bibliophiles newsletter.

Tremont Edition.
The Literary World, September 8, 1883, p293: "J. R. Osgood & Co. have in preparation for the coming autumn two new editions of Lucile, the "Tremont" Edition and the "Pocket," at $2.50 and $1.00 respectively, each illustrated."
1883 PTLA offers Tremont edition at $2.50; $4.00; and $6.00. "...made from entirely new electrotype plates."
1883 PW Sept 22, p382: List of New Books.... Just Published: two new and choice editions of LUCILE. Tremont edition. One volume, 16mo, beautifully illustrated, with red lines, bevelled boards, and gilt edges, $2.50; Half calf, $4.00; tree calf, antique morocco or flexible calf or seal, $6.00. Pocket Edition. One volume -- Little Classic size -- with 30 illustrations. Elegantly bound, $1.00; Half calf, $2.25; Antique morocco or flexible calf or seal, $3.00; Tree calf, $3.50. These new and beautiful editions of this perennially popular poem are made from entirely new electrotype plates, in large and easily legible type, with more than thirty exquisite illustrations. As these are the newest, handsomest, and cheapest, they cannot fail to become the best-selling editions in the market. [1876-84 American Catalog. (Pocket ed.) ill. 18o. '83 $1; $2.25; ant. or flex., $3; tree cf. $3.50.]
1884 PTLA describes 1883 bindings.

The Tremont Edition, 115x150mm, 309p., has red line pages; verso titlepage: Copyright, 1881 and 1883, By James R. Osgood and Company; text at bottom of page: University press: John Wilson and Son, Cambridge; this text also at bottom page 309. A few illustrations (drawn from and partially redone from the Holiday edition) scattered through text. Cloth stamped black in ornate floral design; gold title panel on spine. Beveled edges. All edges gilt. Plain or pale gray endsheets. [1876-84 American Catalog. (Tremont ed.) ill. 16o. '83. gilt, $2.50; $4; ant., tree cf. or flex., $6.]

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Reported copies dated 1884: rebound: NL 0594612 Florida State; Georgia State; Whitman College; SUNY Buffalo; John Carrol University; Boston Public. Without red lines: Georgia State; Library of Congress (microfilmed). Dated 1885: Terra cotta cloth: Buffalo & Erie County Public Library; University of Southern California.

Pocket Edition.
1883 PW Sept 22, p382: List of New Books.... Just Published: two new and choice editions of LUCILE. Tremont edition. One volume, 16mo, beautifully illustrated, with red lines, bevelled boards, and gilt edges, $2.50; Half calf, $4.00; tree calf, antique morocco or flexible calf or seal, $6.00. Pocket Edition. One volume -- Little Classic size -- with 30 illustrations. Elegantly bound, $1.00; Half calf, $2.25; Antique morocco or flexible calf or seal, $3.00; Tree calf, $3.50. These new and beautiful editions of this perennially popular poem are made from entirely new electrotype plates, in large and easily legible type, with more than thirty exquisite illustrations. As these are the newest, handsomest, and cheapest, they cannot fail to become the best-selling editions in the market. [1876-84 American Catalog. (Pocket ed.) ill. 18o. '83 $1; $2.25; ant. or flex., $3; tree cf. $3.50.]
1883 PTLA: "Little-Classic size", with 30 illustrations. Cloth $1.00; half-calf $2.25; Antique or flexible $3.00; Tree-calf $3.50. Made from "entirely new electrotype plates."

The Pocket Edition, 95x150mm, 309p., is printed from the same plates as the Tremont Edition, on a smaller page size and without red lines. Edges are not gilded and endpapers are plain paper.

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Reported copies dated 1884: Brown cloth: University of Virginia NL 0594612; University of Iowa. Cloth not verified: Stanford. Full brown leather blind stamped; title in gold on spine; aeg; beveled edges. Marbled endsheets. BAP O6.5. Dated 1885: UCLA: rebound.

Last revised: 8 May 2021