18 Nov 2016 - Courtney Floyd

Women of History: Selected from the Writings of Standard Authors (date unknown)

By happenstance (or because I'm extremely interested in 19C women's writing and writing about women) the stack of books waiting to be blogged about on my desk contained two collections about women. Today's volume is, in my opinion, much nicer than last week's. Women of History: Selected from the Writing of Standard Authors, a Reading School edition published by W.P. Nimmo, Hay, & Mitchell of Edinburgh,  is an anthology surveying the lives of many historical women--including an excerpt from Mrs. Gaskell's 1857 biography of Charlotte Brontë. It has been put together with obvious care. If I had to guess, I'd say this volume was published at the end of the nineteenth century. Maybe the 1880s or 90s.

The volume is bound in red leather, which I think is morocco. I haven't yet forayed very far into the world beyond cloth book binding, so I could easily be mistaken on this. Whatever it is, it's suffering from red rot. As you can see in the images below, the spine is disintegrating, particularly at the hinges.

Anyway, there's a bit of blind stamping around the edges of the cover, and some gilt stamping right at the center.


The spine includes a gilt-stamped title and repeated decorative motif.

img_4889 The back cover is, as usual, undecorated.

All edges of the paper have been marbled (and they're gorgeous):


Inside, the decorated endpapers are much heavier than the rest of the paper, which has a fairly high wood content (but minimal foxing).

There's also a bookplate on the inside cover that let's me know this book was awarded as a prize in 1904 (so, that narrows down the possible range of publication from the date of the latest included excerpt [1857] to 1904).

img_4891 First place in Mathematical Set 4, you say? Color me impressed.

There is a steel engraving frontispiece portrait of Lady Mary Wortley Montague  (drawn by J. Thurston, engraved by W. Finden). It looks like the text on this page is part of the steel plate engraving. The frontispiece is on a separate, glossy piece of paper.


The title page is plain, in an older Roman type face (which fits with the theme/content).


There are no other illustrations, save for wood cut headpieces, tailpieces, and historiated initials.

That's it for this week! I'll be going on a holiday hiatus next week, but I'll be back with more book description on December 2nd!