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The following are questions submitted via email by our visitors.

If you have a question about Altemus books that you'd like answered please click on the Questions link at the bottom left of this page.

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Questions & Answers
Date Series Num Information
07 Jan 2007 180

Vademecum Series

Q:  I have a 4 1/4" x 6/1/4" book. It is titled THE BLITHEDALE ROMANCE by Nathaniel Hawthorne. No Dust Jacket. The cover is caramel or tan colored with flowers in each of the four corners and another flower in the middle. The rectangular title plate has the title, the author and then a scroll of Henry Altemus and to the right another scroll - Philadelphia. Then there is a picture on another page of Nathaniel Hawthorne on the left side and the page to the right side again has THE BLITHEDALE ROMANCE and underneath Nathaniel Hawthorne and underneath that Philadelphia Henry Altemus. There is another page that has Henry Altemus, Manufacturer. There is no date anywhere. The story is 305 pages. Any idea of what year, etc.?

A:  This is an 1896 published book which is part of the Vademecum Series.


15 Dec 2006 69

Classics Series

Q:  Greetings! I have a book from the Altemus Classics Series, A Child's Garden of Verses. It has a different cover on it than the ones you have pictured on your website. I have attached it and am wondering if you have an approximate date of the book.

A:  I do not have the Classics Series books shown as of yet on the website. This series was first published in 1907 with the name changed to the Slip-in-the-Pocket Classics Series in 1909. The series had three different formats of which yours is the first. Your book was deleted from the series in 1913. In order to distinguish if your book was part of the Classics or the Slip-in-the-Pocket Classics Series you would need the dust jacket which states the series name on the front. I am including a couple of pics to show you what I mean.


09 Oct 2006

Title pages

Q:  I have a Henry Altemus book, A Wonder Book, which on the title page has a date of 1842. I thought he didn't publish any works before 1890?

A:  Hello. The title page you are referring to was used in numerous books in the 1890's. It signifies the year Altemus & Co. became an official company. You will note that directly across from the 1842 are the initials HA. These initials stand for Henry Altemus. This date and initials are purely part of the decorative pattern and do not indicate the date that the book was published.

Altemus published many 100s of different Bibles in the 1880s. Also before 1890 it published photo albums and scrapbooks. The Dore Masterpieces were published initially in 1889. Books for reading were published for the first time in 1890.


09 Oct 2006 143

Petit Trianon Series

Q:  I recently found this copy of Uncle Tom's Cabin and I was wondering if you could tell me something about it. It has a floral design on the cover and on the inside title page the copyright date is 1894, but there is a picture of Stowe on the inside that has a copyright date of 1899 and I was wondering when this book was really printed.
On the title page the publisher is named as "Henry Altemus". I would also like to know any other information about this book you may be able to give me. (I've attached some pics) Thank You


A:  Your book was part of the Petit Trianon Series and was published in 1899. This series was one of reprints of fiction, poetry, essays etc. It ran from 1896-1910 and at its peak consisted of 117 volumes. During these years the cover designs changed every year or so . Thus identifying the year your book was printed is relatively easy. Originally your book came enclosed within a labeled box.


16 Aug 2006 158

Riviere Series

Q:  Can you please help identify this book? Two pics attached.

A:  Your book is part of the Riviere Series which was published in 1901. This series consisted of 87 volumes. The books were reprints of various works of fiction, essays, poetry etc. The books originally came with a jacket, a picture of which is enclosed for your interest. Book covers came in various colors. Your book was volume #35. (The number of books was 87 but the numbering went to 165. Altemus just skipped various numbers).


14 Aug 2006 180

Vademecum Series

Q:  When was "The Water-Babies" A Fairy Tale for a Land-Baby, by Charles Kngsley, published?

The cover is dark green with almost a black-green center panel, edges and spine. There appears to be some writing on the spine, but it is not legible.
I appreciate any help you can give.


A:  Your copy of The Water-Babies was published as part of the Vademecum Series in 1907. It originally came with a glassine dust jacket (flimsy transparent paper) in a labeled box.


01 Aug 2006 180

Vademecum Series

Q:  Greetings, I found a great condition copy of Marmion by Sir Walter Scott and it seems very old. In the back it lists a lot of other books from this company. Is there any way to find out its age? Also is it a part of a series.

A:  Your book is part of the Vademecum Series and was published in 1908. This multi volumed, multi authored series of reprints was published between 1894 and 1926. Every year or two the cover changed. It originally was boxed. Your book is very nice but has very little value. The exception would be if there is a collector of the author or particular title.


29 Jul 2006 202

Young People's Library

Q:  Would you be so kind as to tell me if I have a treasure or not. It is an Altemus book entitled A Child's Story of the Bible copyright 1895.

It is personally inscribed: 1896.

It does not have a loose cover..it doesn't look like it ever had one as the hard cover is beautifully done with colors of red and green with much silver ornamentation. The cover depicts Moses in the rushes being found by a Noble Woman and her slaves.


A:  I am going to assume that the book you have is the one I have pictured here. This book is part of The Young People's Library. (Series #202) Although a very nice book, it has little value to collectors. Unfortunately it is neither rare nor special.

You never know of course what a person might pay for a book but you would have to be quite lucky to sell it for more than a nominal price.


22 Jul 2006 202

Young People's Library

Q:  I have the book "Lives of the Presidents of the United States" copyright 1896 by Henry Altemus, Philadelphia. Can you tell me if this book is rare or what the value of it is? Thanks.

A:  The Lives of the Presidents was published in several different formats from 1896 until 1911. Mostly as part of the Young People's Library but also was part of the Favorite Series and Abbott's Historical Series.

This book has a very interesting history. I am familiar with 4 variant formats. As opposed to many books in this series, these books actually change their content based on the year of publication. In other words the newer books list newer presidents. The format 1 book that I have seen lists up to William McKinley who became president in 1897. Even though this book was copyrighted in 1896, I have not seen a book which lists only up to Grover Cleveland who was president before McKinley (in 1896).

The first of the two format 2 books lists not only up to McKinley also but expand his biography in the text of the book from about one page to more than 10 pages. These 10 pages include the events of his presidency (Spanish American War). The format 1 book was clearly published just after he took office so no events had taken place. It changes the copyright to 1896 and 1898.

The later format 2 book was published later (new copyright is 1899) and includes Theodore Roosevelt in the listings (succeeded to the presidency after the assassination of McKinley in 1900). It also includes a short biography on Roosevelt including events of 1901.

My format 3 book (copyrighted in 1899) lists up to William Taft who took office in 1909. This book as with many books in this series lists the 1899 copyright on the title page. This can be confusing but it does not indicate the publication date.

There are other differences between the formats including expanded biographies, lengthened prefaces etc.

This title was deleted from the series in 1911.

The book without a dust jacket has only nominal value. Although I have seen it sold for $20 or so, this would be unusual. With a jacket maybe up to twice that amount depending on condition. The earlier books are more valuable. You can date your book rather easily by the title page if the date is at the bottom. Also, some of the books have a listing of presidents on the last page. That can help date it. If not, the spine design also is helpful. If you would like, send me a pic of the spine and I can date, within a range, your book's date.


19 Jul 2006 186

Wee Books for Wee Folks

Q:  I have a book..... was just wondering what it is worth. I can't find the exact title on your website. The book is Piffle's ABC Book of Funny Animals, Copyright 1919 By the Howard E. Altemus Company in Philadelphia. Thank you for your help.

A:  Your book was part of the Wee Books for Wee Folk Series. It was first published in 1919 and came with a dust jacket. The earliest books until 1920 had yellow lettering on the cover.
This book has minimal value although I am surprised at times what books sell for. It is not noted on the website not because of scarcity but rather because the website only covers Altemus information not included in the bibliography.


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