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The following are questions submitted via email by our visitors.

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Questions & Answers
Date Series Num Information
04 Jun 2006 179

Vademecum Series (early numbering)

Q:  I have recently come into possession of a book of “Poems” (Subtitled inside the book as “The Raven and Other Poems”) by Edgar Allan Poe that was published by Altemus in Philadelphia, the book however does not have a date of publication in it. I was wondering if you could look at the pictures attached and give me some idea as to when it was published. Thank you very much for your help.

A:  Your book is part of the Vademecum Series (Series #179) which was published in numerous formats between 1894 and 1926. This series of reprints at its peak had 187 volumes but the number of books and their titles varied from year to year. This particular book was published in 1895. It originally came in a box.


04 Jun 2006 202

Young People's Library

Q:  I would like to know how to identify Henry Altemus editions. I have a copy of a book titled Vic: The Autobiography of a Fox Terrier. It has a red cloth binding with green and black lettering and pictorial fox terrier. End pages are green flowered with little girl holding a book in her lap. 184 numbered pages. Frontispiece is a Victorian era woman sitting in a chair with her maid looking on and a little fox terrier at her feet looking up: "My poor mistress was quite blind." This book is from the Altemus' Young People's Library and is written by Marie More Marsh. There is no copyright page and it doesn't appear that a copyright page has been torn out, but I suppose it could have been. Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated.

A:  The book you describe was included in the Young People’s Library Series (#202) between 1900 and 1906. Your volume was published later in the run than the one shown here. It was deleted from the series as of 1907. It originally came jacketed.

Vic, The Autobiography of a Fox Terrier by Marie More Marsh was first published by Henry Altemus in non series form in 1895. (non-series title #139)

Both books are seen here. The non series book is the one that pictures the woman and Vic on the cover.


15 Nov 2005 44

Banbury Cross Series

Q:  I have a book The History of Tom Thumb. To which are added the stories of The Cat And The Mouse and Fire! Fire! Burn Stick! with thirty-eight illustrations. Altemus Banbury Cross Series. I have found other books in this series that are dated the early 1900's but I cannot find anything on this book. Would I be correct in dating this book around that date? Thank you for your help.

A:  All 10 volumes of the Banbury Cross Series were initially published in 1904 (including your book which is #4 in the series). They were reprinted for a number of years thereafter. The earlier books have decorated endpapers. Later the endpapers were plain. Also initially the design on the left of the book was gold. Later it was green.


09 Nov 2005 164

Shakespeare's Plays

Q:  I acquired a collection of Shakespeare plays that seam to be published by your company. These are small, almost pocket size books in very good condition and number 25 to the collection. I am trying to find as much information as I can to determine there value. Please help.

Q:  I recently came across 36 hardbound books with Philadelphia Henry Altemus company inside each one. There is no copyright or edition printed in any of the books. Each book is a play by William Shakespeare, starting with Coriolanus, King Richard, Romeo and Juliet, many King Henry plays plus more. Each start with an Introduction. Then the plays begin, stating the scenes and acts all through each one.
I'm curious to know about these books. They are very old. They are hard-bound with a dark reddish/burgundy'ish cover. When were they printed? Are there more of them?

Q:  I have an edition of "The First Part of King Henry IV" by William Shakespeare printed by your company but has no date of when printed. We would like to know the date printed.

A:  Your books are part of a 39 volume Shakespeare Series (#164) that originally came with dust jackets in a box. They were published between 1899 and 1926. Nothing however distinguishes the earlier from the later books except that the 1899 editions say Henry Altemus at the bottom of the title page rather than Henry Altemus Company as is on all of the post-1900 books. Assuming you do not possess the original box, they are quite common and have only nominal value.


31 Oct 2005 69

Classics Series

Q:  I am not a bibliophile but I've come into possession of 15 copies from the Altemus Classics Series. They measure 5 1/2 x 4 1/4, green covers with gold colored embossed cover designs with floral and vines. The only dating I can find is in The Man Without A Country of which there are two copies in the collection. The dating is: Copyright, 1908, by Howard E. Altemus Published June, 1908.

I found your website but can't find any reference to this series of books which has been handed down to me from my father. I'd be interested in finding more information about these little books -- can you help me find a resource? I thank you in advance for taking time with this for me.


A:  The website is only for new information not in the book. Thus, the Classics Series (Series #69) is not on the website.

The Classics Series was first published in 1907 and was in print until 1921. There were a total of 76 books in the series but in certain years particular books were added or deleted to the list such that only in a few years of publication was the entire list actually done. The name of the series was changed in 1909 to the Slip-in-the-Pocket Series (Series #166) presumably because the size of the books was perfect to slip in the pocket. Only the jackets (which all of these books had originally) ever had the name Slip-in-the-Pocket however.

There are 4 different formats. Most of the books are dark green but the soft leather book has been seen in brown. The format you have is the most common.

I hope that this is helpful. The complete listing with additional information about this series is in the bibliography.


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