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The following information includes updates and addenda to the bibliography as well as corrections of errors (substantive, typographical, etc) found in the 1st edition of our Henry Altemus bibliography. You can review this section by the most recent entry or by the series number. Non series listings follow series listings.


Click thumbnail images to enlarge.


Updates, Addenda & Errata
Date Series Num Information
03 Feb 2008

Scrapbooks (Newspaper Cuttings)


Altemus & Co. published mainly Bibles and photographic albums between 1863 and 1892. They also produced blank books, collection books, ledgers etc. Apparently scrapbooks were also part of the publishing inventory in these years. This particular one was copyrighted in 1874. 9.5 x 7.5



04 Oct 2007

Non Series #58


Altemus, Bobby Burnit and false advertising.

In 1908 Altemus published Get Rich Quick Wallingford by George Randolph Chester (Non Series #58). George Randolph Chester (1869-1924) was an author, playright and actor. This book was the first of a series of three books about a con man and the only one published by Henry Altemus.

Inspired by the success of the book Altemus planned to publish his next book. The Making of Bobby Burnit. On February 27, 1909 this advertisement appeared in Publishers' Weekly.

This title was never mentioned again in any of the Altemus catalogues or in any other Henry Altemus book trade advertisement. Of course, there have been examples of other titles noted in book ads that were never published by the advertising company.

Without any mention in any book trade journals, Bobbs Merrill Company published The Making of Bobby Burnit in June, 1909.



01 Oct 2007

Non Series #52- The Evolution of Man


Drummond, Henry vs. Altemus & Co.

The Evolution of Man by Professor Henry Drummond was published in 1893 by Henry Altemus. The book and its dust jacket is listed here as non series book #52.

The title page states that the book consists of the Lowell Lectures delivered at Boston, Mass., April, 1893 delivered by Professor Henry Drummond. In addition to the introduction, there are 8 chapters. This book was never reprinted or advertised after 1893.

The question is why. The answer is quite interesting. Drummond sued Altemus in Circuit Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania later shortly after the book was published asking for an injunction alleging violation of his common-law right of property.

The injunction was granted and Altemus never again published this title.

Here is what happened. Drummond had sent reports of eight of the lectures (Altemus' chapters) to a journal called the British Weekly. Altemus basically copied these lectures but not verbatim. Rather the publisher edited the lectures and significantly revised sections "which altered their purport". The problem was that Altemus represented the Altemus book as containing the actual reports (lectures). The court found that this was fraud and granted the injunction in January, 1894.

The court further pointed out that if Altemus had copied the British Weekly columns exactly that Drummond would have had no case.



22 Sep 2007 180

Vademecum Series and Alphonse Mucha continued


As noted in this section on April 21, 2007 a new Alphonse Mucha painting was discovered on the applique of a 1901 Vademecum Series book. That picture was from The Seasons Series painted in 1896 by Alphonse Mucha, the Czechoslavakian artist. It was entitled Winter. The series consisted of 4 pictures, one for each season.

Now the picture Spring has been discovered on another 1901 Vademecum book. At this point in time it is reasonable to presume that the other two pictures from The Seasons Series will be discovered.





18 Jul 2007 132

Mother Stories Series


Series #132 the Mother Stories Series has 10 books. They were published in 1908 and 1909. The catalogues only note 10 books and the reverse of the later dust jackets of the series also only mention 10 books.
In certain Young People's Library Format 3 books published in 1910 an advertisement for the Mother Stories Series lists 12 books. Books #11 and #12 are phantom titles.

#11 is listed as Mother Stories from American History and #12 as Mother Stories from Dickens. Of interest is that the latter two books are the only ones listed without the illustration numbers, which is a good indicator that the books were never published. These two titles are phantom titles.

Below is a copy of the advertisement.




07 Jul 2007

Non Series #28a- Pilgrim's Progress (Facsimile Reproduction)


Henry Altemus co-published this book with the London publisher Elliot Stock in 1895. This is the second time that I am aware of that Altemus co-published books with an English publisher. John Lane and Altemus printed the books of Series #205- Pierrot's Library in 1896. Of interest is that neither this book nor Series #205 was ever noted in the Altemus catalogues. Also to be noted is the absolute scarcity of this volume and the series #205 books. Certainly among the rarest of all Altemus books.

It is unclear whether the Pilgrim's Progress facsimile had a dust jacket or initially was boxed. Undoubtedly it had one or the other.

The book below is 6.75 x 4.25.


Front cover

Back cover

Title page


03 Jul 2007 170

Stories from History Series


In a May 12, 2007 entry to this section I noted the how some of the books (27 to be exact) of the Young People's Library splintered off in 1911 and became Series #170. In 1915 Series #170 deleted non Jacob Abbott books to become Series #35- Abbott's Historical Series. The books of both of these series are uncommon. In fact, I had never been sure I had seen a book from series #170 until today.

But today I realized that I had overlooked something. Although the interior of the book gives few clues to its series identity, the back ads list the Young People's LIbrary as well as the Stories from History. This in retrospect should have been a giveaway. If the title of the book is in series #170 and the ads in the back list the books from Series #170, then the book is part of Series #170.

The example is this book. Christopher Columbus was part of the Young People's Library initially. But by the time the Stories from History ads appear (1911), the Columbus book is in that series (#170) not the Young People's Library Series #202). The book below has the #170 ads in the back. Thus, that is where it belongs.

Of course the best indicator of which series it is a member of is clear. On the back of the jacket is a list of the 27 books of Series #170.

By the way, the size of Series #170's books is the same as Series 202's but different from Series #35 which evolved from the former series in 1915.


Dust Jacket

Dust Jacket Reverse



08 Jun 2007 152

Printemps Series and Archie Gunn


As with a number of series, Altemus used illustrations by well known artists of the era to illustrate their covers and/or end papers. Mucha and Beardsley have been noted already. The Printemps Series (#152) had the same cover illustration on each of its 25 titles. The books were published in 1895. Archie Gunn (1863-1930) was the artist.

Gunn's art nouveau illustrations of lovely young women were found on watercolor paintings, posters, book and magazine illustrations and postcards as well as magazine covers and the like. I have been unable to locate the exact picture that is on the Altemus cover. It is shown below.



16 May 2007 87

Favorite Series


The first format books as noted in the bibliography have vertical lines surrounding an applique (paste-on) on the front cover. A book in this series has been found with horizontal lines.
Representative covers are shown below. Since not all of the books in format 1 of this series have been seen, I cannot be sure whether other patterns are extant.



12 May 2007 35

Abbott's Historical Series


This series is briefly described in the bibliography but no pictures were shown. Originally all 18 of this series' books were part of the Young People's Library. That series dropped 27 books and in 1911 Series #170 Stories from History Series included all 18 of the Abbott books and nine other books by Dickens (1), Holmes (4), Hartwell James (2), Nathaniel Hawthorne's Grandfather's Chair, and Christopher Columbus and the Discovery of America. In 1915 the non Abbott books were deleted from the series. At that time this series was referred to as Abbott's Historical Series in some ads and Stories from History Series in others.

From this point forward I intend to refer to the post 1915 books as Series #35 Abbott's Historical Series. This is different from the bibliography.

Included here is a picture of a sample book with the ad and title page. All the books of this series have the same covers as seen in the earlier Young People's Library and Series #170. The books have slightly different dimensions- 7 x 4.75. (6.75 x 5.5 Young People's Library)



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