Henry Altemus Company


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Book publishers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries used a number of means to promote their latest works. Trade magazines such as Publishers' Weekly were packed with the latest publishers' offerings. Some companies sent out fliers to bookstores and potential customers. Altemus mainly used inserts placed into books. Sometimes these consisted of a mini-catalogue of books. Other times the ads were a single sheet advertising several books. Although I have accumulated a number of these over the years, I am convinced that what you see here is just the tip of the ad iceberg.

During the 90 plus year history of the Altemus publishing firm it published more than books, photographic albums, Bibles etc. Altemus not only bound books for others in the early years but produced numerous items under the Altemus & Co. imprint for others needing paper items. In this section some of these items will be shown.


Click thumbnail images to enlarge.


Date Series Information
11 Nov 2007 159

Rose Carnation Series


New Advertising Flyer discovered

This 6 x 3.25 inch one page advertising flyer for the Rose Carnation Series was discovered in the Little Lady Val book (#4). This flyer dates from 1906-1908. It is my belief that Altemus produced flyers for all of their series of this era. They are just very difficult to find.


04 Nov 2007 NS

Non Series #58


These ads appeared in Publishers' Weekly in 1908.


08 Oct 2007 23

Motor Boat Club Series


This September, 1909 ad notes 3 of the 6 Motor Boat Club Series books that were published in 1909. Generally, when a number of books from the same series are copyrighted in the same year, the thought is that they were all released in one group- a breeder set. Looking at the ad below this does not appear to be the case here. The ad mentions the first three books but not the other three that were also copyrighted in 1909. "Others in preparation for early publication". Thus the first three were published before numbers 4-6. Since this ad is from September, the other books must have been published in the last three months of the year. The first three probably were reprinted at that time.

This may be why the jacket without any red color is very rare. That is, the first three books were published first with the "no red color" jacket and shortly thereafter the first six books were published with the later Format 1 dust jacket. See below for the pictures of these jackets.

1909 Ad

Format 1 DJ Early

Format 1 DJ Later


05 Oct 2007 NS

Altemus Books September 1892


This full page ad which appeared in the Publishers' Weekly in September 1892 shows how Henry Altemus was starting to move away from concentrating on Bibles and more towards books for reading. The Bibles which were previously given top billing in the ads is now at the bottom of this full page ad.

The Dore Masterpieces (Series # 78) are noted with a format 5 book pictured. This is proof positive that this format was published by late 1892.

Also pictured is a copy of A Child's History of England. The four books listed as New Editions were among the very first reading type books that Altemus published. The various editions were deluxe and very expensive for the time.


29 Sep 2007 NS

Non Series #118


This ad appeared in 1902 in the Publishers' Weekly. I have not seen two different editions of this book. Although the advertisement notes the second edition now ready, I suspect that there is no distinguishing feature between the different editions of this book.
It obviously was a big seller for Altemus since it went through at least two editions within the first year of publication.


29 Sep 2007 NS

Non Series #46


Publishers' Weekly September, 1902


18 Sep 2007 NS

Altemus Books Christmas 1897


December 1897 Publishers' Weekly


17 Sep 2007 NS



As noted before, ads prior to 1889 only mention Bibles and photographic albums. This ad from March, 1889 is one of the last not to mention any Altemus books for reading.
The bible pictured here is different from some of the other ads.


16 Sep 2007 NS



Since Altemus published no books for reading prior to 1889, this ad dated in 1887 mentions only the Altemus Bibles and photographic albums.


15 Sep 2007 NS



From the early 1880s until the early 1890s most of the Altemus advertisements in trade journals concentrated on their Bibles and photographic albums. In this ad The Philadelphia Bible Warehouse which was run by one of Henry Altemus' sons got top billing.

One of the numerous Bibles published by Altemus is shown here. Also noted here are the books of the Dore Series (Series #58) first published in 1889 as well as the first book of the Idle Hours Series (Series # 107).

This Altemus ad is one of the first that mentions books beside Bibles/Photographic Albums. As can be seen it is dated September 1890.


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