publishing history Peter Rabbit books were part of eight different
series. In addition there were a couple of Non Series editions.
Henry Altemus published the first American piracy of The Tale of Peter
Rabbit in 1904 as part of the Wee Books for Wee Folks Series. Each of
the other series that Peter Rabbit was part of is described below as
well as elsewhere on the website.
Frederick Warne & Company failed to obtain a copyright for
their version of The
Tale of Peter Rabbit. Capitalizing on this blunder, Henry Altemus
published its version of this book as part of its 6 volume Wee Books
for Wee Folks Series which was introduced in 1904. This 1904 Altemus
version of The Tale of Peter Rabbit was copied from Warne's fourth
printing of Peter Rabbit from 1903. It had the identical text and
pictures. This edition even copied the format style of having a blank
page before each page of text and and after each illustration. These 50
cent books could be purchased in two volume boxed sets or singly. Peter
Rabbit was boxed with The Foolish Fox. This boxed set is among the
rarest of Altemus items.
Information on the Tale of Peter Rabbit American first edition can be
found at http://henryaltemus.com/peter_rabbit/peterrabbit.htm.
The series Peter Rabbit appeared in were:
#70. Colorful Story Books
#71. Juvenile Quartos
#138. Painting Book Series
#145. Piffle Book Series
#172. Story Book Series
#185. Wee Books for Wee Folks (First and Second formats)
#186. Wee Books for Wee Folks (Third format)
#189. Wee Folks Peter Rabbit Series (Twenty titles)
#199. Young Folks Puzzle Pictures' Series
I have divided the Altemus Peter Rabbit books into four sections.
1. Wee Books Peter Rabbit books
I have divided this group into two parts. The first is for the books
that were included in the Wee Books for Wee Folks Series (Series #185
and Series #186).
The second part discusses the books that are within the Wee Folks Peter
Rabbit Series: Series #189- http://henryaltemus.com/series/series189.htm
a.) The Wee Books for Wee Folks "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" is discussed
A few additional points can be added here.
The Tale of Peter Rabbit books from 1904 and including the second
edition of the second format into at least 1916 have the same 31
within the book. They also have the blank pages between the pictures.
Sometime late in the second edition, second format run (after 1916)
there were no blank pages between the pictures and the later revised
pictures were used.
Commencing with the Second edition-third format The
Tale of Peter Rabbit and continuing into the Wee Books Peter Rabbit
Tale of Peter Rabbit the 31 illustrations are changed.
Here are examples of a picture change. I have
used the frontispiece picture from the Tale of Peter Rabbit. The 1907
copyrighted books have a picture on the wall. In the Wee Books for Wee
Folks Series/Peter Rabbit Series the earliest books have lines on the
wall and a brown cup. The later books have no lines and the cup is red.
Remember all Altemus books with the "The Tale of
Peter Rabbit" title have the 1904 copyright on the title page.
b.)The Wee Folks Peter Rabbit Series is a 20 book series of Peter
Rabbit adventures published between 1918 and 1931. All of the various
titles and format information can be found at
2. Copyright 1907 books.
This category includes a number of seemingly different formats of Peter
Rabbit books. I have arbitrarily placed them together for two reasons.
The first is that they all give their copyright as 1907. In addition,
they all have the same illustrations although some are line drawn in
black and white while others are colored.
a). The primary and first book in this group is the 1907 The Tale of
Peter Rabbit with Puzzle Pictures. Series #199 Young Folks Puzzle
Pictures' Series (http://henryaltemus.com/series/series199.htm)
consisted of 5 books.
This is the only book in this group that was
actually published in 1907. There are 31 illustrations each of which
has a hidden picture within it. They are all black and white. For
example, this one
Notice the the hidden picture of Peter Rabbit just
below Mrs. Rabbit.
Here are the other Peter Rabbit books copyrighted in 1907.
b).The Tale of Peter Rabbit. This large (9.5 x
7.75) cloth book has been seen in three colors-red, beige, and grey. A
line drawn cover picture of Peter jumping near a plant and water can is
noted. This book
has the usual 31 pictures in 63 pages. This Peter Rabbit is a second
format book from Series #113- Juvenile Quartos Series (http://henryaltemus.com/series/series113.htm).
A non series variant with the
same red cover but with blank pages between each picture exists. This
latter book has 125 pages. These books were published pre-1915.
c). Peter Rabbit Painting Book
This book was published
in 1915. It is beige with an applique (paste-on) picture of Peter
Rabbit on the cover. It is 9.25 x 7. This book has twelve
illustrations. Each one appears twice. One already colored in and the
opposite on the next page just line drawn awaiting coloring.
d.) The Tale of Peter Rabbit. There are two books
listed here that have
appliques on the front cover. One is larger (9.25 x 7) while the
smaller book is 8.5 x 6.5.
The cover pictures are different. These books were published in
1920-1921. They are first format books from the Juvenile Quartos Series
They included all 31 pictures.
e.) This non series The Tale of Peter Rabbit (7.5 x
5.5) has been seen
in two formats. Both have all 31 pictures but one has the alternating
blank pages seen in the earlier editions. The covers are the same and
not seen with other Peter Rabbit books. See picture.
f). This book was published starting in 1930 as
part of Series #113 The
Juvenile Quartos Series (http://henryaltemus.com/series/series113.htm).
It is in Format 3 of the series. It has a
buckram binding with a full cover applique. The same 31 pictures are
noted in the book. They are colored however. The book is 8.25 x 6.25
3. Piffle's Series book
The Piffle's Peter Rabbit Dot Drawing Book was
published in 1920 as part of the second series of The Piffle Dot
Drawing Books. It has 31 follow the dot pictures. The pictures are
different from those noted in other books but the text in this book is
the same as the other The Tale of Peter Rabbits (http://henryaltemus.com/series/series145.htm).
4. Compilation books
These are books that contained a number of different Peter Rabbit
The Peter Rabbit Story Book was part of the two
volume Story Book
Series (#172). It was published in 1924. This oversized book has an
applique encompassing its entire front cover. The end papers are plain.
(The Platt and Munk reprint of this volume has endpapers illustrated by
the Decorative Designers.)
There are 14 Peter Rabbit stories in this volume. They are all part of
the Wee Folks Peter Rabbit Series. Of course, the first four stories
were initially part of the Wee Books for Wee Folks Series. The stories
included are the first 14 books in the Wee Folks Peter Rabbit Series.
They were copyrighted between 1904 and 1924.
Each story includes a line drawn multicolored pictured which
corresponds to the color illustration that is on the cover and dust
jacket of the corresponding book.
The second compilation book is The Peter Rabbit
Playtime Story Book. It is book #5 in the six book Colorful Story Books
It was published in 1931.
This book is blindstamped with a multicolored pictorial dust jacket.
The cover has been seen in several different colors. The text and
illustrations are on glossy paper. The stories included are:
1. The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1)
2. When Peter Rabbit Went A-Fishing (14)
3. Peter Rabbit's Holiday (17)
4. Peter Rabbit and the Little Girl (19)
5. Peter Rabbit's Wedding Day(18)
The numbers in parentheses indicate the number of the book in the Wee
Folks Peter Rabbit Series.
In this book each story is accompanied by a number of colored
illustrations from the original book.