Henry Altemus Company

 

Series 78 - Dore's Masterpieces Series

 
 
Series Name:
Publish Dates:
Topic:
Dore's Masterpieces Series
1889 - 1903
Varied reprint editions
Series Number:
Volumes:
Formats:
78
6
6

 

Title: Author: Year: Illustrator:
1 Dore Bible Gallery Anonymous 1889 Dore, Gustave
2 Milton's Paradise Lost Milton, John 1889 Dore, Gustave
3 Dante's Inferno Cary, Henry 1889 Dore, Gustave
4 Dante's Purgatory and Paradise Cary, Henry 1889 Dore, Gustave
5 Tennyson's Idylls of the King Tennyson, Alfred Lord 1889 Dore, Gustave
6 Rime of the Ancient Mariner Coleridge, Samuel Taylor 1889 Dore, Gustave
7 Die Dore Bibel Gallerie Anonymous 1892 Dore, Gustave

 

Henry Altemus      Format: 1      Volumes: 1 - 4, 7
Extra fine English cloth seen in various colors. Emblematic designs. Full Gilt. Gold edges. 9.75 x 12. Boxed. This format was published throughout the life of the series (1889-1903).

Henry Altemus      Format: 2      Volumes: 1 - 4, 7
Full Morocco. This morocco can be seen with the emblematic design or blindstamped with gold gilt lettering. Gold edges, 9.75 x 12. Boxed. Published between 1889-1901.

Henry Altemus      Format: 3      Volumes: 5 - 6
As in format 1 except 11 x 14.5. Boxed.

Henry Altemus      Format: 4      Volumes: 5 - 6
Full Morocco. Gold gilt edges. Boxed. 11 x 14.5. This format was published between 1889 and 1893.

Henry Altemus      Format: 5      Volumes: 1 - 7
Half vellum with gold gilt decorative pattern. The right half of the cover is plain in red, blue, brown or green and Dore's name in gold gilt. Red canvas dust jacket. 9.75 x 12. This format was seen beginning in 1892.

Henry Altemus      Format: 6      Volumes: 1 - 4
Fine bullion silk binding. Padded sides, round corners, satin ribbons stamped in gold. Gold edges. 9.75 x 12. Called the Presentation Edition. These were published in 1889.

Series Notes:
1. Books #1-6 were all published by Altemus for the first time in mid-1889. Only books 5 & 6 actually have a listed copyright date of 1889 in the book. The other books have no dates.
2. Book #7 is a German translation of #1. It was only published between 1892-1901.
3. The books were first called Dore's Masterpieces in 1898. Prior to that the books were advertised together and were of similar formats but not grouped as an official series.
4. A variant of Format 5 has red not white vellum on the left. See picture below.
5. These books were extremely expensive when first published. See advertisements.
6. For a wonderful review of Gustave Dore see- Gustave Dore by Dan Malan, Malan Classical Enterprises, St. Louis, Missouri, 1995.

 

Format 1 #1

Format 1 #1

 

Format 1 #1

 

Format 1 #1- variant

 

Format 1 #2

Format 1 #2

Format 1 #2

Format 1 #2

 

Format 1 #2

Format 1 #2

Format 1 #3

Format 1 #3

 

Format 1 #4

Format 1 #7

Format 1 Back Cover-earliest

Format 1 Back Cover-earlier

 

Format 1 Back Cover-later


Three different patterns have been seen on the back cover of this format's books. It is clear that the book that has the embossed cover (yellow) which matches the front cover is the earliest edition (1889-1890). The decorative pattern came next and finally the embossed H/A was on later books.

 

Format 2 #1

Format 2 #2

Format 2 #3

Format 2 #3

 

Format 3 #5

Format 3 #6

Format 3 #6

Format 3 #6 Box Cover

 

Format 4 #5

Format 5 #1

Format 5 #1

Format 5 #1

 

Format 5 #2

Format 5 #2 Variant

Format 5 #2 Variant

Format 5 #2 Variant

 

Format 5 #3

Format 5 #3

Format 5 #3 Variant

Format 5 #4

 

Format 5 #4

Format 5 #4 Variant

Format 5 #5

Format 5 #5 Variant

 

Format 5 Dust Jacket

Format 6 #1

Format 6 #3

 

Salesman Dummy Book

Here is a salesman dummy (sample) book for this series. It was published in the early 1890's. These books were used by traveling salesman (such as H. M. Caldwell) to show the different books that were available. Frequently different formats of the same title were included in the Dummy Book. Here different titles in this same series were shown.

Series titles #1-4 are included in this sales piece. #1 Dore's Bible Gallery and #4 Dante's Purgatory and Paradise make up the front and back cover respectively. The book covers are 12 x 9.75 and are from the Format 1 books.



Titles #2 (Milton's Paradise Lost) and #3 (Dante's Inferno) are displayed when the book is opened.


Inside the back cover is a representative spine for the series.


In the back of the book there are sheets to record purchaser's names and addresses.
Within the book there are short excerpts from The Dore Bible Gallery, Dante's Inferno,and Milton's Paradise Lost.

This item is among the rarest of all the Altemus ephemera I have seen over the years.

 

Salesman Dummy Book

This sample book is from the early 1890's. The door to door publisher's representative would show this book to prospective buyers. This book highlights Format 1 of the Dore's Masterpieces Series.

This is the second Salesman Sample book of this series that I have seen. This book differs a bit from the other one. Its condition is not quite as good and I think two of the covers that would have been part of the book may have been removed.

The external covers have Milton's Paradise Lost and Dante's Inferno, Note that the other sample book has these two covers internally. Milton's Paradise Lost was bound upside down. The covers are 12" x 9.75".



Inside the front cover are three sample spines.


Within the book are excerpts from Dore's Bible Gallery, Dante's Inferno, and Milton's Paradise Lost. Interestingly a one page flyer advertising Paradise Lost is tipped in at the first page of its excerpt.


In the back are a number of pages of customers who had ordered one of these books. The addresses are all in the northern California area (Sacramento, Stockton, etc.)

 

Advertising Cover - 1890

This is a very rare Altemus advertising cover from 1890. In 1889 Altemus published the six titles of the Dore's Masterpieces Series. All six oversized volumes were published until 1903 in a number of different formats. Because of the beautiful Gustave Dore illustrations, these books are always in great demand and sell for a premium.

This advertising cover pictures Format 1- Volume 1 in the series. The other books are listed at the top of the envelope. Die Dore Bibel Gallerie is a German translation of Volume #1 and was included in this series beginning in 1892. (Thus, at that point there were seven titles in the series.)

In my opinion this is one of the rarest pieces of Altemus ephemera.

 

 

Dore Masterpieces' Advertising

Most of the 7 books which comprise the Dore Masterpieces Series have been found with advertising flyers within them. This was not uncommon for Altemus books in this era. I have seen Dore flyers in several different styles.

1. Single page one sided flyers. There exist single advertising sheets for The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Idylls of the King. These are 10.5 x 6.



2. Single sheet - two sided ads. This ad includes the 6 Dore Masterpieces and has Bunyan's Pilgrims Progress. This ad does not list the presentation editions and thus was from 1892 or later. They are 6.25 x 5.



3. Two 4 sided pamphlets have been seen. They list the same books-The Dore Bible Gallery, Paradise Lost, Dante's Inferno and Dante's Purgatory and Paradise. They both note the presentation editions. There are two differences: at the top of each page one says- NEW EDITION whereas the other states-ALTEMUS' EDITION. The other difference is that the extra fine English Cloth books are priced at $4.00 in the former ads and $6.00 in the latter ads. Although one would assume that the higher price would signify a later date, there are no advertisements that ever showed the English Cloth book listed at $6.00. Thus, the ads can be assumed to be early in the publication history of these books but they cannot be dated precisely. Examples of pages are shown below.



4. One advertising flyer has been seen that has 8 panels. It includes all 7 of the Dore Masterpiece Books as well as Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. Interestingly, the heading at the top of each page says either "new edition" or "Altemus edition". Books #1-4 are listed as Altemus Editions and they have the $6.00 price. Thus this flyer is of the same vintage as the ad #3 above that said Altemus Edition. The ads for The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Idylls of the King are identical to the single sheet ads.

 

Dore Masterpieces Flyer

This sheet was found in the book of the same name. This ad is identical to the Altemus catalogue listing except for the last paragraph which is not found in the catalogues. This broadside was used by Altemus from 1889 until the mid 1890s. Similar sheets have been seen for other Altemus Dore illustrated books.

 

 

Publishers' Weekly Advertising

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 are 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.

 

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Last Revision: February 25, 2015