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Annotated Reference Guide to Collectible Books

Bibliophile Society

A Rare Atmosphere: The Bibliophile Society

One of the most intriguing as well as frustrating things about collecting books can be their providence, and by this we mean exactly where it comes from, through which hands it passed and originally, who printed it. One of the societies which exemplify this is the small fine press group known as the Bibliophile Society of Boston, almost certainly understood to be one of many bibliographic societies at the turn of the twentieth centuries.

The Bibliophile Society of Boston is certainly a fine press, with commonly its own printing press and logo letter-plate that would be affixed to the inner covers, featuring logos and dedications. They apparently worked occasionally in conjunction with other printers (such as Vail-Ballou) which indicates that they were of a very small concern. Currently it is possible to find a number of Henry Howard Harper’s works on the study of libraries, collecting and personal travel memoirs, as well as a series of Year Books featuring smaller essays, poems and short verse by members.

This makes it highly likely that the Bibliophile Society was a member’s-only club, with restricted access to its printing press. At the time, bibliographic societies were relatively common across America, and had more in common with gentlemen’s dining clubs with a library collection, who occasionally also hand-printed their own volumes for their members. It is interesting to note the close comparisons between the Bibliophile Society of Boston to the private bibliographic club called the Club of Odd Volumes of Boston, featuring members no less esteemed then Franklin D Roosevelt and Winston Churchill!

If you lucky to find a volume by the Bibliophile Society, then it must obviously be in mint condition or as near to, with its original slipcase if possible. Lool for the Bibliophile Society logo printed on a bookplate on one of the endpapers.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Compensation. Bibliophile Society (1901).

Horace,. Ode and Epodes of Horace. Bibliophile Society (1901). 467 copies signed by illustrators including Howard Pyle, who contributed a signed etching; 8 volumes

Hughes, Thomas. Rugby and Football from Tom Brown's School Days. Bibliophile Society (1901).

Andre, John. Andre's Journal 1777-1778. Bibliophile Society (1903). portraits, facsimiles, and maps drawn by W.H.W. Bicknell. 487 copies in vellum; frontispiece from an original engraving by Andre

Pyle, Howard. Etchings. Bibliophile Society (1903). suite of five etchings by W.H.W Bickness after paintings by Howard Pyle

Dibdin, Thomas Frognall. The Bibliomania or Book Madness, History Symptoms and Cure of this Fatal Disease. Bibliophile Society (1903). Four frontispiece etchings, one for each volume, by W.H.W. after paintings by Howard Pyle

Marat, Jean Paul. Polish Letters. Bibliophile Society (1904). 445 copies

Rossetti, Dante Gabriel. Henry the Leper (Der Arme Heinrich). Bibliophile Society (1905). 467 copies; illustrations by J.A. Williams

Jones, John Paul. Letters of John Paul Jones. Bibliophile Society (1905). 500 copies

Thoreau, Henry David. Sir Walter Raleigh. Bibliophile Society (1905). 489 copies, peviously unrecorded essay by Thoreau

Thoreau, Henry David. The First and Last Journeys of Thoreau. Bibliophile Society (1905). 2 vols; 489 copies

Theocritus,. The Idylls and Epigrams of Theocritus, Bion and Moschus. Bibliophile Society (1905). 477 copies

Lamb, Charles. The Letters of Charles Lamb. Bibliophile Society (1906). 5 volumes; 470 sets

Hart, Albert Buahnell. The Varick Court of Inquiry to Investigate the Implication of Colonel Varick ... Arnold Treason. Bibliophile Society (1907). 470 copies for William Bixby

Bryant, William Cullen. Unpublished Poems by Bryant and Thoreau. Bibliophile Society (1907). 470 copies; etching by WHW Bicknell

Dickens, Charles. Charles Dickens and Maria Beadnell Private Correspondence. Bibliophile Society (1908). 250 copies, privately printed for William K. Bixby

Keats, John. Unpublished Poem to his Sister Fanny. Bibliophile Society (1909). 489 copies; facsimile of Keat's original manuscript

Thoreau, Henry David. Walden or Life in the Woods. Bibliophile Society (1909). 2 vols; 483 copies; 2 etchings

Peacock, Thomas Love. Letters to Edward Hookham and Percy B Shelley. Bibliophile Society (1910). 463 copies

Dickens, Charles. The Dickens - Kolle Letters. Bibliophile Society (1910). 100 copies for Harry B. Smith and 483 copies for members. Etching portrait of Dickens by WHW Bicknell.

Peacock, Thomas Love. Thomas Love Peacock, Letters to Edward Hookman and Percy Shelley. Bibliophile Society (1910).

David, John. Travels of John Davis in the United States of America 1798 to 1802. Bibliophile Society (1910).

Shelley, Percy Bysshe. Note Books of Percy Bysshe Shelley. Bibliophile Society (1911). 465 copies plus 250 presentation copies for William K Bixby; 3 volumes

Forman, H Buxton. The Elopement of Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin. Bibliophile Society (1911). 200 copies for William K Bixby

Swinburne, Algernon Charles. Border Ballads. Bibliophile Society (1912). 477 copies

Gray, Thomas. Gray's Elegy. Bibliophile Society (1912). 469 copies; text from engraved copper plates; illustrations by WHW Bicknell

Goldsmith, Oliver. The Deserted Village. Bibliophile Society (1912). 469 copies with etchings by WHW Bicknell

Swinburne, Algernon Charles. Ode to Mazzini the Saviour of Society Liberty and Loyalty. Bibliophile Society (1913). 479 copies

Browning, Elizabeth Barrett. Hitherto Unpublished Poems and Stories. Bibliophile Society (1914). 453 copies; 2 vols

Harper, Henry. Letters of Mary W Shelley. Bibliophile Society (1918). 448 copies

Irving, Washington. The Journals of Washington Irving. Bibliophile Society (1919). 430 copies; 3 vols

Sylva, Carmen. Letters and Poems of Queen Elisabeth. Bibliophile Society (1920). 2 vols

Stevenson, Robert Louis. Hitherto Unpublished Prose Writings. Bibliophile Society (1921). 450 copies

Stevenson, Robert Louis. Poems Hitherto Unpublished. Bibliophile Society (1921). 450 copies

Stevenson, Robert Louis. Stevenson's Workshop. Bibliophile Society (1921). 450 copies; 29 reproductions of Stevenson's manuscripts

Stevenson, Robert Louis. When the Devil was Well. Bibliophile Society (1921). 450 copies

Riley, James Whitcomb. Love Letters of the Bachelor-Poet James Whitcomb Riley. Bibliophile Society (1922). 475 copies

Irving, Washington. Abu Hassan and the Wild Huntsman. Bibliophile Society (1924). 2 volumes; 455 copies

Irving, Washington. The Wild Huntsman. Bibliophile Society (1924). 455 copies; 2 vols

Sophocles,. Attic Tragedies. Bibliophile Society (1926). 3 volumes; 400 copies

Bryant, William Cullen. Thanatopsis and Raven. Bibliophile Society (1927). 450 copies

Goldsmith, Oliver. Essays of Oliver Goldsmith. Bibliophile Society (1928). 400 copies; 2 vols

Dickens, Charles. Dickens in Cartoon and Caricature. Bibliophile Society (1929). 440 copies

Payne, Edward. The Charity of Charles Dickens. Bibliophile Society (1929). 100 copies for Charles Goodspeed and 425 copies for members