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 Harperís 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 memberís-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 gentlemenís 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.
Horace,. Ode and Epodes of Horace. Bibliophile Society (1901). 467 copies signed by illustrators including Howard Pyle, who contributed a signed etching; 8 volumes
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
Rossetti, Dante Gabriel. Henry the Leper (Der Arme Heinrich). Bibliophile Society (1905). 467 copies; illustrations by J.A. Williams
Thoreau, Henry David. Sir Walter Raleigh. Bibliophile Society (1905). 489 copies, peviously unrecorded essay by Thoreau
Lamb, Charles. The Letters of Charles Lamb. Bibliophile Society (1906). 5 volumes; 470 sets
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
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.
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
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
Stevenson, Robert Louis. Stevenson's Workshop. Bibliophile Society (1921). 450 copies; 29 reproductions of Stevenson's manuscripts
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
Goldsmith, Oliver. Essays of Oliver Goldsmith. Bibliophile Society (1928). 400 copies; 2 vols
Payne, Edward. The Charity of Charles Dickens. Bibliophile Society (1929). 100 copies for Charles Goodspeed and 425 copies for members