The Acquisitions Table: Omnibus Editions

Collection of omnibus editions, ca. 1840-1855.


AAS has purchased from member Mark Craig an interesting and very unusual collection of 14 omnibus editions, all in fine condition in the original blind- and gilt-embossed publisher’s sheep bindings. These omnibus editions typically consist of 16mo stereotype reprints of popular and juvenile fiction, with three to four works bound together in one short, squat, gaudily decorated package—what Edwin Wolf 2d referred to as “bricks.” The Craig collection volumes were issued by such publishers as W. A. Leary and John B. Perry in Philadelphia, and Richard Marsh and Nafis & Cornish in New York; and there is tantalizing evidence of plate sharing and collaborative publishing as well as a marked uniformity of appearance. Little is yet known about these publishers’ series, in part because the volumes are quite rare today: a quick search of the AAS stacks turned up only a handful of similar volumes. Harry G. Stoddard Memorial Fund.

~ David Whitesell

Published by

David Whitesell

Curator of Books, American Antiquarian Society

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