The Acquisitions Table: Bible Characters

Bible Characters, Instructive and Entertaining Compiled for the use of Young Children (3rded) on a sheet with History of Haman and Mordecai compiled by a Friend to Youth. New York: Mahlon Day, 1837. 

This single sheet printing shows the way in which multiple-page books were laid out (or composed) during the nineteenth century. Such sheets are rare survivors as they mostly were either made into saleable books or pulped if unused.  In this case, two titles were laid out together by the printer to make the best use of the sheet.  Both titles are illustrated with woodcuts of Bible figures including Adam and Eve, and Esther.  Curiously, the tail piece to Bible Characters, which is illustrated throughout with toga-wearing figures in foreign climates, is a small cut of a very 1830’s steamboat at a riverside dock.

AAS has an edition of Bible Characters originally issued by New York Quaker publisher Mahlon Day and reissued with a new cover by New Bedford, Mass. publisher Charles and Augustus Taber.  The Tabers also reissued both Bible Characters and History of Haman and Mordecai under one cover, and since this combined sheet was found in a New Bedford warehouse, it points to a definite connection between Mahlon Day and the Taber firm, a business relationship perhaps undergirded by their shared Quaker faith.

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