“IMPERISHABLE UTTERANCES”: INSIGHTS INTO LITERARY PUBLISHER THOMAS BIRD MOSHER
MOSHER, Thomas Bird. Amphora: A Collection of Prose and Verse Chosen by the Editor of The Bibelot. WITH: Amphora: A Second Collection of Prose and Verse. Portland, Maine: Thomas B. Mosher, 1922, 1926. Two volumes. Small octavo, contemporary three-quarter red morocco, raised bands, marbled boards and endpapers, top edges gilt, uncut and unopened. $700.
Limited fourth edition, one of only 925 copies, of Amphora, Mosher’s selection of “lesser known but imperishable utterances,” together with a limited first edition of the Second Collection, being a posthumous tribute to Mosher, with a frontispiece portrait, both volumes beautifully bound by Monastery Hill of Chicago.
Thomas Bird Mosher has been praised as an American Aldus, whose finely-printed and modestly priced editions “introduced Americans to ‘the literature of rapture” (William Fredeman). Alternatively, he has been reviled as a literary pirate who exploited loop-holes in the prevailing copyright laws, in order to avoid paying royalties to the authors he published. Business ethics aside, books produced by Mosher are “elegant edifices, appropriate to the authors who inhabit them… He extended the idea of the total book to include its contents as well as the externals of paper, type, and binding, thereby achieving an organic unity” (Fredeman). First published in 1922, this first collection of Amphora contains selections from The Bibelot, Mosher’s annual literary anthology published between 1895 and 1914. The Bibelot featured the lesser known works of such writers as Swinburne, William Morris, Dante Rossetti, Austin Dobson, J.A. Symonds, Stevenson, and Wilde. The second Amphora, published posthumously, contains ten pieces from Mosher’s own writings and several tributes to Mosher including “A Golden String” by Christopher Morley. Following the great Chicago fire, a number of binderies sprung up to help restore books from the city’s schools and libraries. Among these was the Monastery Hill Bindery, founded in 1868 by German-born Ernst Hertzberg from Gramzow, a village on a hill near the ruins of a medieval monastery, hence named in homage to his boyhood home. Bishop 2.4, FL2. Booklabel of renowned bibliophile Abel E. Berland.
Fine copies, beautifully bound.