Hand-painted cover art on 1901 edition of "Friendship"
Edition C version of “Friendship,” with hand-painted cover art, from 1902

Friendship is a 1902 collection of quotations compiled by Paul Elder and published by Elder and Shepard. It proved popular enough that Elder compiled four more booklets on similar inspirational topics: Nature, Happiness, and Success in 1903, and Love in 1905.

In a 1904 catalog, Elder notes “the favor extended to these little brochures has been most gratifying, and as the sale totals well up to 70,000 copies, it follows that the Cynic’s and other nonsense books do not exclusively occupy the public demand.” While on the one hand it must have galled Elder—who stocked all the classic literature and who was also a noted antiquarian book dealer—that his most consistently popular titles were the Cynics’ Calendars and Love Sonnets of a Hoodlum, on the other hand he had to make a living, and if humorous verse paid the bills, so be it.

Elder issued Friendship in three different bindings:

  • Edition A: bound in flexible Bokhara sultan, with fly-leaves of Japan wood-fiber. Enclosed in uniform envelope. Price, 50 cents [“sultan” is a deep red color, and “Bokhara” is just a word Elder added for a flair of the exotic.]
  • Edition B: bound in flexible suede, with fly-leaves of imperial Japan vellum. Enclosed in box. Price, $1.25
  • Edition C: bound in full white calf by Miss Crane. Price, $5.00

In 1906, Elder gathered the five booklets into a single volume called Mosaic Essays, which was also issued in multiple bindings, and also sold very well.

So well, in fact, that in 1910 Elder reissued Friendship in a splendid edition designed by John Henry Nash, with a frontispiece from one of the Impressions Calendars (artwork probably by Harold Sichel or Spencer Wright).

Title page of the 1901 Elder & Shepard edition of "Friendship"
Title page of the Edition C “Friendship” from 1902
Variant cover of "Friendship," gold-stamped leather
Cover of Edition B version of “Friendship,” with gold-stamped leather
"Friendship," issued in paper wraps with matching envelope.
Edition A verion of “Friendship” from 1904, in “Bokhara sultan” wraps with matching envelope
Title page of a 1904 reissue of "Friendship"
Title page of Edition A version of “Friendship” from 1904, with decorated Japan vellum endpapers (as opposed to the wood-fiber endpapers advertised in the catalog; clearly there were many variants)
Cover of the 1910 edition of "Friendship"
Cover of the 1910 edition of “Friendship”
Title page of the 1910 edition of "Friendship"
Title page of the 1910 edition of “Friendship”
Page 1 of the 1910 edition of "Friendship"
Page 1 of the 1910 edition of “Friendship”