Recipe For a Happy Life

Cover of "Recipe For a Happy Life," green version
Cover of “Recipe For a Happy Life,” green version

Written by Margaret of Navarre in the year 1500:

Three ounces are necessary, first of Patience, then of Repose & Peace; of Conscience a pound entire is needful; of Pastimes of all sorts, too, should be gathered as much as the hand can hold; Of Pleasant Memory & of Hope three good drachms there must be at least. But they should moistened be with a liquor made from True Pleasures which rejoice the heart. Then of Love’s Magic Drops, a few—but use them sparingly, for they may bring a flame which naught but tears can drown. Grind the whole and mix therewith of Merriment, an ounce to even. Yet this may not bring happiness except in your Orisons you lift your voice to Him who holds the gift of health.

Title page of "Recipe For a Happy Life"
Title page of “Recipe For a Happy Life”

These few words on page 1 of Recipe For a Happy Life (1911) are in fact the only words by Margaret in the entire book. The rest of the text consists of quotations compiled by Marie West King along the themes (italicized above) in Margaret’s recipe.

Marguerite de Navarre (1492-1549), also known as Marguerite of Angoulême, was a French noblewoman, Queen of the small Kingdom of Navarre by her marriage to Henry II of Navarre. Margaret’s brother Francis I was later King of France, and her grandson Henry IV was the first in the long line of Bourbon kings of France.

Margaret became the most influential woman in France during her lifetime when her brother Francis I ascended to the French throne in 1515. Her salon, known as the “New Parnassus,” became famous internationally. She wrote many poems and plays. Her most notable works are a classic collection of short stories, the Heptameron, and a remarkably intense (and very controversial) religious poem, Miroir de l’âme pécheresse (Mirror of the Sinful Soul).

Frontispiece of "Recipe For a Happy Life." A reproduction of a crayon drawing by François Clouet.
Frontispiece of “Recipe For a Happy Life.” A reproduction of a crayon drawing by François Clouet.

There is evidence that Margaret had some influence in England. A letter to her from English Queen Anne Boleyn survives, and in 1545, twelve-year-old princess Elizabeth (later Elizabeth I) translated Margaret’s Miroir into English and gave it as a gift to her stepmother Catherine Parr (sixth wife of Henry VIII).

Page 1 of "Recipe For a Happy Life," the only part of the book actually written by Margaret
Page 1 of “Recipe For a Happy Life,” the only part of the book actually written by Margaret

Margaret of Navarre is not to be confused with the medieval Margaret of Navarre, Queen of Sicily (ca 1128-1183), a Spanish noblewoman who lived 350 years earlier.

I have been able to find no further information on the compiler, Miss Marie West King. This is her only association with a Paul Elder publication.

Page 2 of "Recipe For a Happy Life"
Page 2 of “Recipe For a Happy Life”

 

Cover of "Recipe For a Happy Life," orange version
Cover of “Recipe For a Happy Life,” orange version with silver text
recipe cover yellow red
Cover of “Recipe For a Happy Life,” yellow version with red text

The Auto Guest Book

Cloth on boards edition of "Auto Guest Book"
Cover of “Auto Guest Book”

On an inventive twist from a guest book designed for the guest bedroom, here is a guest book designed for one’s automobile. The Auto Guest Book was published in 1906 on the heels of the success of the early Cynic’s Calendars, with the illustrations and aphorisms by the team of Ethel Grant (1876?-1940) and Richard Glaenzer (1876-1937).

In 1906 automobiles were still toys for the rich, beyond the means of most Americans. Nevertheless, Elder presumably had enough car-owning customers to justify this book.

Paul Elder was not immune to the use of ethnic stereotypes, though fortunately he only published a few such examples. The Auto Guest Book has a “Sheikh of Araby” theme, with maxims by “Punbad the Railer,” and illustrations of turbaned men, veiled women and Oriental carpets.

Cover of the leather edition of "Auto Guest Book"
Cover of the leather edition of “Auto Guest Book”
Title page of "Auto Guest Book"
Title page of “Auto Guest Book”
Illustration.
Frontispiece of “Auto Guest Book”
A page for recording an automobile outing
A page for recording an automobile outing
The driving party encounters a native.
“Where there’s a bill there’s a way”
"So near and yet -- chauffeur"
“So near and yet — chauffeur”

Love

Leather edition of "Love"
Leather edition of “Love”

Love (1905) was the last of the Mosaic Essays series compiled by Paul Elder. The first booklet in the series, Friendship, was published in 1902 and sold very well. In 1903, Elder followed with HappinessNature and Success in 1903.

In 1906 he reissued the five booklets in a single volume called Mosaic Essays.

As with the other four titles in the series, Love was published in multiple forms: dark paper wraps, soft suede, and perhaps also a “full white calf by Miss Crane.”

Title page of "Love"
Title page of “Love”
Paper wraps edition of "Love"
Paper wraps edition of “Love”
Pages 8-9 of "Love"
Pages 8-9 of “Love”

Success

Variant edition B cover of "Success"
Edition B cover of “Success”

Success is a booklet of quotations in the Mosaic Essays series, compiled by Paul Elder. It was published in 1903 along with Happiness and Nature in response to the high sales of 1902’s Friendship. In 1905, Elder published the last booklet in the series, Love. In 1906 he issued the five booklets in a single volume called Mosaic Essays. As with the other booklets in the series, Success was published in three bindings:

  • Edition A: bound in flexible Omar sultan, with fly-leaves of Japan wood-fiber. Enclosed in uniform envelope. Price, 50 cents [“sultan” is a deep red color, and “Omar” 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

I can find no further information about the bookbinder, “Miss Crane.”

Variant edition B title page of "Success"
Edition B title page of “Success” (note discoloration from wood-fiber endpapers)
Leather edition of "Success"
Variant edition B cover of “Success”, published c1907 when Elder was in New York
Edition B title page of "Success"
Variant edition B title page of “Success”, c1907
Variant edition A cover of "Success"
Edition A cover of “Success”
Pages 8-9 of "Success"
Pages 8-9 of “Success”
Ad from the Dec 1903 issue of The Argonaut
Ad from the Dec 1903 issue of The Argonaut

Nature

Leather edition of "Nature"
Leather edition B of “Nature”

Nature is a booklet of quotations in the Mosaic Essays series, compiled by Paul Elder. It was published in 1903 along with Happiness and Success in response to the success of 1902’s Friendship. In 1905, Elder published the last booklet in the series, Love. In 1906 he issued the five booklets in a single volume called Mosaic Essays.

As with the other booklets in the series, Nature was published in three bindings:

  • Edition A: bound in flexible Kozak sultan. Enclosed in uniform envelope. Price, 50 cents [“sultan” is a deep red color, and “Kozak” (i.e. Khazak) is just a word Elder added for a flair of the exotic.]
  • Edition B: bound in flexible suede. Enclosed in box. Price, $1.25
  • Edition C: bound in full white calf by Miss Crane. Price, $5.00
Title page of "Nature"
Edition A title page of “Nature”

The frontispiece is “In the Heart of the Woods,” from the painting by William Keith.

I have examples of both Nature and Happiness in green instead of red “sultan.” Perhaps this green color is what Elder meant by “Kozak sultan.”

Pages 8-9 of "Nature"
Pages 8-9 of “Nature”
Edition C of "Nature," with matching envelope
Variant edition C of “Nature,” in green instead of red “sultan,” with matching envelope