Happiness

The Robert Louis Stevenson monument in 2003.
The Robert Louis Stevenson monument in 2003.

In a corner of San Francisco’s Portsmouth Square stands a granite pedestal topped by a bronze sailing ship. It is the Robert Louis Stevenson Memorial, designed by Bruce Porter and Willis Polk in 1897. During Stevenson’s brief time in San Francisco in 1880 and 1887, he often came to the Square to sit in the sun and regain his health.

The Spanish galleon atop Stevenson’s monument was chosen by Paul Elder as the totem for the booklet Happiness. It appears on the title page, frontispiece, as well as stamped in gold on the cover of the leather edition. It is also used within the booklet as the dingbat separating the quotations (see image below).

Stevenson had always been one of Elder’s favorites. Elder was working at William Doxey’s bookstore in the Palace Hotel when Stevenson suddenly died in Samoa in 1894; Doxey subsequently devoted an entire storefront window to Stevenson’s memory. Elder published three works of Stevenson’s and made frequent use of his quotations in calendars, leaflets, mottos and, of course, within Happiness itself.

Edition B cover of "Happiness" in gold-stamped leather
Edition B cover of “Happiness” in gold-stamped leather

The three booklets Happiness, Nature and Success were published in 1903 in response to the (perhaps unexpected) popularity of Friendship. The fifth booklet in the series, Love, would follow in 1905. And as with Friendship, Elder issued Happiness three different ways:

  • Edition A: bound in flexible Mecca sultan. Enclosed in uniform envelope. Price, 50 cents [“sultan” is a deep red color, and “Mecca” is just a word Elder added for a flair of the exotic.]
  • Edition B: bound in flexible suede, with fly-leaves of illuminated 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, also issued in multiple bindings.

Special decorated cover of "Happiness"
Variant Edition C of “Happiness,” in hand-painted stamped leather, instead of “white calf”
Title page of Edition B of "Happiness"
Title page of Edition B of “Happiness,” with the frontispiece photo of the Stevenson monument
Possibly Edition C of "Happiness", in green paper wraps instead of "sultan"
Variant Edition A of “Happiness”, in green paper wraps instead of “sultan”
Pages 8-9 of "Happiness"
Pages 8-9 of “Happiness”

Friendship

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”

Love & Friendship

Cover of "Love & Friendship"
Cover of “Love & Friendship”

If one had to choose a prototypical Paul Elder gift title, elegant yet undemanding of the reader, Lillyan Shaffner’s Love & Friendship (1910) would be a perfect choice. Indeed, I have many Elders inscribed, for example, “to Miss Hopkins, from Charles Johnson.” How better to court the lady of your dreams but with a lovely little booklet that can be read in a single evening?

Perhaps that is the biggest reason that Paul Elder printed so many volumes of aphorisms and quotations. As has been noted in previous posts, Elder had quite a fondness for them, and compiled and edited many collections himself.

Frontispiece and title page of "Love & Friendship"
Frontispiece and title page of “Love & Friendship”

The wraparound decorations are by Harold Sichel, one of Elder’s favorite artists; his HS monogram appears at the bottom of the page. The typography and two-color design are by the exacting printer John Henry Nash. Love & Friendship is one of many booklets that came in matching envelopes, such as the one pictured below.

Pages 4-5 of "Love & Friendship"
Pages 4-5 of “Love & Friendship”

I have been unable to locate any information on the author, Lillyan Shaffner.

Matching envelope for "Love & Friendship"
Matching envelope for “Love & Friendship”

Christmasse Tyde

Cover of "Christmasse Tyde" with special gift ribbon and greeting card attached
Cover of “Christmasse Tyde” with special gift ribbon and greeting card attached

Paul Elder had a genuine predilection for collections of quotations. Perhaps they sold well, and no doubt Elder wanted to distinguish the Tomoye Press with original works. (To be sure, Paul Elder & Company sold traditional literature as well—all the great works from Shakespeare on down, including contemporary authors—but those were from other publishing houses. Elder, in general, did not publish works that had been previously published elsewhere.)

Jennie Day Haines authored six collections of quotations for Elder. She was born Jennie Elizabeth Day in New York on 26 May 1853 and was an honor student at the Normal College of New York in 1871. She married William Pitt Haines in 1873, and later lived in New Rochelle, New York and to Derby, Connecticut.

Christmasse Tyde title frontis
Frontispiece and title page of “Christmasse Tyde”. Artwork by Gordon Ross.

The printer at the Tomoye Press was John Henry Nash. He was a master at the mitred rule: the straight line with the end cut at a 45° angle, so that perpendicular rules would fit together precisely. Look at the complicated gridwork of mitred rules on the title page: fitting the corners is the hardest part, and Nash made it look easy.

Special gift box for "Christmasse Tyde"
Special gift box for “Christmasse Tyde”

The weakest part of Christmasse Tyde is the typography. The text type is called Washington Text—ironic, because the typeface is only suitable as a display type. Paul Elder must have loved it, however, because it often appears in his publications during the first decade of the 1900s. I don’t know the name of the uncial typeface used in the title page and headers, but its readability is even worse than Washington Text. Still, Nash’s exacting rule grid make the page pleasant to look at.

Special gift box with "doors" opened to reveal the book within
Special gift box with “doors” opened to reveal the book within

“Merrie Christmasse Tyde” and “Happie New Yeare” to all from paulelder.org.

page 84-85 of "Christmasse Tyde". Note the copious use of mitred rules enclosing the header and text
page 84-85 of “Christmasse Tyde”. Note the copious use of mitred rules enclosing the header and text

 

Charity

Charity cover
Rear (left) and front covers of the pamphlet “Charity”

Today we gather as families and communities and give thanks for what we have. I urge you to take time to help those less fortunate. The Chronicle Season of Sharing Fund, now in its 26th year, provides one-time, temporary assistance to those experiencing an unexpected crisis. All of the Fund’s administrative expenses are covered by the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund and the San Francisco Chronicle. As a result, 100% of the money raised by the Chronicle Season of Sharing Fund goes directly to help the families and communities it serves.

Charity p08
Pages 8-9 of “Charity”

Charity (1911) is one of many pamphlets of inspirational quotes published by Paul Elder & Co. The verses were chosen by Beulah Warner, of whom nothing else is known. The distinctive typeface is called Washington Text, and the green decorations are by Charles Frank Ingerson (re-used from A Book of Hospitalities in 1910).

I wish you a warm, happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

Charity envelope
Matching envelope for “Charity”