...while others easily fit in the palm of my hand.
Old Wedgwood, by Frederick Rathbone (1898), just might be the largest book in the collection. It's 20 inches high, almost 15 inches wide, and a solid 2 inches thick! Rathbone was the foremost expert on Wedgwood china at the turn of the century, and the book is a comprehensive biographical and historical account of the company and its founder. But the highlight of the book is the 67 full-page colored engravings of beautiful 18th-century Wedgwood pieces—vases, plaques, coffee pots, urns, cameos, and statues.
|Plate VIII: Three déjeûner pieces (1790s)|
|Plate XII: Vase in grey-blue jasper, with reliefs of the Muses, etc. (1782)|
This particular copy of Old Wedgwood is signed by Frederick Rathbone and was given by him to Alice’s friend Emma Hodge and her sister, Jene Bell.
These next two books, at 4 by 3 inches, are pretty wee compared to Ol’ Wedgwood (but still not the smallest!).
|William B. Tappan, Poems of the Heart (1845)|
Rev. William Bingham Tappan was (in the words of one of his contemporaries) “the most industrious and voluminous of our religious poets.” Tappan (1794-1849) was the Superintendent of the American Sunday School Union; most of his verses are religious in nature and many concern the work of missionaries (“The Missionary’s Grave in the Desert”) and the temperance movement (“Song of the Three Hundred Thousand Drunkards in the United States”). He was also a prolific writer of hymns.
|A Lady, Teachers' Offering;|
or Interesting Stories for School Children (1854)
Children’s literature as we know it today began to emerge in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. New ideas about the innocence of childhood along with new educational theories led to a burgeoning marketplace of entertaining and instructive books aimed at children. Many of these books were sternly moralistic; in one of the tales in Teachers’ Offering, a young boy is “deprived of the use of his feet” as punishment for carelessness. Children would have to wait until the later 19th century for more humorous and imaginative stories of fantasy and adventure.
|Hardly bigger than a dew-drop!|
These books, along with many other treasures large and small, are on view at the Alice Tuesdays through Saturdays.