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Re: [BKARTS] Monogram "M" "S" in Day's Work Series



Dear Valinda,

You are fortunate to get this book, and of course Hampton is the right place for it, as well as the Dunbars. The Hampton Institute was exceptionally important during this period, and the Hampton Institute Camera Club was responsible for the photographs illustrating many of Dunbar's books.

It's a charming design, and also is on the red cloth version. The artist "MS" is unknown. It's possible to speculate, and the only name that comes to mind who had those initials and was working around 1900 (which was the publication date of this book) was Maud Hunt Squire (1873-1955), who worked in New York as a book illustrator before she moved to Paris. She sometimes worked jointly with her lifelong companion Ethel Mars, whom she met as a fellow student at the Cincinnati Art Academy in the 1890's.

As it happens, there is a review in the August 3 New York Times by Grace Glueck of an exhibition of their work in NYC at the Mary Ryan Gallery on 57th St. through Nov. 22.
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CE3DC1639F930A35752C1A9669C8B63


We have no documented proof of Squire ever having used the MS monogram, but she was in the right business at the right time. She was certainly capable of doing that particular cover (as were several other designers who didn't have those initials). Look at the Squire and Mars design on _The Adventures of Ulysses_ (1902), (from my collection and catalog _American Decorated Publishers' Bindings 1872-1929_, now at the University of Alabama Library):
http://minsky.com/catalog/adventures-of-ulysses-400.jpg
The simple decorative motif on the spine is similar to the leaf element in the corners of the design on the book you inquired about, and of a few of the other leaves.


On the other hand, I know of no books that Squire illustrated for L.C. Page nor of any other cover designs she did for them. I have heard of only one other book monogrammed MS, from 1914. That doesn't mean MS didn't do many books, as many bindings were not monogrammed.

Sorry I can't be of more definitive help.

Best regards,

Richard

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Boston: L.C. Page "Day's Work Series" edition of Booker T. Washington's Sowing and Reaping. The cloth covering is a warm olive-gray "natural linen" color with an Arts and Crafts floral design (looks like blue chicory flowers). Unlike the Margaret Armstrong and Alice Morse designs on our Paul Lawrence Dunbar poems, the name of the designer cannot be found anywhere that I have looked. The monogram consists of "M" and "S" on either side of a green stem.
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