Merrill, Frank T.; Richards, Amy. Hard Cover. Boston: Dana Estes & Company, 1907. First Edition. Near Fine / Good.
Illustrated by Frank T. Merrill. First edition. Publisher's light blue cloth and blue-gray paper-covered boards, designed by Amy Richards (author's daughter, unsigned binding) with Madonna lilies stamped in dark blue to upper cover and spine, title and author stamped in gilt, top edge gilt, rough cut edges, with frontispiece and three full-page black and white illustrations by Merrill; in original dust jacket designed to match the binding, tan jacket stamped in dark blue. Near fine book with light toning to edges of boards, very light rubbing to bottom corner of upper cover, former owner gift inscription to front pastedown; in a good jacket, missing the lower half of the spine, with chipping to head of spine, a few chips to corners and edge of front panel, vertical stain to front panel, some creasing. Overall, a nice example of the exceptionally scarce dust jacket, designed by one of the top book artists of the time period, who is also the daughter of the author. American author Laura Elizabeth Howe Richards (1850 - 1943) wrote over 90 books, including a biography of her mother, which won her the Pulitzer Prize. Richards' mother was Julia Ward Howe, who wrote the lyrics to "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," and her father was abolitionist Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe. Richards wrote many biographies, as well as poetry and stories for children. Laura Richards' daughter, Amy Richards (fl. 1896 - 1918) was an artist and designer of decorative book covers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries during the height of artistic trade bindings. Along with her contemporaries Sarah Wyman Whitman, Margaret Armstrong, and Alice Cordelia Morse, Richards is an example of how the Arts and Crafts and Aesthetic movements at the time provided new opportunities for women's employment in the arts. While publishers intended them to be a means of advertisement, the decorative bindings usually look more like artwork in and of themselves. Although today little is known of her personal life, Amy Richards is regarded as an expert in her field and is credited as the designer of at least 85 bindings.