Of Feminist and African-American Interest, One of Eight on Vellum and Beautifully Bound


(Boston: Bruce Humphries, 1931). 212 x 140 mm. (8 1/2 x 5 1/2"). xxx, 213, [1] pp.Edited by William Stanley Braithwaite, with a foreword by Rev. Hugh Francis Blunt, and with an introduction by Ralph Adams Cram, Litt. D. ST. AGNES EDITION. ONE OF 25 COPIES ON VELLUM (this copy unnumbered) signed by the editors, from a total edition of 575 copies.

APPEALING DARK BLUE CRUSHED MOROCCO, EXTRAVAGANTLY GILT, BY THE HARCOURT BINDERY (stamp-signed on verso of front free endpaper), covers with strapwork cross, an urn of ivy at its crossbeams, surrounded by myriad small tools, raised bands, spine gilt in compartments with urn centerpiece and scrolling cornerpieces, gilt titling, turn-ins with gilt rules and decorative rolls, red watered silk endleaves, top edge gilt. With a hand-colored portrait of the dedicatee, Mary Emelda Curley (1883-1930), wife of Boston mayor James M. Curley. Tiny cracks at top of joints, one page with tiny printer's smudge, two leaves with minor defects to printing (not affecting legibility), otherwise a very fine copy--the vellum creamy, smooth, and bright, and the scarcely worn binding glittering with gilt.

Printed on creamy vellum and attractively bound by a leading New England workshop, this is the deluxe edition of a wide-ranging collection of poems by Catholic nuns, some of which offer a feminine view of the realms of Catholic theology. Dedicated to the recently deceased wife of a flamboyant and famously corrupt Boston mayor, this anthology was edited by the African-American poet, editor, publisher, and critic William Stanley Braithwaite (1878-1962), who strove to raise the profile of American poetry and to establish its merits. Monsignor Hugh Francis Blunt (1877-1957), the author of the foreword here, was himself a respected poet who won the Marian Poetry Prize in 1919 and the Catholic Press Poetry Prize in 1929. He was also the author of several popular works related to women and the Church, including "The Great Magdalens: Famous Women Who Returned to God Following a Life of Sin" and "Great Wives and Mothers." The deluxe bindings for the vellum copies of this edition were executed by Boston's Harcourt Bindery, founded in 1900 to provide hand bookbinding services for the publications of the burgeoning number of private presses produced by the Arts & Crafts Movement in New England. Not surprisingly, copies of the strictly limited vellum printing of this title are very scarce: RBH and ABPC record just three copies sold at auction since 1965.

Keywords: Poetry