Price and Provenance 5

Miles and Miles and Miles and Miles and Miles and Miles

In the first few posts in this series, I have featured an edition of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park published by Miles and Miles, a very poorly documented London publisher of Prize books, who seemed to be active during the Edwardian era. In this blog, I am looking at two other Miles and Miles books in my collection. The three Miles and Miles books that I have are shown in Figure 1 below. The top row shows the top board of the binding and the bottom row shows the end papers for the three books.

It is obvious from the appearance of these three books that the design of the top boards is identical for all three books, with the only difference being the background colour. Note that although the end-papers for the three books are all similar in style, they are in fact different in pattern and colour. For all three books, all of the page edges have been gilded, both to protect them from dust and to enhance the external appearance. This is generally referred to in book descriptions as a.e.g (all edges gilt), as compared with t.e.g. (top edge gilt) which is also commonly found in books of this period.

I would hope that everyone reading this would know that Jane Austen was the author of Mansfield Park. I doubt that many people would be able to identify the authors of the other two books, until they read a bit more of this posting.

There are many published accounts of Captain Cook’s three great voyages, and most of them are not written by Captain James Cook (1728-1779) himself, although they draw heavily on his own journals and other accounts, particularly that by Joseph Banks and John Hawkworth, which was first published in 1773, in Cook’s lifetime.

Macaria was a famous book in its day, but it has now been largely forgotten. Does anyone remember the author today? To put you out of your suspense, the answers are on the title pages of the three books, which are shown below in Figure 2.

The three title pages are generally similar in layout and look like a fairly plain standard title page of the Edwardian period. The publisher and address lines are identical on all three title pages and read “LONDON: |MILES & MILES | Foresters’ Hall Place, Clerkenwell Road, E.C.” There is no printed date of publication on the title page or anywhere else in the books. None of the books has a frontispiece or any other illustrations, nor are there any advertisements bound into the books or any identification of the name or address of the printer.

Macaria was written by Augusta J. Evans Wilson, whom we are told, was also the author of “Beulah,” “St. Elmo,” “Infelice,” etc. Captain Cook’s Three Voyages Around the World was written by Lieutenant Charles R. Low, who was “(Late) H.M. Indian Navy, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and Member of the Royal United Services Institute.”

In order to complete the documentation of the books we need to look at the text blocks. Macaria was published as 36 chapters printed in 380 pages. Captain Cook’s Voyages was published as sequential accounts of each of the three voyages, with no sub-division into chapters, in 512 pages. Mansfield Park was published as 48 consecutive chapters in 443 pages. This arrangement for Mansfield Park is quite common, although you also sometimes see it published with the text divided into three volumes, which was the arrangement in the first edition of 1814.

The first page of the text block is shown in Figure 3 below. It is apparent from these pages that Macaria and Mansfield Park both have a similar look, with a decoration at the top of the title page. A similar decoration is repeated at the top of the first page of each chapter in both books. Captain Cook’s Voyages does not have a decoration on the first page, nor on any of the subsequent pages.

Origin of the text blocks in these books.

It is clear from the images in Figure 3 above that Macaria and Mansfield Park are stylistically very similar, particularly in terms of the ornamentation at the top of the page. In these two books, there is also ornamentation at the bottom of the final page of each chapter. For Macaria, the chapter headings and the chapter ending designs are floral. For Mansfield Park, the ornamentation is classical in appearance with a range of different embedded emblems. It should also be noted in Figure 3 that Mansfield Park has a decorated initial capital to start every chapter, whereas Macaria has a plain initial capital.

In Price and Provenance 4, I showed that the Miles and Miles edition of Mansfield Park was printed from the same stereotype plates that were used to print Routlege and Sons’ 1883 edition of Mansfield Park, identified as Gilson E62, as well as the later Routledge “Steventon edition” of Jane Austen from around 1890.

Yet another variant of Routledge’s Mansfield Park Gilson E62

I have also recently acquired another “mystery” Routledge edition of Mansfield Park printed from those same stereotype plates, this time in a plain half-cloth binding of brown and black, and with a title page that differs from the “Steventon Editions” that I have shown in Price and Provenance 2, and the original 1883 edition of Gilson E62. This edition, indicated as part of “Routledge’s Edition of Jane Austen’s Novels” on the verso of the title page, also has a frontispiece which shows Edmond Bertram and Fanny Price with a necklace. This was described as the cover design of the original soft wrapper-bound Gilson E62, and was reported by Gilson to be present as a frontispiece of a cloth-bound variant edition of E62 at Harvard University’s Widener Library. Images of my new “mystery” edition are shown in Figure 4 below.

The title page gives the publisher’s details as “London| George Routledge and Sons, Limited |Broadway, Ludgate Hill | Glasgow, Manchester and New York”. From the information on my George Routledge Publisher page, this form of the publisher’s address suggests a publication date between 1889 and 1892. This is confirmed by the printer’s details on the bottom of the last page, which is given as “Woodfall & Kinder, Printers, 70 to 76 Long Acre, London W.C.” This address is indicative of the period 1888-1900. The frontispiece is clearly different in style as well as showing a completely different image from the slightly later Routledge edition shown in the left hand panel of Figure 5 of Price and Provenance 2. The book shown in figure 4 also had a four page block of publisher’s advertisements bound at the end. These are shown in Figure 5 below. An analysis of the books listed show that they were mostly first published much earlier than the 1890s. The latest one I can identify is Eighty-seven by Pansy, which was first published by Routledge in 1892.

From all of this evidence and the relative crispness of the printing, I would place this book as being published earlier than the Mansfield Park with the Sydney Carter frontispiece and the Routledge Colophon published between 1903 and 1906. Clearly the date 1892 is the most likely.

Janine Barchas, in her book The Lost Books of Jane Austen (2019), has identified several Miles and Miles books that were also printed and published by Lever Brothers between 1890 and 1897. She suspected that they were all printed from Routledge stereotype plates. She lists 100 titles that were advertised as published by Lever Brothers in 1897 on pages 107-108 of her book. Sadly for me, neither Macaria nor Captain Cook’s Voyages appear on that list. However, it is interesting that four of her 100 titles do appear in the list of the Pansy Books above. (They are Four Girls at Chatauqua, Little Fishers and Their Nets, Three People and The Chatauqua Girls at Home.) This again suggests a link between Routledge, Lever Brother and Miles and Miles when it comes to the use of the same sterotype plates.

Routledge editions of Macaria or Captain Cook’s Voyages

If my thesis is correct, then we should be able to find Routledge editions of Macaria by Augusta J Evans Wilson or Captain Cook’s Voyages by Charles Low. The easiest way to look for these is to search WorldCat.org; it is free, easy to use and searches the contents of tens of thousands of libraries world-wide. You can organise the return from the search to list the books found in order of the closeness of the library to your location. You may then to be able to interrogate the database of your local library to find out more about the book and also be able to call or reserve it for your inspection. I then followed up with a search of books offered for sale by Abe Books at AbeBooks.com to find images and details of copies of these books that might be examined or bought. In the remainder of this post, I will only examine Captain Cook’s Voyages.

Routledge editions of Captain Cook’s Voyages by Charles R Low

I searched for Captain Cook’s Voyage on WorldCat by clicking the Advance Search on the WorldCat home page, and then I entered “Routledge” in the keyword field, “Captain Cook’s Voyage” in the Title field and “Charles Low” in the Author field. I checked “Book” in the drop-down menu for Format, and then pressed Search. This returned details for seven different editions of Captain Cook’s Voyages by Charles Rathbone Low that were published by Routledge between 1880 and 1906. Each one was 512 pages, the same length as the Miles and Miles edition. In the entry in WorldCat on Charles Rathbone Low, nine different editions of Captain Cook’s Voyage were recorded between 1876 and 1906. I am not sure why there was this discrepancy.

I then searched for Captain Cook’s Voyages on Abe Books using the same three terms as I used for the World Cat search in the publisher, title, and author fields in AbeBooks advanced search form. This search returned 34 books, all published by Routledge, including several editions that were dated to between 1876 and 1879. There were several duplicates within the 33 books, and after looking through the list carefully and comparing it with the World Cat listing, I could identify nine or ten different versions, either impressions or editions, of Captain Cook’s Voyages published between by Routledge 1876 and 1910. All of them that gave a page count had text blocks of 512 pages.

There were quite a few different bindings on view on the Abe Books site which I show in Figure 6 above. These images are taken directly from the AbeBooks.com site. The green binding on the top left is the first edition of 1876. The brown and red decorated bindings in the middle of the top row are from 1880. The plain blue binding in the top right hand corner is from the Routledge series “Sir John Lubbocks 100 Best Books”, and is dated 1892. The light-coloured binding showing a tribal camp on the left side of the bottom row is dated 1895.The blue version of the same image is undated, but will be a reprint from about 1900. The light brown book with the white Art Nouveau image of a woman is undated but will also be around 1895-1900, and the right hand image on the bottom row is from 1906.

The first edition of 1876 had six spectacular chromolithographs as illustrations, as did the reprint of 1906. Most of the editions published in the intervening years have no illustrations, black and white illustrations or a single frontispiece only.

All of these Routledge editions have a text block of 512 pages, the same page count as the Miles and Miles edition. The inscription on the title pages of every Routledge edition that I have seen has the same description of the author’s background as the Miles and Miles edition; “(Late) H.M. Indian Navy, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and Member of the Royal United Services Institute.”. I have found no editions of this book issued by any other publishers during the period 1876 to 1910. This allows us to say that the Miles and Miles edition is derived from the Routledge plates, but does not particularly help us with its date of publication.

UPDATE on April 21st 2020. I have recently been able to examine the text block of the 1880 edition, shown in the red binding in Figure 6 above. It matches exactly the text block of the Miles and Miles edition of Captain Cook’s Voyages. This Routledge edition of 1880 will be the 4th Routledge printing, following editions, actually impressions, of 1876, 1878 and 1879. The Routledge book has a chromolithographic frontispiece, and the text block is of a much crisper and higher quality printing than the Miles and Miles edition. It was printed by Charles Dickens and Evans, Crystal Palace Press.

A clue to the date of the Miles and Miles Captain Cook’s Voyages

On the top of the title page of my copy of the Miles and Miles edition of Captain Cook’s Voyages is an ownership signature for Doris Kenyon written in ink (Figure 2 centre). It is repeated on the free front end-paper (ffep), together with a date in the same hand Aug 23, ’99. I tentatively interpret this to be 1899, rather than 1999, as the inscription is in neat writing using a pen and nib, not a ballpoint pen. This is consistent with the report by Janine Barchas of another copy of the Miles and Miles edition of Mansfield Park in the British Library with an inscription dated 1900. Janine Barchas suggested that the Lever Brothers books printed from the Routledge stereotype plates were produced between 1890 and 1897. This would imply a date of 1897 to 1899 for my copy of the Miles and Miles edition of Captain Cook’s Voyages.

I have tried to search for Doris Kenyon in family history records, but without details of where she lived, or whether Kenyon was her maiden or married name, and with no clue as to a possible birth date, other than before 1899, or is it really 1999?, there was very little hope of any positive identification. My simple search on Ancestry.com revealed dozens of possible Doris Kenyons in the UK and almost as many in the USA. I decided to stop looking.

A brief note on the author Charles Rathbone Low (1837-1918)

Charles Rathbone Low, was a author who specialised in writing about naval topics, both factual and fictional. He served as an officer in the British Indian Navy and wrote the standard history of that organisation, History of the Indian Navy, 1613-1863 , which was published in 1877, the year after his Captain Cook’s Voyages. The earliest book I can find by him is his Tales of Naval Adventure, a novel for juveniles published in 1857. He seemed to stop writing fiction by 1875, and spent the rest of his career writing military history and biography. Routledge published two of his best selling books: The Great Battles of the British Navy (1872) and Great Battles of the British Army (1908). Below is a brief biographical fragment on him from WorldCat.org:

“Charles Rathbone Low, like so many servants of the East India Company, came from an Anglo-Irish ascendancy family, with estates in county Galway. His grandmother was a daughter of the 4th Viscount Boyne, his grandfather served in H.M. 76th Foot, his father was a Major in the Bengal Native Infantry, and he himself married the daugher of a General. Charles was born at Dublin on 30th October 1837. He entered the East India Company’s Indian Navy in 1853 and saw active service against pirates.”

from The WorldCat.org “Identities” entry for Charles Rathbone Low.

In the next posting, Price and Provenance 6, I will examine the Miles and Miles edition of Macaria in more detail.


Updated 21st April 2020

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