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Yacht Colors of the World, [together with] Fancy Dress Ball Costumes, [together with] Musical Instruments of the World (Three books in one)
Durham, NC and New York: W. Duke, Sons & Co. Printed by Knapp & CO., NY. First Edition. Wraps. Very Good Plus. N.d., circa late 1880s. Oblong 8vo. (7 by 10 inches, 17 by 26 cm.) 22 pp., plus wraps, which also have chromolithographic imagery. Reproduction of three different series of cigarette cards issued by the Duke company, which was a pioneer in the mass production of cigarettes and the namesake of Duke University, among other things. Cigarette cards were a promotional tool of cigarette companies, and as an extra gift of sorts with the purchase of a box of cigarettes, an instant collectible. In the these three book renderings of the cards, the cards are artfully placed on the page with a backdrop of period arts and craft decoration that also incorporates, and accentuates, the theme of the particular collection of cards. Thus with the Yacht series, we have some sailing motives as well as more generic Morris-esque decoration. Slightly more elaborate, and also impressive, is the background used for musical instruments. In cards from all three series, comely women are featured, and in the first two series, the women are all famous and popular actresses of the day, and they are identified by name. (In the third series, they are unnamed but probably actresses as well.) Thus we find the likes of Lillian Russell, Mojeska, Julia Marlowe, and many other former celebrities whom posterity has not treated so kindly. From the images of these women, whether or not named, we catch a glimpse at a past standard of beauty, and one that is quite a different aesthetic from our own, although many of the women depicted would still undoubted be soft on the modern eye. The fancy dress ball series is probably the most visually interesting, with its idiosyncratic, eccentric hats that play on literally and loosely a designated name such as "The Watermelon", with a quarter watermelon atop Rose Coghlan's head, "What's the Ante", with five cards afloat Nanine Palmer's coif, or "The Glorious Fourth", with rocket shapes arising from the noggin of Violet Cameron. On the other hand, the musical instrument series is the most visually integrated of the three, with its lively backsplashes of color. Most of the leaves have eight to ten card images, with four of the leaves feature a single image of a lovely pulchritude. The imagery is entirely on the rectos, excepting the rear wrap. Rebacked with cloth. Corner chip on rear cover by spine. One minor closed tear also on rear cover. Minor wear besides.
      [Bookseller: White Fox Rare Books and Antiques ]
Last Found On: 2017-08-22           Check availability:      ABAA    

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