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Book publishers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries used a number of means to promote their latest works. Trade magazines such as Publishers' Weekly were packed with the latest publishers' offerings. Some companies sent out fliers to bookstores and potential customers. Altemus mainly used inserts placed into books. Sometimes these consisted of a mini-catalogue of books. Other times the ads were a single sheet advertising several books. Although I have accumulated a number of these over the years, I am convinced that what you see here is just the tip of the ad iceberg.

During the 90 plus year history of the Altemus publishing firm it published more than books, photographic albums, Bibles etc. Altemus not only bound books for others in the early years but produced numerous items under the Altemus & Co. imprint for others needing paper items. In this section some of these items will be shown.


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Date Series Information
15 Sep 2007 NS

Non Series #28- Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress


This ad from December 1890 in Publisher's Weekly highlights Pilgrim's Progress. This ad shows the cover of the first Altemus edition of this title.

Also noted in the ad is the second volume of the Idle Hours Series (#107) -published in 1891 and the Dore Masterpieces (Series #79).


24 Jun 2007 NS

Non Series #9 - Annie Besant


Henry Altemus did not advertise extensively in trade journals. I intend at this time to begin posting some of their ads. This one is for a rather uncommonly found Altemus book. This title can be found in the non series section. The ad is from the main trade periodical of the era- Publishers' Weekly in 1895.


06 Jun 2007 63

Children of the Bible Series


A wonderful 2 page pamphlet advertising the 10 books of the Children of the Bible Series has been discovered within a Series #137 book (One Syllable Series). This advertisement, as shown below, lists the titles and includes some pictures that are found in several of the books. It is unclear as to the exact date of this piece. The half vellum books were published for a number of years beginning in 1905. The catalogue lists 25 cents as the book price until the teens although the books themselves list 25 cents as well as 50 cents during this era.

I would guess 1905-1912 date.

Advertisements like this probably exist for most Altemus series of the early 1900s and teens. They are exceedingly scarce.


12 May 2007 56

Boys and Girls Booklovers Series


A new advertising flyer has been discovered for series #56. It was found in a Young People's Library-Format 3 book which was published in 1905.
This two page pamphlet notes that books #17-21 were in preparation meaning that the earlier numbered books were published in a separate print run- probably early 1905- whereas the last few books were probably published together in late 1905.





05 May 2007 NS



Here is yet another check printed by Altemus & Co. at the turn of the century. This one is of interest because the company the check was issued for was in New Jersey as opposed to Pennsylvania.


01 May 2007 NS



Here is a stock certificate printed by Altemus & Co. in 1897.


30 Apr 2007 NS



Here is another check published by Altemus & Company for a Philadelphia bank. This was printed at the turn of the century. Although the books had the Henry Altemus imprint, the paper items had the Altemus & Company imprint.


18 Apr 2007 NS



This check was printed by Altemus & Co. as noted by the imprint on the bottom left. Most of the printing work done by Altemus was for Philadelphia companies.


14 Apr 2007 0

Multi-series Altemus Ads


This ad includes: Series 93- Gertrude Smith's Bible Stories, Series 124- Little Bunnie Bunniekin Series, Series 128- Magic Drawing Book Series, Series 138- Painting Book Series, Series 144- Piffle Dot Drawing Books-First Series, Series 145- Piffle's Dot Drawing Books-Second Series, Series 186- Wee Books for Wee Folks (third format), Series 187- Wee Folks Bible Stories Series, Series 189- Wee Folks Peter Rabbit Series, Series 190- Wish Fairy Series, Series 199- Young Folks Puzzle Picture Series

This accordion style advertising pamphlet has 8 sides (4 pages). The individual sheets are 5 x 3.5 with the total length being 14 inches. There are 11 series advertised within the flyer. Based on the books listed it appears that this is a 1922 piece. Jack the Giant Killer in the Wee Folks Cinderella Series was published in 1922. The next book in that series Jack and the Beanstalk was also published in 1922 but is not listed.

This pamphlet was apparently given to local book dealers who could imprint their name on it. See the ad.

This flyer is exceptionally rare as compared to the juvenile series book flyers seen in this section.


11 Apr 2007 78

Dore Masterpieces


Most of the 7 books which comprise the Dore Masterpieces Series have been found with advertising flyers within them. This was not uncommon for Altemus books in this era. I have seen Dore flyers in several different styles.

1. Single page one sided flyers. There exist single advertising sheets for The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Idylls of the King. These are 10.5 x 6.

2. Single sheet - two sided ads. This ad includes the 6 Dore Masterpieces and has Bunyan's Pilgrims Progress. This ad does not list the presentation editions and thus was from 1892 or later. They are 6.25 x 5.

3. Two 4 sided pamphlets have been seen. They list the same books-The Dore Bible Gallery, Paradise Lost, Dante's Inferno and Dante's Purgatory and Paradise. They both note the presentation editions. There are two differences: at the top of each page one says- NEW EDITION whereas the other states-ALTEMUS' EDITION. The other difference is that the extra fine English Cloth books are priced at $4.00 in the former ads and $6.00 in the latter ads. Although one would assume that the higher price would signify a later date, there are no advertisements that ever showed the English Cloth book listed at $6.00. Thus, the ads can be assumed to be early in the publication history of these books but they cannot be dated precisely. Examples of pages are shown below.

4. One advertising flyer has been seen that has 8 panels. It includes all 7 of the Dore Masterpiece Books as well as Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. Interestingly, the heading at the top of each page says either "new edition" or "Altemus edition". Books #1-4 are listed as Altemus Editions and they have the $6.00 price. Thus this flyer is of the same vintage as the ad #3 above that said Altemus Edition. The ads for The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Idylls of the King are identical to the single sheet ads.


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