Henry Altemus Company


Peter Rabbit Books


During Altemus’ publishing history Peter Rabbit books were part of eight different series. In addition there were a couple of Non Series editions.

Henry Altemus published the first American piracy of The Tale of Peter Rabbit in 1904 as part of the Wee Books for Wee Folks Series. Each of the other series that Peter Rabbit was part of is described below as well as elsewhere on the website.

Frederick Warne & Company failed to obtain a copyright for their version of The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Capitalizing on this blunder, Henry Altemus published its version of this book as part of its 6 volume Wee Books for Wee Folks Series which was introduced in 1904. This 1904 Altemus version of The Tale of Peter Rabbit was copied from Warne's fourth printing of Peter Rabbit from 1903. It had the identical text and pictures. This edition even copied the format style of having a blank page before each page of text and and after each illustration. These 50 cent books could be purchased in two volume boxed sets or singly. Peter Rabbit was boxed with The Foolish Fox. This boxed set is among the rarest of Altemus items.

Information on the Tale of Peter Rabbit American first edition can be found at http://henryaltemus.com/peter_rabbit/peterrabbit.htm.

The series Peter Rabbit appeared in were:

#70. Colorful Story Books
#71. Juvenile Quartos
#138. Painting Book Series
#145. Piffle Book Series
#172. Story Book Series
#185. Wee Books for Wee Folks (First and Second formats)
#186. Wee Books for Wee Folks (Third format)
#189. Wee Folks Peter Rabbit Series (Twenty titles)
#199. Young Folks Puzzle Pictures' Series

I have divided the Altemus Peter Rabbit books into four sections.

1. Wee Books Peter Rabbit books

I have divided this group into two parts. The first is for the books that were included in the Wee Books for Wee Folks Series (Series #185 and Series #186).
The second part discusses the books that are within the Wee Folks Peter Rabbit Series: Series #189- http://henryaltemus.com/series/series189.htm

a.) The Wee Books for Wee Folks "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" is discussed at http://henryaltemus.com/peter_rabbit/peterrabbit.htm. A few additional points can be added here.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit books from 1904 and including the second edition of the second format into at least 1916 have the same 31 illustrations within the book. They also have the blank pages between the pictures. Sometime late in the second edition, second format run (after 1916) there were no blank pages between the pictures and the later revised pictures were used.




Commencing with the Second edition-third format The Tale of Peter Rabbit and continuing into the Wee Books Peter Rabbit Tale of Peter Rabbit the 31 illustrations are changed.




Here are examples of a picture change. I have used the frontispiece picture from the Tale of Peter Rabbit. The 1907 copyrighted books have a picture on the wall. In the Wee Books for Wee Folks Series/Peter Rabbit Series the earliest books have lines on the wall and a brown cup. The later books have no lines and the cup is red.




1907 copyright


Remember all Altemus books with the "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" title have the 1904 copyright on the title page.

b.)The Wee Folks Peter Rabbit Series is a 20 book series of Peter Rabbit adventures published between 1918 and 1931. All of the various titles and format information can be found at http://henryaltemus.com/series/series189.htm.





2. Copyright 1907 books.

This category includes a number of seemingly different formats of Peter Rabbit books. I have arbitrarily placed them together for two reasons. The first is that they all give their copyright as 1907. In addition, they all have the same illustrations although some are line drawn in black and white while others are colored.

a). The primary and first book in this group is the 1907 The Tale of Peter Rabbit with Puzzle Pictures. Series #199 Young Folks Puzzle Pictures' Series (http://henryaltemus.com/series/series199.htm) consisted of 5 books.




This is the only book in this group that was actually published in 1907. There are 31 illustrations each of which has a hidden picture within it. They are all black and white. For example, this one




Notice the the hidden picture of Peter Rabbit just below Mrs. Rabbit.

Here are the other Peter Rabbit books copyrighted in 1907.


Dust Jacket



b).The Tale of Peter Rabbit. This large (9.5 x 7.75) cloth book has been seen in three colors-red, beige, and grey. A line drawn cover picture of Peter jumping near a plant and water can is noted. This book has the usual 31 pictures in 63 pages. This Peter Rabbit is a second format book from Series #113- Juvenile Quartos Series (http://henryaltemus.com/series/series113.htm). A non series variant with the same red cover but with blank pages between each picture exists. This latter book has 125 pages. These books were published pre-1915.

c). Peter Rabbit Painting Book (http://henryaltemus.com/series/series138.htm). This book was published in 1915. It is beige with an applique (paste-on) picture of Peter Rabbit on the cover. It is 9.25 x 7. This book has twelve illustrations. Each one appears twice. One already colored in and the same picture opposite on the next page just line drawn awaiting coloring.




d.) The Tale of Peter Rabbit. There are two books listed here that have appliques on the front cover. One is larger (9.25 x 7) while the smaller book is 8.5 x 6.5. The cover pictures are different. These books were published in 1920-1921. They are first format books from the Juvenile Quartos Series (http://henryaltemus.com/series/series113.htm). They included all 31 pictures.





e.) This non series The Tale of Peter Rabbit (7.5 x 5.5) has been seen in two formats. Both have all 31 pictures but one has the alternating blank pages seen in the earlier editions. The covers are the same and not seen with other Peter Rabbit books. See picture.




f). This book was published starting in 1930 as part of Series #113 The Juvenile Quartos Series (http://henryaltemus.com/series/series113.htm). It is in Format 3 of the series. It has a buckram binding with a full cover applique. The same 31 pictures are noted in the book. They are colored however. The book is 8.25 x 6.25




3. Piffle's Series book

The Piffle's Peter Rabbit Dot Drawing Book was published in 1920 as part of the second series of The Piffle Dot Drawing Books. It has 31 follow the dot pictures. The pictures are different from those noted in other books but the text in this book is the same as the other The Tale of Peter Rabbits (http://henryaltemus.com/series/series145.htm).




4. Compilation books

These are books that contained a number of different Peter Rabbit Stories.




The Peter Rabbit Story Book was part of the two volume Story Book Series (#172). It was published in 1924. This oversized book has an applique encompassing its entire front cover. The end papers are plain. (The Platt and Munk reprint of this volume has endpapers illustrated by the Decorative Designers.) See: http://www.henryaltemus.com/series/series172.htm

There are 14 Peter Rabbit stories in this volume. They are all part of the Wee Folks Peter Rabbit Series. Of course, the first four stories were initially part of the Wee Books for Wee Folks Series. The stories included are the first 14 books in the Wee Folks Peter Rabbit Series. They were copyrighted between 1904 and 1924.

Each story includes a line drawn multicolored pictured which corresponds to the color illustration that is on the cover and dust jacket of the corresponding book.





The second compilation book is The Peter Rabbit Playtime Story Book. It is book #5 in the six book Colorful Story Books Series. http://henryaltemus.com/series/series70.htm. It was published in 1931.

This book is blindstamped with a multicolored pictorial dust jacket. The cover has been seen in several different colors. The text and illustrations are on glossy paper. The stories included are:
1. The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1)
2. When Peter Rabbit Went A-Fishing (14)
3. Peter Rabbit's Holiday (17)
4. Peter Rabbit and the Little Girl (19)
5. Peter Rabbit's Wedding Day(18)

The numbers in parentheses indicate the number of the book in the Wee Folks Peter Rabbit Series.

In this book each story is accompanied by a number of colored illustrations from the original book.



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Last Revision January 11, 2010