Friendship's Offering: A Christmas, New Year, and Birthday Gift
New York: Leavitt & Allen, 1855. 1st Edition. 8vo. Very Good. Item #14766
A nice 1855 Gift Book, featuring literature and poetry of the days just before the Civil War.
Gift book bindings are often bright and elaborately gilded. Gift books were a display of cultural capital and, in many cases, design took precedent over content, with an emphasis on the volumes being seen rather than read. Their emphasis on aesthetic form over content was criticized by contemporaries, but their visual and material qualities were a welcome addition to many middle-class domestic spaces. An anonymous critic for The Saturday Review wrote that, "Nobody expects or wishes for originality, or depth, or learning in a Christmas book. Hallam or Grote or Milman or Darwin is not what a Christmas book is made of..."
This volume features a red leather binding, with elaborate gilt décor to both boards and spine.
Square tight binding. Clean interior. All edges gilt. Moderate rubbing and edge wear, with sporadic foxing inside. 264pp.
Overall, a beautiful example of a lost 19th-century tradition.