Friday, May 3rd, 2013...9:30 am

For Philip Hofer, because he loves Maine

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Sarah Orne Jewett. Country By-ways (1887) Typ 870.87.4665The present book is a copy of the fifth edition of Country By-Ways (Typ 870.87.4665) a collection of stories about life and nature in Maine, written by Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909). Its green and brown cloth cover, for the dominant colors of Maine in Jewett’s sketches, was designed by Sarah Wyman Whitman, a close friend of the author. Country By-Way was first published in 1881 by Houghton, Mifflin and Company to the applause of the critics, and it clearly sold well. No wonder, thus, that the “Baltimore and Ohio Employes’ [sic] Free Circulating Library” acquired the present copy for its readers as indicated by the stamp printed on several pages of the book.

Sarah Orne Jewett. Country By-ways (1887) Typ 870.87.4665

Founded in 1885 in Baltimore, this innovative circulating library was intended for the employees of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Books were delivered to users wherever they were located on the Baltimore and Ohio lines within a day of their request.*

At some point, the present copy was deaccessioned (surely when the library was closed in 1931) and was acquired by Samuel Green (1910-1995), art professor at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. Perhaps it was Green, a water colorist and painter in his own right, who upon reading Jewett’s book, illustrated his copy with pen and ink drawings of the Maine scenery. Drawings have been pasted at the head of each chapter while others have been inserted within the book.

Sarah Orne Jewett. Country By-ways (1887) Typ 870.87.4665

Finally, the original front and end papers have been entirely covered with drawings.

Sarah Orne Jewett. Country By-ways (1887) Typ 870.87.4665

None of them are signed but they clearly were made by a fine draughtsman and a lover of Maine. Later Samuel Green gave his extra-illustrated copy of Country By-Ways to his friend Philip Hofer “because he loves Maine”, as Green explained in his dedicatory note. This book came to the Houghton Library in 1984 as a part of the Hofer bequest.

*My thanks to John Buchtel for having shared with me his work on the “Baltimore and Ohio Employes’ [sic] Free Circulating Library”.

Sarah Orne Jewett. Country By-ways (1887) Typ 870.87.4665

[Thanks to Caroline Duroselle-Melish, Assistant Curator of Printing & Graphic Arts, for contributing this post.]

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