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The Sunnyside Library

SOME TIME in the summer of 1877, (1) probably in July, the subsidiary company, Adams, Victor & Co., of 98 William Street (the same address as that of the parent company), made this announcement of their projected Sunnyside Library (Fig. 72):

To place before American Readers of all classes the choicest compositions of Celebrated Poets and Writers, in attractive form, and at prices unprecedented in elegant literature, will be the special province of this beautiful series. Not to popularize what is already of worldwide celebrity, but to make, literally, a Household Word of the great works of great authors, hitherto attainable only in the expensive form of bound volumes.

Each issue being devoted exclusively to the work or works of one author, is hence, Complete in Itself, forming the cheapest and most convenient edition of the author ever presented to the public.

The Library will issue rapidly and be sold by all booksellers and news dealers at the astonishingly cheap price of ten cents per single and twenty cents per double number.

It was apparently the intention of Beadle and Adams, under the firm name Adams, Victor and Co., to issue cheap reproductions of classic tales and poems, perhaps much after the style of the reprints in Munro's Seaside Library, which was started two months earlier, or the Lakeside Library, begun in 1875.

The first number of the Sunnyside Library was Thomas Moore's "Lalla Rookh." It appeared as a 32 page broadleaf, 11 ½ by 8 ¼ inches in size, without wrappers but with a woodcut illustration in black on the first page. The remaining numbers contain from 16 to 48 pages, except No. 2, which is a double number of 64 pages. There are three columns of fine type to the page. No definite interval of publication was mentioned in advertisements, but the first five numbers appeared biweekly, and the sixth and last number after an interval of a month. Apparently the American public was not ready for reprints of these classics, and the Sunnyside Library ceased publication in November, 1877. The first five numbers were poems, the last a prose translation from the German.

Fig 72.  The Sunnyside Library.
Fig 72. The Sunnyside Library
Six numbers appeared between July and October, 1877
Size of original, 11 ½ x 8 ½ inches



1 The exact date of the first number is unknown, but an advertisement in the New York Tribune of August 20, 1877, listed two numbers, and two more were announced for "next week." In an advertisement in the same paper for September 1, 1877, five were listed. All of the numbers were copyrighted in 1877.

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