‘International Library of Famous Literature’ (1898)

A while back I was scouring auction sites and came across this wee gem in one based in New York City. It was really the antique picnic case I was interested in and it was selling so cheap I decided , “Why not?” It became mine for less than $10. I wasn’t bothered about the books as I was fully on the quest for Scottish literature by this point. I took them to my late friend Harry’s for him to peruse in case he was interested in taking them off my hands. It wasn’t long before it became clear to the both of us that I wouldn’t be parting with them after all. There are lots of fantastic wee glimpses into authors I’ve been introduced to via my passion for all things historically Scottish-related as well as others I’d already been into prior to finding said passion, Alexander Pope, par exemple.

I thought I’d get the box out of hiding and see what pictures I could obtain from the books included before I take to writing up some of the attached literature at a later date. The series is the ‘International Library of Famous Literature’, copyright 1898, and it is varied in scope. I tried to do a quick catalogue of contents within each volume but some are so mixed from all over Europe and USA that I focused mainly on those related to the site to narrow my field some (with an exception being made for the Central Park picture I just liked). The pictures are great and came out nice and clean looking.

The case itself is sturdy regardless of how battered it looks. The leather edging comes off easily in a very red-looking powder so it’s something I have to be careful with when using. It has locks that pop open with a very satisfyingly strong mechanism. The wee dookits round the edges to hold drinking vessels, cutlery, condiments, &c. and that in the lid to hold the plates and napkins are edged with elastic that’s no longer as suited to its task. Nice thing to have been able to obtain. I can’t recommend the odd wee check of online auction sites enough.

 

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19th century picnic case. Lacquered tweed encased with dark red leather trim and handle. No branding, visible marks or maker’s label. Tag is auction house’s identification.

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19th century picnic case. Lacquered tweed encased with dark red leather trim and handle. No branding, visible marks or maker’s label.Tag is auction house’s identification.

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19th century picnic case, interior. Dark blue gingham-lined with dookits in which to stash your bits and bobs. Also straps to secure your plates or dinner. The lid is one big pocket. Debris is just your bog standard old book detritus. It’s a down-side to the interest meaning you tend to leave a dusty trail wherever you take some of the less cared-for publications.
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19th century picnic case, contents. The full set wasn’t included but we have Vols.; 1&2, 4-9, 12, 15-20, with 20 being the total number in the original set, meaning  I may need to keep my eyes out for Vols.; 3, 10&11, 13&14.

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D. Mitchell & A. Lang (1898), ‘International Library of Famous Literature’, Vol. 1, New York: Merrill and Baker, Publisher’s Page. As they’re all the same I’ll not bore you with those of the other 14 volumes.

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D. Mitchell & A. Lang (1898), ‘International Library of Famous Literature’, Vol. 4, New York: Merrill and Baker, Vol. 4, Andrew Lang, one of the set’s writers and translator of some of the texts published. He was a Scottish poet and literary man.

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D. Mitchell & A. Lang (1898), ‘International Library of Famous Literature’, Vol. 5, New York: Merrill and Baker, Vol. 5, Mary, Queen of Scots, Engraved by Frederick Delaunay.

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D. Mitchell & A. Lang (1898), ‘International Library of Famous Literature’, Vol. 7, New York: Merrill and Baker, Vol. 7, Chevalier de Grammont and Miss Hamilton. The Hamilton’s, specifically Alexander, was exiled as a Jabobite to France.

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D. Mitchell & A. Lang (1898), ‘International Library of Famous Literature’, Vol. 8, New York: Merrill and Baker, Alexander Pope, the translator of the ‘Iliad of Homer‘ (1756) volumes I’d collected when my focus was on Greek Classical history.

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D. Mitchell & A. Lang (1898), ‘International Library of Famous Literature’, Vol. 9, New York: Merrill and Baker, Full-length portrait of Dr. Samuel Johnson in the Dress worn by him in his Journey to the Hebrides‘.

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D. Mitchell & A. Lang (1898), ‘International Library of Famous Literature’, Vol. 9, New York: Merrill and Baker, [James] Boswell, [Samuel] Johnson, and [Oliver] Goldsmith.

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D. Mitchell & A. Lang (1898), ‘International Library of Famous Literature’, Vol. 12, New York: Merrill and Baker, Wallace Monument, Stirling.

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D. Mitchell & A. Lang (1898), ‘International Library of Famous Literature’, Vol. 12, New York: Merrill and Baker, Sir Walter Scott, From a Painting by P. Krämer.

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D. Mitchell & A. Lang (1898), ‘International Library of Famous Literature’, Vol. 12, New York: Merrill and Baker, Roderick Dhu’s Watchtower, Loch Katrine.

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D. Mitchell & A. Lang (1898), ‘International Library of Famous Literature’, Vol. 12, New York: Merrill and Baker, Dr. John Brown, author of ‘Rab and his Friends‘, which is a super sad wee popular story, set in Glasgow.

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D. Mitchell & A. Lang (1898), ‘International Library of Famous Literature’, Vol. 12, New York: Merrill and Baker, Robert Burns‘ Cottage.

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D. Mitchell & A. Lang (1898), ‘International Library of Famous Literature’, Vol. 12, New York: Merrill and Baker, Scene from Burns’ Tam o’ Shanter, from a  painting by John Faed;
“Nae man can tether time or tide;
The hour approaches Tam maun ride.”

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D. Mitchell & A. Lang (1898), ‘International Library of Famous Literature’, Vol. 12, New York: Merrill and Baker, Scene from Burns’ Tam o’ Shanter, from a painting by John Faed;
“Ae spring brought off her master hale,
But left behind her ain gray tail.”

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D. Mitchell & A. Lang (1898), ‘International Library of Famous Literature’, Vol. 12, New York: Merrill and Baker, ‘Auld Lichts’, from a painting by Thomas Faed.

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D. Mitchell & A. Lang (1898), ‘International Library of Famous Literature’, Vol. 15, New York: Merrill and Baker, Alloway Kirk, Ayrshire.

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D. Mitchell & A. Lang (1898), ‘International Library of Famous Literature’, Vol. 16, New York: Merrill and Baker, View in Central Park, New York.

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D. Mitchell & A. Lang (1898), ‘International Library of Famous Literature’, Vol. 12, New York: Merrill and Baker, Harriet Beecher Stowe, anyone who’s read Donald MacLeod’s ‘Gloomy Memories‘ will have heard of this person. He devotes some time to answering her defense of the Land-clearance Lords HERE.

 

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