Sunday, January 1, 2017

Year-books for Emerson, Browning, Ruskin and Carlyle

Ann Bachelor (ed)

Carlyle Year-book (1900) direct link
Open Library main page

Ruskin Year-book (1901) direct link 
Open Library main page

Thoughts from Emerson (1902) direct link
Open Library main page

Thoughts from Browning (1903) direct link
Open Library main page

I've tried to post some kind of calendar on the first of each year but this time will go a different route. These books have selections from the writings of each specified author for every day of the year, roughly like a quote of the day but with more substantial material.  Though I've seen several similar things from roughly the same period this type of work exists today mainly in devotional books and page-a-day calendars (though I greatly wish I lived in a world where Ruskin Page-A-Day Calendars were a real thing).

About a week after writing this post a piece appeared in The New Yorker about a reprint of The Henry James Year Book.  It dates the start of the small trend for these year books to 1878 with a Tennyson one though I don't know how reliable any of the info might be.  The best part about The New Yorker piece is the author seems mostly befuddled by the whole thing - noting that the James yearbook isn't mentioned in any of the standard references (but why would it be?) and then apparently either at a loss on how to use such a book or just completely overthinking it to no real purpose.  In any case you can download your own digital copy of the original of The Henry James Year Book.

The compiler Ann Bachelor is a complete mystery.  Some librarians and bibliographers have determined that's a pseudonym for somebody named Anna Medora (Fisher) Smith (that's how it's listed) which really provides no more information.  I can't find any reason for this claim and the only other possible bit of info is a listing that suggests she may have been born in 1860.  There seems to have been a Thoughts from Mrs. Browning from the same author in 1912 but WorldCat only lists it in two libraries (Baylor and Yale) so I'd almost think this was a cataloging error except that there are contemporary listings in Publisher's Weekly and the Cumulative Book Index.  In any case it's not digitized.  (Since these are all from the same publisher and there's a nine-year gap between the two Browning books I wonder if perhaps Bachelor was a house pseudonym.)