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ELLIOTT, Maud Howe (ed.)

Art and Handicraft in the Woman's Building of the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago 1893.


Paris & New York: Goupil & Co, and Boussod, Valadon & Co, 1893 Stock Code: 131545
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A near-fine copy in the rarer blue variant binding

First edition, in the rarer blue variant binding, unsigned though attributed to the American Arts and Crafts designer Alice Cordelia Morse (1863-1961). This is the richly illustrated official handbook for the Woman's Building at the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893, in notably attractive condition.

Having lobbied hard for an official place for women in the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893, activists in Chicago succeeded in acquiring permission for the construction of a Woman's Building. It was designed by Sophia Hayden, aged twenty-one, the first female graduate of the four-year architecture programme at MIT, and was at that time the largest exhibition building funded and devoted to exhibits of women's work.

This handbook was edited by Maud Howe Elliott (1854-1948), daughter of the abolitionist and suffragist Julia Ward Howe, and comprises thirty contributions from women including an essay on women illustrators by Morse which underscore the professional achievements of those whose work was displayed at the Fair. The French painter Madeleine Lemaire (1845-1928) designed the poster for the Building, featuring an allegorical figure epitomising the new, modern woman, which is reproduced in the guide as a colour lithographed frontispiece.

It is more commonly seen in a mustard brown cloth, with the same decorative strapwork. Here, though the copy bears the Goupil imprint, the binding is lettered Rand, McNally & Co. of Chicago, publishers of the 1894 issue, suggesting this to be a variant binding.

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Large octavo. Original dark blue cloth, bevelled boards, spine and front board decorated in gilt and silver, the front with an elaborate strapwork design by Alice Cordelia Morse, floral-patterned gilt endpapers, edges gilt.


Additional colour lithographed frontispiece by Madeleine Lemaire, numerous black and white photographic illustrations throughout.


Spine ends and corners bumped, else a near-fine copy, the cloth particularly bright.


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