Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Light of Stars and others from R. F. Fenno

I have been looking for a copy of The Light of Stars for years. The title was listed in an ad in another Fenno book, The Tempting of Paul Chester. WorldCat shows only four copies in libraries (LC, Huntington, Ohio State and Bowling Green) and 21 microfilm copies. One finally turned up this month. 

The cover is unsigned and not easy to attribute. The stream flowing out of the woods onto the cover puts it in the category I call "out of the box," in which pictorial elements break a visual barrier established by the artist. Some examples will be in another post. This cover approaches proto-surrealism with a touch of classical illusionism:

The Light of Stars
by Hattie Donovan Bohannon
R.F. Fenno & Company, New York, n.d., ©1909

The closest I have seen to this style of trees, flat and childlike Modernism, is Olive Lothrop Grover's cover for Dana, Estes on The Story Without an End:

 The Story Without an End
by Sarah Austin
Dana Estes, Boston, n.d., ©1899
Cover by Olive Lothrop Grover, with OLG monogram

You can see a very different OLG design in the July 24, 2011 post.

Robert F. Fenno started the company in 1895 in New York City, and the firm published under his name until he retired in 1929.

 The Tempting of Paul Chester
by Alice & Claude Askew
 R.F. Fenno & Company, New York, n.d.,  (after 1909)
Cover signed with an unidentified monogram 

Black Butterflies
 by Berthe St. Luz (K. David)
 R.F. Fenno & Company, New York, 1905
Cover by W. E. B. Starkweather, signed WEBS

The Waters of Edera
by Ouida (Maria Louise Ramé)
  R.F. Fenno & Company, New York, 1900
Florence Pearl Nosworthy, signed FP

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