Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Two Rare Balls from Dodd and a Newly Discovered One from Small, Maynard

Many covers by Thomas Watson Ball have been featured here. Type Ball into the Search box to the left and you will find them. Two designs that had eluded me for many years turned up recently. How did I know to look for them? Both are in the Ball Portfolio at the University of Rochester
     Autobiography of a Child appears exactly like the portfolio panel:

Thomas Watson Ball
Autobiography of a Child by Hannah Lynch
Dodd, Mead & Company, 1899

The Conquest of Charlotte, however, is indigo-grey cloth stamped in green and white, while the portfolio panel is russet cloth. Since the portfolio panels are only the stamped cover cloth with no boards or spines, they are likely publishers' proofs sent to Ball for approval. Perhaps there was a run of the edition in russet, or maybe only the blue was issued.  Did Ball reject the russet and call for this color combination? Unless a russet copy turns up we may never know. If you find one, please post a comment!

Thomas Watson Ball
The Conquest of Charlotte by David S. Meldrum
Dodd, Mead & Company, 1902 

 Thomas Watson Ball 
The Conquest of Charlotte by David S. Meldrum
The Thomas Watson Ball Portfolio
University of Rochester
River Campus Libraries
Rare Books & Special Collections

New to me, with thanks to Chris Kraus, is By-Ways of War, a fabulous  Ball design. It's not signed, nor in the portfolio, but it has all the Ball elements--the panel style, lettering, striated sky, ship silhouette, and dramatic waves. The interesting thing is that Chris found a copy issued by Small, Maynard in 1901.  I could not locate one of those, but found and ordered a copy issued by Sherman, French in 1907.  When it arrived I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was the 1901 Small edition, but the title page had been excised and replaced by tipping a new one onto the stub. The spine says Small, Maynard & Co, and the ads in the back are for Small Maynard editions of 1901.

 Thomas Watson Ball
By-Ways of War by James Jeffrey Roche
 Small, Maynard and Company, 1901
with the title page replaced by Sherman,French & Company, 1907

 Particularly exciting is the ad that Chris had previewed for me identifying T.W. Ball as the cover designer of Visiting the Sin.