The No Name Series

Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1876-1887. First Editions; complete in 37 volumes; original black cloth decorated in red (first 14 titles); original green cloth decorated in black (next 12 titles); original brown cloth decorated in black (final 11 titles); all with gilt title bands on the spines. and in fine or near fine condition. Thomas Niles of Roberts Brothers conceived the idea of publishing books with "no name" of the author provided. A contemporary ad announced the series: "These novels are to be written by eminent authors, and in each case the authorship of the work is to remain an unviolable secret... No name will help the novel, or story, to success. Its success will depend solely on the writer's ability to catch and retain the reader's interest." Over the years the authorship of most of the volumes has been discovered, about 30 of the 37 books of which were by women. The best-known of these publications is A Masque of Poets, which prints the poetry of Celia Thaxter, Christina Rossetti, Louisa May Alcott, Lowell, Thoreau, and most importantly Emily Dickinson, whose poem “Success” appears, the only poem of hers to see publication in her lifetime. A second famous volume is Louisa May Alcott’s A Modern Mephistopheles, a somewhat darker work than she is known for. A third is J.T. Trowbridge’s A Great Match, a baseball fiction incunable. This series was assembled over a twenty-four year period by a colleague, and is a remarkable achievement. While complete sets must exist somewhere, we’ve never seen one, and certainly have never seen one for sale. The three titles mentioned, given their renown and value, are the easiest to find; some of the others are so obscure and elusive as to defy diligent efforts to acquire them.

[Book #28558P]

Price: $10,000.00

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