Boston: E.P. Dutton, 1903. Limited edition. Octavo (8 1/2 inches tall), original gilt illustrated paper boards, blank green cloth spine, uncut, original glassine wrapper, original olive-green lidded cloth box. Partially unopened, gentle bump to lower corner, tiny stain to back board, minor wear to original glassine and box. Fine. Item #1337
"O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM"
Limited edition of this collection of hymns for Christmas and Easter—marking the two most important Feasts of the Church—by the Reverend Phillips Brooks. One of only 150 copies printed by Daniel Berkeley Updike at Boston's Merrymount Press—this is the only copy of the deluxe edition we have ever seen. A bright, fresh copy—partially-unopened and complete with the original glassine wrapper and lidded cloth box.
A member of a wealthy old Brahmin family, Phillips Brooks attended Harvard University and taught briefly at the Boston Latin School before attending the Episcopal Seminary in Alexandria, Virgnia. Shortly after ordination in 1859, Brooks arrived in Philadelphia where, his impressive personality and eloquence as a preacher won crowds of admirers at the Church of the Advent and Holy Trinity, Brooks was Rector of Holy Trinity when he composed the lyrics of his famous Christmas carol, "O Little Town of Bethlehem." Brooks returned to Boston in 1869 when he accepted the rectorship of Trinity Church—the national stronghold of Episcopalianism—and he remained at Trinity until he became bishop of Massachusetts in 1891.
Brooks died in 1893, the same year that Daniel Berkeley Updike began the Merrymount Press. Prominently influenced by William Morris, Updike strove for an aesthetic of readability and subtle but attractive design. Known for his collaborations with the Episcopal Church, Updike printed these hymns on handmade paper in an edition of only 150 numbered copies (this copy numbered No. 66 in ink). The gilt-stamped illustration of two Angels in a garden with grapes and holly (signed 'MJN' in the plate) is repeated as a title page woodcut. Additionally illustrated with two full-page subject title-pages, printed in red-and-black with design work: "Christmas Songs," and "Easter Carols." A fine unopened copy of a wonderful production. Not in Daniel Berkeley Bianchi’s bibliography of the Merrymount Press (1975).