Boston: E.P. Dutton, 1903. Limited edition. Octavo (8 1/2 inches tall), original white paper boards, gilt illustrated front board, 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 #1509
"O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM"
Limited edition of this collection of hymns by the Reverend Phillips Brooks marking the two supreme Holy Days of the Church. One of only 150 copies printed by Daniel Berkeley Updike at Boston's Merrymount Press. Illustrated by Mary J. Newill with a title page woodcut (initialed, 'MJN' in the plate) depicting two Angels in a garden, which is gilt-stamped on the front board. A bright, fresh copy—partially-unopened and complete as published with the scarce 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, Virginia. 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 Episcopalian stronghold—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). Additionally illustrated with two full-page subject title pages, printed in red-and-black with design work: "Christmas Songs," and "Easter Carols." Not in Daniel Berkeley Bianchi’s bibliography of the Merrymount Press (1975). A fine copy of a deluxe edition.