Publisher's binding proof for Mid–Day Magic and The Fair Abigail, from the At the Ghost Hour Series, 1894
Designer and illustrator: Alice C. Morse (American, 1863–1961); author: Paul Heyse (German, 1830–1914); publisher: Dodd, Mead & Company, New York
Lithography, some color on title page; 5 5/16 x 3 3/8 x 3/8 in. (13.5 x 8.5 x 1 cm)
Gift of Alice C. Morse, 1923, transferred from the Library (56.522.103)
Gift of Alice C. Morse, 1923, transferred from the Library (63.693.14)
This diminutive book, with its ghostlike green and orange design in the grotesque style, subtly appearing through translucent white cloth, is the only bound text in Morse's collection at the Metropolitan Museum. The cover is for the book Mid-Day Magic; however, this publisher's production book contains three copies of the first thirty-six pages of The Fair Abigail, another book in the same series. The Museum also owns a copy of The Fair Abigail (63.693.14).
There are four titles in the At the Ghost Hour Series, all published in 1894 (The Fair Abigail, The House of the Unbelieving Thomas, Mid-Day Magic, and Forest Laugh). All include many small black-and-white drawn motifs by Alice C. Morse. The House of the Unbelieving Thomas includes seventy of Morse's illustrations, The Fair Abigail (63.693.14) sixty-seven. The worn condition of this book made it possible to describe the unusual technique used to execute the cover design, in which the image is printed on paper and laid under the cloth, as opposed to the usual method of stamping on top of the cloth. The front flyleaf is inscribed by Morse to her companion: "To / Leä M. Heath / Xmas 1905 / from / Alice C. Morse."