California and Alaska and Over the Candian Pacific Railway

Designer: Alice Cordelia Morse (American, Ohio 1863–1961)

Author: William Seward Webb (American, 1851–1926)

Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons (New York and London)

Date: 1890

Medium: Dark brown leather over boards with gold stamping

Dimensions: Overall: 11 5/16 x 18 9/16 in. (28.7 x 47.2 cm)
Front cover: 11 5/16 x 7 15/16 in. (28.7 x 20.2 cm)
Front cover and spine: 11 5/16 x 10 9/16 in. (28.7 x 26.8 cm)

Classification: Bindings

Credit Line: Transferred from the Library, 1956

Accession Number: 56.522.104


A leading New York book-cover designer in the late nineteenth century, Morse studied at the Woman’s Art School of the Cooper Union, then under John La Farge before working for Louis C. Tiffany as a painter and designer of stained glass. In 1887 she began to concentrate on book-covers, fufilling eighty-three commissions for New York commercial publishers by 1905. Complementing the text, she chose imagery ranging from classical, to Renaissance, Celtic, Arabic, Gothic, Rococo, Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau. This example is dark brown full morocco with gold and blind-stamping in the style of a sixteenth-century fanfare binding, and was produced for a deluxe gift book limited to 500 copies each costing $25, a high price in 1890.