Marse Chan: a Tale of Old Virginia

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

Author: Thomas Nelson Page (American, 1853–1922)

Publisher: Charles Scribner's Sons (New York, NY)

Date: 1892

Medium: Cream cloth covered boards with dark green and gold decoration

Dimensions: Overall: 8 1/2 x 12 15/16 in. (21.6 x 32.8 cm)
Front cover: 8 1/2 x 6 in. (21.6 x 15.3 cm)
Front cover and spine: 8 1/2 x 6 7/8 in. (21.6 x 17.4 cm)

Classification: Bindings

Credit Line: Gift of Alice C. Morse, 1923, Transferred from the Library, 1956

Accession Number: 56.522.79


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 bound in warm-white plain-weave cloth stamped in brown and gold and uses Art Nouveau ornament. "Marse Chan" comes from a four-title set of works written by Thomas Nelson Page, none of which include stamping on the spine.