New York: American Book Company; Harper & Brothers, 1887-1921.
Hardcover. This collection of 10 Shakespeare plays together form a surviving record of the Shakespeare Club of Boston from 1934-1946, a social club wherein Shakespeare's plays were performed by leaders of Boston social life, with meetings held in private homes and at such esteemed Boston venues as The University Club, the Jade Room of the Hotel Vendome, and The Copley Society, the oldest nonprofit arts association in the United States. All but three of the ten plays hold an invitation to the meeting at which the respective play was performed, including a full cast list and cut lines, tipped in to the front pastedown of all volumes, except King Henry the Fourth Part II and King Henry the Sixth Part III, which do contain the "cuts" sheet, with cut lines listed for each play, and King Henry the Sixth Part II. Love's Labour's Lost features the invitation and cast list for both 1934 and 1940 performances. Poignant details emerge from these artifacts of 1930s and 40s Bostoniana, such as the Club's 1940 performance of Love's Labour's Lost featuring an all-woman cast or the note in Twelfth Night: "It is suggested that during the war period the wearing of evening dress be optional." Ex libris Grace Greenleaf Hiler of Jamaica Plains (1859-1950), with her name to front free endpapers; curiously, Hiler's name does not appear on any of the cast lists, perhaps she was an avid audience member. These clothbound, near pocket-size editions of Shakespeare's works are illustrated throughout in charming engravings and were the strongly preferred edition of the Shakespeare Club, with many of the cast lists noting "It is earnestly urged that you use the 'Old' Rolfe edition." An attractive collection of these ten plays by Shakespeare, holding between their petite covers a cache of information about Boston society life in the 1930s and 40s through the devoted Shakespeare Club of Boston.
Each volume 6 3/4" X 5 1/8" and bound in matching russet cloth over boards, with upper board and spine lettered in gilt. Moderate edgewear to bindings, with occasional spot of heavy rubbing or small tear to head or tail of spine. Occasional tender hinge. Bindings are firm and sound. Very good. Item #5864