Dotty Dimple Stories: Box Set

Instead of selecting a single book for my pet book project, I selected a series of texts: the Dotty Dimple series by Sophie May. The series is a 6-book box set, and the titles include Dotty’s Flyaway, Dotty At School, Dotty At Play, Dotty Out West, and Dotty at Her Grandmother’s. All 6 are children’s stories, and they all feature illustrations. The illustration pages do not have a wax paper cover, and all of them are black and white. Their medium appears to be simply ink, and seems to be printed in the same ink as the actual text itself. The cover and spine of the book is a brown canvas material, with gilding both on the spine and the front cover. The front cover is divided into five decorative sections: there is a circular center with the words “Sophie May Books”, the top left corner simply has the words “Dotty Dimple Series” while the top right and bottom left corners feature decorative flowers.

The bottom right corner features gilding that depicts a small girl adjusting her hat in a field, while the spine features a gilded “Dotty Dimple Series” title at the top, just above a gold band running across the width of the spine with the book’s title. The spine also features an ornate flower illustration that stretches up to a sun, and some sort of simple at the base. The decorations, aside from the gilding, appear to be carved into the canvas cover, and painted black afterwards. The effect leads to a stark contrast between the decorations and the canvas background.

There are no recycled materials, and the books are in excellent condition. The pages are printed on paper, but there are no watermarks, and the actual books are a medium size, roughly 6 inches wide and 9 inches tall.

There is no marginalia at all, and there are no underlines or highlights; the books are in near mint condition and appear to have never been opened. The mint condition, combined with the expensive looking gilding on the spine and front cover, suggests to me that these books were rarely actually read; the fact that the box they are housed in is in comparatively awful condition further suggests that these books were rarely taken out.

The page numbers are in the top right corner, and the signature marks are at the bottom of the page in the center, with 16 pages per section. The font is medium sized and easy to read; the lines are spaced wide and the text is very clear. The margins are fairly wide, with a roughly inch and a half margin all the way around. The texts do not have inscriptions, book plates, or dedications. There is a table of contents, as well as an advertisement page with the titles of other books and series by Sophie May. The set was donated by Harland H. Eastman in 1951. Eastman also donated Catalogue 32: American children’s books printed before 1900; it too resides in special collections.