Sunday, April 21, 2013

Faded cover of "A Ten Ton Cutter" by Harry Castlemon

This faded book cover is from a hardcover edition (probably 1897) of "A Ten Ton Cutter" by Harry Castlemon.

The title/copyright page is missing, which makes it harder to be 100% certain of the date of the publication. But the spine tells me that Philadelphia-based Henry T. Coates & Co. is the publisher, and other sources indicate that company put out an edition of this novel in 1897.

According to a pair of cursive inscriptions1, the book was given as a gift to Roy, from Aunt Jennie, for Christmas 1918.2

Harry Castlemon was the pen name of Charles Austin Fosdick (1842-1915). He fought for the Union during the Civil War and became a popular author of juvenile fiction for boys after the war.

According to Wikipedia, he once stated: "Boys don't like fine literature. What they want is adventure, and the more of it you can get in two-hundred-fifty pages of manuscript, the better fellow you are."

The plot of "A Ten Ton Cutter," according to "The Annual American Catalogue 1898" by Office of the Publishers' Weekly3, is as follows:
"The scene of the story is a watering-place in the neighborhood of Baltimore. A boy named Hank Lufkin is very industrious and earns money for his mother, though his father is given to idleness. A steamboat comes into the dock one day and a young girl falls overboard. Hank rescues her, and her wealthy father rewards him with a ten-ton cutter, with which he proceeds to make a living by carrying excursion parties. His financial success excites envy, and attempts are made to steal his boat, etc."
1. Here are some recent stories regarding the teaching of cursive writing in America's schools:
2. The book recipient's full name might be Roy Simmons, if I'm reading the last name correctly. The gift-giver is either Jennie Carson, Jennie Parson or Jennie Parsons. It's difficult to tell. Based upon some other information, I would guess these folks were from either Virginia or West Virginia.
3. Here is the full entry for "A Ten Ton Cutter" from "The Annual American Catalogue 1898":

No comments:

Post a Comment