Rivers of America

"Eliza's Flight," words by Miss M.A. Collier and music by E.J. Loder (inspired by Harriet Beecher Stowe's book Uncle Tom's Cabin), a song about the Ohio River from Songs of Rivers of America, pp. 158-159:

[alternate link to sound file: click here]

Special signed editions and series logos

Several of the Rivers of America books were issued in limited editions signed by the authors as well as in regular editions. Lovejoy Library owns two of these signed editions. These two books also happen to show the two different series devices—the logos used by the publisher to "brand" the series.

The Wabash

By William E. Wilson. (1940).

The first Rivers of America title issued in a special signed edition was The Wabash. Farrar & Rinehart published both editions on February 12, 1940, and both sold for $2.50. The Wabash was also the first book of the series that wasn't edited by series visionary Constance Lindsay Skinner. Skinner had died the year before, literally as she finished editing Carl Carmer's The Hudson. Carmer and Stephen Vincent Benét succeeded Skinner as joint series editors.

Farrar & Rinehart series device for Rivers of America
Series device used 1937-1945.

On the limited edition page, the copy number is handwritten into the designated space. Lovejoy Library's copy is number 366; the Library of Congress has copy number 470. The total number of copies issued is not known.

Wilson's signature appears in the space above the Farrar & Rinehart series device, an oval-shaped scene of a river disappearing into the horizon emblazoned with "R of A" (for "Rivers of America"). The logo also appears on the series title page and is blind-stamped onto the cover.

The Ohio

By R.E. Banta. (1949).

The regular trade edition of The Ohio was published on October 13, 1949. Rinehart printed 20,000 copies that sold for $5.00 apiece: more expensive than any preceding Rivers of America title. The unnumbered signed limited edition sold at the same price. The book was promoted throughout the Ohio River Valley. Governors in Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Indiana designated October 13th as "Ohio River Day" in honor of the book's publication.

Rinehart & Company series device for Rivers of America
Series device used 1946-1960.

Both the Rivers of America series and the company that published it saw a lot of changes in the nine years between the publication of The Wabash and The Ohio.

Series editor Benét died, and co-editor Carmer left Farrar & Rinehart over a dispute unrelated to the series. Farrar resigned and formed Farrar, Strauss & Co. By 1946, Carmer had returned to co-edit the series with Hervey Allen. Farrar & Rinehart changed its name to Rinehart & Company.

A new company name meant a new brand for the series. The somewhat enigmatic result involves a river and an eagle perched atop an obelisk or possibly some sort of riverboat. The vertical structure pierces the phrase "R of A," and the entire redesigned series device is enclosed in a circle.

The logo doesn't appear on the limited edition page for The Ohio. It is featured on a preliminary page listing previous titles in the series and blind-stamped onto the cover.

Limited edition page from The Wabash
Limited edition page from The Wabash (copy 2).
Limited edition page from The Ohio
Limited edition page from The Ohio (copy 1).

-- Written by Mary Rose


Banta, R.E. The Ohio. Illustrated by Edward Shenton. Rivers of America. New York: Rinehart, 1949. (Copy 1 is the signed limited edition.)

Fitzgerald, Carol. The Rivers of America: A Descriptive Bibliography. New Castle: Oak Knoll Press, 2001.

Song of Rivers of America. Edited by Carl Carmer; music arranged by Dr. Albert Sirmay. New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1942.

Wilson, William E. The Wabash. Illustrated by John De Martelly. Rivers of America. New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1940. (Copy 2 is the signed limited edition.)