Two Years in the French West Indies

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

Author: Lafcadio Hearn (Irish, naturalized Japanese 1850–1904)

Publisher: Harper & Brothers (American, New York)

Date: 1890

Medium: Green cloth covered boards with gold, orange and green decoration

Dimensions: Overall: 7 1/2 x 11 5/8 in. (19.1 x 29.6 cm)
Front cover: 7 1/2 x 4 3/4 in. (19.1 x 12.1 cm)
Front cover and spine: 7 1/2 x 6 13/16 in. (19.1 x 17.3 cm)

Classification: Bindings

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

Accession Number: 56.522.52


A leading New York late nineteenth century book-cover designer, 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 commercial book-cover design, inspired by a French strapwork binding of the sixteenth century, is covered in olive green diagonal-rib cloth, stamped in orange, gold, and three tones of green.