Seth's Brother's Wife: A Study of Life in the Greater New York

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

Author: Harold Frederic (American (active London), 1856–1898)

Publisher: Charles Scribner's Sons (New York, NY)

Date: 1887

Medium: Gold cloth over boards with brown and gold decoration

Dimensions: 7 11/16 × 11 3/4 in. (19.6 × 29.8 cm)
Other: 7 11/16 x 4 15/16 in. (19.6 x 12.5 cm)
Other: 7 11/16 x 6 3/4 in. (19.6 x 17.1 cm)

Classification: Bindings

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

Accession Number: 56.522.74


A leading New York book-cover designer in the late nineteenth century, 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 example was Morse's first design, bound in gold diagonal-rib reversed cloth, with gold, brown, and blind stamping, and inspired by Renaissance ornament, and was issued in two variants.