Physical Description

This 1826 Literary Souvenir is a relatively lightweight, pocket-sized (9cm x 14cm x 2.7cm) octavo. Earlier volumes were bound in dark green half calf over green paper or linen boards (photo).  This particular volume appears to have been rebound by its purchaser in black Moroccan leather with front and back panels elaborately decorated in glass bead-work (photo).  Also, the leather on this edition is slightly worn with bent edges, and lightly scuffed on the left upper side near the outside spine.

The pages of this Literary Souvenir appear to be of machine made paper using wood pulp. Cotton shortages during this century, encouraged experimentation with other types of raw material such as straw, annual plants, and finally wood which became the principal raw material from the second half of the century.  The pages of this edition have also been gold leaf gilded.

This Literary Souvenir contains 480 pages which include 11 leaves of plates, an engraved title plate, eight plates (illustrations) and two plates on leaf in the back of the book that contain signatures of several literary authors including Maria Edgeworth (Famous Women). Each of the eight plates (illustrations) correspond to either a poem or story within the book.  The typeface used within this Souvenir is a simple black serif type.  In the back section of the book, Publisher’s advertisements and publication promotions have been included.  For example, the following review was appended to the ads with the note that the 1825 volume was still available. No citations were included.

REVIEW of 1826 Literary Souvenir – The New Monthly Magazine

Literary Souvenir; or, Cabinet of Poetry and Romance
Edited by Alaric A. Watts, 1826, Hurst, Robinson, and Co

In point of literary merit, the palm must be conceded to the Literary Souvenir. Mr. Watts appears to have taken great pains to render his little work deserving of public favour. The embellishments surpass those we have ever seen in any similar work, designed by artists of talent, and engraved in a style of great beauty. We have here a display of genuine taste,—an elegant compendium of our passing literary novelties, which no gentleman need be ashamed to place in the hands of a lady on a new year’s day.


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