Gift Books

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Annual miscellanies widely distributed (c.1825–65), contained stories, essays, and poems, usually with a polite or moral tone, and were lavishly printed and adorned for use as Christmas or New Year gifts. Beginning with The Atlantic Souvenir (1825–32), the gift books contained some of the best art and literature of the period, when the popular monthly magazine was not yet fully developed. With the coming of the Civil War, some organizations employed the gift book as a medium of propaganda. Before the vogue spent itself, it was responsible for the publication of more than 1000 different volumes, ranging in format from muslin-bound 32mos at 37½¢ to magnificent folios at $20.

Subjects: Literature.

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