This is a handsome set of six volumes of the yearly collections of “Good Words” from 1865 through 1870. “Good Words” was published as a monthly magazine from 1860 until about 1910, with monthly issues collected into yearly volumes. From its beginning until 1872 it was under the editorship of Norman Macleod, “one of Her Majesty’s Chaplains for Scotland.”
The magazine included religious material, but also fiction and non-fiction articles on general and scientific subjects, as well as poetry. With many illustrations in each issue by well-known contemporary artists, the magazine was quite popular, with a circulation advertised at 160,000 at one point. Macleod’s standard for content was that the material not be sinful to read on Sundays.
For a clergyman, Macleod had an interesting career, filled with his own good works, controversy and travel. At times he took liberal, social-reform positions and held services specifically for the poor. But after the Scottish premier of Verdi’s “La Traviata,” he told his parishioners that “no woman could hear it without a blush.” After his death, his church renamed itself the Macleod Parish Church and Queen Victoria donated two memorial windows to another Glasgow church in his honor. There is a statue of Macleod in the city’s Cathedral Square and an 1850 portrait of the clergyman/editor is in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
These six volumes are heavily gilded on the spines. The fronts and backs are of cloth and marbled paper. With hundreds of pages in each, they are very weighty. But then, they do contain a great deal of information, from “On the Nature and Composition of Food” to “Some Thoughts on Strikes and Lock-Outs” to “Failure of the Atlantic Telegraph Expedition” to “A Visit to the Country of the Vauduots.”
Each is in very good to excellent condition, with only some minor rubbing and other signs of wear. The pages are slightly yellowed with age as might be expected, with minor foxing. No one has written in or otherwise defaced them. All six volumes are as eminently readable as they are decorative.
Reproductions of individual volumes of “Good Works” can be found for sale on the internet. In some cases the sellers of these reproductions note that the books were worthy of reproduction because of their “cultural importance.” They also call to the attention of potential buyers the imperfections that occur from the process of “preservation.” Personally, I’d rather have the real thing for less money.
Each measures about 7 inches wide by 9-5/8 inches high.
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