This ten book series was written by Jacob Abbott (1803-1879). Abbott was a Congregational minister and author of great note in the mid 19th century. His writings are certainly his main historical footprint.

Over the course of his life Abbott penned more than 200 books. These are well described by Carl J. Weber in his "A Bibliography of Jacob Abbott" Colby College Press, 1948. Note that many of Weber's book dates however are incorrect and his publishers' list is often incomplete.

Abbott is most well known for the Rollo books. These didactic little books were vehicles to teach morality to youngsters. Of the several series that Rollo either starred in or was a secondary character, the most popular and well known was the ten book Rollo's Tour of Europe Series. In these tales Rollo and Mr. George toured Europe learning more about character and morality than they learned about the individual lands that were visited.

These books were initially published between 1853 and 1858. By the early 1900's they had been reprinted by more than 25 publishers in at least 50 formats.

Later printings are frequently misidentified as first editions. The reality is that the first six books were initially published by W.J. Reynolds of Boston and volumes 7-10 were first published by Reynolds' successor, Brown, Taggard and Chase. Both of these companies used the same maroon cloth cover and the same boat title page.

Any Rollo book not published by W.J. Reynolds or Brown, Taggard and Chase (BTC) is a reprint. Also note that not all of the Reynolds and BTC publications are first editions. The title page date must match the copyright date (note the two exceptions below) for the books by these publishers to be first editions.

    The Series:
    Rollo
  1. On the Atlantic 1853*
  2. In Paris 1854
  3. In Switzerland 1854
  4. In London 1855 (Copyright is 1854 but first edition title page has 1855)
  5. On the Rhine 1855
  6. In Scotland 1856 (Copyright is 1855 but first edition title page is 1856)
  7. In Geneva 1857 (Copyright is 1856 but first edition title page states 1857 and lists six not eight titles in the front advertisement)
  8. In Holland 1857
  9. In Naples 1858
  10. In Rome 1858

Thus if a W. J. Reynolds copy of Rollo in Paris has an 1855 title page date, it is not a first edition.

*Note that all the W. J. Reynolds' books have a page that states "Order of the volumes" The first editions of all the volumes except for "On the Atlantic" list six books ending with "in Scotland". The first edition of "On the Atlantic" only lists two books - Atlantic and In Paris.

Also appreciate that many of the later reprint publishers used the 1858 copyright date for all the titles. Any Rollo book that does not have a title page date was published after 1880.

Shown below are most all of the American editions of the different printings of the Rollo's Tour in Europe books. The most common reprints are those published by Hurst and Mershon. These companies' reprints were all done in the 1895-1910 time frame.

A parody of the Rollo books was published in 1879 and 1880 in the Harvard Lampoon. This story, Rollo's Journey to Cambridge, portrays Rollo, his friends and family in a totally different light. Smoking drinking, and criminal acts are the new mainstays of Rollo's life. This story was reprinted a number of times by various publishers. For more information about the book and its bibliographical history, click here.

W. J. Reynolds and Co. as well as Brown, Taggard and Chase published The Rollo Copy Books. These 8" x 6.75" pamphlets have 12 blank pages with lines for the purpose of practicing handwriting. (See the example below.)

The covers have illustrations from Rollo's Tour in London. The Reynolds' pamphlet has a scene from Rollo's Tour in London. It was probably published in 1855-1856. The Brown, Taggard & Chase pamphlet has a different cover picture from Rollo's Tour in London. It was most likely published in the 1857 time frame.

These pamphlets are among the rarest Rollo items.

John Alden 1883

John B. Alden published the Rollo's Tour series of ten books in 1883. The books are 6.25 x 4.5.



Here is an ad for the Rollo series as published by John B. Alden in the "Irving Library", May, 1884

 

John Anderson 1882-1883

John Anderson published the ten book series in two different formats. The title pages are not dated. The earlier books have the same gold gilt decoration in the center of the front cover as the latest (1880) Sheldon books. This makes sense when it is noted that John Anderson bought Sheldon's Rollo plates at auction in September, 1882.

The blue book with the ship on the cover was printed most likely in 1883.

 

Baker and Taylor - Early 1890's

Baker and Taylor published Rollo using the same format as DeWolfe, Fiske and Company. The ten titles were published in five books. There are two title pages in each Baker and Taylor book. Each one precedes a different Rollo's Tour story. Although not positive, I believe these were done in the late 1880's-early 1890's.

 

Fred'k Brown 1862

Fred'k Brown reprinted this series in 1862. These books are the same as the Brown and Taggard books.

 

Brown and Taggard 1861-1862

Brown and Taggard, the successor to Brown,Taggard and Chase, reprinted all ten books in 1861-1862. Multiple colors have been seen.

 

Brown, Taggard and Chase 1857-1858 (First editions of books # 7-10) and 1859-1860

Brown, Taggard and Chase was the successor to W. J. Reynolds. It did the first editions of books #7-10. It also published reprints of all ten books. Except for the title page, the books are the same as the previous Reynolds' published books. 7 x 4.75.

This firm was the first to publish the ten book series as a boxed set. Here is a boxed set that dates from 1860. The books within the set were published in 1858, 1859 and 1860.

1858 Variant

 

Chatterton-Peck Company 1906-1907

New York. This format is the same as one of the Mershon formats. 6 x 4.25.

 

W. B. Conkey Company - 1900 and later

Chicago. Post-1900
Conkey published Rollo books in a number of series.

Initially the Amaranth Series, University Series and Ivory Series included all ten Rollo books. By 1904 only Rollo in London was part of these series. All ten titles were published in the Franklin Series of paper books and the Rollo Series. The latter series, the Rollo Series' covers were used by Homewood Publishing Company.

Rollo Series


1903-1904

Amaranth Series- early 1900's

Amaranth Series- 1904


University Series (16 mos.)- 1900

University Series- 1904

New Ivory Series- 1904


unknown series

unknown series

unknown series

 

DeWolfe, Fiske and Company 1885-late 1880's

DeWolfe, Fiske and Company published its reprints of Rollo's Tour in Europe starting in 1885. The book cover used is the same as Lothrop's later cover and the one on the later Baker and Taylor books.

 
 

Emerson and Company 1900 or later

Chicago. Early 1900's.

 

Henneberry Company 1900-1910

The Henneberry Company, Chicago, published the Rollo books in two different series beginning in 1901. This company was started by H. P. Henneberry after his association with Michael Donohue (Donohue and Henneberry) ended. Both of the Rollo books were published between 1901 and 1907.

The ten Rollo books were part of the 100 book Illustrated Boys and Girls Library. It is 7.5 x 5.25.

The Rollo books were also part of a publisher's series that I do not know the name. It is 7.5 x 5.25.

The Boys and Girls Library

1901 ad

 

Unknown Series

 

Unknown Series

 

Geo. M. Hill Company 1900

Geo M. Hill Company in Chicago published the Rollo books in 1900-1901 in Hill's Popular Handy Volume Library. This is a large multi volume publisher's series. 6 x 4.5.

 

Homewood Publishing Company 1903-1904

This publisher printed the ten Rollo books as the Rollo Series. Homewood used the same format as the earlier Conkey Rollo Series books.



Varsity Boys' Series ca.1903
This series of 12 mos. books contained only one Rollo title-In London. Homewood used the same covers as Conkey did in its Varsity Series.

 

Hurst and Company 1883-1919

New York. Hurst published the Rollo Series in a number of its series.

The first Hurst copies of Rollo were done in approximately 1883. The details are unknown.

The Cambridge Classics was a multivolume publisher's long running series that was characterized by a new cover every year or two. The series was started in 1896 and was published as late as 1906.

The Pearl Library published all the Rollo books in 1900. All ten Rollo books were part of the Gilt Top Library Books publisher's series in the early 1900's.

Beginning in 1906 Hurst published the Boys' Own Library. These small books were seen with many different covers and dust jackets. Some examples are shown below.

The Famous Rollo Books were published in 1913.

The Young America Library/ Books for Boys were published for a number of years starting in 1906. These books had multiple cover illustrations and numerous dust jackets also.

Other Hurst Rollo's have been seen but as of yet cannot be assigned to a series although they most certainly belonged to one. See below.

Epworth Library 1897

Cambridge Series 1897

Cambridge Series 1898

Cambridge Series 1899

Cambridge 1900 Dust Jacket

Cambridge Series 1900

Cambridge 1901-1902

Cambridge Series 1903

Cambridge Series 1904

Cambridge Series 1904

Pearl Library 1900

Boys' Own Library 1906 and later

Boys' Own Library 1906 and later

Young America Library/Books for Boys 1906 or later

Laurelhurst Series 1908

Famous Rollo Books 1913

Unknown Hurst Series

 

E.A. Lawson Company 1890's

E. A. Lawson, New York published both of its Rollo formats in the 1890's. It is unclear as to the exact date. The books are 6 x 4.5.

 

D. Lothrop and Company 1883-1884

D. Lothrop and Company published the Rollo set in two different formats. The earlier format has the identical cover of the later John Anderson book. In addition this Lothrop book has the Anderson logo on the base of the spine.

The later Lothrop cover is the same as the DeWolfe, Fiske and Company cover. There are no dates in the Lothrop books but the ads in the back of the book are John Anderson ads. This most likely means that Anderson rented the plates out to Lothrop. In 1885 DeWolfe, Fiske and Company made arrangements with the Anderson School-Book Company to publish their entire line of books, including the Rollo books (Publishers' Weekly, 1885).

 

John W. Lovell Company 1878-1893

New York. The ten book Rollo's Tour in Europe Series was published in 1891 as a set by John W. Lovell Company in Lovell's Rugby Edition. The set was sold boxed for $6.00

 

Mershon Company 1897-1904, 1906

Mershon published its Rollo's in several different series. The Wideawake Series and the Rollo's Tour in Europe (10 titles in five volumes) are the most well known. The ten Rollo books also appeared in the post-1902 Regal Series, Standard Series and Standard Sixteen Mos. Series. The names of the other series are as of yet unknown.

Dating the Mershon books exactly can be difficult. These books can be divided into 1897-Early 1902 and later 1902-1906. The 1897-early 1902 books' imprints only have New York. The later books also list the Rahway, N.J. location.

Standard Series 1900

Standard Sixteen Mos Series 1902

Sterling Series 1899


Unknown Series - Pre-1902

Unknown Series - Pre-1902


Unknown Series Pre-1902

Unknown Series Pre-1902


Regal Series Post-1902

Rollo's Tour in Europe Post-1902


Wideawake Series Post-1902


Unknown Series Post-1902

 

Montgomery Ward and Company Early 1900's

Chicago. Montgomery Ward and Company was one of numerous nineteenth and early twentieth century department stores that published books with its own imprint. Usually the department stores printed large publisher's series of reprints.

Montgomery Ward published the ten Rollo Travels book in its La Belle Library in 1901. Two different formats have been seen for this series. One of these formats is shown below. The book is 6.5 x 4.25. It is presumed that it originally came with a dust jacket but none has been seen up to this time.

 

W. J. Reynolds 1853-1856

W. J. Reynolds published the first editions of the first six books. The ship picture page precedes the title page. Most of the reprint publishers also included this ship picture in their editions. The books are 7 x 4.75.


 

Sheldon and Company 1864-1880

Sheldon and Company was the only publisher of this series between 1864 and 1880. It reprinted the ten book series in a number of different formats. The covers are shown below with their title pages.

1864

between 1866 and 1869


 

late 1869

 

1870


 

1872

 

1873-1875


1878

1878-1880

 

Siegel-Cooper Company 1897-1905

The Siegel-Cooper Company was a discount department store that sold books on its imprint between the early 1890's and early 1900's. The first store was located on State Street in the Chicago Loop. The top Rollo book has the same format as a book published by E. A. Lawson. The bottom book has the same format as a pre-1902 Mershon Company publisher's series format. These Rollo books are part of large publisher's series. They are 6 x 4.5.

 

Stitt Publishing Company 1905

New York. The Stitt Rollo's were part of the Wideawake Library which was first published by Mershon.

 

Frederick A. Stokes and Brother 1889

This company published this ten volume set in 1889. It came boxed and was priced at $8.50. These books have not been seen. They were stamped in gold and black.

 

Taggard and Thompson 1863

Taggard and Thompson reprinted this series in 1863. This firm's reprints are the same as those of Brown and Taggard and Fred'k Brown.

 

Union School Furnishing Company 1900 or later

Union School Furnishing Company. 1900 or later. 7.5 x 5.25.

 

John Wanamaker - ca.1903

John Wanamaker published ten Rollo titles in five books in its Wanamaker's Young People's Library. The books have been seen in various colors. 1903-1907. 7.5 x 5.5.