Dutton's Books for Children
A Christmas handbill circa 1900

Just in time for Christmas, publisher E.P. Dutton circulated this handbill advertising colour books; juvenile classics; toy, model & painting books; puzzle boxes & novelties. The British spelling of "colour" indicates this piece was circulated in London. The flip side of this card features several mechanical books.

I was hoping to find at least one of these books online so I could date this handbill, but no luck. However, I did search Dutton published books for children prior to 1930, keying on mechanical books. I found two books with similar titles to those listed on the handbill:
What a Surprise: A Mechanical Book for Children. Verses by Lowe, Constance M. London/New York: Ernest Nister/E. P. Dutton & Co., No date (c.1898).


In and Out & Round About. London: Nister; New York: E. P. Dutton, (1895 copyright).
Both sell in the $300-$350 range. Quite rare and collectible. And the London publications help confirm that the handbill, with its British spelling, originated with a Dutton affiliate in London.

Dutton Children's Books is one of the oldest continually operating children's book publishers in the United States, with publications such as the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. Dutton Books is now part of the Penguin Group (USA) and operates as an imprint.

Now about that Santa on the front of the handbill... What's up with this St. Nick? Looks like he's throwing toys down the chimney. Is this Bad Santa or just Lazy Santa? And is that a twinkle in his eye or something more sinister? Hmmm...


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