It’s been quite a while since I’ve shown a Rand McNally title with cover art by W. W. Denslow, and here I have three!
The first is Hernani the Jew, written by A. N. Homer and published in 1897. This is a classic example of Denslow’s “shield” style of cover design, using some basic elements found in a number of his other covers.
The story concerns the marital misunderstandings of Hernani, a wealthy banker, and his wife. The setting is Poland, with the backdrop of the unsuccessful January Uprising of 1863. The red and white eagle, emblem of Poland, is the main feature of the cover, together with a pair of torches and a sword and crown on the spine. On the rear cover, we see a profile of Sara, the wife of Hernani. The story is one of loss, both of country and wealth, while Poland was under the control of Russia. It ends on a happier note, but is rather depressing overall.
The next is My Invisible Partner, by Thomas S. Denison and published in 1898. This is a sparser style of design, with elements scattered across the front and rear covers, and featuring some very Ozzy looking poppies!
This is billed as a story of the supernatural, and primarily takes place in New Mexico, with detours to Michigan. It’s a tale of mining life, romance and murder, with a main character who is subjected to several out-of-body experiences, and a mystery solved by the discovery of an unknown twin.
Finally we have A Daughter of Cuba, by Helen M. Bowen, published in 1898. This title combines a shield design with a landscape, including a poison ring on the rear cover.
Events take place during the Cuban revolution of 1897, leading up to the entrance of America into the Spanish American war. The daughter of a wealthy planter is committed to the Cuban cause, and inspires others to join her campaign. Bandits, a lost heir, an American journalist and of course that poison ring all play parts in the story.
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