The lady reposes in Art Nouveau splendor, happily engrossed in her books. What a lovely piece of cover art! A.C. McClurg was a major publisher and book wholesaler out of Chicago. Notably, they published Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan series.
The first 110 pages of this catalog are dense listings of titles; followed by a another 60+ pages of featured book advertising of all kinds. So what were we reading exactly one hundred years ago? Skimming through the ads, you can’t help but notice the urgent headlines promoting books about the Great War (what we now call World War One. My Adventures as a German Secret Agent, Army French for Enlisted Men, On the Edge of the War Zone, The Wonder of War in the Air, and Over the Top – the true story of an “American Soldier Who Went” are among the titles. Over The Top‘s author, Arthur Guy Empey, led an interesting life, soon becoming a popular author and actor based on his war experiences.
Is our cover reader absorbed by Over the Top? Is she discovering, as the ad copy promises, what it means to receive seven wounds? Or to be covered in “cooties” and never get rid of them?
Probably not. She looks too serene. Maybe she’s reading Tarzan.