London: George Routledge & Sons; J.M. Dent, 1883-1895, 1897. Nineteen miniature volumes, variously sized, with color-printed wood engravings throughout text. Three variant bindings of 1884 almanac; two variant bindings each for years 1887, 1890, and 1892. The 1889 almanac includes presentation inscriptions from Kate Greenaway and John Drinkwater, and is housed in a custom case. All volumes housed together in a custom clamshell box.
Complete first edition set of the popular annual “Almanacks” designed by English illustrator Kate Greenaway, including a number of binding variants, with a presentation inscription from Greenaway. “The beginning of 1883 had seen the publication of Kate Greenaway’s first Almanack. Published at one shilling by George Routledge & Sons, and of course engraved and printed in colours by Mr. Edmund Evans, it achieved an enormous success, some 90,000 copies being sold in England, America, France, and Germany” (Spielmann and Layard, 122). Accessible to almost every reader, Greenaway's bestselling, brightly colored pocket almanacs epitomize her international appeal in the late nineteenth century. The 1889 volume in this set is inscribed “Miss Fripp from Kate Greenaway Dec 1888,” and is additionally inscribed by English poet John Drinkwater: “John Drinkwater / 1920 / This dear little book is for my dear Toby.” No almanac issued for 1896. Schuster & Engen variants: 1a; 2a (2b and 2d also present); 3b; 4c; 5a (5b also present); 6b; 7c; 8a (8b also present); 9a; 10c (10e also present); 11b; 12b; 13a; 14a. Original plain dust jackets present on 1885 and 1891 volumes; original glassine present on 1897 volume. A near-fine complete set, very desirable inscribed by Greenaway.