The Columbian Ode

A. Books Designed by Will H. Bradley

1892 Columbian Exposition

A3. Monroe, Harriet. The Columbian ode, souvenir edition. Chicago, Illinois: W. Irving Way & Company, 1893.

Harriet Monroe

Harriet Monroe

Chicago poet Harriet Monroe (26 Dec 1860 – 26 Sep 1936) is best known as the founding publisher and long-time editor of Poetry magazine, which made its debut in 1912 and contributed to the modern ‘poetry renaissance’ of the early twentieth century.

Having solidified her professional reputation as a freelance correspondent to the Chicago Tribune and through a widening circle of prominent literary acquaintances, Monroe was commissioned to write a commemorative ode for the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of America.

‘She reveled in her poem, more than two years in the works, when 5,000 people joined in at an auditorium dedication ceremony at the Columbian Exposition.’ Monroe enjoyed even more fame after suing the New York World for publishing The Columbian Ode without her consent. She was awarded $5,000 dollars in a settlement that benefited artists.

A3a First Edition,
Chicago: self-published, 1892.

First edition not by Bradley. Harriet Monroe explained that she “prepared a pamphlet edition of the poem for sale at a quarter each, and five thousand copies did not seem too many for the oversanguine author and her advisors.”

“The Western News Company undertook to sell it, but found the dealers unresponsive. So all that winter I used the ode for fuel in the little stove which heated my bedroom-study”

Ref: Harriet Monroe, A poet’s life: Seventy years in a changing world, Macmillan Company, 1938, pg 131; Bambace, A3.

A3b The Columbian Ode cover

A3b The Columbian Ode cover

Souvenir edition.
Chicago: W. Irving Way & Company, 1893.

The Chicago poet’s second book, sold as a souvenir at the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition. Bradley’s first cover design. The covers, title-page and initial letters in the text are the work of Will Bradley.

Coll: 5 5/8" w. x 7" h.

Binding: Two-color, deckle-edged pictorial wrappers. Cover printed in plum and red inks on cream paper: SOUVENIR EDITION | THE | COLVMBIAN ODE | BY | HARRIET MONROE | [unsigned]

Digital holdings:

Ref: Monroe, pg 131; Kraus, pp. 3, 40; Bambace, A3.

Cite: Monroe, Harriet. The Columbian ode, souvenir edition. Chicago, Illinois: W. Irving Way & Company, 1893.

24 pages plus covers. Two-color wrapper in violet and red on hand-made tan paper. Rubricated title page in red and black. Interior black ink only. Bound with purple cord.

The Chicago Tribune reviewed Bradley’s deign in 1893: “Mr. Irving Way has an excellent little paper edition of Miss Monroe’s ‘Columbian Ode,’ of which too much cannot be said in praise and appreciation. The designs, which are also charming, are by Mr. Will Bradley.”

“Hand-made paper, a cover of lovely pinkish lilac, with a fascinating border of conventional leaves and a figure of loveliness in the middle, over and under which are letters of bright scarlet, giving the name of the book and that of the author; clear, exceedingly black type, appropriate ‘initialing,’ and a swirling title page, in scarlet and black, combine to make a most attractive and esthetic little pamphlet. The poem itself has been so thoroughly discussed before that this time it must yield to its envelope’s charms.”

Ref: ‘Paper edition of the Columbian Ode,’ The Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Illinois), 11 June 1893, pg 35; Bambace, A3.


Citation: Lindsay, Martin S. The Columbian Ode. Website: Accessed 15 Jun 2024, <>. Bibliography. References.