Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cuneo Christmas Books

A part of the Christmas season that I love as much as the music is Christmas reading.  I have a decent collection of Christmas fiction - short stories and novels - and non-fiction.  Spending the early hours of the weekends during the holiday season with a Christmas book and a pot of coffee is an important part of the holiday for me.

Earlier this year I bought a lot of books from eBay sight unseen, and without knowing anything about them.  There were 4 or 5 books in the lot, advertised a Cuneo Christmas books, collections of Christmas stories.  Since the price was low, I took the risk and bought them.

They were beautiful books.  Each in red cloth binding, gilt edges, and generally in unread condition.  Each book contained 4 or 5 stories, some Christmas-themed, some not.  And each book ended with the previous year's Christmas broadcast from the Pope.

Over the next few months I acquired several more from Internet sellers, so now I have the editions issued in 1958-1969, plus 1971, 1973, and 1975.  The 1958 edition was volume 17, making the first edition issued in 1942. 

There is not a lot of information available about the Cuneo Press or these books.  I believe that the Press was located in Chicago, and that these books were issued via subscription, or as a premium for a certain set of customers, or both.  The search for information continues.

These books are of extremely high quality - John Cuneo quite apparently cared greatly about this set.

One interesting thing - and this is noted in inserts in some of the books:  these were printed in the 'old style' where certain pages were not pre-cut.  The reader needed a letter opener to complete the page cuts.  Most of the books I have do not have many cut pages, hence the "un-read" condition.

These have become a signature part of my Christmas media collection.  I hope to collect them all, but the pre-1958 ones are scarce and/or very expensive.  Still, I'll keep looking.

I hope you enjoy the representative pictures of the book spines and pages.

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