On Autumn Trails:
and the Beasts of the Wood
(and of the silent screen)
by Jessica Amanda Salmonson
On Autumn Trails & Adventures in Captivity (Cleveland/NY: Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, 1923) was Emma-Lindsay Squier's follow-up volume to her earlier collection of nature stories The Wild Heart (1922) from the same publisher. The color wrap-around dustjacket & superior black & white inserted plates are by the gifted nature illustrator Paul Bransom. The front panel portion of the Bransom dustwrapper is shown at the left.
The "Autumn Trails" stories were serialized earlier in 1923 in Good Housekeeping which had earlier also serialized the "Wild Heart" tales, & the "Adventures in Captivity" stories were in the same magazine in 1922. The "Autumn" pieces are Nova Scotia tales of wildlife interacting with people, some with slight fantasy content (especially "In Memory of the Loon" & somewhat "Where the Death Plant Grew"). The others are "At Sunset in the Meadow," "Held in Trust," "Friends of a Quill," "The Last Moose," & "The Friend Who Was Hurt." The "captivity" tales include one about circus animals ("The White Wish") & three about animals in the silent film industry, "The Third Day of the Moon," "Joe Martin, Gentleman!" and "Luigi, Servant of Fate" about a bad wolf. Emma-Lindsay & her husband were well aquainted with the silent film industry.
On Autumn Trails was reprinted by the International Fiction Library, Cleveland, using the Cosmopolitan Book Corporation's first edition plates. This new edition did not include Bransom's interior illustration plates, but did retain his wraparound dustwrapper illustration, & adds an attractive embossed cloth binding fancier than the 1st edition green cloth. The attractive International binding is shown here inked blue on orange cloth.
The flap copy of both editions was the same, running as follows:
"The Wild Heart made Emma-Lindsay Squier famous almost overnight as a writer of nature stories. This volume On Autumn Trails contains further stories of the wildheart -- stories that will make more than one hunter leave his gun at home.
"Miss Squier's autumn trails lead you to meet the wild folks of the great north woods, while 'Adventures in Captivity' tell of the author's contact with the caged animals of the movie studios.
"On Autumn Trails are experiences told with the charm of one who knows the great outdoors & loves animals. It is a grown-up book for children; a children's book for grown-up-ups."
The "grown-up book for children" shtick was an ad-writer's attempt to convey the sophistication of the stories without losing the children & young adult market. These are realistic, adult animal fables of Charles G. W. Roberts' or Ernest Thompson Seton "lives of the hunted" genre, a mix of fantasy in the manner by which animals communicate, & wilderness realism though from animal-eye-views.
There were other editions of On Autumn Trails which was Emma-Lindsay's best selling book. World Syndicate Publishing of Cleveland advertised four of Emma's books as "The Girls Adventure Series" & used the same dustwrapper for On Autumn Trails. The Toronto edition from Copp Clark & the London edition from T. Fisher Unwin include Bransom's illustration plates.
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