Barclay, Florence: The Rosary
(researched by Bethany Sulc)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description

1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)

Barclay, Florence L. The Rosary. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Knickerbocker Press, 1909. A simultaneous edition was published in London by the same publisher. Copyright, 1909 by Florence L. Barclay

2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?

First American edition and London edition published in trade cloth binding.

3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available

4 Pagination

199 leaves pp. [i-iv] v-vi [1-2] 3-389 [390] [1-4]

5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?

No introduction or editor, just a dedication to Angela. Advertisements for other romances published by G.P. Putnam's Sons. Advertised are The Master Girl by Ashton Hilliers, Old Rose and Silver by Myrtle Reed, and The Wiving of Lance Cleaverage by Alice MacGowan.

6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?

No illustrations.

7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available

8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)

The readability of the book is good. The typing is clear, single spaced, but small. The printing has faded slightly but not enough to effect the readability. There is cracking in the binding in the beginning and end of the book and some at the bottom of the text pages. First word in chapters are upper case letters with first letter bold and subsequent letters of the word are in upper case. 85R Page Size: 120mm x 185mm Text Size: 85mm x 150 mm

9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available

10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)

The book is on woven paper that has browned at the edges over time. The pages have yellowed and there are a few brown stains within the text pages particularly at the bottom. The pages are in good condition otherwise and the staining does not affect the print.

11 Description of binding(s)

There is no dust jacket on the first edition trade. There is cloth binding, embossed linen grain in violet, title and author's name in gilt stamping, blind stamping on cover and spine in floral design with the title surrounded like a frame. There are no illustrations and the end papers are not colored. Transcription of Spine: THE|ROSARY|Barclay|Putnam Transcription of Cover: THE|ROSARY|by|Florence L.|Barclay

12 Transcription of title page

THE ROSARY|by|Florence L. Barclay|author of "The Wheels of Time"|G.P.Putnam's Sons|New York and London|The Knickerbocker Press|1910 On the back of the tittle page is transcribed: Copyright, 1909|BY|FLORENCE L. BARCLAY|Published, November, 1909|Reprinted, December, 1909; January, 1910|February, 1910 (three times)|March, 1910; May, 1910|The Knickerbocker Press, New York

13 JPEG image of title page, if available

14 Manuscript Holdings

15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)

On back of title page in pencil and in cursive is "Univ. of Michigan." Stamped in purple reads "Exchange Jan 5 38." Call number written in pencil on back of title page and on spine in white is "PR 6003.A66R6 1910." On title page, Louisa is filled in in pencil for the author's middle name and "University of Virginia" is hole-punched through the page.

Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History

1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A

According to the National Union Catalog there is only one edition.

2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available

3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available

4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?

According to an advertisement in the Publisher's Weekly there were two impressions.

5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A

Musson Book Company of Toronto, Canada 1910 Grosset and Dunlap of New York, New York 1910

6 Last date in print?

Last English edition found was on It was a reprint in 1930 by the London Putnam's Sons. Last French edition found in 1945 edited by Payot.

7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)


8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)

1910 250,000+ Publisher's Weekly 1913 500,000 Golden Multitudes 1919 900,000 Golden Multitudes 1947 1,000,000+ Golden Multitudes and still in print

9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)

In Publisher's Weekly: Putnam's New Novels Along with 5 others The Rosary is listed as: "A delightful love story of English Life -- a love story conducted along lines that are refreshingly novel. The story is told with a charm of style that will captivate the reader." Oct. 23, 1909 In the Jan 15, 1910 edition of Publisher's Weekly a full page advertisement was given to the bestseller: A BIG NOVEL Second Impression Now Ready THE ROSARY By Florence L. Barclay "Once in a while there appears a story like 'The Rosary,' in which there is but one adventure, the love of the two real persons superbly capable of love, the sacrifices they make for it, the sorrows it brings them, the exceeding reward. This can only be done by a writer of feeling, of imagination, and of the sincerest art. When it is done, something has been done that justifies the publishing buisness, refreshes the heart of the reviewer, strengthens faith in the outcome of the great experiment of putting humanity on earth. 'The Rosary' is a rar book, a source of genuine delight." Price $1.35 net. Liberal Discount to the Trade.

10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available

11 Other promotion

According to Golden Multitudes the first round of advertisements were postcards with a few bars of a song by the same name. They claim the song is what inspired the writing of the novel.

12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A

Le Rosaire, piece en trois actes et quatre tablaux, d'apres le roman de Florence Barclay. Paris, Librarie Theatre, 1926. By Andre Bisson.

13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A

Spanish: El Rosario, Barcelona, Sociedad General de Publicaciones, 1923. Mexico, Editorial Fenix translated by Andre Bisson, 1953. French: Le Rosarie Edited by Payot 1921, 1923, 1945 Slavic: Rozni Veneci Blaz Poznic Slovenian Translation German: Der Rosenkranz Wandsbek, Verlagsbuchhandlung "Bethel"

14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A


15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A


Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author

1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)

As a child, Florence Louisa Barclay was rambunctious and inquisitive. Born on December 2, 1862 in Surrey England on Limpsfield, Florence was raised on the English countryside until she was seven years old. Her father, Reverend Samuel Charlesworth, presided over the local Rectory. She displayed a "great faith in prayer and (proved to have) a really wonderful voice and the soul of a musical genius" which was later displayed in the main character of The Rosary (Daughters 24,27). Florence and her family, which also included a younger and older sister, moved to Limehouse, an East London Parish. Her father taught her there the priciple of an "uncompromisiong regard for the truth" (Daughters 47). She used this principle in her writings in that her characters and stories were always "pure fictions of her ingenious brain which her readers never believed and would write her letters asking for the real name and address of Dr. Brand from The Rosary" (Daughters 47). On March 10, 1881 at the age of eighteen, she married Reverend Charles W. Barclay. For their honeymoon they took a tour of the Holy Land where they discovered Jacob's well that Christ once sat on (Barclay). They also climbed a pyramid in Cairo, Egypt where she wrote in her diary that she could see "on one side lay the fertile Delta...(and) on the other side, the desert" (Daughters 69). This excerpt is reminiscent of the scene in The Rosary when Jane looks out over the same diametric landscape. By 1901 she had had all of her 8 children at Hertford Heath where she now lived. In 1909 she visited America to participate in the Chautauqua tour that her sister, Maud, was a member of. The inspirational group toured several states in America. The writing of The Rosary began in 1905 when she was bed ridden with heart strain from riding a bicycle. She asked her oldest daughter what song the heroin should sing in the novel and the and the daughter replied "The Rosary" since she knew it was a favorite American song of her mother's (Daughters 210). She set the manuscripts to her sister in America in 1908. On the insistence of Maud, the manuscripts were sent to Putnam and Sons Publishers of New York. The book was published in 1909 and became a best seller in 1910. From December 1920 to March 1921 Florence fought bronchitis which affected her heart. After an operation she fell asleep and never woke up on March 10, 1921. Inspired by the popularity of her first best seller, she had written several other novels listed in the supplemental section. Daughters, By One of Her. The Life of Florence Barclay: A Study in Personality. London: Putnam, 1921. "Florence Barclay." Google (10 Feb. 2000): n. pag. Online. Internet. 3 April 2000.

Assignment 4: Reception History

1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

Although Barclay's The Rosary was published in 1909, it did not become a best seller until 1910. This novel was her first and only best selling novel. Her subsequent novels are described as having the same characteristics and style of her first but only the first novel grabbed the majority of the public's attention. One of her daughters recalls a letter written by a fan that described Jane as the "ideal of womanhood" and "the most beautiful character that a mind could ever conceive." This letter is described as "typical of a great many" indicating that most readers sympathized with her characters in the novel. Many of these same readers made up the fan base that bought her other novels. The New York Times also had a glowing report of the novel. The paper states "Barclay has struck out in a new path in her treatment of the ancient love theme...the book is very well written, and it is a love story of exceptionally fine treatment." Unfortunately for Florence this sentiment was not shared with other critics. Other critics were not so kind in their treatment of the best seller. They could not get over the didacticness, religiousity, and sicknening goodness that permiated the novel. A critic in Nation claimed the novel has a "sprinkling of humor and with sugar, honey, glucose,and sachrin in amounts bordering on the indigestable." These critics did not find the story believable because of its high moral nature and happy ending. Other critics didn't like the book for the exact opposite reasons such as Bookman that stated the novel is full of "religiously sensous stories which ought to be as unwholesome to a normal mentality as candied rose-leaves to a college athlete." Barclay would not bother herself with defending her work to the secular world and would only talk about the novel with religious groups that asked her to speak. Florence did not originally write the novel for publication in the first place. The popularity of it suprised her and the negative reviews only temporarily wounded her. Daughters, By One of Her. The Life of FLorence Barclay: A Study in Personality. Putnam: London, 1921. "A Song Novelized." New York Times 15 Jan. 1910, late ed., sec. 2:28. Rev. of The Wheels of Time, ALA Booklist. Book Review Digest, 1991: 21. Rev. of The Wheels of Time, Bookman. Book Review Digest, 1911: 21. Rev. of Through the Postern Gate, Athenaeum. Book Review Digest, 1912: 32. Rev. of Throught the Postern Gate, Nation. Book Review Digest, 1912: 32.

2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

Since Barclay's first novel was her only best seller, she was only remembered as its author upon her death in 1921 by the New York Times. After a few years and less popularity, the critics stopped comparing her later novels to her first hit. No other mention or information is found about the author except for the book her daughter wrote about her life. "Author of The Rosary Dies." New York Times, 11 Mar. 1921, late ed., sec. 15: 4.

Assignment 5: Critical Analysis

1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)

This student created an electronic text instead of writing a critical essay.  

Supplemental Material

Portrait of the Barclay family from "The Life of Florence L. Barclay" By One of Her Daughters

Portrait of Florence Barclay from "The Life of Florence L. Barclay" By One of Her Daughters

List of Barclay's books from "The Life of Florence L. Barclay" By One of Her Daughers

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