April’s Sowing

April 16, 2017

Splashes of spring green on the cover, frontispiece, and title page of the novel April’s sowing seem apt after a balmy April weekend in Wisconsin. The work is by Gertrude Hall, later Gertrude Hall Brownell (1863-1961), also known as Mrs. William Crary Brownell.

Gertrude Hall [Brownell], April’s sowing (1910). From the Cairns Collection, Special Collections, Memorial Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Title page, with the lines “You’ll love me yet! and I can tarry / Your love’s protracted growing, / June reared the bunch of flowers you carry, / From seeds of April’s sowing.”

The book, published by McClure, Phillips & Co. in 1900, was printed by the Gilliss Press, per a small device by way of a colophon.

Device of the Gilliss Press.

For more on the Gilliss Press, see Walter Gilliss’ Recollections of the Gilliss Press and its work during fifty years, 1869-1919, published by the Grolier Club in April 1926.

Our copy, part of the Cairns Collection of American Women Writers, was a gift to the Libraries from Lloyd E. Smith. As our catalog entry indicates, copies from New York Public Library and the University of California collections are available in digitized form in the HathiTrust.

The Cairns Collection also includes other titles by Gertrude Hall Brownell:

  • Verses (1890)
  • Foam of the sea: And other tales (1895)
  • Far from to-day, 2nd edition (1893 printing; © 1892)
  • The hundred and other stories (1898)
  • The truth about Camilla (1913)
  • Aurora the magnificent (1917)

as well as a letter (1910) from Gertrude Hall to a Mr. Finch, thanking him for his letter praising her work.

Mills Music Library also holds a much later work —The Wagnerian romances (1942) — in which Gertrude Hall Brownell recounted the plots of Parsifal, The ring of the Nibelung, The master-singers of Nuremberg, Tristan and Isolde, Lohengrin, Tannhaeuser, and The flying Dutchman.