Chicago: M.A. Donahue & Company, 1900. 8vo. , 247 pp. Textblock weak and age-toned as is true of all copies on account of the cheap quality of the paper. Original publisher's green cloth, decoratively stamped in black and red (worn and somewhat soiled at head and tail, but generally in bright condition, the joints quite perfect), color-printed dust-jacket (worn and soiled, significant traces of damp on back cover and spine, inside with two tape repairs). With condition problems, and priced accordingly. Very good / Fair. Item #3345
This is probably the only surviving example of this particular dust-jacket, which is securely datable to 1900. While the artist is not named, the illustration is sensitively rendered in thin line and pale colors. The driver of the car (a man) is obscured by the woman in the passenger seat. Her gaze is pensive and she does not smile, reflecting perhaps at the "error" which is referenced in the title which looms ominously above. The design on the cloth binding was created by a different artist, whose work reminds us of Dana Gibson; clearly the dust-jacket, having been in situ for 120 years, helped to preserve the brightly colored cloth.
The author Charlotte Mary Brame (1836-1884) was a prolific English author whose best-known work was "Dora Thorne," and whose life and career were particularly ill-favored; she had 7 children of which only 4 lived to adulthood; her husband was an alcoholic, incapable of working, and Brame was forced to support the family with her writing. Whereas her books were very popular, her earnings were severely diminished by piracy; at her death she owed money and her children were taken into guardianship. In 1886 her husband committed suicide.
Brame was responsible for hundreds of stories, novels, and novelettes; in her lifetine they were mainly printed in cheap London papers. According to Graham Law's heroic Brame bibliography, in which "A Woman's Error" appears as no. 169, and is recorded as first appearing in two parts of the "Family Reader" 1872-1873. See Law et al., Charlotte M. Brahme (1836-1884): Towards a Primary Bibliography (Victorian Fiction Research Guide 3, 2012). Following Brame's death, the pen-name "Bertha M. Clay" was used by other writers, including her daughter, William J. Benners, William Cook, John R Coryell, Frederick Dacre, Frederick Dey, Charles Garvice, Thomas C Harbaugh, and Thomas W. Henshaw. Other sensational books attributed to "Bertha M. Clay" include "Weaker Than a Woman," "On Her Wedding Morn / Her Only Sin," "Thrown On the World: or The Discarded Wife," "A Woman's Temptation," "Beyond Pardon," etc.
While known primarily as a children's book publisher, M.A. Donahue of Chicago was responsible for at least one other sensational dust-jacket, namely Mrs. Southworth's "FAMILY DOOM" (ca. 1910) in which the face of a stylized pretty girl is positively consumed by garlands, the foreboding title of the book bearing down upon her head.