Incorrect book cover art is nothing new

A commenter1 on the Awful Library Books blog once pointed out that a certain print-on-demand publisher of old public domain books had published a classical book, I think it was Wuthering Heights, with a picture of a bicycle on the cover. This was evident nonsense to them since bicycles had nothing to do with the story. I am taking their word for it since I haven’t read that novel.

However, in browzing Project Gutenberg for material to read, I ran across two Horatio Alger books that exhibited the same problem. Yes I read those. Someday I will get a grand spreadsheet together to exhibit just how formulaic they are. Anyway…

The book in question is “Mark Mason’s Victory” and the two editions are here and here. Per the Project Gutenberg editor, the second one is shorter for some reason.

Basic plot: Mark Mason is a telegraph boy in New York City whose mother was defrauded by his uncle. Various adventures happen and he does good turns to all. Eventually he defeats his uncle.

Now for the covers:


Despite the cover’s half panel, there are no boys yet in short pants with bindles over their shoulders in this one. Many Alger stories have them, but this is almost completely set in New York City, and what isn’t does not have such a character in it.

Here is the newer one:


This appears to show a football coach on the field with a megaphone, which is total nonsense.

Final note: Project Gutenberg has two different author number for Alger: 168 and 47330.

  1. Per Firefox, “commenter” is misspelled, but “commenters” isn’t. 

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