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I have a slightly vandalised little pocket prayer book (pictured below) titled Prayers and Promises. I am trying to identify the original owner. On the inside is written "To Ellen" and "From Eunice", indicating it was likely a gift.

In order to try to trace the owner – or gifter – it would be helpful to know approximately when the book may have been published. I'm not even sure whether the book is from the 19th or 20th century?

It definitely belonged to someone in my grandmother's family, and perhaps was given to a child given some of the indecipherable scribbles.

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  • Do you have a picture of the next two pages? There appear to be editions from the mid-nineteenth century on. – ColeValleyGirl Apr 11 '18 at 15:31
  • @ColeValleyGirl From memory the next two pages don't contain anything very useful for identifying the edition. I don't have the book in front of me right now but will get a picture later – Harry V. Apr 11 '18 at 15:52
  • Odd -- that's where I'd expect to see the reprint history. – ColeValleyGirl Apr 11 '18 at 15:57
  • @ColeValleyGirl I can confirm the next page is blank, and then the daily prayers start on the following page. I've looked through the entire book and there is no further information I can see that would be useful for determining date. – Harry V. Apr 12 '18 at 4:54
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From Wikipedia:

The Religious Tract Society, founded 1799, 56 Paternoster Row and 65 St. Paul's Chuchyard and 164 Piccadilly ...

All three addresses were printed at one time, for example 1888:

enter image description here

Two of the above addresses were printed at least until 1899:

1899 example

and one through to at least 1919:

1919 example

with 4 Bouverie Street on its own in use by 1938:

1938 example

So 20th Century seems very much more likely than 19th.

Again from Wikipedia:

In 1935 the RTS merged with the Christian Literature Society for India and Africa to form the United Society for Christian Literature (USCL). In 1931, there was a change of imprint to Lutterworth Press for all RTS publications intended for the home market.

So this edition probably reprinted (the first edition seems may have been 1850) before 1935. Of course the copy you mention was not necessarily acquired "hot off the press".

Some details of The Society's Premises in its early days:

The publishing business of the Religious Tract Society was first carried on at 10, Stationers' Court, a narrow lane which still runs from Ludgate Hill to Stationers' Hall. Whence, in 1806, the Society removed to' 60, Paternoster Row. In 1820, premises were taken at 14, Newgate Street, but, the result not proving satisfactory, Paternoster Row was tried again ; this time at No. 56. There, for the greater part of the century, has been the home of the Religious Tract Society. The houses Nos. 57, 58, and 59 were subsequently added; then 65, St. Paul's Churchyard, where the retail Book Saloon, with Committee Room above, still stands, and, finally, four small houses in Chapter-house Court, occupied in ancient times by the monks of St. Paul's.

There might be more in a publication such as A short history of the Religious Tract Society.

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    That "short history" link includes a line: "In 1930, all the Society’s operations were moved under one roof (in its Bouverie Street premises) ". It puts the Lutterworth rebranding in 1932. If both of those would be reflected in the printing, that leaves a pretty narrow window for the publication of this book. (Unless it was printed for an overseas market, in which case it could post-date 1931/2.) – AndyW Apr 16 '18 at 8:27
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I notice that the design on the inside title page is after the Art Nouveau style of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who lived from 1868 to 1928. Mackintosh's designs gained in popularity in the decades following his death, so the design in the book seems to put it its release after 1928, so possibly the 1930's.

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