Zigzag Series by Hezekiah Butterworth

Hezekiah Butterworth wrote, in my opinion, the preeminent American travelogue series of the 19th century, the Zig Zag Series. The eighteen books of the series sold hundreds of thousands of copies. It made its author a millionaire and boosted the fortunes of the publishing house of Estes and Lauriat. The story behind the series is somewhat interesting.

Butterworth (1839-1905) was an assistant editor with the Youth's Companion as well as a successful author when he was approached by Dana Estes of Estes and Lauriat. Estes showed Butterworth books written by Rodolphe Topffer: Voyages en Zig-Zag (First edition in 1844) and Nouveaux Voyages en Zig-Zag. These books chronicled the adventures of a school teacher and his students. The Zig Zag name came from the zig zag nature of their travels. The early Topffer books are elegant large books with gold gilt edged pages and numerous very well done illustrations. According to reviews the geographical descriptions are accurate. The Topffer Zigzag books were published well into the 1890's.

Rudolphe Topffer, a native of Geneva (1799-1846) was a university professor, author, artist and according to some the inventor of the comic strip . While an assistant master at a school, he took a number of his students on annual excursions throughout Europe. These trips were the basis for his series: Voyages en Zigzag.

Here is an example of a Toppfer book. It has gold gilt embellishments and gilded edges. It is 10.75 x 7.50. The Topffer Zigzag stories were published in numerous formats by a number of different European publishers. Which books Butterworth was shown is totally unknown.

In the late fall of 1879, Estes and Lauriat released the first of Butterworth's Zig-Zag Journeys: Zig-Zag Journeys in Europe. The first fifteen volumes were published in cloth with gold gilt designs as well as in illuminated board covers. Each board cover title had a unique cover. The cloth books are all the same except that each one has a book appropriate gold gilt illustration on the cover. The board cover book cost $1.75 and the Cloth book $2.25.

These books were enormously successful. Europe had sold 10,000 within just a couple of months of its release. Estes and Lauriat followed its plan of releasing a new book yearly at Christmas. Note that by the third book, 50,000 copies had been sold.

A London publisher, Dean and Son, printed the Zigzag Journeys in the Western States of America. It is a reprint of Zigzag Journeys in the Occident. It appears it was published in the mid 1880's.



Estes and Lauriat advertised the series on various trade cards.

This is a card from about 1881.



Here are cards which advertise each of the first three books. These are from the 1881 era.

 
 



Master Lewis and his students traveled the world in the first eight books. Thereafter the books mostly contained histories and geographical descriptions.

The White City book (#16) describes Chicago though the eyes of Manton Marlowe, the President of the Folk-Lore Society. There isa n emphasis on the Columbian Exposition (World Fair) of 1892.

The Around the World book (#17) follows the adventures of Mr. Davidson and his two sons, Henry and Harold. This is mainly a history and geography book with the Davidson's as props.

Stories of History, Travel and Adventure (#18) is a compilation of stories from the preceding Zigzag books.

All of the books had numerous illustrations. In general, the woodcuts and pencil drawn pictures came from stock pictures owned by Estes and Lauriat many of which appeared in other histories and travelogue books.

Butterworth noted in the preface to book #8 that he had intended to only write eight Zig-Zag titles. But because sales had reached 250,000, he continued the series.

Bibliography:


Title: Author: Year:
1 Zigzag Journeys in Europe Butterworth, Hezekiah 1879
2 Zigzag Journeys in Classic Lands Butterworth, Hezekiah 1880
3 Zigzag Journeys in the Orient Butterworth, Hezekiah 1881
4 Zigzag Journeys in the Occident Butterworth, Hezekiah 1882
5 Zigzag Journeys in Northern Lands Butterworth, Hezekiah 1883
6 Zigzag Journeys in Acadia Butterworth, Hezekiah 1884
7 Zigzag Journeys in the Levant Butterworth, Hezekiah 1885
8 Zigzag Journeys in the Sunny South Butterworth, Hezekiah 1886
9 Zigzag Journeys in India Butterworth, Hezekiah 1887
10 Zigzag Journeys in the Antipodes Butterworth, Hezekiah 1888
11 Zigzag Journeys in the British Isles Butterworth, Hezekiah 1889
12 Zigzag Journeys in the Great Northwest Butterworth, Hezekiah 1890
13 Zigzag Journeys in Australia Butterworth, Hezekiah 1891
14 Zigzag Journeys on the Mississippi Butterworth, Hezekiah 1892
15 Zigzag Journeys on the Mediterranean Butterworth, Hezekiah 1893
16 Zigzag Journeys in the White City Butterworth, Hezekiah 1894
17 Zigzag Journeys Around the World Butterworth, Hezekiah 1895
18 Zigzag Stories of History Travel and Adventure Butterworth, Hezekiah 1896

Format 1- Estes and Lauriat- Volumes 1-15
Cloth. Blue, red, green and brown seen. Gold gilt lettering and pictures on the front cover which are book appropriate. Dust jacket has text touting the greatness and popularity of the series. 8.5" x 6.5".

Format 2- Estes and Lauriat- Volumes 1-15
Illuminated board covers. Book appropriate multi colored pictorial front cover. 8.5" x 6.5"

Format 3 - Estes and Lauriat- Volumes 16-17
Cloth. Red or blue. A book appropriate picture is in the center of the cover with the title in gold gilt above it and the author's name below it. 8.5" x 6.5"

Format 4- Estes and Lauriat- Volume 18
Cloth. Purple. Line drawn picture of trees and the ocean on the front cover. 8" x 6"

Format 5- Dana Estes and Co.- Volume 1-17
Cloth- Red cover. Line drawn picture of a boy and a girl flanking worldwide scenes. Dust jacket matches the cover. 8.5" x 6.5" (This publisher which succeeded Estes and Lauriat began printing this series in 1898.)

Format 6- Dana Estes and Co. - Volume 18
Cloth. Line drawn picture of trees and the ocean on the front cover. 8" x 6". Published in 1898.

Format 7- George Sully Volume 10
Illuminated board cover with book appropriate multicolored pictorial picture. 8.5" x 6.5". 1894. (This book was titled Cruising in the Indian Seas)

Series notes:
1. The first edition of each book has the year after the copyright at the base of the title page. The exception is #18 which just had one Estes and Lauriat printing.
2. Formats 1 and 3 have book appropriate endpapers with maps and scenes of the various locales.
3. All of the Dana Estes and Co. titles are reprints of the earlier Estes and Lauriat publications.

FORMAT 1

Dust jacket of title #3

#1

 

#1

#2

 

#3

#4

 

#5

#6

 

#7

#8

 

#9

#10

 

#11

#12

 

#13

#14

 

#15



FORMAT 2

#1

#2

 

#3

#4

 

#5

#6

 

#7

#8

 

#9

#10

 

#11

#12

 

#13

#14

 

#15



FORMAT 3

#16

#17

 

#16



FORMAT 4

#18



FORMAT 5

#11



FORMAT 6

#18



FORMAT 7