The Rubaiyat courtesy of Joe Sheldon


Top to bottom, copies 31, 54, and 127. Copy 127 is from the collection of Reverend John Sayles who wrote a letter of recommendation for Elbert Hubbard to Harvard University (see As Bees in Honey Drown by Charles Hamilton).

Every copy of this edition I have seen (6 different copies) has this illumination. The top copy in this picture is the only one I have seen with a bird.

As I was going through these three copies page by page, I was surprised to discover the difference in the top copy (#31). At first I thought I had stumbled upon a new edition or variant, but closer examination revealed that the limitation page is not part of the signature (multiple pages printed on one sheet then folded), but was printed separately and added to the signatures when the book was bound. For some reason, the limitation page in the top copy was bound in facing the opposite direction.

The middle copy (#54) has more illumination than the other two copies. Note the blue around the crown.

Every copy of this edition I have seen has this illumination. The top copy (#31) is initialed CS (Clara Schlegel). The middle copy (#54) is not initialed. The bottom copy (#127) is initialed GE.

Click on any of the pages above to see a close-up of the illumination.


As mentioned above, the middle copy (#54) has several watercolor illuminations not in the other copies.

Click on the middle page above to see a close-up of the illumination.


Yet another illumination in copy #54 not found in the other copies.

Click on the middle page above to see a close-up of the illumination.


And another.

Click on the middle page above to see a close-up of the illumination.

Pictures and description courtesy of Joe Sheldon.

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

translated by Edward Fitzgerald

McKenna #30 (November 2, 1898)

Copies 31, 54, and 127 of 670

This book measures 5 5/8" x 9" and has 67 pages. The text body is set in Old Style Antique. This edition was printed in three colors on Dickinson paper and bound in suede. Every copy of this edition of 670 I have seen (these three and three others) have almost identical watercolor illuminations.

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