United States

Illustration by Dorothy Hughes, 1920

Omar became big business in the United States of America. A review by Charles Eliot Norton in the North American Review (1869) of FitzGerald’s second version of the translation, drew a lot of attention, leading to an increasing demand for copies of the Rubáiyát that could not be matched by the limited editions published by Quaritch. Enthusiasts started to print their own copies and when in 1884 Vedder’s illustrated edition appeared, a real Omar craze started to develop in the USA.

Nevertheless it was not before 1900 when the American Omar Khayyám Club was established by Eben Francis Thompson and Nathan Haskell Dole. Following its English predecessor, the club gathered annually at club diners, for which occasions menucards were prepared with verses from the Rubáiyát, illustrated in contemporary style. The American club however differed from the English club in its more serious approach: the club published a number of books and studies, and for the members and club guests, a series of miniature editions of the Rubáiyát was produced by the Rosemary Press. In 1909 a festival was organized to celebrate FitzGerald’s 100th birthday and the 50th anniversary of his translation. It is not clear how long the American Club existed. The last tangible sign of life is a menucard for a clubdinner in 1936.

Publications

  • Twenty years of the Omar Khayyám Club of America. Privately printed by the Rosemary Press, 1921.
  • Some doings of the Omar Khayyám Club of America. A toast to the dead and book notices. Also list of the publications of the Rosemary Press. Rosemary Press. Privately printed for the use of the Members of the Omar Khayyám Club of America, 1922.

2 thoughts on “United States

  1. I posted an inquiry to the “Omar Khayyham Club of London.” but I discovered that the link given there was out of date. I then tried several other sites, but thy were all either broken or did not permit comments. Finally, I found this website. Maybe I can address my questions to you, but since the Omar Khayyam Club of London” is or was in existence for 100 years, I wanted to tell them that the link they show on their website is incorrect. Do you happen to know the correct URL?
    [Mon Aug 8, 2016]

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