Sapphira and the slave girl
Original Author: Willa Cather
Created: 1940
Medium: Book cover
Publisher: University of Virginia Special Collections

Sapphira and the slave girl

The dust jacket for the first edition of Willa Cather's novel, Sapphira and the Slave Girl, published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1940, features the title in a bold typeface set against a pastel backdrop of roses. According to the scholarly edition of the novel published by the University of Nebraska Press (2009), Cather was highly involved in decisions regarding the design and presentation of her books: "For example, she specified typography, illustrations, page format, paper stock, ink color, covers, wrappers, and advertising copy." All of these factors, she believed, would influence the reader's experience of her novel, which was hailed a "triumph" by the New York Times on its release. Critical reception has cooled since then, however.