The Jonas Series consists of six books which were published between 1839 and the 1890's. Actually the series is a combination of two different series: the Jonas Series and the Caleb Series. The two Caleb books which were first published by Crocker and Brewster feature the youngster Caleb in simple moralistic tales as he is getting religious training. The four Jonas books, initially published by William D. Ticknor, are simple tales of Jonas and his day to day life with examples of honesty and integrity. The six books were combined into the "Jonas Series" in 1853.

None of these titles specifically note Jacob Abbott as the author. On the title page it states: "By the author of the Rollo books".

The Caleb books

  1. Caleb in Town
  2. Caleb in Country

Crocker and Brewster

Crocker and Brewster published both Caleb books in 1839 (first editions),1840 and 1850.





Both Caleb books were next published by Clark, Austin and Smith in 1853 (See below).


William D. Ticknor

The four Jonas books were first published by William D. Ticknor (-1843) and William D. Ticknor and Company (1843-1849).

First editions:
Jonas's Stories 1839- 2000 copies of the first edition were published
Jonas a Judge 1840





First Editions:
Jonas on a Farm in Summer
Jonas on a Farm in Winter

Both of these titles were published on December 31, 1841 although the title page imprint does say 1842.

Thereafter the second editions of all four Jonas books were printed in February of 1842. All together there were five editions of the Jonas books published by William D. Ticknor and William D. Ticknor and Company and four editions published by its successor Ticknor, Reed and Fields.

The dates of the editions along with the total number of volumes of each book printed is shown below:

January, 1842-------1000 copies (First edition) - Summer/Winter only
February, 1842 ------1000 copies (Second edition)-all four Jonas books
1843-------------------- 500 copies (Third edition) -all four Jonas books
1844-------------------- 500 copies (Fourth edition) -all four Jonas books
1845--------------------1500 copies (Fifth edition) -all four Jonas books






1843 (variant)




1845 (variant)


Benjamin B. Mussey

In 1845 another Boston publisher published the four Jonas books. The Benjamin B. Mussey books were only printed in one year. How it is that Mussey happened to publish these titles is unclear. Perhaps the plan was for Mussey to begin printing the Jonas books from that date on. Nonetheless, starting in 1849, after a four year hiatus, Ticknor Reed and Fields, restarted the publication of the four volume Jonas series.



J. B. Dow, Boston

Several catalogues and contemporaneous journals note that this publisher, located at 141 Washington Street in Boston, printed the four Jonas books. They were priced at 42 cents each and were published in ca. 1847.

I have not seen these books and they must be considered exceedingly scarce.


Ticknor, Reed and Fields

Between 1849 and 1853 Ticknor, Reed and Fields (which succeeded William D. Ticknor and Company) published four more editions of the Jonas books. These are noted here as the sixth through ninth editions. These edition numbers exclude the Mussey copy which was in reality the sixth edition.

1849----------------- 500 copies (Sixth edition)
1850------------------500 copies (Seventh edition)
1851------------------530 copies (Eighth edition)
1853------------------500 copies (Ninth edition)







In 1853 this combination book was published by Ticknor, Reed and Fields. It contains Jonas's Stories and Jonas a Judge. Another combination book contained the two Jonas on the Farm books. The combination books were priced at $1.50. In 1853 the individual four books were priced at 38 cents each.


Clark, Austin and Smith

Ticknor sold the plates of the Jonas series to Clark, Austin and Smith in April, 1853. At that time the four Jonas books were combined with the two Caleb books to form the Jonas series. This six book series was published initially by Clark, Austin and Smith. In 1860 the company's successor Clark, Austin, Maynard and Company published the series. In 1863 and 1864 Clark and Maynard printed the six books.

The series from 1853:

Caleb in Town
Caleb in the Country
Jonas a Judge
Jonas's Stories
Jonas on a Farm in Summer
Jonas on a Farm in Winter

Here are the yearly breakdowns:

Clark, Austin, and Smith
There were editions published in 1853, 1854, 1855, 1856, 1857, 1859.

This format is unchanged between 1853 and 1859.


In 1859 Clark, Austin and Smith published Abbott's Lucy and Jonas Library. It is unknown at this time which books this series included. Nonetheless one of the books was a combination book which included Jonas on a Farm in Winter and Jonas on a Farm in Summer. I suspect that the other four Jonas Series books and the six Cousin Lucy books were also published as combination books at that time.



Clark, Austin, Maynard and Company

Editions were published in 1860, 1862.



Clark and Maynard

Editions were published in 1863, 1864.






(Date unknown but after the 1864 book)


Unknown Date


Thomas Y. Crowell and Company

This company published most of the Abbott series in the late 1800's. The Jonas Series is no exception. Starting in 1883 Crowell first published the six books in this series. Between 1893 and 1901 the six books were published in three combination volumes. Thereafter Crowell stopped printing the Jonas Series.