Limited Editions Club – Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1938/1948)

August 29, 2011 Comments Off on Limited Editions Club – Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1938/1948)

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1938 Heritage/1948 LEC)
Sandglass Number 6BR
Artwork – Wood Engravings by Fritz Eichenberg
Translated by Constance Garrett, introduced by Lawrence Irving
Heritage Press original, reprinted as LEC #189/18th Series V. 4 in 1948
LEC #1500 of 1500

Note – I have added the Monthly Letter from the LEC edition to the post, but have not put in those details into the post yet. It will happen in time.

Click the images for larger views.  Heritage will be on top, LEC on bottom.

Front Bindings – Crime and Punishment is Fyodor Dostoevsky’s most legendary work, and it has been ravishingly designed for both its Heritage and LEC editions.  Occasionally the Heritage Press would have their edition come out first, with a LEC two-volume reprint following that – this is another example of this (Moll Flanders and Beowulf are two others I know of).  Both went with a striking red for its boards, with a black block inlay of a cross and axe done by the book’s illustrator Fritz Eichenberg.  This was, to my knowledge, Eichenberg’s very first commission for the George Macy Company, and it wouldn’t be his last.  In fact, he would illustrate books for the LEC until 1986, when his last work, The Diary of a Country Priest, would be released by Sidney Shiff’s Limited Editions Club.  Almost 50 years of illustrating magic!  As of right now, I’ve got two other books up with Eichenberg’s work for those curious to see more – the LEC House of the Dead, also by Dostoevsky, and the Heritage Eugene Onegin by Pushkin.

The Heritage original was designed by Carl Purington Rollins, the printer at Yale University in 1938.  kdweber at Librarything was nice enough to pass along the LEC design info:

The LEC Crime and Punishment was designed by George Macy himself. Printed by E. L. Hildreth and Company; set in linotype Original Old Style, Worthy special paper; bound by Russell-Rutter Company.

Russell-Rutter did the binding for the Heritage as well.

Slipcase – The Heritage went black, the LEC went red.  Oddly, there’s no label or printing on the LEC slipcase indicating what it is, which is a little weird.  Maybe I’m missing a interior case.

Title Page – The Heritage and LEC title pages are radically different in structure, and I musy admit a preference to the LEC in this case – the use of color makes it pop more, and I like Eichenberg’s cross by the title.  Goudy Modern is the font chosen by Rollins for the Heritage, while the LEC was “set in linotype Original Old Style”, to quote kdweber.  To wrap up the Heritage printing information, Ferris Printing did the etching/text printing honors on Crocker-Burbank Co. paper made especially for the Heritage original.  George Macy went with the popular Constance Garrett translation, and Laurence Irving provides an introduction to both volumes (the Heritage omits mentioning him for some reason).

Signature Page – I must admit to being a little tickled at having #1500 for this book.  Eichenberg’s signature is nice, too, as I adore his work.  Eichenberg’s wood blocks were reused for the LEC edition by George Macy’s own printers, which is pretty neat.

Page 1/Part One Introduction – More stylistic diversions here, as the Heritage begins Part 1 with the first Chapter on the same page, but the LEC makes a special introductory page for Part 1, and then starts Chapter 1 on the next page.

Page 18/Page 17 – Eichenberg, you don’t fail to astound me.

Personal Notes – I bought the Heritage first at a library book sale in Oakhurst in 2009 or so, with a bevy of other books in what was my best haul at the time (I just topped it a couple weeks back).  I paid $3 – 4 for it, I think…may have been $2.  Not bad for a complete Heritage book.  I got the LEC this past May from my former anthropology instructor, who won it at a local auction and asked me if I wanted it.  That was a silly question.  I owe him $50 for it whenever I can get it to him.  I prefer the LEC, but both are excellent books!

Monthly Letter:



Heritage Press – The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan (1942)

August 20, 2011 Comments Off on Heritage Press – The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan (1942)

The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan (1942)
Sandglass Number unknown
Artwork – Watercolors by William Blake
Introduced by John T. Winterich
Reprint of LEC #129/12th Series V. 12 in 194

Click the images for larger views.

Front Binding – The Heritage Press apparently liked this design, as they reused it for their unique version of John Milton’s Paradise Lost, which also featured the watercolors of William Blake (the LEC utilized Carlotta Petrina’s artwork in 1936, which did not come out as a Heritage).  Who designed it is not something I know, I’m afraid – I bought this for $1 or so, and it was a former library copy with a fair share of problems, but hey, I want to document books, and I think $1 was not a bad price for that purpose.  Anyway, Macy seemed to like Blake, as his art appears in several Heritage and LEC volumes.  Off the top of my head, I know there’s this (in LEC and Heritage formats), the aforementioned Heritage Paradise Lost, the LEC/Heritage L’Allegro & Il Penseroso, also by Milton, the Heritage Divine Comedy by Dante, and, after Macy’s passing, the poems of Blake which included his own art done in the Cardevon period of the LEC.

Title Page – Admitting complete ignorance to what The Pilgrim’s Progress is about, I find Blake’s watercolors to be compelling yet unsettling to look at.  He’s got a talent for rendering such beautiful depictions of the grotesque, that he does.  John T. Winterich, the man behind many early introductions for the Heritage Press, continues that tradition here, too.  I’ll let Blake’s work speak for itself in the next two examples from the book.

Page 144

Page 160

Personal Notes – I do like Blake’s work, but I also have no real interest in Bunyan’s tale here, so the two bicker with each other. :p  I sold off this copy in Monterey to get better quality books (and by that I mean condition – it had torn pages, library trappings throughout and was lacking a slipcase or Sandglass).

Any and all info on this book’s design process would be very useful!  If you have a Sandglass or LEC Newsletter, please drop me a line here or through the comments at my thread about this blog at the George Macy Devotees @ LibraryThing!  Thanks!

Heritage Press – Three Dialogues of Plato (1968)

August 20, 2011 § 2 Comments

Plato’s Dialogues of Love – Lysis or Friendship, The Symposium and Phaedrus  (1968)
Sandglass Number unknown
Artwork – Illustrations by Eugene Karlin
Translated and notes by Benjamin Jowett, with a preface by Whitney J. Oates
Reprint of LEC #409/36th Series V. 11 in 1968

Click images for larger views.

Front Binding – This book has a nice marble floor look to its boards that works well for it, since it’s containing several key works from Greek philosopher Plato.  A brown cloth spine plays off of the boards.  Alas, that’s about all I can say here – I checked this out from the library.


Title Page – This is the final work of Plato the LEC put out – it’s kind of funny to me how The Republic was done in 1944, and then a near 20 year gap would pass before The Trial and Death of Socrates would be printed in 1962, with this coming out six years later.  It’s almost like someone remembered Plato’s existence after George Macy’s passing.  Maybe Macy wasn’t huge on Plato’s philosophy?  Anyway, idle speculation aside, Benjamin Jowett renders our text from Greek into English, and even provides some analysis to the work.  Whitney J. Oates offers a preface, and Eugene Karlin gives the text some visual accompaniment.  This would be their sole work for the LEC.

Lysis Introduction – Karlin has a solid drawing style that I like.  He also does some excellent portraits, as you’ll see below.

Page 14

Page 24

Personal Notes – A nice book of Plato’s lesser known works with a good line artist – I wouldn’t mind having it!

Any and all info on this book’s design process would be very useful!  If you have a Sandglass or LEC Newsletter, please drop me a line here or through the comments at my thread about this blog at the George Macy Devotees @ LibraryThing!  Thanks!


Limited Editions Club – Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray (1931)

August 11, 2011 § 1 Comment

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray (1931)
LEC # 22, 24th Series, V. 5
Artwork: Illustrations by John Austen
Introduction by G.K. Chesterton
#91 out of 1500

Click images to see a larger view.

Front Bindings – This exclusive edition of W.M. Thackeray’s most enduring classic Vanity Fair is pretty stunning to look at, with its gorgeous dust jackets (yes, you did read that right — I’ll explain why in a moment) and John Austen’s graceful illustration in the bottom right corner. Both volumes feature this. You can see the boards underneath in the next picture; the spine is a vibrant fuchsia color.

Since I’m now updating this point from 6 (ACK!) years ago, I can distinctly see a difference in how I used to post about these books. So let’s bring this up to par with the other posts with a little history, some design notes, and then the images.

Thackeray would see an alternate publication of this work issued by the Heritage Press at a later date, with his own illustrations accompanying his text. I am not sure on the publication details of that edition, but I will definitely update this once I get my hands on a copy to compare. In 1942 The Rose and the Ring would see a LEC printing with Fritz Kredel’s artistry, with a 2 volume The Newcomes next up in 1954 starring Edward Ardizzone as its visual artist. Ardizzone would get a second chance to illustrate Thackeray in 1956 with The History of Henry Esmond, Esq. 1961 brought Charles W. Stewart to decorate The History of Pendennis, the last of the Club’s offerings of the storied author. Beyond the aforementioned Vanity Fair, the Heritage Press did not produce any other unique editions, but a few of the above LECs were reprinted as Heritage volumes (the two Ardizzone-illustrated books I can confirm).

As for Austen, this was his very first commission for the LEC! As I may have mentioned before, Austen’s artistic style can be hit or miss with people; Macy himself admits as much in the Monthly Letter! But for the world of Vanity Fair, I think his fanciful linework fits just fine. We go into his career in The Vicar of Wakefield.

Design Notes – Dr. John Johnson of Oxford University Press handled the design for this book, as well as subsequent volumes of literature done in the same mold featuring Austen (The Pickwick Papers in 1933, The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle in 1935, The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane in 1937, and The Old Wives’ Tale in 1941). The paper came from France’s Arches Mill, and the font selected was Baskerville at 14 point and monotype. Albert Rutherston handled the binding decorations, which are also on the endpapers, slipcase and dust jackets! Macy goes into some insights about the printer, the illustrator, the font’s creator, and even some of the financial considerations in the letter below!

Dust Jacket/Boards Comparison – The boards feature a different teal/pink coloring for the repeating flower motif, which the endpapers inside also have.

Slipcase – The case is like the dust jacket with the yellow/pink coloring. What you can’t see in this shot is the poor condition this slipcase is in: the bottom is completely separated, and the top is trying to do the same. Apparently this was a common thing, as all the copies on ABEBooks I looked at save one also had a broken slipcase or none at all.  Shame.

Title Page – In my opinion, Austen’s sketches of beautiful, glamorous people match up well with the story and the overall design of the books. G.K. Chesterton of the Father Brown mystery series and master at paradox,serves up an Introduction. As for the aforementioned dust jackets on the books, which is a bit of an oddity for LECs, they were included with all of the Oxford editions I detailed above.

My particular copy, beyond the slipcase failings, seems to be a little poorly bound in Volume 2, or at the very least was well read prior to my ownership, as the pages seem to be a bit loose.

Signature Page – This is number 91 of 1500. Even after all this time I believe this is the earliest number I have. Austen’s curly signature in pencil lies below.

Page Preceding the Title Page – Austen has an unique style, that’s for sure. As I said, not for everyone, but I do think it works quite well with this book.

Page 38

Personal Notes – There’s a funny story behind the acquiring of this book. When I was on a field trip with my then-wife and the anthropology club at my old community college, I went to a bookshop in Flagstaff, Arizona on the way back home. The proprietor and I had a chat about this very book. He was asking $85 or so, but the condition of it did not inspire that kind of money, nor did I even have that much to spend. He offered a 10% discount, but I still wasn’t able to match that, so I walked out. A little later, I returned to find my anthropology instructor chatting with the owner, and after letting him know where we’d be, stepped back out. In between the time I last saw him and bumping into him next, he had purchased this book for $55 and was looking for me to see if I was still interested in it. Somehow, $30 was shaved off the price! Sometimes it does pay to have good contacts. I do feel a bit for the bookshop, though…it lost a good deal of money. If only he matched my offer of $67! My win, I suppose.

LEC Monthly Letter:

Updated 10/3/2017 by JF

Heritage Press: Andersen’s Fairy Tales (1942)

August 11, 2011 § 2 Comments

Andersen’s Fairy Takes (1942)
Sandglass Number unknown
Artwork – Illustrations in color by Fritz Kredel
Translated by Jean Hersholt
Reprint of LEC #138/13th Series V. 9 in 1942 in 2 volumes

Click images for larger views.

Title Page – Alas, this book was rebound in that ever-exciting generic library binding, so I bypassed photographing it.

Anyway, this is a Heritage reprint of the LEC 2-volume Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen, and the delightful artwork of Fritz Kredel, an excellent fit, accompanies it.  Kredel would be no stranger to fairy tale illustrations, as he did a collection of art for Grosset & Dunlap for a set of Grimm’s Tales (Arthur Szyk did the art for Andersen’s in that line, FYI) in 1945.  His whimsical style works well here, if you ask me.  Andersen’s words were translated by Jean Hersholt.  Both Kredel and Hersholt would sign the LEC edition, which is a little unusual.

As I have no Sandglass, I’m in the dark on who designed this – please let me know if you have that information!

Page 1 – I wonder if these were full color in the LEC – I’ve seen a few cases where the Heritage reprints have gone with a simpler color set for the illustrations, and seeing Kredel’s full color work in the Grimms’ book I have, I’m forced to ponder that possibility.  Regardless of that tangent, Kredel’s work suits the kooky worlds and inhabitants of Andersen’s tales.

Page 5 – Kredel also did in-text bits.  I particularly like this one.

Page 17

Personal Notes – Having a set of Grimm’s Fairy Tales done by the Heritage Press, I’d like to have this book, too.  As for now, I’ll remember the good days of checking this out from the library system.

Any and all info on this book’s design process would be very useful!  If you have a Sandglass or LEC Newsletter, please drop me a line here or through the comments at my thread about this blog at the George Macy Devotees @ LibraryThing!  Thanks!

Heritage Press: The Essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1953)

August 11, 2011 Comments Off on Heritage Press: The Essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1953)

The Essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1953)
Sandglass Number II:18
Artwork – None to be had!
Introduction by Edward F. O’Day
Reprint of LEC #60/6th Series V. 1 in 1934

Click images for larger views.

Front Binding – A nice green marbling has been done to these boards, giving the book its only real artistic flair (there’s no illustrations in this – just exquisite focus on the text!)The spine is a creme color, with a red block highlighting its Anniversary status and announcing it combines two volumes into one.  John Henry Nash was responsible for the design of the Limited Editions original, modeled after Nicolas Jenson’s 1478 printing of Plutarch’s Lives, using Nash’s Cloister Lightface to best replicate Jenson’s text for Ralph Waldo Emerson’s collection of essays.


Title Page – Edward F. O’Day gives an introduction to Emerson’s work here.  As I staed before, there isn’t any illustrations for this particular book, but the type face Nash utilized is quite nice.  For this book, the reproduction of Nash’s letterpress was done by Robert Teller Sons & Dorner, based out of New York.  The International Paper Company’s sheets were the ones summoned, and were specially made for the book, as par the course.  Frank D. Fortney did the final binding.

Pages 22 – 23 – This book was one of the largest LEC’s – it carries over to the Heritage edition, despite a reduction in the margins.  It’s the tallest one I have.  As for the text, it is pretty and works well for Emerson, I think.

Personal Notes – I bought this in Jamestown, California from a book shop for $10 or so, I think.  I haven’t read Emerson, but when I’m ready to I’ve got a nice volume to do it!


Of Interest – Time Magazine chats about George Macy

August 6, 2011 Comments Off on Of Interest – Time Magazine chats about George Macy

While I’m over at our sister site LVLs. celebrating its 10 year anniversary (amazing!), I thought I’d share this interesting link I discovered about Deluxe Edition books Time Magazine did in 1938.  The first page is all about George Macy and his Limited Editions Club, and I thought it was a fairly interesting view into his publishing empire.

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