Heritage Press – The Histories of William Shakespeare (1958)

October 29, 2011 § 2 Comments

The Histories of William Shakespeare (1958)
Sandglass Number Unknown
Artwork: Wood engravings by John Farleigh
Introduced by John G. McManaway
Heritage Press Exclusive – The LEC released all of the histories as individual books, along with the remainder of Shakespeare’s plays, through 1939 and 1940.

Click images for larger views.

Front Binding – All of the original releases of the Heritage Dramatic Works of Shakespeare (my designation) have this design on their boards.  Alas, I do not know who came up with this motif – if you happen to know, please drop me a line.

Shakespeare was the most printed of the George Macy Company’s authors, with each of his plays receiving a LEC edition (a few got two), plus his sonnets and poems.  The Heritage Press also had quite a few exclusives of the Bard – a set of sonnets, Romeo and Juliet, and these three compilations of plays broken up by the three major styles of drama – comedy, tragedy and history.  Edward Arizzone (sp) performed artistic flourish to the comedies, Agnes Miller Parker the tragedies, and John Farleigh the histories.

While on the subject of Farleigh, now’s a good time to get a little into his illustrious illustration career.  Farleigh is a master woodcutter with a unique style compared to his contemporaries, and he did a few commissions for George Macy, including this – he also produced art for the LEC Back to Methuselah by George Bernard Shaw (1939), and Prometheus Bound and Prometheus Unbound, a combination of Aeschylus and Percy Bysshe Shelley’s plays, printed for both the LEC and the Heritage Press in 1965.  He is best known for another Shaw work done outside of the Macy canon – The Adventures of the Black Girl in Her Search for God in 1932, which received a fair amount of consternation back in the day for being such a bold book that tackled race, religion and sex in one fell swoop (not to mention Farleigh’s somewhat risque renderings of the tale).

Title Page – James G. McManaway supplies the introduction for this set, and Farleigh gets a chance to flaunt his interesting wood engraving style.  Nice title page!

Page 9 – A piece from King John.  I like the addition of red to the woodcut – it adds some vibrancy to the violence rendered here.  Each play gets a solo woodcut.

Page 185 – This is from King Henry IV Part 1.

Personal Notes – I like Farleigh and Shakespeare, so finding my own copy is high on my list!  This particular copy was from a library.

If you have a Sandglass for the Heritage New York printing, please drop me a line here or through the comments at my thread about this blog at the George Macy Devotees @ LibraryThing!  I could use extra insights into this book.  Thanks!

Heritage Press – A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson (1944)

October 24, 2011 § 6 Comments

A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson (1944)
Sandglass Number Unknown
Artwork: Illustrations by Roger Duvoisin
Introduced by William Rose Benet
Reprint of LEC #156/15th Series V. 4 in 1944

Front Binding – A charming cover for a set of nursery rhymes, eh?  Roger Duvoisin’s a perfect fit for this book, I must admit, and the cover gives credence to my claim.  Alas, this is a library copy, and it shows some significant wear on the corners and there’s a chunk of the centerpiece missing, but you get the idea of how nice this one is despite its flaws.

Duvoisin mostly did children’s works for the LEC and Heritage Press (and elsewhere), but I’ll let my prior comments for my Three-Cornered Hat post handle comments on his career, where I go into those details much more extensively.  For here, I’ll merely add that this was his first LEC commission, and it’s a fitting one, too.

Now for the meat of this post – Robert Louis Stevenson was well loved by George Macy during his tenure.  Six Stevenson works were greenlighted while Macy was alive, all of which (save the first, which is a little baffling to me as to why they picked those tales so early) were important pieces of his legacy in literature – Two Medieval Tales, book #6 of the LEC in 1929 with decorations by C.B Falls, Kidnapped in 1938 (with Hans Alexander Mueller rendering its art), Treasure Island in 1941 (Edward A. Wilson illustrated that one), this fine printing in 1944, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in 1952 (art also by Wilson), and The Beach of Falasa in 1956 (featuring Millard Sheets’ work), presumably being designed and planned before Macy’s death in May, 1956.  Stevenson would continue to be a popular go-to for Helen Macy and Cardevon Press, as three more books would follow – Travels with a Donkey in 1957 (which reunited Duvoisin with Stevenson), The Master of Ballantre in 1965 (which Lynd Ward illustrated handsomely), and The New Arabian Nights in 1976 (Clarke Hutton did the honors here).  All but the first and the last received Heritage editions, and the Heritage Press did not tackle any Stevenson works on their own accord.  But nine separate works is not shabby at all – I believe that he’s the fourth most printed author from the Company, following Shakespeare, Dickens and Twain.  Not bad company, that!

Title Page – William Rose Benet of Mother Goose fame (another work Duvoisin illustrated for the Heritage Press – coincidence?) offers an introduction in Stevenson’s tales, and, as I said, Duvoisin is ideal for this book.  I have no clue on who designed it or how, so if you could let me know, I’d be most thankful.

Endpapers – Both endpapers feature this excellent two page illustration that is a great representation of how lovely Duvoisin’s art is for this.

Page 3 – He also did some black-and-white drawings, too.

Personal Notes – A very lovely book, one I’d like to own!  Checked out from my local library.

If you have a LEC of this book or a Sandglass for the Heritage New York printing, please drop me a line here or through the comments at my thread about this blog at the George Macy Devotees @ LibraryThing!  I could use extra insights into this book.  Thanks!

Heritage Press – The Iliad of Homer (1943)

October 23, 2011 § 2 Comments

The Iliad of Homer (1943)
Sandglass Number Unknown
Artwork: Classical Design Sketches by John Flaxman
Translated and introduced by Alexander Pope, supervised by Carl Van Doren
Heritage Press Exclusive – The LEC did their own Iliad in 1931, designed by Jan van Krimpen.

Click images to see a larger view.

Front Binding – The neat Greek design you see on the left does go all the way around the front in a box. It’s also a lovely shade of red. The Odyssey would follow the same design philosophies but go for a blue cloth instead. Info on the designer of the book will be forthcoming, as long as the Connecticut Sandglass I’ve acquired recently contains it.

This book pulls heavily from the past (not only in the material of Homer, of course), with poet Alexander Pope’s translation and 19th century sculptor John Flaxman’s outlines embellishing the text. The combination looks great, although I admit to having not read the book in question.

Pope, despite being a fairly prominent figure in the English poetry canon, never had his own work reproduced by the George Macy Company, although he would reappear as part of a set of translators for Ovid’s Metamorphosis in 1961. Why his essays on Man and Criticism, not to mention The Rape of the Lock, were untouched by the LEC or Heritage Press is a mystery to me.

Flaxman was best known for his bas-reliefs, which to this day can be found all over England.  He was a busy man working with many mediums: sculpture, painting, drafts, drawings and engravings were all part of his prolific output. He not only rendered the worlds of Homer, but those of Dante and Aeschylus as well. As far as I know, Flaxman’s work was only utilized by the Company for the two works of Homer for the Heritage Press.

Spine

Title Page – Alexander Pope provides an introduction to his translation (or, better said, the Press plucked it as well as his translation to be used here). Carl Van Doren seemed to have supervisory control on the book, as he provides a note on the translation following Pope’s intro. Thanks to m7ia for the info and reminder to check! As for Flaxman’s artwork, it certainly fits the bill in my opinion. It has a simplistic grace to it, which he was renowned for in his heyday.

Page 2

Page 18

Personal Notes – I’d like to compare van Krimpen’s LEC’s to these Heritage editions. These are nice, but I imagine that van Krimpen’s are impressive, too. I originally documented a library copy, but hey, now I have one thanks to my old friend from my first bookselling gig who happened to collect this on his travels somewhere.

Connecticut Sandglass to come.

Updated 7/29/2012 JF

Heritage Press – The Poetry of Edgar Allan Poe (1943)

October 17, 2011 § 6 Comments

The Poetry of Edgar Allan Poe (1943)
Sandglass Number Unknown
Artwork: Lithographs by Hugo Steiner-Prag
Prepared, Edited and Commentated by Louis Untermeyer
Part of the Heritage American Poets Series

Reprint of LEC #153/15th Series V. 1 in 1943

Click images to see a larger view.

Front Binding – Welcome to our first American Poets title!  There’s quite a few of these, all with the same bland boards on the front and back, saving its creativeness for an patriotic spine (which you can see below).  Louis Untermeyer (didn’t I just talk about him?) served as the Editor for this series.  Others include Longfellow, Bryant, Whittier, Dickinson, and Emerson (from a quick ABE Books scan), with Dickinson being the last LEC reprinted in 1952.  Poe’s was the first, originally done in 1943 by the Limited Editions Club and thus redone by the Heritage Press in this exclusive series.  Curiously, they omitted Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass despite the collection being among the most reprinted of any of Macy’s books.

Anyway, this is our first Edgar Allan Poe post, but there is no shortage of future posts about the Gothic master.  The fifth book the LEC ever produced was Poe’s novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym (which bizarrely had a Heritage reprint – a scarcity for a book done this early in the LEC lifeline!) in 1929.  In 1941 his Tales of Mystery and Imagination would be printed, followed up by this particular book in 1943.  With most everything major printed, Macy would retire from Poe’s works, but Sid Shiff revisited The Fall of the House of Usher in 1985 with its own edition.  I have Heritage copies of the first two, so expect those down the road.

Herr Steiner-Prag has been documented before for his work on Tartuffe – his full career with the George Macy Company is there (and will be revised in the future), but I will add here that this was his last LEC before his passing in 1945.  As usual, his work is astounding.

Spine – All of the American Poets books have this spine design.

Title Page – Steiner-Prag does a very good Poe portrait, that he does.  Untermeyer provides commentary to the poems on top of preparing and editing them, and that is a lovely logo of the Heritage Press Sandglass there!  I should scan that for the blog’s Gravatar.

Page 11 – A little more surrealist than Tartuffe, but amazing none the less.

Page 15

Personal Notes – I got this one for $5 in Jamestown, California this past summer.  It has no Sandglass or slipcase, but the book was in nigh-perfect condition, and it was $5.  I tend to not pass up books that low for documenting!…although I am keeping this one thanks to how nice it is.  With any luck I’ll get a slipcase and Sandglass in the future for it.

If you have a LEC of this book or a Sandglass for the Heritage New York printing, please drop me a line here or through the comments at my thread about this blog at the George Macy Devotees @ LibraryThing!  I could use extra insights into this book.  Thanks!

Heritage Press: Billy Budd and Benito Cereno by Herman Melville (1965)

October 17, 2011 Comments Off on Heritage Press: Billy Budd and Benito Cereno by Herman Melville (1965)

Billy Budd and Benito Cereno by Herman Melville (1965)
Sandglass Number Unknown
Artwork: Paintings by Robert Shore
Introduced by Maxwell Geismar
Reprint of LEC #367/33rd Series V. 5 in 1965

Click images to see a larger view.

Front Binding – For this printing of Herman Melville’s legendary short stories of the sea, the Heritage Press utilized the two-cloth method of binding, in this case black and white, with the titles the reverse on the spine (see below).  Effective choice, but I don’t know who came up with it or any other publishing info due to a lack of Sandglass.

Melville would see four of his works produced by the Limited Editions Club – Typee to begin in 1935, with Miguel Covarrubias doing the artistic honors, followed by the 2-volume Moby Dick in 1943, featuring Boardman Robinson’s talent.  Helen Macy would pick up the Melville bug for two more books during her tenure, with Omoo arriving in 1961 with art from Reynolds Stone, and then this one, done in 1965.  Speaking from my experience, Melville is one of the trickier authors to track down Macy books for – I’ve only seen this and Moby Dick once, respectively.

Robert Shore started his LEC career when Melville concluded his – Helen and Jonathan Macy and Cardevon would require his services for another four LEC books, including Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness in 1969, From the Earth to the Moon and Around the Moon by Jules Verne in 1970 (a lovely book), a collection of Conrad’s stories Youth, Typhoon and The End of the Tether in 1972, and his last, another Conrad, An Outcast from the Islands, in 1975.  All but the latter have Heritage reprints it would seem.  Shore’s style is pretty distinctive, and it’s one I do enjoy.

Slipcase – Bold red against the black and white.

Spine

Title Page – Rather barren, isn’t it?  Shore’s work was saved for the interior.  Maxwell Geismar offers his thoughts as an introduction.

Billy Budd Introduction – Both stories have a nice page introducing them like this example from Billy Budd.

Page 8 – Shore has a knack for seascapes – may be why he did so many for the LEC!  Most are two-page spreads, but there’s a couple of single page paintings, as well.

Page 32

Page 156

Personal Notes – I purchased this in Flagstaff, Arizona for $15 or so.  I failed to realize it lacked a Sandglass – probably because this was my second choice, but my friend bought the first after I showed it to her. XD  Ah well.  Still a nice book.

If you have a LEC of this book or a Sandglass for the Heritage New York printing, please drop me a line here or through the comments at my thread about this blog at the George Macy Devotees @ LibraryThing!  I could use extra insights into this book.  Thanks!

Heritage Press – The Wonderful Adventures of Paul Bunyan, retold by Louis Untermeyer (1973, Connecticut)

October 16, 2011 Comments Off on Heritage Press – The Wonderful Adventures of Paul Bunyan, retold by Louis Untermeyer (1973, Connecticut)

The Wonderful Adventures of Paul Bunyan, retold by Louis Untermeyer (1973, Connecticut)
Sandglass Number: XI – R : 40
Artwork – Pen-and-ink drawings by Everett Gee Jackson, with some colored with crayons and printed to resemble paintings
Foreword by Louis Untermeyer
Reprint of LEC #167/16th Series V. 3 in 1945

Click images to see a larger view.

Front Binding – As this is a Connecticut reprint, I must say this is one of their better boards (although, as usual, the New York original is superior) for a Macy era title.  Anyway, the folk tale of Paul Bunyan is one of the few children’s titles printed as a solo Limited Editions Club edition – the fairy tales of Andersen and the Brothers Grimm, Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses, Aesop’s Fables and the special Evergreen Tales sets of tales are some others.  However, this retelling of the American classic is fairly special in that Louis Untermeyer, a common ally of the George Macy Company, had his rendition of the tale specifically printed, making it his sole credit as the author of a work for Macy.  Untermeyer would otherwise serve as translator (Cyrano de Bergerac‘s second printing), editor (the second set of Grimm’s Fairy Tales) or introducing a work (The Innocent Voyage) for many projects in the Macy sphere.

Everett Gee Jackson began his career for Macy here, and would go on to render five other books for the Limited Editions Club – The Ugly Duckling for a set of Evergreen Tales in 1949, Popoh Vuh: The Book of the People in 1954, 1957’s The History of the Conquest of Peru by William Hickling Prescott, Helen Hunt Jackson’s Ramona in 1959 and his last, a collection of American Indian Legends published in 1968.

Slipcase

Title Page – Untermeyer and Jackson both get a half page or so in the Sandglass, so I’ll let that do the talking for me.  What I will speak of is the design info: The original Heritage printing was designed by Richard Ellis.  William F. Fortney of Tapley-Rutter bound the book, the Caslon Old Style text was printed on Mohawk paper by Connecticut Printers, while Jackson’s pictures were redone by Holyoke Lithograph Company of Springfield, Massachusetts.

Page 5 – Jackson did pen-and-ink illustrations for the book…

Page 8 – …as well as these colored illustrations.  These were done in crayon, but printed to resemble paintings.  An appropriate choice in materials, given Bunyan’s folk tale status for children.  Jackson’s style works with the lore, but it’s not really my thing.

Page 40

Personal Notes – I got this rather cheaply from Windows on the World – Books & Art, my former bookselling appointment, but I didn’t realize until I got home it was a Connecticut edition.  Still, I was able to document it before it was sold off to get other Heritage Press books this year.

Sandglass

Heritage Press – Two Plays by Anton Chekhov (1966, NY and Connecticut)

October 15, 2011 Comments Off on Heritage Press – Two Plays by Anton Chekhov (1966, NY and Connecticut)

Two Plays (Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard) by Anton Chekhov (1966/1966* [NY/Conn]))
Sandglass Number: None (weird…a Connecticut-era omission, mayhaps?)
Artwork – Illustrated by Lajos Szalay
Translated by Constance Garnett, Introduced by John Gielgud
Reprint of LEC #385/34th Series V. 11 in 1966

Click images to see a larger view.

Front Binding – Ah, now I can update this post for some comparisons!  The Connecticut binding (on the right) is a fairly sterile binding job, although the three cherries is a clever homage to the two Anton Chekhov plays it contains – The Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard.  The New York printing is with a maroon cloth, with a nice centerpiece of Chekhov’s initials.  Bert Clarke of Clarke and Way (aka The Thistle Press) handled the design duties of the original book – I’m not sure if Cardevon recruited him to do the Connecticut binding as well.

As for Chekhov, he got recognition from the Limited Editions Club rather late in its history – this was the first collection of his work, in this case, his two great dramas, and in 1973 Cardevon would put out a compilation of his short stories.  Apparently Macy didn’t think much of Chekhov during his tenure, or merely forgot to include him alongside the other Russian legends like Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Turgenev and Pushkin that did receive lovely editions in the heyday of the LEC.

Slipcase

Title Page – Sir John Gielgud, very well known for his Shakespearean performances, provides an Introduction to Chekhov’s dramas, and Lajos Szalay is its illustrator.  I must admit, Szalay’s art style isn’t really to my taste.  However, it was to Cardevon, who hired him to perform artistic embellishment to the Stories of Chekhov I mentioned above as well as Turgenev’s The Torrents of Spring in 1976.  Perhaps you will see something that pleases you in my examples.  The color pieces are tempura paintings.

Clarke utilized 12 point English Monotype Garamond for its text, but that’s all the Sandglass lets out of its production notes.  It instead goes for a near page on Gielgud’s storied career, which is all well and good, but makes it hard to document books on this blog!


Page 6 – One of Szalay’s tempura paintings.  I think the linework is what distracts me from enjoyment – it’s almost a little too rough for me.  Anyway, the printings seem fairly comparable – the Connecticut print is a little fuzzier, but I may have zoomed in a bit closer and it wasn’t quite as focused.


Page 21

Page 44

Personal Notes – I bought this copy at my current book employment years before I was employed there.  I didn’t realize the Connecticut/New York distinction at the time, which I have now fully comprehended and rarely buy Connecticut titles these days.  I sold that one off to get some other HP titles in 2011.  I was given a copy of the New York edition in January 2012 by my good friend John.  It was incomplete, but in very good shape.  The Connecticut slipcase doesn’t quite squeeze around it as nicely as it did for its original host, but it’s better than nothing!

* -A strong piece of evidence that Cardevon rarely changed the dates of the Macy’s initial printings to reflect their reprint.

Sandglass (Connecticut)

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