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

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!

6 thoughts on “Heritage Press – The Poetry of Edgar Allan Poe (1943)”

  1. I picked up a copy of this book at Old Town Books, a local bookstore below the office I work at in Tempe, Arizona.

    It is without a slipcase and was published by the Limited Editions Club, rather than Heritage New York. The back page states, “This edition of The Poems of Edgar Allan Poe has been made for the members of the Limited Editions Club, and eleven hundred copies have been printed in November 1943. The edition was designed by A.G Hoffman and printed by the Aldus Printers. The illustrations were drawn on the lithographic stone by Hugo Steiner-Prag, who here signs (signature of Hugo Steiner-Prag) this copy, which is number 1069 (“1069” is handwritten).

    I’d like to discuss this copy with you via email, so if you could get back to me at your earliest convenience, I’d appreciate it!

    Thanks in advance for your time and consideration.

    Houston Barnett-Gearhart

    1. Hi Houston,

      Sorry, but I do not give out my e-mail for any reason through this blog. If you are inferring that I may be interested in acquiring this from you, then I must decline. I am not in the market for books through this blog. If I am mistaken, I apologize. If that is the case, then please feel free to share what you actually had in mind here. I can read it without approving it if privacy is a concern.

      1. Hey,

        Thanks for getting back to me so soon. I apologize for being confusing in my previous comment. The reason I’m contacting you is so I can get some more information about this particular copy of The Poems of Edgar Allan Poe. I’m not trying to sell it, I just can’t find much information about it online and I found your website and figured you could shed some light on the book for me.

        Is this particular copy rare? Do you have any particularly interesting information about Hugo Steiner-Prag?

      2. Ah, okay. Sorry about that. I get barraged somewhat regularly with sale offers, so I tend to assume that is the case. Again, my apologies.

        Anyway, I can give you some information, although some of my buddies at the George Macy Devotees may know more. You have a rather nice book, that you do. There’s 1550 or so of those in the world (1500 for members, 50 that went to friends of the Macys, universities and the people involved). I don’t know how “rare” it is beyond limitation. I have a Steiner-Prag LEC myself, a lovely edition of Tartuffe (which is on the blog). The cheapest edition I see online is $75.00 at ABEBooks in about the same condition as yours. Minus the slipcase in very good condition. So it may be a little more rare than my Tartuffe, but it’s fairly average in terms of LEC’s. Some can be snagged for really cheap, some are insanely expensive, but the majority are in that $50 – 100 range, particularly in Macy’s owning of the company.

        As for Steiner-Prag, he was a well known German illustrator who taught many of the future woodcut masters like Fritz Eichenberg. He also was a book designer, and I know for certain he designed the Tartuffe I have, and perhaps yours as well! This was his last LEC before his death in 1945. You may want to inquire at the George Macy Devotees for their expert advice, though. There’s some walking encyclopedias over there. I hope that helps a little bit! Enjoy the book!

        Edit – Whoops, I didn’t quite catch the 1100 number, there. Yes, that certainly makes it rarer. Sorry about that.

  2. Jerry, back in October 2011 you asked if anyone had the Sandglass for the Heritage New York printing of Poe’s Poems. Well, better late than never: the Sandglass for the NY edition is now in the Dropbox – you’re welcome to reproduce it here!
    (It’ll be a .pdf. If you need a jpg version let me know, I can scan one in and email it to you.)

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