Heritage Press – Walden by Henry David Thoreau (1939*)
January 20, 2013 § 10 Comments
Walden or Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau (1939, * = this edition was done after 1953)
Sandglass Number III:30
Artwork: Wood Engravings by Thomas A. Nason
Heritage Press Exclusive: The LEC would issue their own Walden with Edward Steichen’s Walden Pond photographs in 1936.
Click images for larger views.
Front Binding – Book #2 for today is the Heritage Walden. Thoreau’s seminal nature writings continue to inspire and influence people today, even if you find his personal reasoning and methods of living with nature a bit dubious. The Limited Editions Club had Edward Steichen’s Walden Pond photographs provide its visuals, but the Heritage Press went for a more natural approach, asking wood engraver Thomas A. Nason to supply their edition with woodcuts. Nason’s work is quite apropos, and he would see two future LEC commissions come his way. He did the Poems of William Cullen Bryant in 1947, and his last was a doozy; The Complete Poems of Robert Frost, a 2 volume issuing in 1950 that Frost, Nason and designer Bruce Rogers all signed, which automatically skyrockets it into the more coveted and expensive LEC’s out there.
Thoreau’s Walden LEC release in 1936 would be the last under George Macy; in fact, Helen and Jonathan Macy barely got the next one, Cape Cod, out under their tenure in 1968. Raymond J. Holden would render that one artistically. Cardevon Press recruited Holden again in 1975 for their A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers LEC in 1975. That’s all for Thoreau!
Designing info for you: Carl Purington Rollins was the original designer back for the original issuing. Clarke and Way printed the work on Crocker-Burbank paper. Bookman is the font of choice. That’s all the Sandglass provides!
Title Page – I happen to like Nason’s work a lot. The full-page engravings are loaded with little details that fit the world of Walden like a glove. There are many more small cuts, which are also excellent. A good fit! There is no preface or introduction to Thoreau’s text; it just starts right up!
Examples of the In-text Illustrations by Nason (right click and open in new tab for full size):
Personal Notes – I’ve owned two separate copies of this book. The first I don’t fully recall how it sneaked into my inventory. It was ratty and beat up! If my memory serves, I believe I got it from Windows on the World Books & Art (RIP), my second bookselling gig, for a really low price or free. The one this post features is my second, much nicer copy. I snagged that at a library book sale. Haven’t read it yet.
Sandglass (right click and open in new tab for full size):