Heritage Press – The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and John Madison (Connecticut, 1973)

June 10, 2013 Comments Off on Heritage Press – The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and John Madison (Connecticut, 1973)

The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and John Madison (Connecticut, 1973)
Sandglass Number VI-R: 40
Artwork: Decorations by Bruce Rogers.
Introduced and edited by Carl Van Doren.
Reprint of LEC #169, 16th Series, V. 5 in two volumes in 1945.

Click images for larger views.


Front Binding – The Federalist is our selection for today. The Connecticut issuing in 1973 looks pretty nice if you ask me; a bold red/gold eagle stamped on top of a dark blue cloth. Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison are the political figures behind these essays; this was the only publication of theirs done by the George Macy Company. If my memory is correct, this is the first American political work we’ve featured on the blog. There are plenty more, and we’ll get around to them eventually. I imagine Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man will be next on that front.

Anyway, enough of my ruminations. Illustrations are restricted to decorations for this work, and Bruce Rogers served as the designer/decorator. There’s a nice blurb about Rogers on Page 3 of the Sandglass. He did a lovely job with this book’s look; it’s patriotic but not overtly so. Since we’re on the design front, here’s the remaining perimeters for this issuing: the primary font is Original Old Style, which the Sandglass extensively details (since the book’s type is one of the central focal points here). Rae Publishing Company printed the text on Finch-Pruyn Mills paper which is creme-white in color and vellum-finished. It features “thin” paper since it is a very thick book. The bindery is absent from the Sandglass.

Spine – A striking design if you ask me.


Title Page – Here is the title page; Carl Van Doren is the editor/introduction writer for this book (although the title omits the editorial part; the Sandglass clued me in on that one). Van Doren was a friend of Macy’s and a part of the ill-fated Reader’s Club judge’s panel.

Examples of the In-text Decorations by Rogers (right click and open in new tab for full size):

Personal Notes – I got this with the 50 books I received from the Oakhurst Library. It cost me a dollar. However, upon a recent reappraisal of my books, I decided that it was not a priority for me to keep (and there’s a NY printing), so I sold it off to help get Tristan and Iseult the last time I was in Monterey.

Sandglass (right click and open in new tab for full size):

UPDATE: Robert (Django6924) was kind enough to send along pictures of his LEC and NY Heritage editions. I’ve included the binding and title pages in the gallery below:

UPDATED 8/17/2013 JF


Heritage Press – The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio (1940)

June 1, 2013 § 1 Comment

The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio (1940)
Sandglass Number 11L
Artwork: Woodcuts by Fritz Kredel
Introduced by Edward Hutton, translated by Anonymous in 1620
Also printed as a special two volume LEC in a limitation of 530 copies, signed by Kredel. The LEC first published The Decameron in 1930, #7 of Series 1, featuring the artwork of T.M. Cleland and the modern English translation of Francis Winwar.

Click images for larger views.


Front Binding – Ah, weekly updates! How droll.

Anyway, The Decameron is our next highlight of the Heritage Press. A little background on the book’s publishing history is in order! In the very first series of the Limited Editions Club, The Decameron was produced with T.M. Cleland’s design (no art this time) and a modern verse translation by Francis Winwar. When the Heritage Press got going, George Macy wanted to revisit The Decameron for that readership. Macy had released a limited run of The Decameron as a special offering to LEC members in 1940, on which this edition is based. He appointed Mr. Fritz Kredel, a man who needs little introduction on this blog by now (but in case you do, here’s a post with his extended tenure working for the Macys), to render period-appropriate decorations to serve as illustrations for this new work. However, despite having copyright over Winwar’s translation, Macy felt that the period-apropos work of Kredel clashed with the modernity of Winwar’s words. So, he went way back to the very first English translation of the text, done anonymously in 1620, to serve as a proper contrast to Kredel’s woodcuts. It also returns two chapters omitted from 1620 that were considered too “racy” back then with a simple modern English translation (no idea if it’s Winwar’s or not). Ultimately, 530 copies of the premium Kredel Decameron were issued to LEC members in 1940, making it the rarest limitation of any Macy-era LEC. There is no Heritage edition of the earlier Cleland/Winwar collaboration.

I’ve included a special bonus in the Sandglass section of the post; an official announcement issued in 1948 regarding the switch of some of the titles in the Heritage program. Now, one will notice rather quickly that 1940 is not the same year as 1948. I can’t explain the inner workings of the Company, but it would appear to me that the LEC edition shipped out in 1940, and that a potential Heritage edition may have been benched until 1948, as Macy sure is making it sound like The Decameron was not issued to the Heritage Press until then. Regardless, it’s a glimpse into the scheduling background that readers rarely get to see in the publishing world, and worth a look for those curious about Macy’s operations.

A final note on the author before we touch on the design; Giovanni Boccaccio published other works beyond The Decameron, but that was all the LEC or Heritage Press offered. Still, it’s always an honor (in my view) to get your work printed twice by the same high-end publishing house.

Design-wise, the design of the type was handled by Mr. Macy himself. Kredel was the designer of the boards. Cloister (main text) and Centaur (title page and other decorative uses) are the fonts. West Virginia Paper Company supplied the paper. That’s as far as the Sandglass and book goes in revealing design elements!




Title Page – A lovely title page that was supposed to reflect the era of the Italian Renaissance; Kredel hit it out of the park, I’d say. Edward Hutton has much to say on the work and the translation in his Introduction.

Examples of the In-text Decorations by Kredel (right click and open in new tab for full size):

Personal Notes – I got this as part of my volunteering at Second Time Around Used Books in Merced. The condition is a little rough, and the slipcase is barely together, but the bonus euphemia and scarcity of this book (I’ve only seen this particular copy in a store) made me snag it. I look forward to reading it sometime.

Sandglass and Announcement Letter (right click and open in new tab for full size):


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