Of Interest: Illinois Gear & Machine Co. Heritage Press Volumes

December 31, 2018 Comments Off on Of Interest: Illinois Gear & Machine Co. Heritage Press Volumes

It was brought to my attention that the Heritage Press created several exclusive variants of their volumes for the Illinois Gear & Machine Co. As my good friend Django6924 explains:

The Illinois Gear books were a special lot done produced over several years for that Chicago Company to give as gifts. This was on a different business plan than the leather-bound editions of books such as the HP David Copperfield, Leaves of Grass, Life on the Mississippi, etc., which were offered to Club members during the regular series. The Illinois Gear books look very much to be forerunners of the Easton Press editions, with silk moiré end papers and elaborate gilt tooling on the leather binding. Mine has the tipped-in, slip sheeted presentation page (but no name handwritten in the “Especially For” blank), and is the letterpress-printed Tales of the Gold Rush by Bret Harte. The copyright date is 1944, the date of the original, and that may be when the pages were actually printed as the paper and printing look to be much earlier than what was typical by the 1969 date on the presentation page.

The leather binding on my copy is very durable pebble-grained leather. It is much superior to the leather used on my HP Rubaiyat, Song of Songs, and David Copperfield, which were offered to Heritage Club members at a price premium during the regular subscription series. Although I don’t care for the pasted-in silk moiré endpapers, the book is very handsome and still looks new.

Michael Bussacco had produced a list of known titles released in this subset of publications, which GMD user astronauteric expanded upon in this thread. Here’s a typed version of the entire list:

1954 The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon by Washington Irving
1955 Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
1956 The Romance of Leonardo Da Vinci
1957 Life of Rembrandt
1958 This is the Hour: A Novel about Goya
1959 Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain
1960 The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
1961 Ben-Hur by Lew Wallace
1962 The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
1963 Kim by Rudyard Kipling
1964 The Spy by James Fenimore Cooper
1965 The Ambassadors by Henry James
1966 Stories of O. Henry
1967 Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana
1968 The Mill and the Floss by George Eliot
1969 Tales of the Gold Rush by Bret Harte
1970 Cape Cod by Henry David Thoreau
1971 The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain

1972 would be the year (thereabouts) MBI bought the Heritage Press from Jonathan Macy, so it is fitting that these editions would end following that transaction.

The notable differences are the bindings, of course, which are rather nice leather-bound covers with exquisite design work. Slipcases were also included, and feature an additional title page with the company’s name and a space for a particular client/customer name to be added.

I do not own any of these nor have I come across one in my travels, but there are a few links to samples in the above link. If I do see one at a reasonable price I’ll be sure to pick it up and catalog it here!

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Heritage Press (Connecticut) – The Jungle by Upton Sinclair (1965)

August 12, 2015 Comments Off on Heritage Press (Connecticut) – The Jungle by Upton Sinclair (1965)

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair (1965, Connecticut)
Sandglass Number XIII – R: 45
Artwork: Illustrated by Fletcher Martin
Includes a brief preface by Upton Sinclair
Reprint of LEC #373, 33rd Series, V. 11 in 1965.

Click images for larger views.

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Front Binding – Today brings one of the more influential literary works of the 20th century: The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair. Sinclair’s scathing novel decried the poor conditions of the working class employed in Chicago’s meat-packing factories. Curiously, however, the disgusting revelations of how atrocious the meat production process actually was — the poisoned and diseased animals, as well as the unfortunate men that made the fatal mistake of becoming a part of the product they were paid to make — was not Sinclair’s actual intention of the novel. As the Sandglass notes, Sinclair was actually trying to make a case for socialism and a critique against the terrible wages of the workers. Sinclair wryly notes that he “‘aimed at the public’s heart and hit it in the stomach'” — but the overhauling of the meat industry was a positive in the end, and Sinclair continued his pleas in his other novels, essays and writings. Sinclair only had one LEC issued, but he does have the notable distinction of being one of the only authors to sign a LEC, joining the ranks of James Joyce, Robert Frost, Edgar Lee Masters, Van Wyck Brooks, and Wendell Willkie during the Macy’s tenure. Cardevon Press and Sidney Shiff had their fair share of author-signed volumes, including Ray Bradbury (twice!), Thornton Wilder, Isaac Bashevis Singer (twice!), Malcolm Cowley, Seamus Heaney, Derek Walcott, John Hersey (who also signed The Kingdom of this World), Robert Penn Warren (who also signed Hersey’s Hiroshima), Czeslaw Milosz, Arthur Miller, Gunter Grass, Octavio Paz, Friedrich Durrenmatt, Samuel Beckett, Joseph Mitchell, Margaret Walker, Heinrich Harrer (twice!), Maya Angelou (twice!; she also signed Sunrise is Coming After While), Leopold Sedar Senghor, and John Ashbery. Shiff in particular was aggressive in publishing more modern works and recruiting their authors to sign his editions; most of this list is from his time as head of the LEC.

Whew! With that tangent over, let’s talk about this book’s illustrator, Fletcher Martin. Martin hasn’t been a stranger to the blog, with Tales from the Gold Rush appearing a few years ago. His career with Macy is detailed in that post. Martin is a good fit for The Jungle, if I may say so. His style seems to enhance the plights of the poor and downtrodden, of which Sinclair’s characters must certainly are. Here he uses both line drawings (33 in all) and several colored pen drawings.

Design-wise, John B. Goetz served as the designer of this book. I presume the LEC has the same designer. The main font is Monotype Scotch, with headings and page numbers set in Masterman. Printing was tackled by the Holyoke Lithographing Company on a paper supplied by the Warren Mill of Westbrook, Maine. The binding is quickly glossed over, with the Sandglass quipping only about its “assured longevity” and “effective simplicity”. The original Heritage reprint had a nice leather binding in contrast to this Connecticut reissue.

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Slipcase

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Spine – Mine is rather faded.

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Title Page – Sinclair himself steps in to introduce his novel; this is uncommon. The Sandglass argues who better to discuss The Jungle than its creator?

Examples of the illustrations by Martin (right click and open in new tab for full size):

Personal Notes – I got this from my big haul from the Oakhurst Library. I’d like to have the LEC, naturally, but I’d be happy to upgrade this one to at least the Macy-issued Heritage over this. But for now, I’m keeping it until I replace it!

Sandglass forthcoming!

Heritage Press – Pudd’nhead Wilson by Mark Twain (1974, Connecticut)

August 25, 2013 Comments Off on Heritage Press – Pudd’nhead Wilson by Mark Twain (1974, Connecticut)

Pudd’nhead Wilson by Mark Twain (1974, Connecticut)
Sandglass Number III:39
Artwork: Illustrations by John Groth
Introduced by Edward Wagenknecht; includes Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar, complete for the first time!
Reprint of LEC #470, 41st Series, V. 12 in 1974

Click images for larger views.

puddnheadhp-binding

Front Binding – Mr. Clemens makes his third appearance on the blog today, with his relatively late offering of Pudd’nhead Wilson, issued in 1974 by Cardevon Press in Limited Editions Club and Heritage Press editions, the latter of which I present you with now. Mark Twain’s first title spotlighted by the blog was A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court; The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was the second. Yankee features an extensive listing of Twain’s publications, of which this was the very last one issued by the LEC.

As it so happened, it also was the last commission of John Groth for the LEC, who had rendered three prior books: The Stories of O. Henry in 1965, Gone with the Wind in 1968, and All Quiet on the Western Front in 1969. Four notable books there! Groth was a journalist as well as an artist, and I’ve seen a book of his reporting on the Vietnam or Korean War full of his drawings and commentary on the topic.

The Limited Editions Club included a plethora of supplementary material for both editions: an author’s preface, “A Whisper to the Reader”, a note from Twain regarding the evolution of the book from its origins as “Those Extraordinary Twins”, and the Calendar printed in the back (The LEC issued this part separately as its own paperbound volume). The Sandglass claims that this is a first; it includes all of the little tidbits that opened every chapter of Wilson, as well as from a different work that ran with the same idea, Following the Equator.

Roderick Stinehour is the designer for this edition, using 12-point Monotype Bell as the primary font. The Calendar is in 10-point Bell. Chapter heads are in Roman Script, and the Initial Initial is in Ornamental Shaded Initial. Holyoke Lithograph Company handled the printing on Warren Mill paper. Groth’s special cover illustration graces the boards, the spine of which is “leather content and vinyl coated”. Tapley-Rutter bound the book (I presume this is an evolution of Russell-Rutter?).

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Slipcase

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Title Page – Edward Wagenknecht is no stranger to the LEC and their Twain offerings; this is the seventh introduction penned by him!

Examples of the Illustrations by Groth (right click and open in new tab for full size):

Personal Notes – Memory leaves me on how exactly I came across this book at the moment. I think it came from Second Time Around as a volunteering bonus, but I’m not 100% certain on that. Such is life sometimes; it can leave behind the faintest of fragments of memory. :p I have this more for the work than for the art; Groth’s paintings don’t quite resonate with me, but I do like his linework.

Sandglass (right click and select Open in New Tab to see full size):

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.

federalist-binding

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.

Slipcase

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 – Main Street by Sinclair Lewis (1970, Connecticut)

August 5, 2012 § 7 Comments

Main Street by Sinclair Lewis (1970, Connecticut)
Sandglass Number XI:39
Artwork: Illustrations by Grant Wood
Introduced by the author
Reprint of LEC #89, 8th Series, V. 7 in 1937.

Click images for a larger view.

Front Binding – Sinclair Lewis has made an appearance on our blog before, but not as the author of a Limited Editions Club work! Main Street was the sole offering of Lewis offered by the Club, and it would take over 35 years for the Heritage Press to reprint its contents. Lewis was also involved in Macy’s third publishing arm The Reader’s Club as one of its judges, selecting and writing introductions for the Club’s brief run in the 1940’s. Main Street is probably his best known novel, so it was an apt choice way back when to select it!

The name Grant Wood may not immediately ring any bells. It’s a fairly common sounding name. However, this Grant Wood is exceptionally well known. You may recognize this painting:

This artistic classic, American Gothic, is by Grant Wood, the very painter recruited to illustrate Sinclair Lewis’ Main Street for the Limited Editions Club back in 1937. It’s a marvelous pairing of author and artist, that it most certainly is. Wood would not rejoin the LEC for any further commissions, but he did do a splendid job on this one! Django6294 chipped in this tidbit on the Wood/Macy relationship:

Incidentally, Jerry, that he didn’t do more than one commission for Macy wasn’t due to lack of enthusiasm on either side: Macy was effusive in praise of the illustrations and Wood had received a very generous price for this work, winning an LEC Prize for Illustration which came with a commission to illustrate one of the Club’s books (other winners were Thomas Benton and Reginald Marsh). But Wood was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer soon after the book was published, and died within 3 years, just short of his 50th birthday.

The LEC was designed by William A. Kittredge of the Lakeside Press in Chicago. The Lakeside Press is best remembered for its exceptional Moby Dick, illustrated by Rockwell Kent. They did their own fair share of classic printing themselves. I had a Walden from them briefly that I traded in for the LEC Twenty Years After. It was a really nice book, but I don’t have any room to start collecting EVERY well-made book made earlier this century. :p Anyway! It was Kittredge who decided to print the text and artwork on tan colored paper over the usual white, and that carried over to the Heritage printing. Caslon is the font of choice, and font fans will want to pour over the Sandglass, as it goes into its history in detail. For the Heritage edition, Tapley-Rutter served as its binder, and it was reprinted by the Connecticut Printers. The cover, resembling denim, is enhanced by pryoxylin to give it extra strength. The LEC original was chosen as one of the 200 books of its decade selected for Outstanding Design by the American Institute of Graphic Arts, one of seven total from the LEC! So you’ve got a treat waiting for you if you find either edition!

Slipcase

Title Page – Here’s a taste of the tan paper. Lewis introduced his own work.

Page 42 – Wood is a fine choice, doing some exceptional portrait work for the main characters. Stunning stuff.

Page 82

Personal Notes – I got this with my 70+ book haul from the Oakhurst Library, and I’m tickled to have it. I’ve not seen hide nor hair of this book anywhere else, so I’m delighted to have it in my library.

I suppose I should explain this book haul a little better, because I’ve said 50 book haul before. This was a two-part acquiring. The first half was when I went to the library itself to see what my friend John had in store for me, which exceeded my wildest dreams. Someone donated 70+ books, and all of them were Heritage Press books. It was mindblowing to realize that I had the chance of doubling my library! As I went through them all, I plucked key books that I knew I would have difficulty finding elsewhere, and I believe Main Street was among those. I gathered up about 20 books or so. John told me to take those (for free!), and he would talk to the higher-ups about the rest of the lot. I was stunned to walk away with a plethora of Heritage books for free, but I didn’t argue! A month later John called me to say that the manager of the library sales told him to sell the remainder of the books (50, magically) for $50 as a lot if I wanted them. I DID, so I managed to scrounge up the cash and made my way to John’s residence, where he was storing the books. It was a somewhat dangerous drive to his house, as the weather took a nosedive into hailing and occasional snow. His road is a dirt road of the bouncy, undergrated sort. I managed to get there safely and pick up the rest of the lot, handed him the fifty dollars and, with mild regret to not spend any time with him, hurried back home. So, that’s the story of my massive Heritage haul, and why I say 50 books sometimes. It truly was more like 70 or 80. And I STILL WANT MORE. What a curse. XD

Sandglass:

Heritage Press – The Odyssey by Homer (1970, Connecticut)

January 16, 2012 § 2 Comments

The Odyssey by Homer (1970, Connecticut)
Sandglass Number: Unknown
Artwork: Classical Designs by John Flaxman
Translated by Alexander Pope
Heritage Press Exclusive – The LEC did their own Odyssey in 1930, designed by Jan van Krimpen, and later Sidney Shiff produced his LEC Odyssey in 1981 featuring woodcuts by Barry Moser.

Click images to see a larger view.

Front Binding – This will be a relatively short post, since it’s A) a library copy and B) a Connecticut-era reprint, and it’s a companion to the Heritage Iliad.  It features the same design philosophy, the same translator (Alexander Pope) and the same artist (John Flaxman).  So I don’t think I can really comment much more than I did with the Iliad.  This is a nice shade of blue in contrast to the Iliad red.

Spine

Title Page – Flaxman’s work is still nice!

Page 6 – I’ll be more than happy to compare these to the New York printing when I can, but I can say that the quality isn’t shabby at all.

Page 14

Personal Notes – Checked out from the library…although I wouldn’t mind owning them.

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 – 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

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