Heritage Press: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (1951)

July 4, 2016 Comments Off on Heritage Press: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (1951)

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (1951)
Sandglass Number unknown
Artwork: Drawings from William Sharp
Introduced by Carl Van Doren; Printed for the first time from his manuscripts as originally written, including his preliminary outline
Heritage Press exclusive; the LEC issued their own edition designed and signed by printer John Henry Nash in 1931, #26, 3rd Series, V. 1 in 1931

Click images for larger views.

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Front Binding – Happy Fourth of July, everyone! I’ve decided to bump up a Heritage Press title for the holiday, and I happen to have one quite apropos for today: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, one of the all-time legends in non-fiction and arguably the most famous memoir ever written (at least by an American!). Franklin, of course, was one of the Founding Fathers of America, but he wore many other hats during his long life: inventor, banker, post officer, businessman, printer, newspaperman, diplomat, writer, and scientist. The book was a project that he didn’t fully finish before his death (and as Carl Van Doren notes, was written in a blistering four months), but he was still able to document fifty or so years of his busy, industrious life. This is the Heritage version of the work; Macy commissioned renowned printer John Henry Nash to print a LEC back in 1931 as the first title in the 3rd series. William Wilke served as illustrator for that edition, although it was Nash who ultimately signed the colophon. Franklin would also have his Poor Farmer’s Almanacks printed by both presses in 1964, which featured the paintings of Norman Rockwell.

For this Heritage original, Macy hired William Sharp to do the honors of rendering Franklin’s world in line drawings, a task he has performed multiple times for the George Macy Company. As previously covered, Sharp brought the lives of Rousseau and Pepys to Macy’s editions of those works, so he was certainly not a stranger to chronicling the authors in illustration (Rousseau did follow this work, mind). For Sharp’s bibliography, please see the post on Pepys.

Design Notes – …I have none! Alas, I have no Sandglass and this stands as an original Heritage. There is also no colophon to work from. Once I have some production details, I will happily elaborate.

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Title Page – Carl Van Doren, who I briefly mentioned above, provides an Introduction. What’s kind of neat about this edition is that Macy had the text taken directly from Franklin’s original manuscript stored at the Huntington Library in Pasadena. The outline, included here as well, came from the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York.

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

Personal Notes – This was another book sent to me recently by Liz. I’m happy to have it join my collection!

Limited Editions Club/Heritage Press: The Histories of Herodotus (1958)

June 26, 2016 § 4 Comments

The Histories of Herodotus (1958)
LEC #293/27th Series V. 2 in 1958
Artwork: Illustrated and Decorated by Edward Bawden
Introduced and translated from the Greek by Harry Carter
#660 of 1500. Heritage edition detailed below.

Before I begin this post proper, I need to take a moment and dedicate this post to longtime Devotee and frequent visitor to this site Don Floyd, who has seemingly passed away within the past six months since I or any of the other Devotee have heard from him. Another reason we believe he has passed on is that his collection — a nearly complete set of LECs, several of which he personally had rebound — has ended up on eBay. It’s truly tragic to see Don’s pride and joy not go to its intended home following his passing; he had plans to donate his collection to his alma mater.

That all being said, I will miss Don’s candor. He definitely had a strong opinion against Heritage Press books, and he was particularly ornery about certain topics, but he was a wonderful man to talk to and learn from. He provided information for me to utilize here on the blog more than once, and I can think of few individuals who were as devoted or passionate about George Macy and his publications as he was. Don Floyd will also be missed here as he was arguably my most frequent commenter. So rest in peace, Don; you will not be forgotten.

Click images for a larger view.

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Front Binding – After five long years, I can finally revisit and update you on the differences between the LEC and Heritage editions of The Histories of Herodotus, a title I have sought since I originally stumbled upon the Heritage books that originally comprised this post! And the circumstances of my coming upon this book is quite a story as well; perhaps not as notable or important as the histories contained within, but I hope intriguing! I’ll discuss that in the Personal Notes below.

Onto the book proper. The Limited Editions Club printed these very early classics in the history genre in 1958. Given George’s death in 1956, it’s probable he had some hand in the formation of this book more than his wife Helen, who carried the Club through the next decade. Herodotus is considered “the father of history” (a term given to him by Cicero), pioneering a new approach to writing historical works through the use of historiography, utilizing ethnographic and geographical information to serve as his support. Not everything he writes about in this book is infallible; Herodotus stated that he took what he got from his sources as credible, and there are a few spots where the text is shaky. However, taken as a whole Herodotus’ volumes are fairly accurate to the actual events known of the Greco-Persain Wars. This is the sole work of his that made it to modern times, and is thus the sole production from the LEC or the Heritage Press.

Edward Bawden makes a bold imprint on the LEC legacy with this book. His artistic flourishes for the title page and chapter openers are colorful, crisp dioramas twisting different motifs and symbols into delightful setpieces. He also supplied several line drawings that are sprinkled in the text. My frequent source Django6924 had this to say about Bawden when this was originally posted:

Bawden, born in 1903, and who was a famous English War Artist in WW II and did a tour in Abyssinia, did 102 pen and ink drawings to illustrate the text, and ten double-page color spreads to introduce each of the 9 books (plus one for the title page). …these are very exotic, combining elements of Attic and Persian art in a tapestry-like effect.

Bawden would also contribute to 1960’s Salammbo LEC, written by Gustave Flaubert.

Design Notes – Herodotus’ ancient Greek was translated by Harry Carter, who also served as one of the designers of the book. He also, according to Django6924:

In addition to his translating and editing tasks, Harry Carter compiled helpful marginal glosses which are on nearly every page of text, as compiling an Index which is a marvel of utility and fun: consider such Index items as “Arrows, messages shot with,” and “Beans, abhorred by the Egyptians.”

LEC legend Jan van Krimpen (who was the original lead designer until his death) and Bawden also had a hand in the design. Django6924 supplied these additional details:

The book’s designer was Jan van Krimpen of Joh. Enschedé en Zonen fame, whose printing company in the Netherlands did many great LEC and Heritage books, as well as many other fine books and postage stamps. He needed help from both the illustrator Edward Bawden and also the translator, Harry Carter, as he died in October, 1958 while working on the project. The text used is his Monotype Spectrum, the last face Krimpen ever designed.

van Krimpen may have died in this midst of his involvement with this book, but his legacy in the annals of the LEC and Heritage Press will not be forgotten, as this book will serve as a testimony of.

The paper was Wolvercoat paper from Oxford, England, printed up by van Krimpen’s printing house Joh. Enschedé en Zonen of Haarlem, Holland. J. Brandt and Zoon of Amsterdam served as the binding house for the LEC. As I don’t have a monthly letter at hand, this is as far as I can go into production details at present.

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Title Page – Bawden’s decorations are exquisite! Worth the price of admission for sure. Carter also provides an introduction to the text.

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Colophon – 1500 copies were produced. This is #660, and Bawden provides his signature.

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Book I Opener – I’m making an exception to my usual “gallery” template for this post to showcase these amazing works of Bawden’s.

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Book II Opener

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Page 5 – An example of the linework and text. You can see one of Carter’s annotations in the bottom right.

Personal Notes – So, five years after posting this, I finally got my hands on the LEC edition of this marvelous book. As I mentioned above, it’s an interesting story. I arrived to work Monday morning to find a message on my phone. It was from someone I had never met before (we’ll call her Liz) inquiring if I was the person who ran this very blog, and that she was seeking a good home for some LEC titles she couldn’t take with her when she moved. That was a bit of a shock! I reached out at my break and by the end of the call, I was going to receive 10 books from her to document and keep in my collection. A week or so later (after some frightening “tourism” the USPS decided to give my package, having it wander off to Cincinnati for an extended detour), the books arrived safe and sound. So I’m tickled to finally have this book (and the others!), and a big thank you to Liz for her generosity in sending them to me.

Heritage Press

The Histories of Herodotus (1958, 2 volumes)
Sandglass Number II & III: 24
Artwork: Illustrated and Decorated by Edward Bawden
Introduced and translated from the Greek by Harry Carter
Heritage Press Reprint of LEC #293/27th Series V. 2 in 1958

Click images for a larger view.

Front Bindings – As you can see, the Heritage edition splits the sole LEC into two nice looking volumes with a fairly striking design on the boards. This is duplicated on the back as well. Here’s Django6924’s thoughts between the LEC and HP editions, as well as some insights into the creation of this set:

I have both the LEC edition and the Heritage Press edition, and this is one case where the Heritage is the clear winner. Why?

First of all, the LEC is a single chunky volume while the Heritage books are much more reader-friendly. The printing is identical–if you compare two pages side-by-side, they are indistinguishable, same size and same pagination. Secondly, as WildcatJF points out, the binding design is striking to say the least! I love the vertical title arrangement on the spines–a technique that is seldom used but which I prefer to the more usually found arrangement where you have to cock your head to the left or right to read the title. The LEC binding is subdued, a burgundy buckram (that has faded on my otherwise pristine copy two shades paler), with a small white title label and a white medallion on the front cover. Very high quality and elegant (I particularly like the beveled edges), but I really prefer the wilder Heritage design.

The Heritage Sandglass number (2 actually) are II & III: 24–the books were sent out in separate months, but only one Sandglass.

They were printed separately and tipped in to the text, which was printed by Kellogg & Bulkeley of Hartford, CT, on paper specially made for this edition the the Crocker, Burbank Paper Company of Fitchburg, MA.

The binding was done, as it usually was in this period, by Frank Fortney and his Russell-Rutter Company.

I like the simple class act of the LEC design a lot, but there’s a unity and flair to the Heritage volumes I think I prefer slightly more. The interiors are pretty similar in terms of quality, too. I’m sure higher production value was put into the papers, inks and materials, but the Heritage reprint does a pretty remarkable job holding up to the LEC. I’m not going to part with my LEC, but I can understand why someone would take the plunge on the Heritage over it!

Spines – I particularly like the spine design here, as Django6924 notes.

Title Page – Pretty similar to the LEC, with only the printing press swapped out. Sorry about the library card blocking the view, but it’s now at least visible in the LEC image above.

Book I Decoration – As you can see, the Heritage does an admirable (if not extraordinary) job replicating the images of the LEC. This was not a rush job, for sure.

Book II Decoration

Personal Notes – Checked out from my Mariposa Library, and one I believe I saw in stores only once (and I had LEC options for other books, so I went that direction instead). Now that I hold the LEC in my collection, I won’t be on the hunt for this set any longer.

Updated 6/26/2016 by JF

Heritage Press: The Adventures and Later Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle (1969)

January 1, 2016 Comments Off on Heritage Press: The Adventures and Later Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle (1969)

The Adventures and Later Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle (1969)
Sandglass Numbers VII:35R and III:36R
Artwork: Illustrations from multiple illustrators, including new artwork from Frederic Dorr Steele
Introduced by Vincent Starrett; Collected and Edited by Edgar W. Smith
Reprint of LEC #207, 19th Series, V. 11 in a 3 volume set in 1950 (Adventures), and of LEC #223, 21st Series, V. 3 in a 2 volume set in 1952

Click images for larger views.

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Front Bindings –
Sherlock Holmes finally makes his debut on the blog, after many (unknown to you, dear readers!) fits and starts to actually get them posted here. The Heritage edition of the first collection of Holmes was my second (ack!) title from the Heritage Press I ever acquired, way back in 2008 or so. I have photographed that copy at least twice before, but events conspired against the publication of those images, and I had replaced that original acquisition with the copy and its sequel you see before you today. There is a third volume of stories, titled The Final Adventures, that I have yet to come across, but it looks like these two in style and design. And, as a fitting footnote to this troubles I’ve had posting about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s masterwork, this is at present the final books I can post that I currently own. Surreal!

Anyway, this was a reprint of the LEC Sherlock Holmes, which were broken into more volumes for comfort (three volumes for the first series; two for the second and third). While the overall visual look was unaltered, the convenience of carting around the LEC’s smaller tomes may make that set more desirable. These editions are from 1969 when the Heritage Club was in a curious state of flux; the Sandglasses state that their home was in Del Mar, California. Was this Jonathan Macy, son of George, or was it one of the few pitstops for the Heritage Press prior to settling in with MBI, owners of the Easton Press (and who, coincidentally, still own the rights to reprint LEC and Heritage titles from the Macy eras), in Norwalk, Connecticut? I do not know, but if any of my fellow Devotees knows, I’ll pass it along.

The sets of Holmes would be the last of Doyle we would see from the Limited Editions Club, but not from the Heritage Press. Well after the Macy era had passed, MBI issued some titles under the Heritage Press banner in the later 1980s/early 1990s, including Doyle’s The Poison Belt. It looks much like the rest of MBI’s titles generated through the Easton Press, but carries the Heritage banner and even came with a Sandglass. This was released in 1989, and would be the end of the publications featuring Doyle.

Atypically, this series features more than one illustrator at its helm, but that was more due to complications than design. The original plan George Macy had in mind was to commission the talents of one of the original artists of the works when Doyle was actually publishing them: Frederic Dorr Steele. Steele would redo the pre-existing artwork he had performed prior to Macy’s edition, and also create brand new illustrations for the stories he had not been able to during the original publication of Sherlock Holmes. Alas, this did not quite come to fruition. Production delays thanks to copyright permissions for redrawing his classic pictures had a heavy impact on Steele’s health (he was 75 when he got the job from Macy), and perhaps accelerated his unfortunate passing before the project could be finished. Steele did complete some of the commission’s intentions before his death — 11 redrawings for the Adventures and two redos and four entirely new pieces for the Later Adventures — and those have been included, but it was not, shall we say, enough to populate such a massive amount of text. It’s also clear than some of these selections are not complete, but were included anyway — perhaps as a nod to his creative process, or in tribute of his efforts to perform the task? At any rate, Macy had to come up with a drastic alteration for his Holmes, and he turned to the man who helped get it off the ground in the first place: Edgar Smith.

Wright, you see, was a bit of a Holmes enthusiast; I am perhaps understating it here, as Macy (or whoever edited this Sandglass in 1969) goes into quite a bit of detail about Wright’s passion and knowledge on Doyle’s leading detective. Wright had already volunteered his services as the series’ editor, and was more than happy to open up his vast collection of Holmes and allow the LEC access to them for their editions. I presume Macy had cleared all of the copyright problems that plagued Steele, as his art was joined by classics from Sidney Paget, George Hutchinson, William H. Hyde, Charles Macauley, D.H. Friston, W.M.R. Quick, Charles Kerr, and others. W.A. Dwiggins was recruited to handle the lovely binding design; this series had so many artists!

Design Notes – Dwiggins was also the designer of the books. He chose Original Old Style 12 point as his font. The Connecticut Printers handled the printing tasks for both text and illustration. The artwork was photographed from the Limited Editions Club pulls. Tapley-Rutter (formerly Russell-Rutter) did the binding work.

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Title Page (Adventures) –
The editions essentially share the same title page (with mere emendations to the title), so I chose to keep it to one image here. Smith, as noted above, served as the editor for the text, providing corrections and edits as required. Vincent Starrett was called in to introduce the first collection of stories; Later Adventures lacks an introduction.

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

Personal Notes – I kind of did this already in my opening paragraph, but I’ll mention that these two volumes came to my possession via the Oakhurst Library haul I’ve discussed before.

Sandglasses forthcoming

Heritage Press – Dangerous Acquaintances by Choderlos de Laclos (1940)

December 27, 2015 Comments Off on Heritage Press – Dangerous Acquaintances by Choderlos de Laclos (1940)

Dangerous Acquaintances by Choderlos de Laclos (1940)
Sandglass Number Unknown
Artwork: Illustrations by Chas Laborde
Introduced by Andre Gide, translated by Ernest Dowson
Heritage Press exclusive; part of the Nonesuch Press/Heritage Press Great French Writers collaboration.

Click images for larger views.

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Front Binding – Dangerous Acquaintances is our selection today, continuing our look into the Heritage/Nonesuch Great French Romances series. This book was the progenitor of the line, being the first issued back in 1940. For a more detailed look into the series,  see here. This edition, like yesterday’s post on The Princess of Cleves, is from the Nonesuch Press. Alas, this is also not my copy, and it too lacks a Sandglass or whatever Nonesuch may have issued, so I won’t go into production details here. Like Cleves, this volume’s a Heritage exclusive. The Limited Editions Club never printed this book (or anything else by Choderlos De Laclos), and they did not rehire illustrator Chas Laborde for any other commissions.

Dangerous Acquaintances is structured like a series of letters sent between the primary cast, and is very critical of the French Aristocracy, particularly the Ancien Regime. Published in 1782, it has gone on to become one of the premiere examples of the epistolary novel in any language, but its intent continues to be debated to this very day (De Laclos never specified his reasoning for writing the piece in his lifetime).

Chas Laborde did the artwork for this edition, and his hand seems apropos for the novel. As I mentioned before, he was not called upon again by Macy.

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Title Page – “Englished” by Ernest Dowson (a strange way of putting it), and introduced by fairly renowned French writer Andre Gide.

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

Personal Notes – Like Cleves, this is a work I’d like to read sometime, but this copy is not mine; it’s from my wife’s university library.

Heritage Press – The Princess of Cleves by Madame de La Fayette (1943)

December 26, 2015 Comments Off on Heritage Press – The Princess of Cleves by Madame de La Fayette (1943)

The Princess of Cleves by Madame de La Fayette (1943)
Sandglass Number Unknown
Artwork: Illustrations by Hermane David
Introduced by Jean Cocteau, translated by H. Ashton
Heritage Press exclusive; part of the Nonesuch Press/Heritage Press Great French Writers collaboration.

Click images for larger views.

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Front Binding – At long last, here’s the second volume from the Heritage Press and Nonesuch Press’ collaborative efforts to reprint several French romances — The Princess of Cleves by Madame de La Fayette. Unlike the last volume I featured, The Gods are A-Thirst (where the series history is further detailed, and for those seeking a very thorough breakdown of this series, see here), this edition is from the Nonesuch Press. Unfortunately, this is not my copy nor does it have a Sandglass (since it’s a Nonesuch, it may have its own unique paperwork to go with it!), so I can’t get into production details. I do intend on acquiring all of these someday, so I’ll update this post upon doing so with the proper documentation. This volume is a Heritage exclusive, unlike some later editions issued under this banner.

The Limited Editions Club never printed Cleves, nor did they feature its illustrator, Hermine David, in any other publications. The book is one of France’s most prominent works from a woman; de La Fayette (or her full name, Marie-Madeleine Pioche de La Vergne, comtesse de La Fayette) is considered one of the progenitors of the French novel (this work stands as the first historical fiction in French and is an early attempt at psychological fiction). It was issued anonymously back in 1678 — a unfortunately common happenstance for women who wished to branch out beyond domesticity in those heady times — but de La Fayette eventually was attached to the work and has since been credited for her efforts in launching French literature as we know it today. This series has done well to include such a critical work in its canon!

As for Hermine David, she was a member of the Ecole de Paris, a group of immigrants in France that all happened to be artists. This was the sole commission she received by the George Macy Company.

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Title Page – An H. Ashton translated the book, while then-modern French writer Jean Cocteau introduces the work.

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

Personal Notes – This is a work I’d like to read sometime, but this copy is not mine; it’s from my wife’s university library.

Heritage Press – The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling (1968)

December 23, 2015 Comments Off on Heritage Press – The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling (1968)

The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling (1968)
Sandglass Number Unknown
Artwork: Illustrations by David Gentleman
Introduction by Bonamy Dobree
Reprint of LEC #403, 36th Series, V. 5 in 1968.

Click images for larger views.

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Front Binding – This post marks the debut of two new faces to our blog: the author Rudyard Kipling and the artist David Gentleman. The former is best known perhaps for this particular work, thanks to the likes of Walt Disney and his animators, but in the literary world he is also well regarded for Kim, Captains Courageous and his wide array of poetry. He was a late bloomer at the LEC, making his first appearance in 1962 with an edition of Kim, illustrated by Robin Jacques (who also did the lovely Poems of W.B. Yates), while this was followed up in 1973 by Tales of East and West, featuring Charles Raymond (who also illustrated Hard Times). I find it a little odd, given the proclivity of seafaring adventures printed in the Helen Macy tenure through Cardevon Press’ run with the LEC, that Captains Courageous was not printed, but that’s neither here nor there.

David Gentleman is also a late comer to the LEC canon, beginning his commissions with The Swiss Family Robinson in 1963. Next came The Poems of John Keats in 1966, followed by this book in 1968, and his last The Ballads of Robin Hood in 1977. I must admit that generally speaking I do not like his colored illustrations in Robinson and in this book; I think the Heritage Press’ tendency in the years following George Macy’s death to haphazardly color their printings of illustrations in two to three base colors worked against Gentleman’s style. His linework is a little too detailed for that kind of production. That being said, I do like the black and white ink drawings quite a bit.

Somehow, I just now realized I didn’t get a Sandglass with this, so I can’t go into any further detail about its production.

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Title Page – I quite like this title page. Very in tune with the book. Bonamy Dobree did the introduction.

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

Personal Notes – I believe this came from Bookbuyers in Monterey, CA. I likely swapped for it with a plethora of my older titles. Look forward to reading it someday.

Heritage Press – The Seven Voyages of Sindbad the Sailor (1949)

December 23, 2015 Comments Off on Heritage Press – The Seven Voyages of Sindbad the Sailor (1949)

The Seven Voyages of Sindbad the Sailor (1949)
Sandglass Number Unknown
Artwork: Illustrations by Edward A. Wilson
Introduction by C.S. Forester; Translated by J.C. Mardrus (Arabic to French) and E. Powys Mathers (French to English)
Reprint of LEC #198, 19th Series, V. 2 in 1949.

Click images for larger views.

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Front Binding – Today’s book is The Seven Voyages of Sindbad the Sailor, a collection of the folktales of the titular protagonist. These tales hail from the Middle East, featuring the supernatural and the sensational. No single author is credited with these stories, but they have been around for a very long time, and it’s nice to see them in such a nice edition.

Edward A. Wilson, a frequent artistic contributor, stepped in to provide his touch to this book, and he’s a really good fit, I’d say. I like Wilson’s work in the more fantastical realm; it works well with his bold color palette and his gentle linework. His LEC/Heritage bibliography can be found here.

I can’t go into thorough design notes, as I have no Sandglass. Sorry!

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Title Page – C.S. Forester, author of the Horatio Hornblower series of novels, provides the introduction. Two translators reworked the text for this edition: J.C. Mardrus, who converted the original Arabic texts into French, and E. Powys Mathers, who took Mardrus’ French and worked it into modern English.

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

Personal Notes – This was checked out from my wife’s university library. First time I’ve seen it, and now I want it!

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