Heritage Press: Flowers of Evil by Charles Baudelaire (1971)

January 19, 2014 Comments Off

Flowers of Evil by Charles Baudelaire (1971)
Sandglass Number XI:36
Artwork: Engravings by Pierre-Yves Tremois
Translated by multiple authors, edited and introduced by James Laver
Reprint of LEC #191, 39th Series, V. 3, in 1971 in 2 volumes.

Click images for larger views.


Front Binding – My final post for this winter break focuses on the wild poetry of Charles Baudelaire. He was a pioneer in discussing sexuality in literature, but it caused unending scandal upon him and his publishing house for its words detailing debauchery, lesbianism, death, and other taboos of that delicate period. The Limited Editions Club issued Le Fleurs de Mal (Flowers of Evil) three times, a remarkable accomplishment for one book. While the Heritage Press issued their own editions of a few works printed twice by the LEC (Leaves of Grass, Huck Finn, and The Odyssey are examples of this), I can’t think of any other case of one work seeing three LEC’s off of the top of my head. Another curiosity is that each chapter of the LEC issued the work once! George Macy’s was issued in 1940, and resurrected the artwork of sculptor and artist Auguste Rodin. However, World War II mucked up the publication plans for the book, which was intended to be a 2 volume set with one book containing Baudelaire’s French originals, and the other English translations. However, the French volume was stuck in limbo throughout the war (thankfully, it managed to avoid destruction!) and finally found their way to the LEC in 1947 to be issued at last. No Heritage offering was made. In 1971, the Cardevon Press created their own 2 volume Flowers of Evil starring the talents of French illustrator (chosen for his similar approach to the erotic in art as Baudelaire was in word) Pierre-Yves Tremois, which did see a Heritage reprint (it’s what you’re getting here!). Under Sid Shiff, Baudelaire’s poetry was tapped once more, although a mere three poems were chosen, for issuing as a LEC in 1997 with photographer Henri Cartier Bresson providing the visuals. Baudelaire should be proud of such a publication selection for his main contribution to literature!

Amazingly, the issuing of my Flowers of Evil states New York, proving that Cardevon Press was likely not in full control of the Heritage Press when this book was published. The Sandglass is from Avon, though. I’m not sure how long the two intermediary owners between the Macy family and Cardevon Press, the Boise Cascade Company and Ziff-Davis, held possession of the LEC and Heritage Press, or when Cardevon sold off the Heritage Press to the Danbury Mint (owners of the Easton Press), so this period is still a bit murky to decipher. If anyone has some more definitive information on this period, I would appreciate it. :)

Anyway! Tremois only did this one commission, and his engravings are exceptional. This proves the importance of the author and artist syncing up to really make something special. You can read up on him in the Sandglass.

Design Notes – Charles Skaggs was responsible for the design. He also had a hand in Connecticut Yankee‘s 1946* offering (* = This seems incorrect, as Warren Chappell’s Yankee was issued in 1942 for the Heritage Press, with Guilbeau’s LEC reprint being done in 1948. A quick perusal of the LEC Letter for the LEC shows that Skaggs designed that edition, so I presume the Sandglass meant 1948-49. I need to update the Yankee post, then). Bembo was the font of choice, with 14 point as the size. The paper came from Mohawk Mills, a cream-tone that had the engravings and text applied upon them by Rae Publishing Company. The binding papers are imported French marbling, and the bindery was Tapley-Rutter (which is indeed still manned by Frank Fortney).




Title Page – A lot of translators were pulled for this edition: some notable names include Aldous Huxley, Edna St. Vincent Murray, and Lord Alfred Douglas. These and many others were selected by editor James Laver (who also does some translation himself), who offers notes and an introduction to the text as well. It also includes the condemned poems that caused the ruckus in the late 1800s!

Note: Tremois’ work here is a bit risque, so I’m implemented a jump for work safety.

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Heritage Press: All Men are Brothers by Shui Hu Chuan (1948)

January 17, 2014 § 2 Comments

All Men are Brothers by Shui Hu Chuan (1948)
Sandglass Number 9M
Artwork: Illustrations by Miguel Covarrubias
Translated by Pearl S. Buck, introduced by Lin Yutang
Reprint of LEC #191, 18th Series, V. 6, in 1948 in 2 volumes.

Click images for larger views.


Front Binding – Finally, after four years of operation, Miguel Covarrubias makes his debut on my blog. Yikes.

Covarrubias is quite a big deal in the world of 2oth century art, and he also had a hand in Maya archaeology (which is something I’ve studied at my university), so I’ve heard quite a bit about him both in my book collecting and academic pursuits. All Men are Brothers, a Chinese novel that stands as a world classic, was Covarrubias’ final commission for the George Macy Company in 1948, one that dragged Macy through a very prolonged suffering as Covarrubias took his sweet time to illustrate the work (for more details, check the Announcement letter for the Heritage Decameron: here and here). Perhaps this was the straw that broke Macy’s back, as Covarrubias would not see another job from the Company, and he passed away in 1957, a considerable lapse of time that he easily could have performed multiple commissions. Regardless of my musings of Macy’s possible office decisions, Covarrubias’ career with the publications of the Limited Editions Club numbers five:

Batouala by Rene Maran (1932, no Heritage)
Typee by Herman Melville (1935, Heritage edition)
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1938, Heritage edition)
The Discovery and Conquest of Mexico by Bernal Diaz (1942, no Heritage edition. However, the Heritage Press did reuse the illustrations for their exclusive The Conquest of Mexico by W.H. Prescott; thanks to Django6924 for the clarification)
All Men are Brothers by Shui Hu Chuan (1948, Heritage edition)

Covarrubias also created an exclusive Heritage edition of Green Mansions by W.H. Hudson. Django6924 has some additional details:

The Heritage Press exclusive of “Green Mansions” with the Covarrubias illustrations was first issued by the Club in Series A (in fact it was the first Heritage Press book issued after the initial 6 books). Series A began in June, 1937 with “Green Mansions.” I believe the 1936 copyright date is for the illustrations as the LEC had copyrighted the text when they issued the LEC version with E.A. Wilson’s illustrations in 1935.

As for the book itself, All Men are Brothers is one of the few Chinese titles issued by the LEC in its run. Confucius was popular enough to warrant two editions of his Analects in 1933 and 1970, but that, alongside this book, is it. The Sandglass provides some details on the history of this particular book, for those curious about its past. The “Robin Hood” comparisons are interesting to me, as I happen to like the mythos of Sherwood Forest’s outlaw.

Design Notes – There is no mention of a designer, which usually means Mr. Macy was the one in charge (which Django6924 confirms). It is a rather large volume, at 8.25 x 11.5 inches. Original Old Style 12-point is the font, with calligraphy performed by Jeanyee Yong serving as headlines/chapter titles. Covarrubias did all of the Chinese symbols that appear in the artwork. The art was done as line-drawings that were turned into engravings, and then Covarrubias colored the prints via bold paints apropos for the work. These colors were then converted to rubber plates to be printed. Wong was also called in to perform the writing on the spine and front binding. The bindery is absent. For contrast, devotee Parchment passes along his LEC colophon, which is loaded with the production details for that edition:

LEC Colophon


Slipcase – It’s hard to tell here, but the case is yellow as the Sandglass notes.


Title Page – Pearl S. Buck, probably the best-known Euro-American author to write about China, and the author of The Good Earth, had her sole LEC contribution be the translation of Shui Hu Chuan’s text here. It was not done for the LEC, as John Day originally published it in 1933, but the Sandglass exudes respect for the four years of hard work and care Buck applied to the English rendering of this novel. Lin Yutang, a noted Chinese translator/writer in his own right, provides the introduction. This book really is a cavalcade of talent!

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

Personal Notes - This is a book I’ve coveted for a long, long time. I picked it up at last from the Oakhurst Library collectible sale last September, and I have no regrets. A masterful book all the way around.

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

Heritage Press: A Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (1966)

January 7, 2014 Comments Off

A Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (1966)
Sandglass Number Unknown
Artwork: Illustrations by Edward A. Wilson
Introduced by Isaac Asimov
Reprint of LEC #387, 35th Series, V. 1, in 1966.

Click images for larger views.


Front Binding - Jules Verne makes his debut today, as does one of the Limited Editions Club’s most prominent illustrators, Edward A. Wilson! Verne had five works published by the LEC, four of which Wilson illustrated. Verne did not see publication until after George Macy’s death in 1954, suggesting that the author was perhaps one of Helen Macy’s favorites, given the radical increase in the production of Verne’s books. It goes without saying that Verne is one of the grandmasters and originators of the science fiction genre, and the LEC rendered five of his greatest stories, which I’ll list below:
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, 1956, Edward A. Wilson
The Mysterious Island, 1959, Edward A. Wilson
Around the World in Eighty Days, 1962, Edward A. Wilson
A Journey of the Center of the Earth, 1966, Edward A. Wilson
From the Earth to the Moon, and Around the Moon (2 volumes), 1970, Robert Shore

Wilson finished his illustrious career for the George Macy Companies with this book, spending 36 years of his life rendering artwork for many classics for Macy and other publishers. He passed away in 1970. He is one of two artists who received a special Heritage Press edition featuring their artwork; Arthur Szyk was the other. Let’s detail the LEC books he had a hand in:
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel DeFoe, 1930
Green Mansions by W.H. Hudson, 1935 (no Heritage edition; they would print their own with Miguel Covarrubias’ watercolors)
The Man Without a Country by Edward Everett Hale, 1936
Anthony Adverse by Hervey Allen, 1937 (no Heritage edition)
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1941
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1945
Westward Ho! by Charles Kingsley, 1947
The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor, 1949
Ivanhoe by Walter Scott, 1951
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1952
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne, 1956
The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne, 1959
The Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper, 1961
Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne, 1962
A Journey of the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne, 1966

For the Heritage Press, Wilson also did:
A Shropshire Lad  by A.E. Housman, 1935
The Book Of Edward A. Wilson A Survey of His work 1916-1948, 1948

As you can see, Wilson was among the more utilized artists in the history of the Club. For this work, I think Wilson was a good choice. His style syncs well enough with the vision of Verne to coincide nicely.

I can’t offer you any design notes this time, as I inadvertently bought this without the Sandglass!




Title Page – Isaac Asimov, a more contemporary grandmaster of sci-fi, was recruited in for the introduction. Asimov is an intriguing character in his own right, as he tried to publish one book in every literary genre during his timeline.

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

Personal Notes – I bought this from Bookbuyers in Monterey, CA last year. Verne is a little hard for me to find for some reason, so I jumped at the chance to own one of his books in a Heritage edition.

Heritage Press: On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin (1963)

January 3, 2014 Comments Off

On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin (1963)
Sandglass Number XIV:27
Artwork: Engravings by Paul Landacre
Introduced by Charles Galton Darwin
Reprint of LEC #346, 31st Series, V. 7, in 1963.

Click images for larger views.


Front Binding – Science books were not high on the priority list for the Limited Editions Club: fiction, biographies/autobiographies, histories, philosophy, poetry, drama and folklore were very dominant genres for the club, and only a scant number of science titles were published. Charles Darwin was the most popular author of the genre for the club, with three books to his name: Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle (1956, with Robert Gibbings performing the artistic honors), On the Origin of Species (1963, starring Paul Landacre, who I will discuss below), and The Descent of Man (1971, featuring the ever-versatile Fritz Kredel). All of these are also Heritage offerings. We will be focusing on the middle choice of these today. I will note here that the latter is a lovely LEC edition I want to own, but it slipped from my grasp in Monterey. *sigh*

Anyway, Darwin’s scientific observations were supplemented by the LEC (and subsequent Heritage reprint) with Paul Landacre’s woodcuts throughout the text. Landacre performed artistic duties for three LEC titles: Ambrose Bierce’s Tales of Soldiers and Civilians in 1943 (Heritage available), On the Nature of Things by Titus Lucretius Carus in 1957 (Heritage available, too!), and this book, which was his final commission. This is a lovely one, indeed. Landacre was the right man for this book, methinks, as he did a splendid job rendering tons of animal, cellular and plant engravings for it. The LEC edition was issued unsigned as Landacre passed away in June 1963, likely before the book was issued (the Sandglass does not observe his passing, and even makes a joke about Landacre’s tendency to illustrate books with “On” as its first word and “reserves” him for future works of such a nature…this tells me that this is likely a first issuing of the HP).

Design Notes – Douglas A. Dunstan served as the book’s designer. We last saw his work for Cook’s Journals, and he once more does a spectacular job on making this a lovely looking book. Baskerville g is the font of choice, with a focus of “white space” done for effect. Connecticut Printers handled the printing job, applying the text to Crocker-Burbank paper. Frank Fortney and Russell Rutter, as usual, performed the bindery work. It’s a three-piece: tough leather on the spine stamped with gold leaf, and the boards were covered with Fabriano paper from Italy and embossed with one of Landacre’s images from the title page.




Title Page – Darwin’s grandson Charles Galton Darwin provided an introduction, but he too died before the issuing of the LEC (tragedy seems to be tied to this book!). The Sandglass below covers his life, as well as plenty on his grandfather!

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

Personal Notes – This is yet another book I received from my 50 book lot from the Oakhurst Library. It’s a gem, without question. I’m not sure how the LEC compares, but the Heritage is a high point in the 60s period of the club in my opinion.

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

Heritage Press: Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana, Jr. (1941, 1947)

December 23, 2013 Comments Off

Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana, Jr. (1941)
Sandglass Number 6E
Artwork: Engravings by Dale Nichols
Heritage Press Exclusive Edition; the LEC would print their own edition with Hans Alexander Mueller’s engravings as LEC #185, 17th Series, V. 12 in 1947, of which the Heritage reprint is below!

Click images for larger views.


Front Binding and Spine – Ah, it’s nice to be back writing posts about these amazing books once again. And I’ve got a pair of Two Years Before the Mast to kick things off this winter break! Before starting proper, I must thank Django6924 for once again aiding me in yet another post about the George Macy Company. Honestly, this blog gets a hefty chunk of its information from this delightful sage of these tomes, and without his aid this post would be half as full as it is…since the first book was photographed by him! Much thanks for everything you’ve done for me, Robert. :)

Anyway, Richard Henry Dana Jr. wrote Two Years Before the Mast while sick with measles (as both Sandglasses point out), and subsequently eclipsed his poet father and many other travel writers of his time with this epic historical narrative of his time sailing near California. This book also mentions my hometown in the subsequent appendix, when he visits John C. Fremont at his Las Mariposas ranch in California, making it the second – and quite likely the last – book in the Macy catalog to cover Gold Rush California in any detail (the first was Tales of the Gold Rush by Bret Harte). Well, that’s not quite true, as there is The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County by Mark Twain…

Tangent aside, Dana would have his classic printed twice in six years by Macy, with this exquisite Heritage exclusive beating out the LEC edition to release in 1941. Dale Nichols was recruited in to handle design and illustration duty, the only time he would work for the Company. An engraver by trade, Nichols went through a crazy amount of preparation and care to produce the color woodcuts in this book, which I’ll let the Sandglass explain.

Design Notes: Baskerville is the font of choice. Quinn and Boden handled the printing, Pioneer-Moss created the color plates, and apparently Mr. Nichols handled the binding duties himself!


Title Page – A very nice, subdued title page with a fancy title script. Classy. There is no mention here or in the Sandglass of an introduction writer for this edition, which the later edition does feature.



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

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

Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana, Jr. (1947)
Sandglass Number IV:31
Artwork: Engravings by Hans Alexander Mueller
Introduced by William McFee
Reprint of LEC #185, 17th Series, V. 12, in 1947.

Click images for larger views.


Front Binding – Compared to the earlier exclusive, this binding has a gaudy look to it, doesn’t it? I’ve never been too keen on it, but the 1941 Nichols edition really does blow this one out of the water. Anywho, in 1947, the Limited Editions Club commissioned Hans Alexander Mueller to create his own Two Years, and as he too is a wood engraver, this version also has wood engravings…in color! I’m not sure why exactly Mueller was called in to do essentially the same kind of work as Nichols had six years prior, but it happened, so we’ll move forward.

Mueller created three books for George Macy’s LEC: Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped came first in 1938, with this in the middle, and the last being Meditations of Marcus Aurelius in 1956. All of these saw Heritage releases, and as far as I can tell he did not create any Heritage exclusives.

Design Notes: Richard Ellis served as the book’s designer (add yet another to his tally!). Apparently Paul Bunyan was his first! Caledonia is the book’s primary font, with A. Colish’s Mount Vernon press producing the print. The bindery is omitted this time, alas.




Title Page – William McFee stepped in to provide a preface to the work, which I’d like to know if the Nichols edition featured or not.

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

Personal Notes – I acquired this as part of my 50 book acquisition from the Oakhurst Library in 2012. It’s nice, but I do think the Nichols edition is the better option, at least in the Heritage offerings. I’ll have to look at the LEC sometime!

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

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