While the Limited Editions Club have been fully cataloged by Bill Majure at his store site, it has been difficult to get a comprehensive listing of every Heritage Press title. Michael Bussacco has made an admirable attempt with his books, but it’s clear that the sheer quantity of Heritage titles is overwhelming. However, a couple Librarything members knocked their heads together to try to compile all of the exclusive Heritage Press books that do not have a LEC original or reprint, and the list is surprisingly large (and I’m sure we’re missing a few). I’ve taken those initial postings done by Django6924, astropi and myself in this particular thread and expanded upon them as best I could in order to help collectors build upon their LEC and Heritage collections. Links will be provided to my posts on the book if possible. Note that this is a work in progress, so expect updates in the future!
Additional thanks to fourriversb, busywine and Django6924 for catching some omissions.
THE FIRST SIX:
Released in November and December of 1935, these six were special in that LEC members had first crack at exclusive artist-signed copies that were a little more upscale than the standard HP run. 1500 of these signed editions were produced.
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens/John Austen
Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare/Sylvain Sauvage
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne/W.A. Dwiggins
The Song of Songs of Solomon/Valenti Angelo
The Story of Manon Lescaut by Abbé Prévost/Pierre Brissaud
A Shropshire Lad by A.E. Housman/Edward A. Wilson
Beyond the first six, the Heritage Press would do a few other signed copies of their books. Here’s what I know of:
Book of Edward A. Wilson: A Survey of His Work 1916-1948 – 1948, unknown quantity produced
Ink & Blood by Arthur Szyk – 1946, 1000 copies made.
Both of the above are special collections of art from these prolific contributors to the George Macy Company, and are among the harder books to track down.
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman/Rockwell Kent (post on unsigned edition) – 1000 leather-bound editions with Kent’s signature were made on top of the standard edition.
Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer – There is a recent, curious addition to the signed editions from the Heritage Press. I’ll let Django6924 explain the circumstances for the potentially rarest signed Heritage edition officially issued by the Club:
In the Sandglass for my first Heritage Press edition of Huck Finn illustrated by Norman Rockwell, there is a notice that with Christmas drawing on apace, the Press intends to print Tom Sawyer, also illustrated by Norman Rockwell in a companion binding, and to place both books in a single box (slipcase), and that the 2 volume boxed set will sell at bookshops for $5–the individual price per volume at the bookshops remaining $3.75. The final paragraph of the Sandglass contains the following:
“We intend to persuade Mr. Rockwell to write personal inscriptions in each of these sets which is ordered by a member of the Heritage Club. If you want to place your order for one or more sets personally inscribed by Mr. Rockwell, you must send this order to our office before November first, since we could not ask Mr. Rockwell to make these inscriptions on more than one occasion. We will ask him to do so on November first only, and then ship the books to those who will have ordered them. In placing your order, we suggest that you give us the name of the person to whom you intend to make the gift, in order that Mr. Rockwell may inscribe that name with his own.”
In many years of searching, I have not seen this set for sale, and one might suppose the project somehow fell through…except…
In the early 1960s, when I was living in Kansas City, my favorite bookshop was the Bennett-Schneider bookshop on the Country Club Plaza. They sold new books, but had a display case that featured rare books and expensive art editions. You couldn’t touch these and they weren’t for sale, and the display was rotated on a regular basis. I distinctly remember seeing this set, which had Tom Sawyer lying flat, opened to the title page, and a notecard in front giving the books’ particulars–including the fact that the set was personally inscribed by Norman Rockwell to the book’s owner (can’t remember the name).
Was this just a fluke? Or are there more copies of this set with Mr. Rockwell’s inscriptions floating somewhere? I confess I haven’t ever seen one of the boxed sets offered for sale. My own Tom Sawyer has a copyright date from 1936, and is marked as a Nonesuch Press/Heritage Press edition on the title page. An intriguing treasure search for those of you who appreciate the productions of the George Macy era!
kdweber verified seeing a second signed Rockwell Tom Sawyer on ebay in the same thread; there’s really no idea how many copies were created, so if you stumble upon one, covet it!
Currently, that’s what I know in terms of George Macy Company-produced signed Heritage Press titles.
The Great Masters Series (my distinction)
This series of four biographical novels stars four legends of art: Leonardo di Vinci, Vincent Van Gogh, Rembrandt van Rijn, and Francisco Goya. These are reprints of works by contemporary (at the time) authors like Irving Stone and Hendrik Van Loon, and feature over a hundred pieces of art from the artist in question. They are likely the nicest copies of these titles you will find. I have organized them in publication order.
Lust for Life by Irving Stone/Vincent van Gogh (1936)
The Romance of Leonardo Da Vinci by Dmitri Merejcovski/Leonardo Da Vinci (1937)
R.v.R. the Life of Rembrandt by Hendrik Willem Van Loon/Rembrandt van Rijn (1938)
This is the Hour: A Novel About Goya by Lion Feuchtwanger/Francisco Goya (1956)
It would seem that the Heritage Press also released portfolios of artwork for at least two of the artists in the Great Masters Series, for Rembrandt and Van Gogh. These were issued after the books were released, Rembrandt in 1939 and Van Gogh’s in 1948. Rembrandt includes 33 images, Van Gogh’s 44. They were called Albums officially, and came in a cardboard box.
Exclusive Heritage Editions that Compete with LEC Volumes
Oftentimes the Heritage Press or the Limited Editions Club would print books before one another, and the opposite press would then create their own unique version of the work. This is quite common and can make for an interesting comparison to see which one prefers. This is a fairly complicated grouping, so bear with me as I update, expand and remove books as I become more knowledgeable.
Salome by Oscar Wilde/Valenti Angelo (1945; the original printing is hand illuminated by Angelo himself and is very pretty!)
The LEC is a 2-volume set; one volume is the original French version of the play, with illustrations by Andre Derain done on black paper, which is fairly original. The second volume features Lord Alfred Douglas’ English translations and Aubrey Beardsley’s distinctive drawings.
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman/Rockwell Kent
The Limited Editions Club did two separate printings of Whitman’s poetry along with Kent’s. The first was the second LEC ever made in 1929, based on the shorter first edition of the text, while Edward Weston’s photographs would decorate a 2-volume set in 1942 that I must assume is the Deathbed printing like the Heritage.
Paradise Lost by John Milton/William Blake
Carlotta Petrina performed the artistic flourishes to the LEC edition, released in 1936. It also included Paradise Regained.
The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, translated by Edward Fitzgerald/Arthur Szyk
Valenti Angelo would create decorations for the LEC Rubaiyat in 1935. I wonder how it compares to Szyk’s lovely rendition…
Penguin Island by Anatole France/Sylvan Sauvage
Malcolm Cameron would do a later LEC/Heritage edition in 1947 (both Heritage editions can be viewed at the above link).
Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana, Jr./Dale Nichols
The later LEC would feature Hans Alexander Mueller’s art, and a second Heritage based on that edition would come after that as well.
Green Mansions by W.H. Hudson/Miguel Covarrubias
Another popular Macy alum, Edward A. Wilson, did the LEC honors in 1935.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain/Norman Rockwell
While Rockwell composed the Heritage editions of Twain’s famous boys, Thomas Hart Benton tackled the LEC editions for both Tom and Huck in 1939 and 1942, respectively. There’s an earlier Huck Finn LEC done in 1933 featuring the original artist E.W. Kemble’s artwork (plus one “new” piece), and is signed by designer Carl Rollins.
Walden by Henry David Thoreau/Thomas A. Nason
Edward Steichen’s photos provide visual aids to Thoreau’s seminal work, published in 1936.
The Compleat Angler by Izaak Walton and Charles Cotton/Robert Ball
The LEC would follow up this Heritage original with their own in 1948 featuring Douglas Gorsline’s handiwork.
Droll Stories by Honore de Balzac/Boris Artzybasheff
Artzybasheff never had a LEC commission, making this his lone offering to the George Macy Company. In contrast, W.A. Dwiggins gave Balzac’s crude but humorous tales some flourish for the LEC in 1932 for a 3-volume set.
Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe/Eugene Delacroix
Instead of digging into the past like they did with the Heritage Faust, the LEC instead commissioned Rene Clarke to give it some visual splendors in 1932.
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift/Fritz Eichenberg
The LEC original happens to be the very first one they published back in 1929, with Alexander King doing the honors of illustration. In 1950 it seems they got Gulliver fever once again and printed A Voyage to Lilliput by Dr. Lemuel Gulliver and A Voyage to Brobingnag by Dr. Lemuel Gulliver, but it seems to lack any illustrations from what I can tell, instead relying of Bruce Rogers’ book designing talent to stand out by making Lilliput‘s volume small and Borbingnag‘s large.
Idylls of the King by Alfred, Lord Tennyson/Robert Ball
Lynd Ward’s illustrations would accompany the later LEC, printed in 1952.
Vanity Fair by W. M. Thackeray (author and illustrator)
The 1931 LEC has John Austen beautifying its pages.
Gargantua and Pantagruel by Francois Rabelais/Lynd Ward
W.A. Dwiggins produced five volumes worth of art for the 1933 LEC.
Designer Jan van Krimpen offers his signature for both these early LEC printings, 1930 for Odyssey and 1931 for Iliad. Woodcut artist Barry Moser was summoned to redo The Odyssey in 1980 for Shiff, as well.
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy/Fritz Eichenberg and Vassily Verestchagin
The Heritage W&P features two different illustrators, while the 1938 LEC six volume set went with Barnett Freedman.
The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri/William Blake
1932 saw Hans Mardersteig deliver his version of Dante’s eternal epic poem to the LEC.
Candide by Voltaire/Sylvan Sauvage (Nonesuch French Romances; more info here)
Cardevon Press would get around to doing a LEC Candide in 1973 featuring May Neama’s work.
The Age of Fable by Thomas Bulfinch/Stanley Hayter
In 1958 the LEC commissioned Joe Mugnaini for a volume of their own of this book.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte/Barnett Freedman
Shiff would reprint Balthus’ artwork from long ago for his edition of Emily Bronte’s enduring novel in 1993. It’s hard to come by!
William Tell by Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller/Rafaello Busoni
Despite the same text and introduction (even similar designs!), the 1951 LEC has Charles Hug’s artwork in contrast to the Heritage featuring Busoni.
The Complete Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare: Histories illustrated by John Farleigh, Comedies by Edward Ardizzone, and Tragedies by Agnes Miller Parker
The LEC went on a Shakespeare binge for a whole series, throwing out 37 volumes for each of Shakespeare’s plays in 1939 to 1940 that Bruce Rogers designed and were individually illustrated by different artists (see Books & Vines’ excellent coverage here). Also, additional Shakespeare LEC volumes were created; an earlier Hamlet done in 1933 featuring Eric Gill’s handiwork and a later The Life of Henry the Fifth based on the Lawrence Oliver film in 1951 (Fritz Kredel was called in to recreate scenes from the film as illustrations). Heritage reprinted some of these volumes, too (I’ve seen a Connecticut Hamlet with Edy Legrand’s art from Rogers’ set).
The Sonnets by William Shakespeare/Valenti Angelo
In 1941 Bruce Rogers issued the final volumes of his massive Shakespeare, the Poems and Sonnets, for the LEC.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge/Gordon Grant (1938)
Edward A. Wilson would give visuals to Coleridge’s poem in 1945 for the LEC.
A Sentimental Journey by Lawrence Sterne/Sylvan Sauvage
Preceding the Heritage edition was a LEC featuring the design skills of Eric Gill with etchings by his son-in-law, Denis Tegetmeier, which was done in 1936 and is signed by both.
Moriae Encomium (The Praise of Folly) by Desiderius Erasmus/Franz Masereel
Erasmus’ classic got the LEC treatment in 1943 with Lynd Ward offering his gifts of art for it.
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain/Warren Chappell
This edition predates the later LEC featuring Honore Guilbeau’s art; I have the Heritage edition of the LEC here to view.
Aseop’s Fables by Aesop & Munro Leaf/Robert Lawson
This Heritage edition came out in 1941, following Bruce Rogers’ LEC issued in 1933.
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin/William Sharp
Printer John Henry Nash was tied to the LEC edition of 1931; Sharp’s interpretation came in 1951.
Heritage Exclusives with LEC Artwork
The recycling of artwork from a LEC title for a Heritage exclusive that are somehow related has been recently pointed out to me following my posting of All Men are Brothers. Miguel Covarrubias illustrated Bernal Diaz’s The Discovery and Conquest of Mexico for the LEC in 1942. In 1950, the Heritage Press reused those illustrations for their edition of William H. Prescott’s The Conquest of Mexico. With that knowledge in hand, I will now document any other cases of illustration duplication in a different work here.
1) LEC: The Discovery and Conquest of Mexico by Bernal Diaz/Miguel Covarrubias – 1942
Heritage Press: The Conquest of Mexico by William H. Prescott/Miguel Covarrubias – 1950
The Heritage Dickens Series
Beginning with David Copperfield, the Heritage Press would go on to render many of Dickens’ novels with their own editions, which I’ve detailed out here with their illustrators. Here is a little more information from Django 6924:
This series binding was designed by Clarence Pierson Hornung and used on all Heritage Dickens (excepting the Short Stories) including the re-issues of David Copperfield until the press was sold to MBI, who used different colored and designed bindings for all re-issues during the Connecticut Captivity. Also, over the years there were slight variations in the texture and value of the gray cloth in the series binding.
If the LEC printed a competing volume, that edition’s artist will be to the right of the Heritage’s (example: John Austen/Fritz Eichenberg).
Barnaby Rudge – James Daugherty (1969)
Bleak House – Robert Ball (1942)
David Copperfield – John Austen (1937)
Dombey & Son – Henry C. Pitz (1957, also printed by the LEC)
Five Christmas Novels – Reginald Birch (1939)
Great Expectations – Edward Ardizzone (1939)/Gordon Ross (LEC 1937)
Hard Times – Charles Raymond (1966, also printed by the LEC)
Little Dorrit – Mimi Korach (1956)
Martin Chuzzlewit – Wray Manning (1940)
The Mystery of Edwin Drood – Everett Shinn (1941)
Nicholas Nickleby – Steven Spurrier (1968)
Oliver Twist – Barnett Freedman (1939)
The Old Curiosity Shop – William Sharp (1941)
Our Mutual Friend – Lynd Ward (1957)
The Pickwick Papers – Gordon Ross (1938)/John Austen (LEC 1933)
A Tale of Two Cities – Rene ben Sussan (1938)
Short Stories – Edward Ardizzone (1971, lacks the standard binding of the series, also issued as an LEC)
The Heritage Press did not print the three Christmas LECs, instead compiling them into one work with “The Battle of Man” and “The Haunted Man” with Reginald Birch doing the artistic honors. These LECs are: The Chimes (1931, with Arthur Rackham’s gift of artistry), The Cricket on the Hearth (1933, Hugh Thomson), and A Christmas Carol (1934, Gordon Ross).
Exclusive Titles to the Heritage Press
This last set is a list of books that the LEC never printed, but the Heritage Press did on their own. It’s in need of some further research, but it’s a decent start! Some books were done by the later owners of the Heritage Club, so I have marked them with “Connecticut era” to help differentiate them. I’d also like to put in the years they were printed. As I find out more, I’ll continue to expand upon the list.
The Moon and Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham/Paul Gauguin
Mother Goose by William Rose Benet/Roger Duvoisin
The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith/John Austen
The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon by Washington Irving/Gordon Ross
Diedrich Knickerbocker’s History Of New York by Washington Irving/Don Freeman
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte/Barnett Freedman
Lorna Doone by R.D. Blackmore/John Austen
The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy/Agnes Miller Parker
The Princess of Cleves by Madame de La Fayette/Hermine David (Nonesuch French Romances; more info here)
Dangerous Acquaintances by Choderlos De Laclos/Chas Laborde (Nonesuch French Romances)
The Gods are A-thirst by Anatole France/Jean Oberle (Nonesuch French Romances)
Germinal by Emile Zola/Berthold Mahn (Nonesuch French Romances, 1942)
Ragged Dick by Horatio Alger, Jr./J. Kinnersley (Connecticut era)
A Wonder Book & Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne/Maxfield Parrish
The Europeans by Henry James/Alan Phillips (Connecticut era)
The Bostonians by Henry James/Alan Phillips (Connecticut era)
Dune: Memorial Edition by Frank Herbert/John Schoenherr (Connecticut era, one of the rarer Heritage editions out there!)
At the Earth’s Core & The Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs/Ron Miller (Connecticut era)
The Poison Belt by Arthur Conan Doyle/Harry Robins
Don Juan by Lord Bryon/Hugo Steiner-Prag
Water Babies by Charles Kingsley/Jessie Wilcox Smith (Connecticut era, 2002)
Ring of the Nibelungen by Richard Wagner/Arthur Rackham (Connecticut era)
Tales From Shakespeare by Charles Lamb/Arthur Rackham (Connecticut era)
A Complete Elia by Charles Lamb/Gordon Ross (1943)
The Soldier’s Reader and The Sailor’s Reader
In 1943, in the midst of World War II, George Macy took it upon himself to create special wartime anthologies designed to give our men at war something to occupy their free time with. He kept the content similar between the two editions, one aimed for sailors (with more nautical tales) and another for ground soldiers. There’s more info available on The Sailor’s Reader here, including all of Macy’s preludes to his selections. After doing additional research, it seems he also created a Christmas edition of the books, but from what I can tell the material is the same.
George Macy-related Items
There are two books printed by the Heritage Press that are directly about George Macy. The first is The Collected Verses of George Jester, a collection of poems written by Macy and sent out as a Christmas gift to friends in 1941. An “F.P.A.” provides an introduction. Django6924 has some info on this fellow:
I hadn’t taken the time to read through your excellent survey of Heritage Press exclusives, and in doing so today happened across your listing of the George Jester volume. You mentioned the introduction by F.P.A. and indicated this was someone unknown to you. Alas, he is to most people these days, but at one time Franklin Pierce Adams was a name to be reckoned with–journalist, member of the Algonquin Round Table, poet and playwright, and radio personality on the most famous panel quiz show of its day, Information Please, where he was a regular (along with another hero of mine, Oscar Levant). F.P.A. was famous for his quick wit, which was on excellent display on this show, tossing off gems like his paraphrase of Alexander Pope: “To err is human; to forgive, infrequent.”
F.P.A.’s wit made him a natural to introduce George Macy’s collection of satirical verse, and his choice may have been influenced by his Information Please host and moderator Clifton Fadiman, who was a Columbia University compatriot of George Macy, and who, as an editor for many years at Simon & Schuster, traveled in the same publishing circles, and contributed introductions to the LEC’s The Voice of the City, Ethan Frome, and The Crock of Gold.
Fadiman was also a part of the Reader’s Club Judges Panel, just to add.
The second is less jolly, alas, as it is for his funeral. A Tribute to George Macy was printed in 1956 and reprints Nunnally Johnson’s eulogy for the founder of the Limited Editions Club and the Heritage Press. It’s a scant eight pages long, so it’s a relatively tiny book.
Heritage Editions that Became LEC’s
On occasion the Limited Editions Club would adopt a Heritage original for their readership. Here’s a partial listing:
The Diary of Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe/Reginald Marsh
Beowulf by Anonymous/Lynd Ward
A Woman’s Life by Guy de Maupassant/Edy Legrand (originally a part of the Nonesuch French Romances)
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky/Fritz Eichenberg
Father and Sons by Ivan Turgenev/Fritz Eichenberg
The Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow/Boyd Hanna
Updated 7/4/2016 JF