Limited Editions Club/Heritage Press: Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev (1951/1941)

Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev (1951)
LEC #212/20th Series V. 4 in 1951
Artwork: Wood engravings by Fritz Eichenberg
Translated by Constance Garnett. Preface by John T. Winterich.
LEC #734 of 1500; Upgrade of the Heritage exclusive Fathers and Sons, issued in 1941 (see below)

Click images to see larger views.


Front Binding – Today is the second and final work of Ivan Turgenev’s output for the Limited Editions Club, Fathers and Sons. In case you missed the first post on the Cardevon Press-published The Torrents of Spring, click this link. This is also the third time we’ve covered a LEC that came from a Heritage Press exclusive! The two earlier instances we’ve documented include Crime and Punishment and The Diary of Moll Flanders. The former shares a connection with this book through its illustrator; yes, that ever-so-frequent artist of many of the Macy Russian novels — and personal favorite — Fritz Eichenberg. The German-born Eichenberg seemed to have a knack for conjuring up the right mood for the works of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Pushkin and now Turgenev; the only Russian masters he missed were Gogol and Chekhov. I’ve documented Eichenberg’s extensive career for Macy and the subsequent LEC handlers here.

So, with Turgenev and Eichenberg thoroughly covered, let’s get into the production details. The Heritage original came out in 1941 (the first illustrated edition of the work, even!), and the LEC decided to try their own spin on the classic using the Heritage as a base in 1951 (curious how both Crime and Punishment and Fathers and Sons took exactly ten years for Macy to come to the decision to upgrade the Heritage to a LEC; Moll Flanders, on the other hand, was 12 years, and another example, Beowulf, was about 13 years). The illustrations for this edition were taken directly from Eichenberg’s woodblocks, which he had fortunately retained during the decade following the original publication (the Heritage original used electroplating to reproduce the artwork and text for cost management purposes). The Heritage was composed and printed by A. Colish on Worthy Paper Company paper, and bound by the ever-reliable Russell-Rutter. The LEC edition, on the other hand, was handed over to the Spiral Press and Joseph Blumenthal for its execution. The letter notes that The Lyrics of Francois Villon (1931), Sister Carrie (1938), The Pilgrim’s Progress (1940), and Spoon River Anthology (1941) were previously done by the Press, but World War II made Blumenthal to shut down the printing shop in order to join the fight, and only after its conclusion and subsequent resetting of shop could he once more print books. Blumenthal designed the LEC edition with the Scotch font, which was printed on Curtis Paper Company paper (“Curtis Rag”, to be specific). Eichenberg contributed the chapter flourishes, printed in a gray ink. The illustrations were printed on Japanese “wood-block” paper, a light paper that works quite well to make Eichenberg’s scenes pop on the page. The Spiral Press also handled this business. The bindery is absent, but the Quarto confirms Russell-Rutter was in charge. Eichenberg supplied a new illustration to be brass-stamped onto the black buckram front board; the back is lacking the art, but keeps the cloth. The spine is a natural buckram, with a leather block featuring the title done in gold leaf, which Eichenberg also supplied.






Title Page – Constance Garnett’s translations are once more summoned for this particular work; it’s a rare instance when she is not the translator of a Russian text. Heritage Press/LEC board member John T. Winterich takes over Preface duties. As I’ve observed elsewhere, he often wrote the Heritage exclusive prefaces, and when he appears in a LEC volume it seems to be an indicator of its status as an original from that press.


Colophon – Eichenberg signs this edition, and this is #734 of 1500 copies.

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

Personal Notes – I took a bit of a gamble on this work, as I ordered it online from ABEBooks. It looked fantastic from the store-supplied photos, and the price of $25 (with shipping) for a complete edition was too good to pass up. Luckily, the book is as advertised, and I’m giddy at having my third Eichenberg LEC.

LEC Monthly Letter (right click and open in new tab for full size):

Now let’s take a look at the Heritage original…

Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev (1941)
Sandglass Number 4E
Artwork: Engravings by Fritz Eichenberg
Translated by Constance Garnett. Preface by John T. Winterich.
Originally a Heritage Press exclusive; upgraded in 1951 to a LEC.


Front Binding – Django6924 contributes the following info and photographs of his Heritage copy:

…the 1941 edition of Turgenev’s Fathers & Sons, which came about, according to Sandglass 4E, because of the astounding popularity of the earlier HP original Crime & Punishment, illustrated by Fritz Eichenberg. The HP subscribers apparently clamored for another Russian novel illustrated by Eichenberg, and though it seems odd the one they chose was Fathers & Sons, it was, to quote the Bard, “a hit! A palpable hit!” — so much so that, as it did with the Dostoevsky novel, the LEC issued its own Fathers & Sons 10 years later with these same illustrations. The LEC version is very nice, with a beautiful paper and a more sober binding design, but I must say I prefer the HP’s binding, and since I have both, I can vouch that the reproductions of Eichenberg’s wood engravings are just as good here as in the LEC — identical to my eyes. The typography is also superb…The novel itself is of major importance in Russian literature, and Turgenev’s best-known. (Please excuse the quality of the photography — everything was shot under available light as my studio lights are all in storage.)

The Sandglass (4E) does not mention the designer other than saying it was intended to be a “companion volume” to the HP Crime and Punishment, so I would assume the designer of that edition, Carl Purington Rollins, deserves the credit, though I suspect if anyone did the actual design it was George Macy.

The production details are below:



Title – Winterich is not credited on the title page as he is in the LEC, but he does have a preface here. These pages were totally redesigned for the LEC run; of note is the drastically different title font and color.

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

Big thanks to Django6924 for the use of his book, Sandglass, info and photography for the Heritage half of this post.

Updated on 10/8/2017 by JF

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

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):

Heritage Press – Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe (1941)

Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe (1941)
Sandglass Number III:23
Artwork: Aquatints by William Sharp
Introduced by Vincent Starrett
Reprint of LEC #253, 23rd Series, V.  in 1941

Click images for larger views.


Front Binding – Two previously featured icons return to the Macy blog today: the author, Edgar Allan Poe, and the artist, William Sharp. We last saw Poe in the exquisite Hugo Steiner-Prag illustrated Poems; I detail out his LEC/HP career in that particular post. Here we have what many would consider his most enduring legacy to literature; his horror-fueled short stories. Many of the classics are included here: “The Fall of the House of Usher”, “The Black Cat”, “The Gold-Bug”, “The Pit and the Pendulum”, “The Tell-Tale Heart”, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”, “The Masque of the Red Death”, and plenty more. The marbled boards are perfect too; the coloring is ghastly!

William Sharp, last spotted doing the set of Samuel Pepys’ Diary, gleefully made his debut for the George Macy Company rendering these chilling tales in 1941. He definitely shows some versatility in his style; his later, more restrained pen drawings for Pepys and Rousseau’s Confessions greatly contrast against these more grisly interpretations of Poe’s imaginative narratives. Sharp provided the LEC edition of the book aquatint illustrations, which the Sandglass goes into great detail about. To summarize, the original artwork was done via engraving on a specifically prepared copper plate, and is then dipped in nitric acid to create the print in a watercolor-esque fashion. Photogravures of the originals were utilized for the Heritage edition.

Production details: the designer is unstated. Original Old Style serves as the main text, with English Caslon embellishments and Sylvan decorations. The red ink scattered throughout is called English vermillion. Printing was done by the Riverside Press on Crocker-Burbank Company paper (dubbed “Saturn” paper here). The stunning boards are of the Putois marbled paper family. The spine is gold-stamped.




Title Page – Vincent Starrett is the Introductory man for this set of stories. The use of red ink throughout the text is quite lovely.

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

Personal Notes – This book came from Carpe Diem Rare Books on my first visit there a few years ago. I paid $15 for it, which is a little more than I usually pay for Heritage titles, but it’s Edgar Allan Poe’s brilliant tales! The next book on my Non-Macy tab is the Fritz Eichenberg illustrated Tales; look forward to that!

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

125Wikipedia: Year 125 was a common year starting on Sunday of the Julian calendar.

Limited Editions Club – Plutarch’s Lives (1941)

Plutarch’s Lives (1941, 8 volumes in total, V. I and VIII utilized for this post)
LEC #128/12th Series V. 11 in 1941
Artwork – Decorations by W.A. Dwiggins
Introduced by Emil Ludwig, translated by James Amoyt (Greek to French) and Thomas North (French to English), edited by Roland Baughman
LEC #N.M. of 1500

Click images to see larger views.

Front Binding (V. I and VIII) – Plutarch’s Lives, or as the title page reads, “The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans Compared Together by that Grave, Learned Philosopher and Historiographer Plutarch of Chaeronea”, is one of the earliest biographies we still have access to today. Plutarch details and compares the lives of various prominent Greek and Roman citizens within this set. The Limited Editions Club unveiled an eight-volume set, designed by W.A. Dwiggins and utilizing the translation of Sir Thomas North, for release in 1941 in the 12th series. On the outside it’s fairly sterile. The brown stripes you see are from the slipcover my university applied to the outside to protect it. The vibrant blue cloth features eight unique stamps by Dwiggins, one per volume, on the spine. It was printed by the Southworth-Anthoensan Press in Portland, Maine. I don’t have a Monthly Letter, so that’s about as far as I can go design-wise.

This was the sole work of Plutarch commissioned by the LEC, which is appropriate, considering it’s the best-known of his surviving works. The Heritage edition condenses this set from eight books to just two, and the binding mimics the title page of this edition (minus the color). It’s even white!

As for Mr. Dwiggins, I haven’t detailed his career yet, so let’s get cracking! His full name was William Addison Dwiggins. He was a prominent book designer, type designer (Caledonia and Electra are his), and illustrator, and was a busy man working for Alfred A. Knopf in the 1920’s and ’30’s, heavily influencing the direction of book design. He coined the term “graphic designer” in 1922 to describe his work. For George Macy, Dwiggins did illustrations on top of book designing, but I may not detail every single book he had a hand with right off the bat. I’m going off of Bill Majure’s list, which only tells me which books he put his name in via signature. So consider this a tentative list. Dwiggins was involved in the very first series, doing work on Alphonse Daudet’s Tartarin of Tarascon in 1930. Droll Stories by Honore de Balzac came next in 1932. 1936 saw Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantagruel see release. This set came next in 1941. He also had a hand in one of the club’s ultra-limited releases, Towards a Reform of the Paper Currency, which only had a limitation of 452 copies when it was released in 1932. That’s all Majure lists of Dwiggins’ output, but I can add two more to that list. He had a hand both in decoration and book design on The Shaving of Shagpat (1955) and The Adventures of Hajji Baba of Ispahan (1947). He passed away in 1956.


Title Page – Much like The Shaving of Shagpat, Dwiggins renders Plutarch’s Lives with his trademark decorations. These are the only illustrations in the book. James Amyot and North get full translation credit, while Roland Baughman serves as the LEC editor for this edition. Emil Ludwig, biographer and author of Napoleon, offers an introduction.

Signature Page – This is one of those special runs of a LEC that is not numbered but initialed. I wish I knew who N.M. was, but alas, this is the first book with those initials I’ve come across, and all of the other LEC’s at my university library were numbered. Dwiggins provides his signature.

Page 3 – An example of Dwiggins’ pre-chapter headers, which are all the colorful flourishes the book gets beyond the decadent title page.

Page 169

Personal Notes – I checked this out from my university to document it for the blog, but I would not decline owning it myself. I have seen one set out in the wild, and the slipcase is a ginormous orange box that seems like it would shatter if the circumstances were right. I think two slipcases would have been ideal, but I didn’t design the book! I’ll see about getting the Heritage printing (oddly enough it too is at my university library) on here once the next semester starts.

If you have the Monthly Letter, I would greatly appreciate hosting it and expanding the contents of this post! Please drop me a line in the comments here or through my thread at Librarything. Thanks!

Of Interest – The Readers Club

Very much overshadowed by the Limited Editions Club and the Heritage Press is George Macy’s third venture into book publishing under his George Macy Company umbrella – The Readers Club.  What you are about to read is compiled from many tidbits of information scattered about the web, and the sources will be at the end.

First of all, courtesy of olepuppy at the George Macy Devotees is this meaty bit of information:

A History of Book Publishing in the United States,vol. III, The Golden Age Between Two Wars, 1920-1940 contains several paragraphs about George Macy with references and anecdotes. One paragraph p.504 relates to the Readers Club:

“In March 1941, Macy inaugurated his third venture, the Readers Club, a dollar reprint operation designed to give buyers books that Macy thought had never won the popularity they deserved. Again, other publishers for the most part found little merit in this idea, but Macy persuaded Sinclair Lewis, Clifton Fadiman, Carl Van Doren, and Alexander Woollcott to constitute his board of judges, and on the strength of these names as well as the books they selected, and with the further help of Macy’s high-powered advertising, 140,000 members were enrolled in the first six months. The first selection, E. H. Young’s ‘WILLIAM’, went to 40,000 subscribers. Later choices went as high as an 84,000-member acceptance. As an innovation in book club mechanics, Macy gave his judges one-cent-a-copy royalty for every volume sold.”

From that base, let’s fill in some of the gaps.  Woollcott served as the executive chairperson.  It would seem that the Club printed 45 individual volumes within its timeline (which, alas, I do not know when it met its end – I’d wager 1943, the last year I have in my checklist below).  I do not know with any certainty if letters of some sort or a slipcase were issued with these books – the two I have seen do not have either.  They did come with dust jackets judging by this particular copy of The Last Frontier.  The books are bound in a somewhat plain fashion, with a “Readers Club” logo on the front and a more elegant spine with a “RC” featured somewhere.  The judges provided the forewords to the majority of the titles – Sinclair Lewis for example did the honors for The Days of the King and The History of Mr. Polly.  This fact is prominent on the spines and dustjackets of the books I’ve seen.   Below is a list that I’ve compiled on the books printed (title followed by author, illustrator [if applicable], the provider of the foreword and year):

1941 Titles

William by E.H. Young/?/Carl Van Doren/1941
The History of Mr. Polly
by H.G. Wells/?/Sinclair Lewis/1941
The Last Frontier by Howard Fast/?/Carl Van Doren/1941
The Murderer’s Companion by William Roughead/?/Alexander Woollcott/1941
Twelve Against the Gods: The Story of Adventure by William Bolitho/?/Alexander Woollcott/1941
The Fortunes of Richard Mahony: Australia Felix, The Way Home, Ultima Thule by Henry Handel Richardson/?/Sinclair Lewis/1941
The Asiatics by Frederic Prokosch/?/Carl Van Doren/1941

1942 Titles

The Days of the King by Bruno Frank/Adolf von Menzel/Sinclair Lewis/1942
Charles Dickens, The Last of the Great Men by G.K. Chesterton/?/Alexander Woollcott/1942
Anel Pavement by J.B. Priestly/?/Sinclair Lewis/1942
Henry Ward Beecher: An American Portrait by Paxton Hibben/?/Sinclair Lewis/1942
Billy Budd, Benito Cereno and the Enchanted Isles: Three Shorter Novels by the Author of Moby Dick by Herman Melville/?/Carl Van Doren/1942

1943 Titles

Rendezvous and Other Long & Short Stories About Our Navy in Action by Alec Hudson/?/Carl Van Doren/1943
Tommy and Grizel by J.M. Barrie/?/Clinton Fadiman/1943
Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev/Fritz Eichenberg/Sinclair Lewis/1943 (Heritage Reprint)
The Golden Violet: The Story of a Lady Novelist by Joseph Shearing (Majorie Bowen)/?/Sinclair Lewis/1943
The Young Melbourne by Lord David Cecil/?/Carl Van Doren/1943

Note that this is by no means definitive – I’ve picked what I can from the internet, but any additional insights would be very welcome.  I have a special thread at the George Macy Devotees seeking info on the Reader’s Club – drop me a line there or leave me comments here.

Now, since this is an arm of the George Macy Company, I will document books as I stumble upon them here, but I do not plan on making them a part of my personal collection.  They are a little too plain for my taste.  Expect The Days of the King sometime in the near future.