Limited Editions Club: The Adventures of Hajji Baba in Ispahan by J.J. Morier (1947)

The Adventures of Hajji Baba in Ispahan by J.J. Morier (1947)
LEC #179/17th Series V.5 in 1947
Artwork: Illustrations by Honoré Guilbeau
Preface by Sir Walter Scott, Introduced by E.G. Browne
LEC #1368 of 1500. Heritage Press reprint.

Click images to see larger views.


Front Binding – Happy holidays dear readers! This month’s post returns us to the whimsical sketches of Honoré Guilbeau with the cousin volume to the later The Shaving of Shagpat, The Adventures of Hajji Baba in Ispahan. Before diving into Guilbeau, W.A. Dwiggins and the connections between these two, let’s talk about the author of this particular work, J.J. Morier (James Justinian). Morier was a British diplomat who primarily focused on relations with Iran, with a two year stint later on in Mexico. It was during this time in Mexico where his best known work, The Adventures of Hajji Baba in Ispahan, was put to pen in 1824. A sequel, The Adventures of Hajji Baba in Ispahan in England, followed in 1828. While Morier continued to write following his political career, none of his later works of fiction matched the success or critical reception of the Hajii Baba books. He died in 1849. This would be the sole edition of his work printed by the George Macy Company, although it would see a Heritage Press reprint.

Guilbeau, meanwhile, began her artistic career with the LEC with this particular book, winning one of the five finalist positions in the third commission competition with her pencil drawings for Hajji Baba. As designer W.A. Dwiggins retorted in the LEC newsletter for Shagpat, “When this book appears, it will establish that gal as a woman who really knows how to make pictures!  I can’t remember when I have seen drawings for a book that pleased me so much.” Clearly the two enjoyed working with each other as they would reunite for her last commission, the aforementioned Shagpat. I’ve referred to these two as “cousin” volumes; mainly that’s because both feature stories from the Middle East depicted by British authors designed by Dwiggins and illustrated by Guilbeau. The spine, title page and aesthetic choices are remarkably similar as well. In between she worked alongside designer Charles Skaggs on the LEC Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (Heritage edition was covered here). She lived quite the long life, passing away in 2006 at the age of 99.

Design Notes – As noted, Dwiggins served as designer on this. Here’s the QM details:




Slipcase –
A very fancy foil was applied to the slipcase here, with the same pattern as the front and back bindings of the books.


Title Page – Much like Shagpat, Dwiggins delivers a beautiful title page with a rich kaleidoscope of inks.


Colophon – This is #1368 of 1500, and was signed by Guilbeau.

Examples of Guilbeau’s illustrations (right click and open in new tab for full size):

Personal Notes – After getting Shagpat nearly ten years ago (oh my!) and posting about it way back then, it’s always been a bit of a wish list to snag its older cousin, as the two share so much in common. Luckily, this edition finally fell into my hands in 2020 when I acquired multiple volumes from NYCFAddict, a fellow devotee. So now I have both and I’m super happy about it, haha.

Limited Editions Club/Heritage Press: The Book of Ruth (1947)

The Book of Ruth (1947)
LEC #184/17th Series, V. 11 in 1947
Artwork: Illustrations by Arthur Szyk
Translation Prepared at Cambridge in 1611 for King James I, Introduced by Mary Ellen Chase
LEC #278 of 1500. Heritage Press reprint, see lower half of this post.

Click images for a larger view.

Front Binding – On occasion George Macy branched the Limited Editions Club’s limitation number beyond the typical 1500. Of course, the inverse also happened during the tight rationing of paper and dipping membership during World War II, but the increased limitation was a deliberate choice of the Club’s to really promote specific editions that Macy was particularly excited about. Examples of this include the LEC Shakespeare, the Evergreen Tales, The Wind in the Willows, and the two “Books” from the King James Bible, one of which is spotlighted here, The Book of Ruth.

This was a special pair of books that share several common elements: both designed by George Macy himself, both featuring an introduction by prominent New England educator, author and Bible scholar Mary Ellen Chase, and both starring the visual splendors of artist Arthur Szyk. 1946 marked a memorable debut from the talented Szyk, as The Book of Job, the first volume of the duo, came out in 1946 alongside the Heritage exclusive The Rubaiyat and one of two spotlights the Heritage Club issued of illustrators, Ink and Blood. This was a limited edition of 1000 copies, and is among the more coveted Heritage exclusives out there. The Canterbury Tales followed later in 1946, with the second in the duo, The Book of Ruth on its heels in the same series, coming out in 1947. He contributed to the first set of Evergreen Tales, illustrating “The Story of Joseph and His Brothers”, which came out 1949, and the final commission was an exquisite rendering of The Arabian Nights Entertainments in 1954. This was issued posthumously as he passed away in 1951. Szyk specialized in miniature paintings, calligraphy and illumination, and put these talents on display in all of his contributions to the George Macy Company. Historicana has a great site on his legacy if you’d like to learn more about his craft and technique.

Design Notes – As noted, George Macy stepped into the designer shoes for this edition, and the Quarto details the following:

One item of note: both Ruth and Job are bound in sheepskin leather, and it is a material that degrades more rapidly than other leathers. Thus, it has been difficult to come across these books in fine or near fine condition because of the leather. Mine I would say are very good +; as you can see above and below on the spine, there’s some pieces that have flaked off.



Title Page –  The Book of Ruth’s translation comes straight from the King James Bible, and Mary Ellen Chase provides the preface to the work.

Colophon – This is #1622 of 1950, and was signed by Szyk.

Page 12 – 13 – Words really can’t express Szyk’s talent, so I’ll just let these marvels vouch for themselves.

Page 42

Personal Notes – I wrote the below post (well, I deleted a lot of it as it wasn’t really informative) in 2011, and have wanted these books ever since, haha. Szyk’s LECs have eluded me until 2020, when I finally got the first set of Evergreen Tales, but those were all unsigned. However, devotee NYCFAddict gave me an opportunity and a half with several acquisitions, with these standing tall among the many books he sold me. I love them so much! And got a pretty great deal on them too. Expect The Book of Job exactly one year from now!

The Book of Ruth (1947)
Sandglass Number Unknown
Artwork: Illustrations by Arthur Szyk
Translation Prepared at Cambridge in 1611 for King James I,
Introduced by Mary Ellen Chase
Heritage Press Reprint of LEC #184/17th Series, V. 11 in 1947

Click images for a larger view.

Front Binding – While this is not as lavish a treatment as the LEC original is, I do have to say that the Heritage makes an admirable attempt at replicating the luxurious design with a lower budget. It even redoes the Szyk linework remarkably well on the cloth binding. This is a library copy I no longer have easy access to, so I can’t elaborate on its design particulars.

Title Page –  The reproductions of Szyk’s illustrations is also well handled. They aren’t quite as crisp or colorful, but they certainly are excellent.

Page 13

Page 42

Personal Notes – I checked this out from my old hometown library a decade ago! I’ve been wanting this ever since, haha. Luckily I have the LEC now!

Updated 9/13/21 ~ JF

Heritage Press – Westward Ho! by Charles Kingsley (1947)

Westward Ho! by Charles Kingsley (1947)
Sandglass Number 7L
Artwork: Illustrations by Edward A. Wilson
Introduced by John T. Winterich
Reprint of LEC #182, 17th Series, V. 8, in 1947 in 2 volumes.

Click images for larger views.


Front Binding – We’re back with new reviews! Yay! And our first book is the exquisite rendering of British author Charles Kingsley’s Westward Ho! for the Heritage Press. This is, as usual, a reprint of the LEC edition. Kingsley only saw this one book produced by the LEC, but the Easton Press would later issue The Water Babies under the Heritage Press label after they took over the brand. The Sandglass calls this a “masterwork of British propaganda…a symbol of British martial heroism”, and I suppose that’s a pretty accurate assessment. A nice little biography can be found in the Sandglass below.

Edward A. Wilson makes his second Macy appearance on the blog now, following his earlier Journey to the Center of the Earth. This is a better overall example of his work in my opinion, and stands as some of his finest illustrations I’ve come across. Perhaps, as the Sandglass notes, he is unmatched in his “creation of illustrations for a salty tale of the sea.” His full Macy bibliography is in the aforementioned post. For this book, the pen and brush were Wilson’s tools as he created over 40 full-color illustrations for Westward Ho!, and the Sandglass notes that the reprinting of these drawings were quite expensive! Photogravures of his original drawings were touched up and painted by Wilson via watercolor, and then lithographic processes brought the colors and lines together for the Heritage edition.

Design Notes – The binding is a lovely linen (“tough-binders’ linen” according to the Sandglass) of a “sea-green” tone, stamped with a Wilson design of a symbolic sailing of the sea done in a golden shade. The designer is notably absent here, when oftentimes leads to George Macy’s involvement in that role. However, Django6924 was kind enough to pass along some info from the Quarto-Millenary and the LEC letter:

The ML gives no indication of designer either, but in the Quarto-Millenary reference volume, the designer is designated as Eugene Clauss, about whom I found that he was a prominent lithographer at the J.C. Hall Company, Lithographers, Printers and Binders of Providence R.I. This and the LEC edition of The Scarlet Letter are apparently Mr. Clauss’ sole Macy efforts–and a fabulous one this one is!

The LEC was printed on a predominantly rag paper provided by the Worthy Paper Company and the binding was done by Russell-Rutter. (Same details about type used as the HP.) The illustrations were likewise produced in monochrome via photogravure, but the colors were hand-applied with stencils (pochoir process) and with watercolor paints–not printer’s inks.

Bodoni 175 is the font of choice. The bindery is also missing for the Heritage, but Russell-Rutter was the likely suspect.




Title Page – Although the title page omits this information, Heritage Press introductory alum John T. Winterich supplies such a preface for this work. I like this title page a lot; Wilson’s colors are indeed a wonderful thing when he’s on fire.

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

Personal Notes – I originally acquired the Connecticut edition of this book from the Oakhurst Library as part of my 50-book haul back in 2012, but I came upon the New York printing in fairly good condition at a later sale from the same library for around $3, so I ditched my older edition for this one. I wouldn’t mind having the LEC of it!

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)

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 – Penguin Island by Anatole France (1938/1947)

Penguin Island by Anatole France (1938)
Sandglass Number Unknown
Artwork: Illustrations in water-colors by Sylvain Sauvage
Translated by A.W. Evans
Heritage Press Exclusive

Click images for a larger view.

Binding and Spine – Anatole France received quite a smattering of attention from the George Macy Company, way more than he receives today (a shame!). Penguin Island was the one work of France’s that Macy produced twice. I discuss France’s LEC and Heritage editions in my earlier Revolt of the Angels post.

Thanks to Django6924, I am able to share with you the original Heritage exclusive that predates the later LEC release. In 1938 Macy recruited Sylvain Sauvage [no stranger to the books of France, as he did two LEC’s of his before this one, At the Sign of the Queen Pedauque (1933) and The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard (1937)] to produce this lovely edition of what is probably France’s best known work. Sauvage has popped up here before for his amazing work on Zadig, and I’m happy to have him make a second appearance. I covered his career in the aforementioned post, so we’ll just jump into this book’s specifics. Early Heritage books tended to have production details, and this one is such a book, so I’ll plop that down for some minimal design details:

Since I initially wrote this post, fellow George Macy Devotee featherwate submitted to me information from Michael Bussacco’s book on the Heritage Press, which I will paste below:

I don’t have a Sandglass with my copy of the HP Penguin Island, but here are some of the technical details taken from Bussacco’s Sandglass Companion:

Type: Granjon was chosen for being both dignified and unobtrusive – (Sandglass: “dignity is required in the setting of a satiric novel”) – and its size is 14 pt. The paper, made by the Worthy Paper Company, resembles the paper used for the HP Romeo and Juliet and is guaranteed to last for at least two centuries!
Illustrations: Ten full-page water-colour pictures, reproduced to the exact size of Sauvage’s original paintings by Ralph M. Duenewald of New York, who was also responsible for printing Sauvage’s illustrations for the LEC Cyrano and Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard. BTW, “The navigation of Saint Mael” is on page 34, and “Then she went away…” on page 60.
One of the most interesting features of the book is its binding. First the bad news: it’s not leather. In the words of the Sandglass, the sheets are encased in “heavy boards over which the binder has worked a material from the factories of E.I Du Pont de Nemours Company. It is a material of which the surface is treated with pyroxolin. It will last longer than most book cloths, far longer than most cheap leathers, not quite so long as expensive leathers that are used in the binding of a hundred dollar books.
The material is dyed black. Its surface is treated with leather graining. This is just rank imitation. We would much prefer to use the original goatskin which this graining imitates!”. (Would have been too expensive.)
Not mentioned in the Sandglass is the origin of pyroxolin (or more properly, I think, pyroxylin, though there was a New Zealand racehorse called Pyroxolin in the 1890s). It has been around since 1868, when Albany printer and inventor John Wesley Hyatt gave the name to a blend of nitrocellulose and the plasticiser camphor (sap from the laurel tree) which produced a durable, colourful, and mouldable thermoplastic. It is still used today by specialist bookbinders and conservators. Riley, Dunn & Wilson, for example, make solander boxes with a covering of pyroxolin[sic]-impregnated light-fast, moisture- and vermin-resistant library buckram. As a non-scientist I find it slightly worrying that pyroxylin appears to be essentially the same thing as gun-cotton and the notoriously inflammable nitrate base used for early film stock. Not much point in having a 200 year guarantee for the paper if the binding is liable to sudden spontaneous combustion! Another reason to keep one’s books out of direct sunlight…

So, the book is bound in a material similar to gun cotton? That’s fascinating…and scary! Definitely keep it out of the sun or away from any other heat source! Anyway, the book’s front binding has a lovely embossing:

That’s all I can give you for now, but I’ll refresh this post when I find out more.

Title Page – A.W. Evans was the translator for Penguin Island, and there is no introduction whatsoever. Sauvage’s art is a great fit from what I can tell.

Chapter IV – As I do not own this, I do not know the specific page numbers. I’ll update this once I know. This is incredible art, that it is.

Example Illustration – More mastery. I think I need this.

Extra special thanks to Django6924 for the images and featherwate for the info from Bussacco!

Penguin Island by Anatole France (1947)
Sandglass Number 15K
Artwork: Drawings by Malcolm Cameron
Translated by A.W. Evans, Introduced by Carl Van Doren
Reprint of LEC #181, 17th Series, V. 7 in 1947.

Front Binding – For the second Heritage issuing of France’s seminal work, the Club reissued the later LEC Penguin Island. This was one of the winning entries for the LEC’s “Third Competition in Book Illustration”, which the Sandglass gets into the minor details of on Page 2 (Macy says he doesn’t want to bore people with it yet again, and then explains it all anyway :p ). Malcolm Cameron’s drawings won over the judges and netted him one of the five first prizes, and thus the LEC had its own Penguin Island to crow about. Cameron would do one other book for the George Macy Company, Jack and the Beanstalk, which was released in a set of Evergreen Tales in 1952. Cameron was actually an architect by trade, dabbling with his artwork as a side project. Upon winning, he gave up his old career (the Sandglass wondered if his netting the prize had anything to do with it) and committed to being an illustrator full time. Blog commenter Tom Lessup dug up some personal info on Cameron:

Malcom Cameron, printmaker, illustrator and architect
Born in Redlands, CA on Sept. 2, 1902, Attended the California Institute of Technology and Cornell University. He apprenticed in an architectural office in NYC in 1927-28 and then moved to Los Angeles. In 1945 he settled in Bonsall, CA and lived there until moving to Shaw Island, WA in 1962. He died there in March 8, 1975. Illustrated books such as “Penguin Island” by Anatole France and “Notre Dame de Paris” by Victor Hugo.
Exhibitions: Oakland Art Gallery, 1939; GGIE*, 1940. In: Library of Congress.
Source: Edan Hughes, “Artists in California, 1786-1940″
*Golden Gate International Exposition
Sometimes confused with Australian painter/printmaker of the same name, born 1934

Massive thanks for elaborating on Mr. Cameron’s career for us, Mr. Lessup. :)

Some production details, then. France’s text and Cameron’s drawings were reproduced through electroplates and photographs, respectively. The Photogravure and Color Company handled Cameron’s side of the equation. Joseph Blumenthal was the designer of this edition, who also had personally designed the font chosen for the work, Emerson. It is called that due to Blumenthal’s choice to use it to print Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essay on Nature. Designer buffs will want to peruse this Sandglass, as it goes into Mr. Blumenthal’s career in very extensive depth. The Stratford Press handled the printing of the text. The bindery is suspiciously absent.


Title Page – A.W. Evans’ translation made the leap from the Sauvage edition. Carl Van Doren supplies this printing with an Introduction. A lovely title page, this one. I like it more than the Sauvage edition.

Book 1: The Beginnings

Page 30 – Cameron’s linework is exquisite. France is doubly lucky to have two fine illustrators render his work so delightfully for one publishing house.

Personal Notes – I got this at Bookbuyers in Monterey as part of a trade-in, and I’m really happy to have it. I adored Revolt of the Angels, and I hope I will enjoy this as well. I’d like to own Sauvage’s edition as well, which would give me three versions of this work (I also have an early Dodd, Mead edition with Frank C. Pape’s artwork, and that is also exquisite!).