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

January 3, 2014 Comments Off on Heritage Press: On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin (1963)

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.

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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.

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Slipcase

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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):

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Heritage Press – The Ambassadors by Henry James (1963)

August 26, 2013 Comments Off on Heritage Press – The Ambassadors by Henry James (1963)

The Ambassadors by Henry James (1963)
Sandglass Number I:29
Artwork: Illustrations by Leslie Saalburg
Introduced by James
Reprint of LEC #351, 32nd Series, V. 1 in 1963

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Front Binding – Henry James quickly returns for his second appearance on the blog! Don’t say that I don’t listen to the Devotees! ;)

Anyway, The Ambassadors was the second of his works published by the Limited Editions Club; my prior post on The Portrait of a Lady features his complete Macy bibliography. It’s considered the most autobiographical of his works, and the Sandglass emotes heavily on James’ career for those curious about the American-turned-British author. This is one of those books where the author composed its introduction, as well.

Our artist for The Ambassadors is another of those one-shot illustrators: Leslie Saalburg only contributed this one commission before fading from the George Macy Company and its descendents. His watercolor paintings work well with James, although, much like Colleen Browning of the aforementioned Portrait, the art is not jaw-dropping for me. Perhaps you will disagree!

Design Notes: Richard Ellis designed this book, and he is no newcomer to the Macy canon; the Sandglass notes he did Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray and Trollope’s Barchester Towers, and a quick review of my blog reveals that he also did Defoe’s Journal of a Plague Year, Untermeyer’s Paul Bunyan, Stendhal’s The Red and the Black, and Trollope’s The Warden. Well, here’s another! Fairfield in a 12-point size is our font, designed by Macy alum Rudolf Ruzicka. Perpetua, another font designed by another Macy artist, Eric Gill, is used for the title page and initial letters. Ellis himself used calligraphic fleurons and cartouches for chapter and part headers. The Garamond Press tackled the text printing, which was the very shop that issued the first LEC way back in 1929, Gulliver’s Travels! Cream-toned paper from Crocker-Burbank took on these fonts and Saalburg’s illustrations, and Russell-Rutter as usual handled the binding job.

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Slipcase

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TItle Page – James himself gives the introduction, borrowed from a Collected Edition issued in 1909. James also cameos in Saalburg’s artwork: four or five of the watercolors feature the author’s visage! I don’t know if the three selections I’ve chosen showcase this, but Page 49’s illustration does indeed include him; he’s the seated chap on the far right. James is literally everywhere here!

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

Personal Notes – This was acquired at Bookhaven for $10. It was my first acquisition of James, of which I now have three. I haven’t read him yet, but I’ve got plenty to pick from whenever I do!

Updated 12/23/2013 by JF

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

Heritage Press – The Trial and Death of Socrates by Plato (1963)

September 4, 2011 Comments Off on Heritage Press – The Trial and Death of Socrates by Plato (1963)

The Trial and Death of Socrates by Plato (1963)
Sandglass Number unknown
Artwork – Illustrations by Hans Erni
Translated and Analysis by Benjamin Jowett, and introduced by Huntington Cairns
Reprint of LEC #338/30th Series V. 11 in 1962

Click the images for larger views.

Front Binding – A brilliant blue cloth covers the boards, but the spine holds the treat of this particular book.  Plato’s second work printed by the George Macy Company, The Trial and Death of Socrates, is arguably his most well-known piece outside of The Republic, and I think the Heritage edition does it justice.  Alas, I can’t go into the design aspects on this one – library copy and all that.  Any help would be lovely!

Spine

Title Page – Much like the later Three Dialogues, Benjamin Jowett supplies the translation for Plato’s Greek text.  Huntington Cairns provides a Preface.  Hans Erni is the artist in question, this being his second commission for the Limited Editions Club (Ovid’s Metamorphoses would be the first in 1958), with one more to follow (Epictetus’ Discourses and Manual in 1966).  His style works well with the text Plato provides, methinks.

Page 13 – Most of Erni’s illustrations are in between the text – this is a rarer full page piece.

Page 27

Page 63

Personal Notes – I’ve yet to snag myself a Plato of any sort, but I wouldn’t mind this one being the first.  I like the blue boards a lot, and Erni’s work is distinctive.  For now, I’ll remember my time with the library copy these came from.

Any and all info on this book’s design process would be very useful!  If you have a Sandglass or LEC Newsletter, please drop me a line here or through the comments at my thread about this blog at the George Macy Devotees @ LibraryThing!  Thanks!

Limited Editions Club: Tartuffe and The Would-Be Gentleman by Moliere (1963)

April 28, 2011 Comments Off on Limited Editions Club: Tartuffe and The Would-Be Gentleman by Moliere (1963)

Tartuffe and The Would-Be Gentleman by Moliere (1963)
LEC # 349/31st Series V.4
Sandglass Number XI:28
Artwork: Drawings by Serge Ivanoff
Translated by H. Baker and J. Miller, and introduced by Henri Peyre
#477 out of 1500

Click images for a larger view.

Welcome to the second in our series of Limited Editions Club/Heritage Press side-by-side comparisons!  The first, The Canterbury Tales, was fairly straightforward in its differences – a little less color in the text, a leather spine, and a more dynamic printing of Arthur Szyk’s miniatures.  This volume, a redoing of Tartuffe (here’s the first) with the bonus of a second Moliere play, The Would-Be Gentleman, is a little more striking in its changes between the LEC and the Heritage reprint.

The LEC pictures will be on top, while the Heritage will be below.

Front Binding – A major shift in design between the editions right off.  Let’s begin with the LEC Announcement Letter.

Let’s do a quick comparison to the earlier TartuffeThe illustrators are naturally different, but what about the translations?  Curtis Hidden Page was responsible for the first edition, taking his prior work from 1908 and revamping it a bit for the LEC edition.  This later edition utilizes the talents of H. Baker and J. Miller, who translated the plays into English way back in 1739.  So these are obviously older and may affect the readability to today’s readers, the LEC Newsletter quickly tries to deflate that issue by stating that the two were actors and great fans of the French playwright, and did much to raise Moliere’s credence to London playgoers in their time.  They also say that the translation is of “…good, fluent, accurate English”, so perhaps the time lapse will not be an problem.  I haven’t read the two to compare properly quite yet, but I’ll update this when I do.  As for the bindings, the LEC Letter gives some of the details, like the design being done by Jean Garcia, who also selected and designed the book, but not the responsible party of the actual binding – that would be Frank D. Fortney and the Russell-Rutter Company, whose name appears quite often in this period for the Club.  Fortney and his apparent relative William designed the Heritage edition’s binding on top of doing the work.

LEC Spine

Slipcase – The LEC has a nice maroon case, while the Heritage has a black one.  Nothing too fancy in either case.

Title Page – The LEC had red text proclaiming Moliere and their name, while the Heritage redesigned the Moliere into a somewhat fancier font to make up for the loss of color.  They year also drops off the Title Page.  Garcia went with English Monotype Garcia for the text and Bembo bold for the Speech tags, which were printed at The Thistle Press in New York.  The paper is of a white rag stock from the Curtis Paper Company of Newark, Delaware, and was, naturally, specially made for the LEC.  The LEC letter goes off on an ink tangent, which may be of note to those curious about that major component of the printing process.  The Heritage Sandglass does not – I’ll explain the further differences at the end of this post.  This was Garcia’s second LEC work – Alain-Fournier’s The Wanderer was the first, and was a lovely book in its own right.

The Heritage edition has different people behind its creation.  The Mead Paper Company supplied the paper, which is of the laid style.  It was printed by Michael Pagliaro of the Holyoke Lithograph Company in Holyoke, Mass.  The tones of the binding were meant to replicate Ivanoff’s recolored illustrations, which you’ll see below.

Signature Page – This is #477 of 1500, signed by Serge Ivanoff.

Page 6 – Here’s the BIG difference of the books – the LEC fully colors in Serge Ivanoff’s drawings, which was hand-colored in the atelier of Walter Fischer and printed by the Crafton Graphic Company.  The Heritage edition strips the colors down to two – a shade of blue and a shade of peach, discounting the black and white, of course.  Personally, the LEC wins out.  The illustrations are much more vivid in full color.

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Personal Notes – I got the Heritage edition first, at Moe’s in Berkeley.  I got the LEC at Green Apple in San Fran.  I paid $12 I think for the Heritage, and $30 for the LEC, which I am quite pleased with.  It’s the second Heritage I’ve replaced with a LEC – The Innocent Voyage was the first.

Newsletter Comparisons – Since I have the Monthly LEC Letter and the Heritage Sandglass, I wanted to do a quick side-by-side examination to see what’s different between the two.  The Sandglass lacks a personal anecdote from Serge Ivanoff (Page 3 of the LEC Letter), where he comments on visiting the United States soon.  After the text information following the lengthy verbiage on Jean Garcia’s career (Page 3 of the LEC Letter, Page 4 of the Sandglass), the two explain the book’s creation progress in their own separate ways, since they were manufactured differently.  However, the Sandglass omits the discussion of ink the LEC Letter dotes on for over a page, but the Sandglass spends nearly half of its last page discussing the virtues of laid paper versus woven, so at least both got some sort of intrigue about the industry.  There’s also a nice note regarding Helen Macy, then the director of the George Macy Company, laying out the text for the Comapny’s Christmas Card in the LEC Letter on Page 4.  The last paragraph in both letters discuss the bindings (which is naturally not the same!), but both begin the conclusion in their own way.  The LEC Letter refers to “But books are not made of ink alone, nor of paper alone”, while the Sandglass reads “but books are not made of just text, ink, pictures and paper”.  While the Sandglass cuts off after the bindery details are given, the LEC Letter brings it all back to Moliere, which is nice.  You can check them both out below.

LEC Newsletter


Sandglass

Heritage Press: The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot (1963)

February 7, 2011 Comments Off on Heritage Press: The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot (1963)

The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot (1963)
Sandglass Number unknown
Artwork: Paintings by Wray Manning
Introduced by David Daiches
Heritage Press Reprint of LEC #345/31st Series V. 6 in 1963

Click images for a larger view.

Binding – A reddish cloth with a cottage inlaid into the front boards with what seems to be gold.  This is a library copy, so it’s a bit banged up.  Django2694 had this to share about the book’s LEC edition, as well as some insights into the artist, Wray Manning:

Here is some information from my LEC Monthly Letter for The Mill on the Floss; it is uncharacteristically reticent about the details of the book’s design, spending three pages on the story of George Eliot and her publisher, so I will limit this to the details of the edition itself:

The type is 11 point Baskerville on a 13 point body; the title page, the part divisions, and the chapter initials are set in a type called Sylvan in English (and Champlevé in French). The paper is a special laid paper made by Curtis, the typesetting and printing was done at Mount Vernon under the supervision of Edna Beilenson, the widow of Peter Beilenson of Peter Pauper Press, who, like her husband before her, had been responsible for many Macy books. Frank Fortney did the binding, which is a very attractive rough green tweedlike fabric, and the title on the shelf label is stamped in gold on a leather disk (as the Letter says, “like a millstone.”)

Though there is no specific mention of designer–either in the Monthly Letter or in my LEC bibliography–one suspects that it was a project initially started by Peter Beilenson, interrupted before completion by his death, and perhaps finished by Helen or Jonathan Macy and Edna Beilenson. This is the purest conjecture on my part, but since the designer is always credited (unless it were George Macy himself, who was, of course, deceased by this time), I suspect no single living person was primarily responsible.

The artist, Wray Manning, was born and educated in the Midwest, served as a machine gunner in WW I (which would have put him into his mid-60s or older when he did this assignment), and was by his own admission heavily influenced by the work of John Sloan (who did the illustrations for the LEC’s Of Human Bondage), and George Bellows (famous for his paintings of boxing, such as “Stag at Sharkey’s.” He did 24 oil paintings for The Mill on the Floss and for the LEC they were reproduced by color lithography in the studios of Michael Pagliaro in Holyoke, MA.

I personally like the illustrations very much, though I understand WildcatJF’s lack of enthusiasm for them if he has not read the novel. They are constrained–the groupings of the characters are frozen in the manner of old daguerrotypes, and I think that fits in well with the tone of the story itself. The most successful of all are the portraits of Tom and Maggie Tulliver, which I wish had been the illustrations chosen for the site. Portraiture was Manning’s forte, and he really nailed these characters. Incidentally, this was his only LEC but not his only Heritage: he did the illustrations for the Heritage Dickens Martin Chuzzlewit and they are my favorite of all the Heritage Dickens, and his portrait of Seth Pecksniff is my alltime favorite Dickens illustration by any artist who illustrated Dickens.

Title Page – Here’s Manning’s first piece, which as Django notes, work like dagurerrotypes of the main cast.  They don’t do much for me, personally, but I do like the rich colors Manning used.

Page 31 – Some sad kids, there.

Page 270

Personal Notes – Checked out from my local library.  I haven’t read Eliot, but I’d like to at some point.

If you know who designed the Heritage edition of The Mill on the Floss or its Sandglass number, please let me know through the comments here or at my thread about this blog at the George Macy Devotees @ LibraryThing!  Thanks!

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