August 12, 2015 Comments Off on Heritage Press (Connecticut) – The Jungle by Upton Sinclair (1965)
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair (1965, Connecticut)
Sandglass Number XIII – R: 45
Artwork: Illustrated by Fletcher Martin
Includes a brief preface by Upton Sinclair
Reprint of LEC #373, 33rd Series, V. 11 in 1965.
Click images for larger views.
Front Binding – Today brings one of the more influential literary works of the 20th century: The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair. Sinclair’s scathing novel decried the poor conditions of the working class employed in Chicago’s meat-packing factories. Curiously, however, the disgusting revelations of how atrocious the meat production process actually was — the poisoned and diseased animals, as well as the unfortunate men that made the fatal mistake of becoming a part of the product they were paid to make — was not Sinclair’s actual intention of the novel. As the Sandglass notes, Sinclair was actually trying to make a case for socialism and a critique against the terrible wages of the workers. Sinclair wryly notes that he “‘aimed at the public’s heart and hit it in the stomach'” — but the overhauling of the meat industry was a positive in the end, and Sinclair continued his pleas in his other novels, essays and writings. Sinclair only had one LEC issued, but he does have the notable distinction of being one of the only authors to sign a LEC, joining the ranks of James Joyce, Robert Frost, Edgar Lee Masters, Van Wyck Brooks, and Wendell Willkie during the Macy’s tenure. Cardevon Press and Sidney Shiff had their fair share of author-signed volumes, including Ray Bradbury (twice!), Thornton Wilder, Isaac Bashevis Singer (twice!), Malcolm Cowley, Seamus Heaney, Derek Walcott, John Hersey (who also signed The Kingdom of this World), Robert Penn Warren (who also signed Hersey’s Hiroshima), Czeslaw Milosz, Arthur Miller, Gunter Grass, Octavio Paz, Friedrich Durrenmatt, Samuel Beckett, Joseph Mitchell, Margaret Walker, Heinrich Harrer (twice!), Maya Angelou (twice!; she also signed Sunrise is Coming After While), Leopold Sedar Senghor, and John Ashbery. Shiff in particular was aggressive in publishing more modern works and recruiting their authors to sign his editions; most of this list is from his time as head of the LEC.
Whew! With that tangent over, let’s talk about this book’s illustrator, Fletcher Martin. Martin hasn’t been a stranger to the blog, with Tales from the Gold Rush appearing a few years ago. His career with Macy is detailed in that post. Martin is a good fit for The Jungle, if I may say so. His style seems to enhance the plights of the poor and downtrodden, of which Sinclair’s characters must certainly are. Here he uses both line drawings (33 in all) and several colored pen drawings.
Design-wise, John B. Goetz served as the designer of this book. I presume the LEC has the same designer. The main font is Monotype Scotch, with headings and page numbers set in Masterman. Printing was tackled by the Holyoke Lithographing Company on a paper supplied by the Warren Mill of Westbrook, Maine. The binding is quickly glossed over, with the Sandglass quipping only about its “assured longevity” and “effective simplicity”. The original Heritage reprint had a nice leather binding in contrast to this Connecticut reissue.
Spine – Mine is rather faded.
Title Page – Sinclair himself steps in to introduce his novel; this is uncommon. The Sandglass argues who better to discuss The Jungle than its creator?
Examples of the illustrations by Martin (right click and open in new tab for full size):
Personal Notes – I got this from my big haul from the Oakhurst Library. I’d like to have the LEC, naturally, but I’d be happy to upgrade this one to at least the Macy-issued Heritage over this. But for now, I’m keeping it until I replace it!
June 6, 2014 Comments Off on Limited Editions Club: A Voyage to the South Seas by William Bligh (1975)
A Voyage to the South Seas by William Bligh (1975)
LEC #487/43rd Series V. 5 in 1975
Artwork – Watercolors and drawings by Geoffrey C. Ingleton
Introduced by Alan Villiers
LEC #403 of 1500
Click images for larger views.
Front Binding – Last year I posted about the lovely LEC Captain Cook. In 1975, Cardevon Press reunited the creative team from that book, Douglas Dunstan of the Griffin Press of Australia and illustrator Geoffrey C. Ingleton, for a second (and final) seafaring, this time the tribulations of Lt. William Bligh of the British Navy aboard the H.M.S. Bounty. You may recognize Bligh from the more famous novel Mutiny on the Bounty (which was also a LEC, issued back in 1947 featuring Fletcher Martin’s artwork), which retold the events of this journal in a more dramatic fashion. While this LEC lacks the astounding production values on the binding in contrast to the Cook (honestly, it would be difficult to top the tapa cloth/kangaroo leather spine combo!), this is a very serviceable edition from the Cardevon period. It’s the tallest LEC I currently own, with large text and striking visuals, and the interior is designed just as exquisitely as Cook’s journals.
Ingelton would end his LEC career with this book, delivering two nautical treasures before stepping away. While we’re briefly touching on the art, this book has a rather infamous (among us Devotees at Librarything, anyway) drawing of a sailor with dropped trousers, having his penis inspected by the ship surgeon for venereal diseases. I didn’t photograph that one, but it is a rather revealing (in many ways!) look into the sailor life, and perhaps a loosening of the moral standards from the earlier days of the Club. There is ample nudity in many older LEC’s and Heritage titles, but this particular scene is of a different mold than the fantastical or humorous takes those books took, in my view. Alongside the Cardevon Flowers of Evil, I think the issuings of this period are a little less concerned with offending clientele.
Design Notes – Dunstan handled design duties, and he is good. The layout of the text and artwork is spectacular. The font is Baskerville in various sizes. Tan paper and terra cotta ink for the endpaper drawings make those particular pages pop, and the binding is a homespun linen decorated with two Ingleton originals: one for the front and one for the back. The Griffin Press handled the printing, binding and illustration duties. More can be gleamed from the letter below.
Spine – Gold leaf was put onto the spine, but alas, the spine is a bit faded. Only real blemish to this book.
Title Page – Alan Villiers provides an intro. And this is the full title of Bligh’s narrative! It’s a wonder books were printed cheaply in ye olde days.
Colophon Page – Ingleton and Dunstan both signed this colophon page, and this is yet another #403 in my hat.
Examples of the Illustrations by Ingelton (right click and open in new tab for full size):
Personal Notes – I bought this at Old Capitol Books in Monterey last week, capitalizing (I’m being awfully punny today) on a sale to net the book half off its $75 price tag. I’m quite happy to have it, and I’ve finally completed a set of books for an illustrator I adore! Eichenberg, you’re next! :p
Monthly Letter (right click and open in new tab for full size):
December 16, 2012 § 1 Comment
The Torrents of Spring by Ivan Turgenev (1976)
LEC #495/44th Series V. 1 in 1976
Artwork – Illustrations by Lajos Szalay
Introduced by Alec Waugh, Translated by Constance Garnett
LEC #397 of 2000
Click images to see larger views.
Front Binding – Before beginning, I’m experimenting a little with format options on this post. I’m hoping it’ll make the posts look a little more snazzy.
Welcome back, dear friends! I’m out of school for a month or so, so I’ll be working to get some new content onto the blog, including this, my latest LEC, Ivan Turgenev’s The Torrents of Spring. This is the second Cardevon Press LEC I’ve shared, with Three Men in a Boat preceding it. Turgenev is one of the Russian masters, perhaps a little buried in the shadow of his fellows Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Pushkin and Chekhov, but a master he is! The Limited Editions Club visited his work twice in their lifeline, first giving his greatest work Fathers and Sons an Eichenberg treatment in 1951, and then this particular release in 1976.
Lajos Szalay has appeared here before, illustrating Chekhov’s Two Plays, issued in 1966. I wasn’t too keen on his work in that edition, but this! There are some exquisite full color illustrations in this book that wowed me. I suppose his linework isn’t too my taste, but I no longer consider him to be among the least impressive artists I’ve come across. Beyond those two works, he also stepped in to render a second Chekhov LEC, a collection of his short works of fiction issued in 1973.
Production details are in the announcement letter below in the Monthly Letter gallery.
Title Page – Alec Waugh is the introduction provider; I swear I’ve stumbled upon that name elsewhere in my collection. Constance Garnett, the usual source of Russian translation for the Club, has once more been selected.
Colophon – AKA Signature Page. This copy is #397 out of 2000, and Szalay offered his signature to posterity.
Artwork (right click and select Open in New Tab to see full size):
Personal Notes – This addition came from Bookbuyers in Monterey. I paid $25.00 for it in store credit, so woot! It is LEC #20 for me. :)
Monthly Letter (right click and select Open in New Tab to see full size):
August 5, 2012 § 7 Comments
Main Street by Sinclair Lewis (1970, Connecticut)
Sandglass Number XI:39
Artwork: Illustrations by Grant Wood
Introduced by the author
Reprint of LEC #89, 8th Series, V. 7 in 1937.
Click images for a larger view.
Front Binding – Sinclair Lewis has made an appearance on our blog before, but not as the author of a Limited Editions Club work! Main Street was the sole offering of Lewis offered by the Club, and it would take over 35 years for the Heritage Press to reprint its contents. Lewis was also involved in Macy’s third publishing arm The Reader’s Club as one of its judges, selecting and writing introductions for the Club’s brief run in the 1940’s. Main Street is probably his best known novel, so it was an apt choice way back when to select it!
The name Grant Wood may not immediately ring any bells. It’s a fairly common sounding name. However, this Grant Wood is exceptionally well known. You may recognize this painting:
This artistic classic, American Gothic, is by Grant Wood, the very painter recruited to illustrate Sinclair Lewis’ Main Street for the Limited Editions Club back in 1937. It’s a marvelous pairing of author and artist, that it most certainly is. Wood would not rejoin the LEC for any further commissions, but he did do a splendid job on this one! Django6294 chipped in this tidbit on the Wood/Macy relationship:
Incidentally, Jerry, that he didn’t do more than one commission for Macy wasn’t due to lack of enthusiasm on either side: Macy was effusive in praise of the illustrations and Wood had received a very generous price for this work, winning an LEC Prize for Illustration which came with a commission to illustrate one of the Club’s books (other winners were Thomas Benton and Reginald Marsh). But Wood was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer soon after the book was published, and died within 3 years, just short of his 50th birthday.
The LEC was designed by William A. Kittredge of the Lakeside Press in Chicago. The Lakeside Press is best remembered for its exceptional Moby Dick, illustrated by Rockwell Kent. They did their own fair share of classic printing themselves. I had a Walden from them briefly that I traded in for the LEC Twenty Years After. It was a really nice book, but I don’t have any room to start collecting EVERY well-made book made earlier this century. :p Anyway! It was Kittredge who decided to print the text and artwork on tan colored paper over the usual white, and that carried over to the Heritage printing. Caslon is the font of choice, and font fans will want to pour over the Sandglass, as it goes into its history in detail. For the Heritage edition, Tapley-Rutter served as its binder, and it was reprinted by the Connecticut Printers. The cover, resembling denim, is enhanced by pryoxylin to give it extra strength. The LEC original was chosen as one of the 200 books of its decade selected for Outstanding Design by the American Institute of Graphic Arts, one of seven total from the LEC! So you’ve got a treat waiting for you if you find either edition!
Title Page – Here’s a taste of the tan paper. Lewis introduced his own work.
Page 42 – Wood is a fine choice, doing some exceptional portrait work for the main characters. Stunning stuff.
Personal Notes – I got this with my 70+ book haul from the Oakhurst Library, and I’m tickled to have it. I’ve not seen hide nor hair of this book anywhere else, so I’m delighted to have it in my library.
I suppose I should explain this book haul a little better, because I’ve said 50 book haul before. This was a two-part acquiring. The first half was when I went to the library itself to see what my friend John had in store for me, which exceeded my wildest dreams. Someone donated 70+ books, and all of them were Heritage Press books. It was mindblowing to realize that I had the chance of doubling my library! As I went through them all, I plucked key books that I knew I would have difficulty finding elsewhere, and I believe Main Street was among those. I gathered up about 20 books or so. John told me to take those (for free!), and he would talk to the higher-ups about the rest of the lot. I was stunned to walk away with a plethora of Heritage books for free, but I didn’t argue! A month later John called me to say that the manager of the library sales told him to sell the remainder of the books (50, magically) for $50 as a lot if I wanted them. I DID, so I managed to scrounge up the cash and made my way to John’s residence, where he was storing the books. It was a somewhat dangerous drive to his house, as the weather took a nosedive into hailing and occasional snow. His road is a dirt road of the bouncy, undergrated sort. I managed to get there safely and pick up the rest of the lot, handed him the fifty dollars and, with mild regret to not spend any time with him, hurried back home. So, that’s the story of my massive Heritage haul, and why I say 50 books sometimes. It truly was more like 70 or 80. And I STILL WANT MORE. What a curse. XD
May 28, 2012 Comments Off on Limited Editions Club – Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome (1975)
Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome (1975)
LEC #480/42nd Series V. 10 in 1975
Artwork – Drawings by John Griffiths
Introduced by Stella Gibbons
LEC #403 of 2000
Click images to see larger views.
Front Binding – Ah, our first Cardevon LEC! This is a lovely book that is unique in its length being much longer than its height. I happen to particularly like the orange/yellow/blue pattern for the boards (the yellow looks creme-colored here). I recently got a scan of the announcement letter with all the lovely production details, so here you go:
This is the only LEC of Jerome K. Jerome, which considering this is his best-known work, that shouldn’t surprise you too much. I’m a little shocked it took this long, personally. Maybe Macy wasn’t a fan of his writing.
This is also the only LEC done by illustrator John Griffiths, who did a splendid job rendering Jerome’s world in here. It’s sad that Griffiths never saw a second commission for whatever reason.
There is no Heritage edition of this work, so you’ll need to pony up the extra cash and hope you stumble on one of the 2000 copies if you like what you see!
Spine – The text is meant to be gold. Sunlight had a nasty way with many of the previous collector’s books.
Title Page – This was a tricky title page to shoot, given how far it stretches! One of my favorites despite the photographic challenges. Author Stella Gibbons (Cold Comfort Farm) supplies an introduction, and Jerome’s brief preface is also included. Under the cute header of “Special Cargo” you’ll find the list of colored drawings by Griffiths.
Signature Page – Another #403. I hope to add a couple more this year from this collector. :) Griffiths supplies his signature.
Page 1 – These are busy illustrations, but they are incredibly well-composed and exquisitely colored. I was pleasantly taken in with these drawings.
Personal Notes – I got this on my January 2012 trip to Monterey at my favorite shop. This was the last book I picked up there, having earlier acquired Saint-Simon. I traded in books to snag this one, and I think it was $35.
LEC Monthly Letter:
This is a little different, as this Letter is a whopping 8 pages long!
Updated 10/13/2012 – JF