December 31, 2018 Comments Off on Of Interest: Illinois Gear & Machine Co. Heritage Press Volumes
It was brought to my attention that the Heritage Press created several exclusive variants of their volumes for the Illinois Gear & Machine Co. As my good friend Django6924 explains:
The Illinois Gear books were a special lot done produced over several years for that Chicago Company to give as gifts. This was on a different business plan than the leather-bound editions of books such as the HP David Copperfield, Leaves of Grass, Life on the Mississippi, etc., which were offered to Club members during the regular series. The Illinois Gear books look very much to be forerunners of the Easton Press editions, with silk moiré end papers and elaborate gilt tooling on the leather binding. Mine has the tipped-in, slip sheeted presentation page (but no name handwritten in the “Especially For” blank), and is the letterpress-printed Tales of the Gold Rush by Bret Harte. The copyright date is 1944, the date of the original, and that may be when the pages were actually printed as the paper and printing look to be much earlier than what was typical by the 1969 date on the presentation page.
The leather binding on my copy is very durable pebble-grained leather. It is much superior to the leather used on my HP Rubaiyat, Song of Songs, and David Copperfield, which were offered to Heritage Club members at a price premium during the regular subscription series. Although I don’t care for the pasted-in silk moiré endpapers, the book is very handsome and still looks new.
Michael Bussacco had produced a list of known titles released in this subset of publications, which GMD user astronauteric expanded upon in this thread. Here’s a typed version of the entire list:
1954 The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon by Washington Irving
1955 Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
1956 The Romance of Leonardo Da Vinci
1957 Life of Rembrandt
1958 This is the Hour: A Novel about Goya
1959 Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain
1960 The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
1961 Ben-Hur by Lew Wallace
1962 The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
1963 Kim by Rudyard Kipling
1964 The Spy by James Fenimore Cooper
1965 The Ambassadors by Henry James
1966 Stories of O. Henry
1967 Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana
1968 The Mill and the Floss by George Eliot
1969 Tales of the Gold Rush by Bret Harte
1970 Cape Cod by Henry David Thoreau
1971 The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
1972 would be the year (thereabouts) MBI bought the Heritage Press from Jonathan Macy, so it is fitting that these editions would end following that transaction.
The notable differences are the bindings, of course, which are rather nice leather-bound covers with exquisite design work. Slipcases were also included, and feature an additional title page with the company’s name and a space for a particular client/customer name to be added.
I do not own any of these nor have I come across one in my travels, but there are a few links to samples in the above link. If I do see one at a reasonable price I’ll be sure to pick it up and catalog it here!
October 7, 2018 § 2 Comments
I meant to bring this to the blog earlier, so I apologize for the delay. George Macy Devotee SteveJohnson has taken it upon themselves to create a spreadsheet covering all of the LEC and Heritage Press publications, working from resources such as the Devotees forum, Bill Majure’s work, the official bibliographies, Michael Bussacio’s work on the Heritage Press, my blog, and others. It’s an astounding project and one I wish to support, so I am pleased to be able to give it a little more of a spotlight that it deserves. It’s a work in progress so expect it to update periodically.
February 25, 2018 § 2 Comments
Hello dear readers! I may not have gotten any new books in a bit but I did have some time to fix up four posts here on the site!
Histories of Herodotus now has its LEC newsletter (thanks to Devotee kdweber)
Barchester Towers has had its two separate posts merged into one for comparative purposes.
Tales of Hoffmann and Gargantua and Pantagruel now have their Sandglasses included.
With these updates I also went through to make sure I had gotten all of my newsletters and such posted for the Heritage titles in my collection, and I am now up to date on that front as well.
Many of the older posts could use some touching up on many fronts, but that’s not a major priority in my life at this time, alas. But I am happy to get these loose ends taken care of! I’ll see you once I acquire more books or find myself with the motivation to work on polishing up the aforementioned posts.
January 14, 2018 Comments Off on Limited Editions Club/Heritage Press: Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope (1958)
Limited Editions Club:
Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope (1958)
LEC #292/27th Series V. 1 in 1958
Artwork: Illustrations by Fritz Kredel
Introduced by Angela Thirkell
#403 of 1500.
Click to see larger views.
Front Binding – Happy 2018 everyone! I am not entirely sure how frequent this blog will see updates without any new books to spotlight beyond this one at present, but I will continue to post new titles that come into my hands as they enter my library — I promise you that!
Our first post in 2018 is not the first for either author nor artist; in fact, we’ve spotlighted them both TOGETHER way back when with the Heritage reprint of The Warden, which predated this book by three years. You can take a look at the Heritage edition I previously reviewed below. Anthony Trollope would only see these two works printed by the Limited Editions Club, with both decorated by Fritz Kredel’s graceful hand. As for Fritz, he hasn’t been spotlighted since 2013’s post on The Decameron, so it’s nice to welcome him back, especially since he was the most utilized of all illustrators by George Macy and his family over the LEC tenure. This is a very representative example of his output; expertly done and apropos of the story within. For his entire LEC/Heritage bibloiography, see here.
Design Notes – Designer Richard Ellis was recruited to continue the tradition he established with The Warden (a theme for this book, as we will see shortly). Ellis is no stranger to the blog at this point; I even reposted a complete LEC/Heritage bibliography just for him from Devotee featherwate! We last saw his work with the Heritage exclusive The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. The font chosen was Bell (much like The Warden), which was printed by Clarke & Way on Curtis paper. The letter makes a note about the paper being infused with titanium to minimize showthrough. Frank Fortney of Russell-Rutter binded the project, with a black levant-grain leather with Kredel supplying a decoration stamped in gold leaf alongside the title and publisher. The boards have a patterned paper, and it seems to be radically different batches used midway through as I’ve seen two copies of this LEC and they did not share the same paper! Kredel’s artwork was reproduced via gravures by the Photogravure and Color Company and subsequently colored by Walter Fischer’s studio. Each of the forty drawings had four separate stencils created for each to maximize closeness to Kredel’s originals. These stencils were then carefully used to color each illustration by hand to match up. More can be seen in the Letter below!
Title Page – Angela Thirkell, who also provided a preface for The Warden, steps back in to provide the same treatment for this book. Trollope’s two books essentially had the exact same crew backing them, which is sort of unique for the Club. The big selling point of the LEC upgrade is the upgrade to Kredel’s colors, which the Heritage reprint does not come close in replicating:
As was frequent in Heritage reprints of this era, the color choice was radically simplified.
Colophon – This is copy 403 of 1500 and signed by Kredel. My first LEC from him!
Examples of the Illustrations by Kredel (right click and open in new tab for full size):
Personal Notes – I picked this up for store credit as Old Capitol Books in Monterey when I was down there for Christmas…this is like the 15th LEC of theirs I’ve bought I’m pretty sure. I’ll have to check one of these days…
LEC Newsletter (right click and open in new tab for full size):
Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope (1958)
Sandglass Number unknown
Artwork – Illustrations by Fritz Kredel
Introduced by Angela Thirkell
Reprint of LEC #292/27th Series V. 1 in 1958
Click the images for larger views.
Front Binding – A nicely designed pattern for the boards on this book, with a brown spine. Shame it’s been sunned somehow, but it is a library book, after all.
Page 18 – Lovely, lovely work. The woman’s face to the right of the carriage is amazing; I’ll need to check and see how it looks in the LEC.
Personal Notes – Back when I was reviewing library books, I picked this up to document from the Mariposa library. It’s seen its fair share of readers, I can say that much.
August 13, 2017 § 2 Comments
The Story of Reynard the Fox by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1954))
Sandglass Number Unknown
Artwork: Wood Engravings by Fritz Eichenberg
Introduced by Edward Lazare, translated by Thomas James Arnold
Reprint of LEC #242, 23rd Series, V. 10
Click images for larger views.
Front Binding – Hello dear readers! Today’s post features an illustrator I hold most dear; the masterful Fritz Eichenberg, who has made quite an impression on this blog with his exquisite woodcuts and other art scattered throughout the Limited Editions Club, the Heritage Press and a few non-Macy publications. His Macy bibliography is covered in The Brothers Karamazov. But here we get to see a slightly different side to Eichenberg as the majority of his engravings feature animals over humans (although humankind is represented here in the book), giving it much more of a fantastical edge. This is an epic poem from the legendary Germanic author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, although it is not the first appearance of the character Reynard the Fox — according to the introduction the fox has been around at least since the medieval period, with some variants of the tale appearing in Ghent (1148), German (1180), France (1175-1250), and Flemish (early 13th century). English has its earliest version appearing in the thirteenth century as well, alongside an Italian version. In short, Reynard has been around a long time, although it is a particularly excellent spin on this iconic tale that George Macy chose to publish.
Goethe makes his debut on our blog at last, as noted one of the German masters of literature and quite a well-rounded contributor to Germanic academia: among his many talents (including literature) were expertise in art, philosophy, science, diplomacy, architecture and botany. However, we will focus on his skill with the written word, of which George Macy printed two examples of (and his wife Helen a third). The play Faust was the first, issued as a LEC in 1932 starring Rene Clarke’s talents. A Heritage exclusive of the same work was issued later on with Eugene Delacroix’s artwork, possibly in 1959 (I don’t have a copy in front of me to confirm my quick research on ABEBooks; I will update this once I do). I believe it uses the same text as the LEC. Next came this epic poem in 1954 for both clubs, followed by what may be his greatest novel Wilheim Meister’s Apprenticeship in 1959, featuring William Sharp as artist. Not printed by Macy or his other clubs would be the contender for Goethe’s greatest novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther, which helped propagate the worldwide literary movement of Romanticism.
Design Notes – The original LEC was designed by Eugene M. Ettenberg, who likely carried his designer title over to the Heritage edition as well. The font is Janson. I don’t have a Sandglass unfortunately so I can’t get too much more into the details than those observations in the Quarto.
Title Page – I really like this decoration Eichenberg crafted up for this page. Edward Lazare stepped in to provide a new introduction to this work, which was translated by Thomas James Arnold.
Examples of the Illustrations by Eichenberg (right click and open in new tab for full size):
Personal Notes – This was another title Liz sent me last year. I plan to upgrade to a LEC down the road, but will hold on to this title until that day comes.
August 5, 2017 Comments Off on Heritage Press – Lorna Doone by R.D. Blackmore (1943)
Lorna Doone by R.D. Blackmore (1943)
Sandglass Number 10F
Artwork: Illustrated by John Austen
Introduced by John T. Winterich
Heritage Press exclusive
Click images for larger views.
Front Binding – Today brings another Heritage exclusive to the blog, R.D. Blackmore’s Lorna Doone. A Victorian novel written among many other greats of the era, the book is perhaps considered a minor classic in contrast to its more famous contemporaries like Great Expectations and Silas Marner, but it remains a romance icon regardless. The Limited Editions Club however passed over printing an edition of their own, but we do have this Heritage exclusive to consider. Blackmore did not get a second publication.
The book’s illustrator is a different story, as John Austen was called upon for his third Heritage exclusive, following David Copperfield and The Vicar of Wakefield. We’ve seen a fair amount of Austen’s work thus far on this blog, as we have discussed Vanity Fair, The Faerie Queene and the aforementioned Vicar, where I go into his publication history. This is very much in Austen’s usual standards of illustration, with hauntingly beautiful full-page color prints and several line drawings decorating the chapters, and as such may or may not please your eyes, depending on your feelings of Austen’s style. I for one feel this novel fits Austen’s artistic proclivities.
Design Notes – The designer is unstated, so it’s conceivable George Macy handled it, as is often the case when such commentary is lacking in a Sandglass. I’ll update this when I find out for sure. The color prints were reproduced by the Photogravure and Color Company of New York, while text setting and printing was done by Rochester’s The Printing House of Leo Hart. The font is Scotch. Paper was supplied by The West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company, while Russell-Rutter did their usual binding services.
Spine – The front and back covers are pretty barren save the green cloth, but the spine has this delightfully intricate design.
Title Page – Interestingly we get a rather large reproduction of the Heritage logo in the center of this title page (minus the HP). While uncredited here, John T. Winterich stepped in to discuss the book’s origins and history within a short Introduction.
Examples of the Illustrations by Austen (right click and open in new tab for full size):
Personal Notes – I acquired this at Bookbuyers in Monterey last time I was there. The condition was exquisite! Bright and vibrant, unlike other copies I had seen before. Happy to have this in my collection.
July 30, 2017 Comments Off on Of Interest – The LEC’s “Booklover’s Journey Around the World” Project
Before beginning, much thanks to Devotee BuzzBuzzard for sharing the monthly letter this all comes from. This was originally a part of The Praise of Folly Heritage post, but I feel it deserves its own space.
So, in the fall of 1938, George Macy and his Directors determined the course for the LEC following the release of the massive Shakespeare set — a “Booklover’s Journey around the World” is how the letter describes it. Intended to begin in November 1940, Macy would have the most influential book of a particular country selected to be designed, published and illustrated by artisans within that very country. He clearly was enthused beyond words for this lofty project, and even though there were considerable challenges ahead (what with World War II about to explode, not to mention other logical difficulties of doing international correspondence in those pre-Internet years) he felt that now was the time to announce the proposal to the membership. And what a proposal it is!
Fourteen works were selected from fourteen countries for the initial prospectus. For simplicity’s sake, I will list these out:
- The Old Wives’ Tale by Arnold Bennett, England, printed by Oxford University Press, art by John Austen, introduced by Frank Swinnerton
- The Kalevala, Finland, printed by Tilghmann, art by Matti Visanti
- In Praise of Folly by Desiderius Erasmus, Holland, printed by Joh. Enschede en Zonen, art by Franz Masereel
- The Temptation of Saint Anthony by Gustave Flaubert, France, printed by Jean-Gabriel Daragnes, art by Daragnes, translated by Lafcadio Hearn
- Oedipus the King by Sophocles, Greece, printed by Pyrsos Press, art by Demetrios Galanis, introduced by Thornton Wilder, translated by Sir Richard Jebb
- The Song of Songs which is Solomon’s, Palestine, printed in a scroll form
- “Literature of Ancient Egypt”, Egypt, printed at the Press of the French Institute of Archaeology, art taken from examples of ancient Egyptian artwork, edited by the Librarian of the National Museum in Cairo
- The Story of an African Farm by Olive Schreiner, Basutoland (Lesotho), printed by Morija Printing Works, artist’s name not disclosed, binding to be bark from a native tree to the region*
- The Bhagavad-Gita, the Song Celestial, India, printed at the Times of India, seven Indian artists who are not disclosed, binding to be of gold cloth, translated by Sir Edwin Arnold
- The Ramayana, Siam
- Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad, Java
- We of the Never-Never, Australia
- Gaucho by Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham (according to Wikipedia, the author never had a book by that name, but perhaps there was something in the works Macy knew of at the time that didn’t come to fruition?), Argentina
- The True History of Conquest of New Spain by Bernal Diaz, Mexico, printed by Rafael Loera y Chavez, art by Miguel Covarrubias
That’s quite a list! The letter then goes on to explain that books would still be sent out from the USA (in the patriotic verbiage you might expect) interspersed between these 14 volumes. The goal was to have all of these sent out by October of 1941.
…and we all know the result of that! Nary a single one of these proposed books actually made it out as intended to the membership of the LEC, and the few that did manage to make it out certainly did not hit that hopeful 10/1941 end date. Of the entire catalog, The Old Wives’ Tale was the only one to cut it close, shipped out to subscribers in November of 1941 as detailed above. From there, The Discovery and Conquest of Mexico (a rebranded title from the prospectus!) by Diaz was mailed in October of 1942, also as planned. The next, The Temptation of Saint Anthony, showed the first signs that problems were severely hampering the original plan for this series. Instead of Daragnes, Warren Chappell was recruited to do the artwork and the book was printed in New York by Aldus Printers. It came out in January of 1943. The ML for that book goes into some of the tribulations regarding the creation of the book and the selection of Chappell, but fails to mention Daragnes whatsoever. Next came The Praise of Folly, but it was not from Holland as originally intended; Masereel and Van Krimpen were sidelined for Lynd Ward and The Mount Pleasant Press, and as noted earlier came out in February of 1943. And unlike Saint Anthony, nothing about the book’s original vision came out in the letter for it.
It ought to be clear that Macy’s dream had withered, most likely due to World War II. I can only imagine the disappointment he must have felt as the majority of the remaining books fell off of his publication radar. Of the 10 left on the prospectus, only Oedipus made it out in any sort of form as Macy intended, with Galanis’ artwork still included, in November of 1955. After George’s death in 1956, Helen Macy issued three other titles from the “Booklover’s Journey”, although I doubt little beyond the text matched up to her husband’s aspirations for two of them: Lord Jim in 1959 (with Lynd Ward again stepping in to produce artwork for it), and The Bhagavad-Gita in 1965 (art by Y. G. Srimati and still including Arnold as the translator). The Story of an African Farm in 1961 (with Paul Hogarth’s art), however, did manage to achieve some level of success in matching up with Macy’s design as outlined in the letter. I’ll let Django6924 explain:
The fascinating Monthly Letter uploaded here also fails to mention the name of the printer/designer at the Morija Printing Works where the The Story of an African Farm was to be printed. That gentleman was Hans Schmoller and that same gentleman actually did design and print the book–25 years later and in England!
Per the ML for the 1961 edition, Herr Schmoller was a 21-year-old printer in 1938 when he wrote to George Macy, whose name he had seen in an issue of The Dolphin, introducing him to the Morija Printing Works of the Société des Missions Evangéliques de Paris in Basutoland, where he was in charge of the composing and monotype department. “The only printing office of any importance in a country the size of Switzerland with a staff of 32, all but two of them natives, printing books in 15 languages.” Macy’s suggested that Morija might want to print The Story of an African Farm for the LEC. The ML is oddly silent about whether Schmoller accepted the offer (if indeed he had the authority to make such a decision at his age), but the war intervened and by the time it was over, Schmoller had moved to England where he was Oliver Simon’s assistant at the Curwen Press. Macy located him and raised the question of The Story of an African Farm again, but again the ML doesn’t say whether Schmoller accepted (if he had the authority to do so). In 1949 Schmoller moved to Penguin Books and by 1961 was the head of the production department and one of the directors of Penguin. By now, Schmoller must have decided that he needed to write finis to the production of this book for the LEC (he was, incidentally, the designer of the LEC edition of Silas Marner back in 1953).
Although Macy did not live to see the edition, and although it wasn’t printed in Basutoland, and the illustrator was not a native of Basutoland but an Englishman, I believe George would have been pleased overall with the result — especially the tree-bark binding.
The remaining 6 titles faded into nothingness, never properly fulfilled in any fashion. Which is a shame, as they sound quite interesting indeed.
For Oedipus, we did get some explanation about the project and its overall failure in regards to that book, which I’m going to copy over from that post below:
[Oedipus] was going to join their “Booklover’s Tour of the World” plan that they had going at the time, with the book to be printed and illustrated in Greece to truly showcase its cultural style. The following month, Nazi Germany began their invasion of France, which led to Paris being taken in June. In the chaos that ensued, the Club lost contact with their printer, Kiron Theodoropoulos, and their illustrator, Demetrios Galanis. The Club had seen Galanis’ work in print form before the war kicked off, so they knew the work had been completed, but alas, it would be quite some time before the LEC were able to recontact their Greek collaborators. Luckily, both men were alive following the war’s aftermath, but the book was in dire straits. Over the war’s duration, vandals broke into Theodoropoulos’ press, the Pyrsos Press, and had destroyed the pages of type prepared for the book. The engravings were still intact, but their condition was no longer satisfactory. The Club wanted to see for themselves, and the American Embassy in Athens had become involved, sending an interested party to the Press to retrieve and ship the engravings to the Club. This occurred in 1953. Once in their hands, the engravings were deemed printable. The Club then decided that their lofty aborted plan of “The Booklover’s Tour of the World” was no longer limiting the book to be printed in Greece, so they turned to Jan van Krimpen in the Netherlands to design the book based on Galanis’ initial plans to have the Greek on one side and the English on the other.
So in the end Van Krimpen did get his chance to be a part of the series, although a long ways removed from reproducing a classic piece of Dutch literature!
So let’s spin back to the Heritage Press for a moment. The Heritage Press did publish their own Song of Songs back in 1935 (1500 of which are signed by artist Valenti Angelo!), so that particular title does have a Macy publication under its belt, even if the original intent for its LEC was lost. And we do somehow have the intended The Praise of Folly available as a Heritage edition, printed in Holland by Van Krimpen and featuring woodcuts by Masereel, issued as an exclusive. As I lack a Sandglass for the Heritage Praise, I can’t go into any specifics, but I imagine a similar situation took place a la Oedipus; Van Krimpen and/or Masereel were unable to fulfill the commission due to the war, and Macy had to audible in Ward to get the book out. However, as the war concluded, there was an opportunity to put out the proposed Praise, but with the LEC released not all that long ago Macy decided to instead publish it as a Heritage exclusive. That’s all speculation on my part, but it seems reasonable to assume.
Monthly Letter (source)