Trivia: The Most Popular Authors in the LEC/Heritage canon

I’m beginning a new tradition here at the Imagery; once in a while, I’d like to present some interesting bit of research or trivia to you. Today, I’ll share the top authors who were published most by the two major arms of the Macy Companies and their successors. I will separate the two presses at first, and then merge the results to see who wins the coveted (imaginary) “Most Popular” status!

Limited Editions Club:

1) William Shakespeare, with 41 individual releases! I’m counting each book in the LEC Shakespeare as its own entity.
2) Mark Twain, with 12 individual releases.
3) Charles Dickens, with 9 individual releases.
3) Robert Louis Stevenson, with 9 individual releases.
5) Fyodor Dostoevsky, with 8 individual releases.
5) Alexandre Dumas, with 8 individual releases.
5) Joseph Conrad, with 8 individual releases.
8) James Fenimore Cooper, with 6 individual releases.
8) Nathanial Hawthorne, with 6 individual releases.
10) Gustave Flaubert, with 5 individual releases.
10) Leo Tolstoy, with 5 individual releases.
10) Oscar Wilde, with 5 individual releases.
10) Anatole France, with 5 individual releases.
10) Victor Hugo, with 5 individual releases.
10) Jane Austen, with 5 individual releases.
10) Jules Verne, with 5 individual releases.
10) William Makepeace Thackeray, with 5 individual releases.
10) Sir Walter Scott, with 5 individual releases.

Heritage Press:

This is not as simple to document, as there remains an incomplete bibliography of the Heritage Press output. But, relying on the research I’ve done here, I’ll do my best. I’ll only be doing a Top 5 due to the less frequent original publications of this Press.

1) Charles Dickens, with 14 individual releases!
2) William Shakespeare, with 5 individual releases.
3) Mark Twain, with 3 individual releases.
4) Anatole France, with 2 individual releases.
5) Henry James, with 2 individual releases.
5) Washington Irving, with 2 individual releases.
5) Charles Lamb, with 2 individual releases.
5) Homer, with 2 individual releases.
5) Nathaniel Hawthorne, with 2 individual releases.


1) William Shakespeare, with 46 books to his name in the canon!
2) Charles Dickens, with 23 books.
3) Mark Twain, with 15 books.
4) Robert Louis Stevenson, with 9 books.
5) Fyodor Dostoevsky, with 9 books (I’m including the Heritage Crime and Punishment as a separate release).
6) Alexandre Dumas, with 8 books.
6) Joseph Conrad, with 8 books.
6) Nathanial Hawthorne, with 8 books.
9) Anatole France, with 7 books.
10) James Fenimore Cooper, with 6 books.
10) Leo Tolstoy, with 6 books.
10) Oscar Wilde, with 6 books.
10) William Makepeace Thackeray, with 6 books.

This list is subject to change, as there may be a Heritage exclusive somewhere I may have missed.

Heritage Press – Pudd’nhead Wilson by Mark Twain (1974, Connecticut)

Pudd’nhead Wilson by Mark Twain (1974, Connecticut)
Sandglass Number III:39
Artwork: Illustrations by John Groth
Introduced by Edward Wagenknecht; includes Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar, complete for the first time!
Reprint of LEC #470, 41st Series, V. 12 in 1974

Click images for larger views.


Front Binding – Mr. Clemens makes his third appearance on the blog today, with his relatively late offering of Pudd’nhead Wilson, issued in 1974 by Cardevon Press in Limited Editions Club and Heritage Press editions, the latter of which I present you with now. Mark Twain’s first title spotlighted by the blog was A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court; The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was the second. Yankee features an extensive listing of Twain’s publications, of which this was the very last one issued by the LEC.

As it so happened, it also was the last commission of John Groth for the LEC, who had rendered three prior books: The Stories of O. Henry in 1965, Gone with the Wind in 1968, and All Quiet on the Western Front in 1969. Four notable books there! Groth was a journalist as well as an artist, and I’ve seen a book of his reporting on the Vietnam or Korean War full of his drawings and commentary on the topic.

The Limited Editions Club included a plethora of supplementary material for both editions: an author’s preface, “A Whisper to the Reader”, a note from Twain regarding the evolution of the book from its origins as “Those Extraordinary Twins”, and the Calendar printed in the back (The LEC issued this part separately as its own paperbound volume). The Sandglass claims that this is a first; it includes all of the little tidbits that opened every chapter of Wilson, as well as from a different work that ran with the same idea, Following the Equator.

Roderick Stinehour is the designer for this edition, using 12-point Monotype Bell as the primary font. The Calendar is in 10-point Bell. Chapter heads are in Roman Script, and the Initial Initial is in Ornamental Shaded Initial. Holyoke Lithograph Company handled the printing on Warren Mill paper. Groth’s special cover illustration graces the boards, the spine of which is “leather content and vinyl coated”. Tapley-Rutter bound the book (I presume this is an evolution of Russell-Rutter?).




Title Page – Edward Wagenknecht is no stranger to the LEC and their Twain offerings; this is the seventh introduction penned by him!

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

Personal Notes – Memory leaves me on how exactly I came across this book at the moment. I think it came from Second Time Around as a volunteering bonus, but I’m not 100% certain on that. Such is life sometimes; it can leave behind the faintest of fragments of memory. :p I have this more for the work than for the art; Groth’s paintings don’t quite resonate with me, but I do like his linework.

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

Heritage Press – The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (two printings, 1936/1964)

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (1936/1964*)
Sandglass Number III:34R (from a later New York printing)
Artwork – Paintings by Norman Rockwell
Introduced by John. T. Winterich
Heritage Press Exclusive – the LEC would print their own Tom Sawyer with Thomas Hart Benton’s illustrations in 1939.

Click the images for larger views.

The Connecticut reprint is usually on top here, followed by the New York Illustrated Bookshelf edition below.  I’ll explain the Illustrated Bookshelf distinction below!

Front Binding – Well, the first thing that should leap out at you is the fact I’ve got a Huck Finn binding as the New York representative…but I assure you that Tom Sawyer is the book inside.  A curious binding error I imagine didn’t happen too often.  Anyway, the Connecticut printing keeps Tom’s head front and center but drops the text, going with a beige/brown combo.  I can’t vouch for the actual Tom Sawyer binding for the Illustrated Bookshelf run, alas, due to the error, but I imagine it was close to this but with Tom Sawyer items where Huck’s are.

The original Heritage was designed by Frederic Warde, no stranger to the George Macy Company.  The Sandglass mentions that he had done “several” Heritage books, which indicates that this is not the first printing’s letter.  The binding itself was designed by Norman Rockwell.

Tom Sawyer was printed up by the Limited Editions Club in 1939 with the artistic talents of Thomas Hart Benton, which was his first commission for the Club.  Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (a second printing – I’ll explain below) and Life on the Mississippi would follow, as well as the acclaimed printing of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and his final work, Lynn Riggs’ Green Grow the Lilacs.  The latter three would see reprint as Heritage Press editions (good luck finding The Grapes of Wrath – it’s almost as rare as the LEC!), but for Tom and Huck the Heritage Press had gone with their own unique printings featuring renowned American painter Norman Rockwell as the illustrator.  Tom was printed in 1936, but I’ll have to check on Huck.  Rockwell also did Poor Richard’s Almanac for both clubs later on.  The Sandglass goes on and on about Rockwell, which I’ll let it do.

As for Mr. Clemens himself, the George Macy Company loved him, and Cardevon Press continued that love.  Twain was printed twelve times by the LEC alone – a remarkable number that few other authors could match (Shakespeare is the only one who leaps to mind at present, with a staggering forty-one LEC editions, although thirty-seven of those were a special run of his complete works).  We currently have this and the Heritage A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court up, but that wasn’t where it began.  Twain’s legacy with the George Macy Company kicked off with Huck Finn in 1933, but neither Benton or Rockwell are attached to that project.  Carl Purington Rollins provides a signature (as its designer), but E.W. Kemble served up illustrations for it.  Booth Tarkington wrote an introduction, as well – another case of a future LEC author getting an intro in an earlier work (like Thornton Wilder).  This one was printed at Yale University.  Anyway, Benton’s Huck arrived in 1942, likely after his Tom Sawyer was so received.  Bernard DeVoto supplied that edition’s intro.  But enough with Huck – this is about Tom!  The Rockwell Heritage here preceded Benton’s LEC by three years, and, if I can, I’ll provide further comparisons down the road.  My last note – Benton’s never saw release as a Heritage.

As both of my Toms lacked any informational letter, I’d like to know who designed the original Heritage printing, so if you know, please drop me a line!

Title Page – The Connecticut reprint removes Rockwell’s whitewashing painting for a later on in the book, but the Illustrated Bookshelf (and I’d imagine the Heritage original) keeps it at the front.  Now, since this is the first appearance of the Illustrated Bookshelf, I imagine you’d like to know a little more about it.  According to Heritage Press historian Michael C. Bussacco, George Macy began a Junior Heritage Club in 1942 to cater to a youth market on a subscription basis.  The books were fairly similar, if not identical to their “adult” editions, but included a Magazine over a Sandglass that went into further detail about the author and illustrator (The Vicar of Wakefield, which I recently acquired, is a Junior Heritage Illustrated Bookshelf edition and its magazine has those features – I’m making a broad assumption that all of them did) on top of its design and creation notes.  The slipcase (again, broad assumption) likely featured an illustration from the text on both sides, as well as putting the title on the back end of the case (The Vicar does this).  The two books’ publication dates do not sync up with Bussacco’s date of the Junior HC’s foundation, but perhaps Macy figured it wasn’t as essential to alter the dates of his Junior line, or perhaps it was an oversight.  Now, Bussacco does not mention when the Company ceased the Junior Heritage Club ceased to operate, so I can not pass along that info.  Any insights into this fascinating arm of the Heritage Press would be appreciated. :)

Thanks to kdweber at Librarything, I can pass along the book’s printing details!  Warde selected the Bell font (which was also used in The Innocents Abroad, which was done in 1962 – obviously this is not a first printing!) in 12-point, which the history of which is in the Sandglass.  It was printed by the Quinn and Boden Company in New Jersey (at the very least this one was).  The binding process is notably absent, though.

Now, with all that out of the way, we can focus in on the book’s paintings.

Conn. Preface – Why this was moved to the preface instead of the title page is beyond me.  I will say that the colors and sharpness are a bit dulled for the Connecticut reprint, which isn’t a surprise.  However, compared to South Wind, it’s at least recognizable.

Conn. Page 60

Illustrated Bookshelf Page 60

Personal Notes – I think Rockwell is a good fit for Twain’s ragamuffins, so I wouldn’t mind owning a nicer edition of it than I had (which got wet :( ).

Sandglass of a later New York Heritage Printing (courtesy of kdweber):

* = I suspect Cardevon did not alter a pub date from the George Macy Company for their printing, as they did not take over until 1970, and Helen Macy was still in charge in 1964.

Heritage Press – A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain (1948)

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain (1948)
Sandglass Number Unknown
: Illustrations by Honore Guilbeau
Introduced by Carl Van Doren
Reprint of LEC #196/18th Series V. 11 in 1949

Click the images for larger views.

Front Binding – A pleasant enough looking book, with a smiling lad in armor waving at you! The linework of Honore Guilbeau, last seen inside of The Shaving of Shagpat, is strikingly different in style from the later book. Personally, I’m inclined to believe that this may be her finest art inside of a Macy tome. The aforementioned Shagpat chronicles her George Macy Company career. Back to the boards: blue cloth boards and a yellow cloth spine, with red text for the spine.

Mark Twain has one of the more prestigious and extended printing histories in the George Macy Company. I’ve yet to fully give a full bibliography of the LEC output for Twain, so why not now? A whopping twelve LEC’s were issued with Twain’s words inside, beginning in 1933 with the first publication of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Original illustrator E.W. Kemble was resurrected to provide that edition some artistic flair, and Carl Purrington Rollins took on the design. Slovenly Peter, Twain’s translation of the German children’s story Struwwelpeter, was next in 1935. His daughter Clara Clemens gave an introduction on that, and Fritz Kredel would do his first rendering of Twain. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer came out in 1939 starring Thomas Hart Benton’s paintings. Benton and Twain would reunite in 1942 to redo Huck Finn, and again in 1944 for Life on the Mississippi. The book this post is discussing was originally released in 1949 (curious why the Heritage gives a copyright of 1948). Twain would take a small vacation through the 1950’s, but Helen Macy remembered that there was a slew of Twain left to publish, and began with The Innocents Abroad in 1962. Kredel returns to the world of Twain to illustrate that one. 1964 saw The Prince and the Pauper come out, and Clarke Hutton stepped in to provide his art for that. A Tramp Abroad followed in 1966, and David Knight handled illustration duties (with a dozen doodles by Twain included). When Cardevon took over the LEC, they kept on publishing Twain, with 1970’s The Notorious Jumping Frog and Other Stories; Joseph Low doodled for that one. Roughing It was 1972’s offering of Twain, with Noel Sickles doing some art for that, and we finally wind down to 1974’s printing of Pudd’nhead Wilson. John Groth did some painting and drawings for that. *whew*

Wish I could say I was done, but no, there’s a bit more in terms of Heritage exclusives to cover! Norman Rockwell was recruited to do editions of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. Lastly, Warren Chappel was called in to do his own version of this particular book. Huh, I’ll need to find that one.

I now have the Sandglass for this, so I’ll get around to scanning it in the near future.


Title Page – Guilbeau’s design chops are highlighted in this book, as her leafy embellishments add a lot to this eye-catching title page. I LOVE the font used here. Carl Van Doren provides some introductory comments to Twain’s fantasy/humor novel.

Page 8 – Man, I love the layouts of the chapter beginnings. The red lines are a delightful contrast to the black text, and I think this may be one of my favorite interiors in any book.

Page 29

Personal Notes – When I first wrote up this post, I used a library copy. Now I do own it, and I’m pleased as punch. I really like this book.

Updated 8/27/2013 – JF