Category Archives: fine press editions

fine press editions

Max Ernst and the Gallant Sheep



Max Ernst (1891-1976) and Benjamin Péret (1899-1959), La brebis galante [The Gallant Sheep] (Paris: Editions premières, 1949). Graphic Arts GAX 2019- in process.
***Note this was a collaboration, not illustrations as after thought.***

Cet ouvrage, le premier de la collection GBMZ … a été achevé d’imprimer … le douze novembre mil neuf cent quarante-neuf … Il a été tiré trois cent seize exemplaires … Un exemplaire unique sur vieux Japon … Quinze exemplaires sur Vélin Montval … Trois cents exemplaires sur Grand Vélin d’Arches, numéroté de 1 à 300 et comportant trois eaux-fortes originales. Il a été tiré en outre cinq exemplaires nominatifs sur Vélin Montval …”–Page [2]. =This work, the first in the GBMZ collection … was finished printing … on November 12, 1949 … 316 copies were printed … A single copy on old Japan … 15 copies on Vélin Montval … 300 copies on Grand Vélin d’Arches, numbered from 1 to 300 and containing 3 original etchings. Five nominative copies were also printed on Vélin Montval … “–Page 2.

Beyond the three ‘original’ etchings, 18 of the relief line block illustrations are pochoir colored in striking yellows, greens, reds, oranges, and blues.

M.E. Warlick, Max Ernst and Alchemy: A Magician in Search of Myth (University of Texas Press,  2013)

Sadness is a Bird


The Fine Press Book Association co-sponsors two book fairs: the Oxford Fine Press Book Fair and the Manhattan Fine Press Book Fair. The Oxford event is biennial and at the March 2018 fair, the Judges’ Choice Awards went to three fine press editions.

One of the winners was Elies Plana, Barcelona, for an edition of the poem Neijmantototsintle by Ateri Miyawatl, with linocuts by Francisco Villa, editioned and printed by Plana. Originally written in Nahuatl in 2016, the poem has been translated into Catalan and English.

https://fpba.com/2018/03/prize-winners-announced-at-fpba-oxford-book-fair/

The Nahua actress/poet Ateri Miyawatl was born in Acatlán, Chilapa, Guerrro and graduated from the Michoacana University of San Nicolás de Hidalgo (UMSNH). Together with Celeste Jaime and Mara Rahab Bautista, she directs Originaria, a project that aims to show women poets who express themselves in native languages.

Here is a rough translation of her biographical statement: Ateri Miyawatl is the name that my parents gave me and with which my community knows me, it is also the name with which I identify. Ateri is a Purépecha word and Miyawatl a Nahuatl word. The day I was born my father gilded his brown back in the sun on the beaches of Jalisco selling hammocks to tourists. My mother decided that she would give birth in the town’s bajareque clinic, where Nahuales and wholesale atlapixques were born. That morning, when I came out of my mother’s body, I slipped from the hands of the apprentice nurse, with my head toward the floor. What happened next, just before hitting me on the ground, I leave to the imagination.

Anna Gatica, is the name with which my parents registered me in the Civil Registry. They have never named me that. As Anna, I studied theater and Cultural Management. My lines of research and creative execution are developed with native peoples, with themes and in peripheral geographies. My actress training is complemented by performance studies, audiovisual media, Cultural Management, Gender Equality and Indigenous Rights. I have collaborated with various artists, non-governmental organizations and civil associations in Mexico, the United States and South America.

See her in this video, discussing Originaria.

 

“De los factores que identifico,” noted Miyawatl, “uno es el poder sobresalir respecto a los compañeros varones, respecto a las compañeras que se dedican a hacer poesía en estas lenguas. …Otro factor importante es la barrera del lenguaje, muchas mujeres llegamos a las escuelas a estudiar y todo se encuentra en español, es como si ustedes llegarán a estudiar su carrera y todo lo encontrarán en italiano, no existe un apoyo para las personas que hablamos otra lengua.”

 

Ateri Miyawatl, Neijmantototsintle = La tristesa és un ocell = Sadness is a bird. Illustrations by Francisco Villa ([Barcelona, Spain] : Elies Plana, 2018. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process

The Country of the Blind privately printed

H. G. Wells, The Country of the Blind (New York: Privately printed [by Mitchell Kennerley], Christmas 1915). Aquatone frontispiece after a photograph by Alvin Langdon Coburn. Graphic Arts Collection 2019- in process

This is the first separate edition of one of the stories from the collaboration between H. G. Wells and Alvin Langdon Coburn, The Door in the Wall. Although there is no statement of limitation, a folded typed account of the book and its production, signed with initials by Mitchell Kennerley, states that two hundred copies were printed on handmade paper, typeset by Bertha Goudy.

The Country of the Blind was first published in The Strand magazine, April 1904, pp 201-15, with illustrations by Claude A. Shepperson.

The Fortunes of Mitchell Kennerley [Recap Z473.K45 B78 1986] was reviewed by Leonard Shatzkin, “Zero Royalty” in New York Times December 7, 1986. Here is a section:

MITCHELL KENNERLEY was a pioneer among American publishers. Only two years after he joined John Lane as a junior clerk at the Bodley Head in London, Kennerley was taken by Lane to New York. In ”The Fortunes of Mitchell Kennerley, Bookman,” Matthew J. Bruccoli says Kennerley always insisted Lane had put him in charge of the firm’s American branch then; he was 18 years old. Three years later, irritated with Kennerley’s failure to handle essential business details, Lane arrived at the New York offices unannounced, discovered that Kennerley had also been taking company money and fired him.

…Kennerley made significant contributions to book publishing and book collecting. From the start, he strove for the highest physical and artistic quality. His first office was in a New York building in which Frederic W. Goudy, America’s most famous typographer and type designer, was struggling to get started, and Kennerley used his services extensively. One of Goudy’s best-known and most important typefaces, Kennerley Old Style, grew out of that association.

Kennerley’s books were beautifully typeset, printed on high-quality paper that was often handmade and tastefully bound. Some were set into type by Bertha Goudy, Frederic’s talented wife. Alfred A. Knopf, who in his time set the standards of quality for the modern generation of publishers, acknowledged that his youthful apprenticeship with Kennerley associated him ”with a man who had a very fine sense of typography and of sound conservative book-making.” Among the many distinguished authors whose first or early works were represented among the 400 titles Kennerley published are Van Wyck Brooks, Frank Harris, D. H. Lawrence, Vachel Lindsay, Walter Lippmann, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Upton Sinclair, H. G. Wells and Oscar Wilde.

…In 1915, Kennerley became president of the Anderson Galleries. He continued to publish books for a time on a very much reduced scale, but auctions, particularly of rare books, became his main occupation. Later, as his financial fortunes drifted downward, he worked unsuccessfully in book retailing and even in printing. Kennerley ended in poverty, a lonely suicide in 1950 at the age of 71.

Tesoros musicales de la Nueva España: Siglo XVI. Tacámbaro de Codallos

María Isabel, Tesoros Musicales de la Nueva España: Siglo XVI. Tacámbaro de Codallos ([Mexico]: Taller Martín Pescador, 2018). One of 210 copies. Graphic Arts collection GAX 2019- in process

Publisher’s quote: “Dr. María Isabel Grañén Porrúa is Mexico’s leading scholar of 16th-century printing in the Viceroyalty of New Spain and Juan Pascoe of the Taller Martín Pescador is Mexico’s greatest living handpress printer.

Her scholarship, based on archival research and the minute study of early colonial-era printed musical texts, and his precise and meticulous presswork are here combined to give us a masterful study of a neglected area of the history of the book in Mexico, in a volume that is joy in the hand and a jewel to the eye.

Prior to publication here, the extended essay had been ‘presentado en el simposio ‘El libro en la Nueva España. Historiografía en Construcción.’ Dirección de Estudios Históricos del INAH, octubre de 2017.'”

Florencio Ramírez composed the text using Dante, Centaur, Poliphilus, and Blado type. Juan Pascoe and Martín Urbgina printed the work on Tamayo De Ponte paper using a Vandercook cylinder press and two Washington handpresses. The work was bound by Fermín Urbina.




Havana and Venice

The Graphic Arts Collection is fortunate to have acquired two volumes from Leslie Gerry Editions. The contemporary artist works with 21st century technology informed by modern fine press traditions.

With a stylus on a Wacom tablet, I paint on the computer in Illustrator. Working only with flat areas of colour and no tone, I “cut out” the shapes with the stylus, arranging them on different layers, creating a collage. In fact, I first started working this way years ago by cutting out sheets of coloured paper with scissors, similar to the way Matisse created his paper collages. Starting by sketching a composition in blocks of colour as I would have done painting in oils and using the reference photos as guidance only, I gradually build up the painting with darker areas first and then lighter shades. The paintings end up as digital files; vector images which can be reduced or enlarged to any size and are then printed with a flat bed UV ink jet printer on a hand or mould-made paper.

Leslie Gerry, Havana, paintings by Leslie Gerry; extracts from Cuba by Irene A. Wright, 1912 (Dowdeswell, Gloucestershire: Leslie Gerry Editions, December 2016). Copy 39 of 70. Graphic Arts Collection GAX E-000092

Leslie Gerry, Venice reflections, paintings by Leslie Gerry; extracts from Venice by Jan Morris (Dowdeswell, Gloucestershire, UK : Published by Leslie Gerry Editions, The Eight Gabled House, 2019). Copy 15 of 120. Graphic Arts Collection E-000093

 

Le Grand Écart

Jean Cocteau (1889-1963). Le Grand Ecart. Roman illustré par l’auteur de vingt deux dessins dont onze en couleurs (Paris: Librairie Stock, 1926). First illustrated edition, with reproductions of 22 drawings by Cocteau, 11 in color. Copy 18 of 20 on imperial Japan paper. A fine inscribed copy with a large original drawing by Jean Cocteau (profile of a male head): “à Parisot Souvenir très amical de Jean Cocteau.” Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process

 


This novel has a small album of drawings bound inside between chapters. Cocteau wrote:

Ce petit roman est composé comme un album de dessins. C’est ce que nous invite à penser une lettre de Cocteau à sa mère le 19 juillet 1922 : « Tout est écrit. Il faut maintenant dessiner chaque page. La reprendre jusqu’à ce qu’elle soit ressemblante comme je fais pour mes portraits ou mes caricatures. » En réalité, à cette date rien n’est vraiment écrit : Cocteau a juste commencé, il a surtout le plan en tête (sauf l’épilogue, trouvé en octobre seulement). Et, comme l’album graphique qu’il compose en même temps (Dessins, publié en 1923), le roman se présente dans son esprit comme une suite de planches à composer l’une après l’autre. Dans ses entretiens à la radio avec André Fraigneau en 1951, Cocteau dira qu’il a composé Le Grand Écart « par petits blocs ».

This little novel is composed as an album of drawings. This is what invites us to think of a letter from Cocteau to his mother on July 19, 1922: “Everything is written. We must now draw each page. Repeat it until it looks like I do for my portraits or caricatures. In reality, at this date nothing is really written: Cocteau has just started, he has the plan especially in mind (except the epilogue, found in October only). And, like the graphic album he composes at the same time (Drawings, published in 1923), the novel appears in his mind as a series of plates to compose one after the other. In his radio interviews with André Fraigneau in 1951, Cocteau said that he composed Le Grand Écart “in small blocks”.–https://cocteau.biu-montpellier.fr/index.php?id=103

 

Cocteau wrote six novels: 1919: Le Potomak; 1923: Le Grand Écart; 1923: Thomas l’Imposteur; 1928: Le Livre blanc; 1929: Les Enfants terribles; and 1940: La Fin du Potomak.

During the 1920s Cocteau also devoted his time to writing several novels, a new genre for him. These novels are usually concerned with protagonists who cannot leave their childhoods behind them. In Le Grand Ecart, for example, Jacques Forestier finds that beauty always brings him pain, a pattern established when he was a child.

As a young man, the pattern continues when he loses his first love to another man, leading Jacques to attempt suicide. Germaine Bree and Margaret Guiton note in The French Novel from Gide to Camus that Jacques is “the most directly autobiographical of Cocteau’s fictional characters.” In addition, as McNab pointed out, the novel anticipates Cocteau’s later obsession with childhood. — https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/jean-cocteau

 

Alan James Robinson

Mark Twain, The Jumping Frog. Wood engravings by Alan James Robinson (Easthampton, MA: Cheloniidae Press, 1985). Copy 10 of 15 state proof copies, with one extra signed suite of the 15 wood engravings plus the triple page fold out of the jumping front, plus working proofs of the wood engravings, plus state proofs of etching, signed and numbered by the artist. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process

 

 

This Cheloniidae edition of the Jumping Frog from Mark Twain’s Sketches, New and Old (1875) contains three versions of this notorious and celebrated tale: the original, the version translated into French (inadequately so, according to Twain), and the version “restored to the English after martyrdom in the French” by Twain. The afterword, “The Private Printing of the ‘Jumping Frog’ Story” by Samuel Clemens, first appeared in the North American Review (1894).

The regular edition was limited to 250 copies and is bound in green paper wrappers, while all editions are printed on Saunders paper in Centaur and Arrighi types at Wild Carrot Letterpress with the assistance of Harold Patrick McGrath and Arthur Larson.

The 15 wood engravings are printed by Harold Patrick McGrath and bound by Daniel Kelm (the design of Alan Robinson) full undyed Oasis with onlays of the frog in repose — before the jump on the front panel and after the jump on the back panel, with doublures showing the frog in mid-jump. Onlays in green oasis of the frog jumping are on the front and back pastedowns.

Ernesto Cardenal Honored


On August 10, 2019, the priest/poet Ernesto Cardenal (born 1925) received an award from the Academy of Sciences of Nicaragua (ACN) for his contributions to national literature. This follows the February 2019 absolution granted Cardenal by Pope Francis from “all canonical censorships,” which he incurred in 1984.

In 1988, Cardenal was scheduled to speak at Princeton University but was denied a visa by the United States government. Again in 1990, a scheduled visit was cancelled fearing denial of access. The Daily Princetonian, 114, no 104 (26 October 1990) noted:

“Professors yesterday said they were outraged at reports that U.S. government visa restrictions prompted Nicaraguan poet and priest Ernesto Cardenal to cancel a nation-wide speaking tour scheduled to begin here yesterday. Though the state department granted Cardenal admission privileges, the poet’s colleagues said visa restrictions caused him to doubt that immigration authorities would allow him to enter the country. “McCarthyism is still alive in relation to Latin America,” said Latin American Studies director Arcadio Diaz-Quinones, whose program sponsored the visit. “It’s very disturbing that intellectuals and writers are not allowed to lecture and engage in dialogue with us.”

In 2018, Uruguay named Cardenal the winner of the Mario Benedetti International Prize. The Iberoamerican Poetry Awards Pablo Neruda (2009) and the Reina Sofía Ibero-American Poetry Prize (2012) are among the many other important awards he has received.

 

Princeton’s online catalogue lists 189 titles by Cardenal, beginning in 1965 with Oración por Marilyn Monroe, y otros poemas. (PQ7519.C34 O7 1965).  See also: Antonio Martorell (Puerto Rican, born 1939) and Ernesto Cardenal (Nicaraguan, born 1925). Los Salmos [The Psalms]. Puerto Rico: Martorell, 1971. Graphic Arts Collection, Copy 24 of 200.

Listen to Cardenal read at Vanderbilt University in 2011 (translations provided).

The Women of “The Colophon”

In 1922, bibliophile Elmer Adler (1884–1962) founded the private press Pynson Printers and in 1930, began publishing a quarterly journal for book collectors called The Colophon, which featured articles on publishing, printing, and collecting. The physical volumes were also meant to offer examples of contemporary fine press publishing, with articles designed and printed by various presses within the same issue. The driving forces behind The Colophon were Adler, Burton Emmett, and John T. Winterich along with an extended list of contributing editors named in each issue.

While the vast majority of writers, editors, designers, and printers were men, the publication was not exclusively male and a look at the women who contributed to The Colophon provides insight into the history of the book in America during the early twentieth century. Adler closed Pynson Printers and The Colophon in 1940 when he moved to Princeton University. Although there was an attempt to continue under new editorial leadership, it was never equal to the earlier publication and did not last.

Here are the women included in The Colophon. The attached pdf provides an index to each woman’s individual contributions.The Women of The Colophon

Myrta Lockett Avary (1857-1946), author and journalist. Her books include Dixie After the War, The Recollections of Alexander H. Stephens and Uncle Remus and the Wren’s Nest.

Esther Averill (1902–1992) editor, publisher, writer and illustrator best known for the Cat Club picture books.

Althea Leah (Bierbower) Bass (1892–1988), Western Americana historian. Publications include Young Inquirer, The Arapaho Way, Cherokee Messenger, and The Story of a Young Seneca Indian Girl and Her Family, among others.

Babette Ann Boleman (1900s), author and rare book researcher.

Pearl S. Buck (1892–1973), writer and novelist. As the daughter of missionaries, Buck spent most of her life before 1934 in Zhenjiang, China. Her novel The Good Earth was the best-selling fiction book in the United States in 1931 and 1932 and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932.

Willa Cather (1873–1947), writer and novelist. Notable books on American frontier life include O Pioneers!, The Song of the Lark, and My Ántonia. Elmer Adler and Pynson Printers published her early poetry.

Bertha Coolidge (1880–1953) American portrait miniaturist and bibliographer. Notable compilations include Morris L. Parrish’s A List of the Writings of Lewis Carroll [Charles L. Dodgson]in the Library at Dormy House, Pine Valley, New Jersey (1928) and  A Catalogue of the Altschul Collection of George Meredith in the Yale University Library (1931).

Bertha Jean Cunningham (1900s), author, married to a book collector living in Chicago.

Anne Goldthwaite (1869–1944), painter. Trained in Paris, Goldthwaite returned to New York in time to be included in the 1913 Armory Show. She was close friends of Kathrine Dreier, Edith Halpert, and Joseph Brummer, who each exhibited and sold her work at various stages of her career. She was also an active member of the New York Society of Women Artists and enthusiastic advocate for women’s rights.

Belle da Costa Greene (1883–1950), librarian to J. P. Morgan. After his death in 1913, Greene continued as librarian under his son, Jack Morgan. In 1924 the private collection was incorporated by the State of New York as a library for public uses and the Board of Trustees appointed Greene first director of the Pierpont Morgan Library.

Ruth Shepard Granniss (1872–1954), librarian to The Grolier Club, New York. Author of The Book in America, in collaboration with Lawrence C. Wroth, John Carter Brown Library (1939).

Jeanette Griffith (active 1920s–1930s), photographer.

Anne Lyon Haight (1895-1977), writer and bibliophile. Her books include Banned books, Notes on Some Books Banned for Various Reasons at Various Times and in Various Places; Morals, Manners, Etiquette and the Three R’s; and Portrait of Latin America as Seen by her Print Makers. Most notably, she was President of the Hroswitha Club, a women’s bibliophilic organization.

Helen O’Connor Harter (1905–1990), artist and illustrator. Married Thomas Harter, chief of the Los Angeles Examiner’s art department, and moved to New York City where they both worked as commercial illustrators. Eventually, they settled in Helen’s hometown of Tempe, Arizona, where she continued to teach and paint.

Victoria Hutson Huntley (1900–1971), artist and printmaker. Hutson studied under John Sloan and Max Weber, specializing in lithography and awarded prizes from the Chicago Art Institute and the Philadelphia Print Club. She painted murals for the post office in Greenwich, Connecticut, and in Springville, New York, under the Treasury Relief Art Project, part of the New Deal arts program.

Helen M. Knubel (1901-1992), historian. According to the New York Times, she was considered the foremost archivist of the history of the Lutheran Church in North America. She helped to organize the library and archives of the National Lutheran Council, of which she was the secretary of research and statistics from 1954 to 1966. She then became associate director of the Office of Research, Statistics and Archives of the Lutheran Council in the U.S.A., the successor of the NLC.

Marie Abrams Lawson (1894–1956), author and illustrator. The only woman asked to design a cover of The Colophon, Lawson primarily wrote and illustrated children’s books. She was married to Robert Lawson, also a children’s book author and illustrator.

Vera Liebert (1900s), actress and theater historian.

Flora Virginia Milner Livingston (1862–1962), librarian and bibliographer. She was named curator of Harry Elkins Widener collection at Harvard College Library, following the death of her husband Luther S. Livingston, the first librarian of the Widener collection. She completed bibliographies for Rudyard Kipling, Henry James, John Gay and others.

(Emma) Miriam Lone (born ca. 1873), bibliographer and chief cataloguer for New York dealer Lathrop Harper. Author of A Selection of Incunabula Describing One Thousand Books Printed in the XVth Century.

Dorothy McEntee (1902-1990) artist and printmaker.

Dorothy McKay (1902–1972), artist and cartoonist. McKay drew for various magazines including The New Yorker, Esquire, and Life, among others.

Edith Whittlesley Newton (1878–1964), painter and printmaker. Newton lived in New Milford, Connecticut, where she specialized in landscape painting and lithographs.

Lucy Eugenia Osborne (1879–1955), librarian, bibliographer, and historian of rare books at the Chapin Library, Williams College from 1922 to 1947.

Elizabeth Robins Pennell (1855–1936), American writer. She wrote art criticism, travelogues, memoirs, and biographies of Mary Wollstonecraft, Charles Godfrey Leland, and James Abbott McNeill Whistler. She was also a collector of cookbooks, which was given to the Library of Congress along with her husband, Joseph Pennell’s library.

Carlotta Petrina (1901–1997), artist and printer. Best known for her 1933 illustrations to John Milton’s Paradise Lost and the John Dryden translation of Virgil’s Aeneid (1944). The Carlotta Petrina Museum and Cultural Center in Brownsville, Texas, exhibits her art and memorabilia.

Fanny (Fannie Elizabeth) Ratchford (1887–1974), librarian and historian. Ratchford served as librarian of rare books at the University of Texas, Austin. She wrote numerous books and articles, beginning with Some Reminiscences of Persons and Incidents of the Civil War (1909). She received Guggenheim fellowships for 1929–1930, 1939–1940, and 1957–1958 and, late in life, assisted in editing the Oxford edition of the complete works of the Brontës.

Elizabeth Ridgway (1900s), book collector.

Ethel Dane Roberts (1900s), librarian and curator of the Frances Pearsons Plimpton Library of Italian Literature, Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts.

Dorothy Leigh Sayers (1893–1957), English crime writer, poet, playwright, and humanist. Best known for her mysteries, especially the character of amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey.

Lillian Gary Taylor (1865–1961), collector. Taylor’s library of best-selling American fiction included over 1900 volumes published between 1787 and 1945 and was donated to the University of Virginia in 1945.

Eleanor M. Tilton (1913-1991?), professor and authority on Ralph W. Emerson.

Olivia H. D. Torrence (1900s), author and wife of the poet Ridgely Torrence.

Janet Camp Buck Troxell (1897–1987), collector. Between 1930 and 1965 she amassed over 800 printed items and more than 3,000 manuscripts relating to the Rossettis and their friends (now at Princeton University Library). Names relate to three marriages: Wilder Hobson, New York publisher; Dr. Albert W. Buck, superintendent of New Haven Hospital; and Gilbert McCoy Troxell, curator of American literature, Yale University Library.

Eunice Wead (1881–1969), librarian and curator. A graduate of Smith College, Wead became Smith’s reference librarian in 1906. She moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, serving as a curator of rare books in the general library, in the William L. Clements Library, and as one of the first teachers in the Department of Library Science. On her retirement from Michigan, she returned to Smith to give a course in book history and book arts.

Carolyn Wells (1862–1942), writer and collector. Wells was a prolific author, including mystery novels, poetry, humor, and children’s books. Her collection of Walt Whitman poetry was donated to the Library of Congress.

Blanche Colton Williams (1879–1944) author and professor of English literature. Williams earned a master’s degree from Columbia University in 1908 and a doctorate in 1913. She went on to teach in the English Department at Hunter College and eventually head of the department. The first editor of the O. Henry Prize Stories, she also collected George Eliot first editions, donated to the Mississippi University for Women library.

Edith Wharton (1862–1937), novelist and playwright. Wharton was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1921. She is best remembered for her books The Age of Innocence, The House of Mirth, Ethan Frome, and her manual The Writing of Fiction.

Complete Index to Pynson Printers Jobs

The Graphic Arts reference collection holds four enormous volumes documenting jobs produced by Elmer Adler’s Pynson Printers from 1922 to 1940 when the press was closed. An index to these volumes has been created by Sherry X. Zhang and Jena Mayer with help from Brianna R. Cregle and AnnaLee Pauls, which is key word searchable allowing researchers, for the first time, to study Adler’s commercial work. PDFs are attached here and to the voyager record for these scrapbooks. https://catalog.princeton.edu/catalog/7343684 Pynson Printers jobs. Graphic Arts: Reference Collection Oversize Z232.P99 A9f
Volume one:Copy of PynsonPrinters_Volume 1
Volume two:Copy of PynsonPrinters_vol.2
Volume three:Copy of PynsonPrinters_vol.3
Volume four:Copy of PynsonPrinters_vol.4 (1) (1)
Extras: Copy of PynsonPrinters_Presses
“From the twentieth of March, 1922, the Pynson Printers are at your service for the planning and production of all printing in which quality is the first consideration. We have founded our organization on the belief that the printer should be primarily an artist—a designer and a creator rather than a mere manufacturer. Toward this end, we have assembled a group whose several abilities and varied experience cover every phase of the art and business of printing. . . . We will do no work in which quality must be sacrificed to exigencies of time or cost” (Reprinted in Lawrance Thompson “Forty Mercer Street,” Princeton University Library Chronicle 2, no. 1 (November 1940): 32).

Together with designers Walter Dorwin Teague (1883-1960), Hubert L. Canfield, and David Silvé, Adler opened a small, fine press printing shop at 122 East 32nd Street named Pynson Printers, after the sixteenth-century printer Richard Pynson.

Within six months, the others had moved on, leaving Adler the sole owner of the firm (see: John F. Peckham “Forty Mercer,” Princeton Alumni Weekly 41, no. 12 (December 16, 1940): 8). As stated in the opening announcement, concerns with quality rather than commercial practicality led production. To that end, he sought out artisans, publishers, and clients who shared his love of typography and fine printing.

The Pynson Printers office moved to the New York Times building at 239 West 43rd Street, elegantly decorated by Lucien Bernhard. In a 1925 letter to Rockwell Kent (1882-1971), with whom he was already in business, Adler wrote, “Since you were last here Mr. [Lucien] Bernhard has arranged to build a studio adjoining our shop which will help create more of the kind of thing we want to have….” (Adler to Kent, February 13, 1925. CO262, box 32, Adler papers). These three men, Adler, Kent, and the recently emigrated German designer Lucien Bernhard (1883-1972), began working together on a variety of printing and design projects.

Their first fine press book, Candide, began in 1925 when 27-year-old Bennett Cerf and his 23-year-old friend Donald Klopfer decided they wanted a business of their own. Cerf was vice-president at the publishing house of Boni & Liveright and interested in the firm’s catalog of 109 titles published under the Modern Library imprint. Klopfer and Cerf raised $215,000 to purchase the imprint and then, set about to redefine the Modern Library to make it distinctly their own.

“We went to a man I had heard was a great typographer named Elmer Adler, who headed the Pynson Printers,” said Cerf. “He was so good that he was allowed to have his office in the New York Times building . . . Elmer Adler was an elegant gentleman whose family headed the Adler Rochester clothing company. It was beautiful, beautiful work that he turned out at only about eight times what it should have cost . . . Elmer helped us redesign modern library [and] helped us find the man to design the flying girl with the torch. . . So the modern library had a new dress that was very stylish,” (Bennett Cerf oral history, p. 144. Columbia University Libraries).

“We were talking about doing a few books on the side,” recalled Cerf, “when suddenly I got an inspiration and said, ‘We just said we were going to publish a few books on the side at random. Let’s call it Random House.’” Kent was so taken with the idea he offered to draw them a trademark on the spot and five minutes later handed Cerf the Random House symbol, which has been on their colophon ever since.

Candide was a success but Adler’s partnership with Random House was short-lived. “Elmer didn’t cotton to trade publishing . . . He was a very difficult partner anyway—very querulous and dictatorial, and he wanted to do everything his way, and when we wanted to have other printers do books, Elmer was very jealous.”

Cerf and Klopfer bought out his share, even though he never put up any money to join them. Adler continued to do business with Random House and Cerf remained a stockholder in the Pynson Printers. Kent did business with them both and joined Bernhard in founding a design firm they named Contempora.

Adler closed the Pynson Printers in 1940, when he was invited to move to Princeton, New Jersey, and established a department of Graphic Arts for Princeton University. He brought with him a personal collection—fourteen tons of books, prints, paintings, records, and equipment—which became the basis for the graphic arts collection we enjoy today. Although he donated some records of the Pynson Press to the NYPL in 1936, he retained a large amount of material with which to teach, including papers, proofs, and plates, which he sold to the Princeton University Library in 1948 for one dollar.

See also: https://graphicarts.princeton.edu/2014/03/21/exhibition-chronology-of-the-little-gallery-of-the-pynson-printers/