Category Archives: fine press editions

fine press editions

The Print Connoisseur

John Taylor Arms, Loop the Loop, 1920. Original aquatint printed directly from the copper plate, frontispiece, The Print Connoisseur December 1920.


Frederick Reynolds, Castle of Vitre, 1920. Original mezzotint printed directly from copper plate, frontispiece The Print Connoisseur, October 1920


While clearing an office recently, several early volumes of The Print Connoisseur appeared. Published by Winfred Porter Truesdell (1877-1939) from 1920 to 1932, the quarterly magazine was distinguished by its frontispiece prints, printed directly from the original copper plates and bound into each issue. Truesdell did the printing for the first year himself from his New York studio, but the second and third year were printed at the Clinton Press in Plattsburgh, NY. During this time, Truesdell moved to Champlain, NY, where he joined Hugh McLellan’s Moorsfield Press, and from 1924 forward he and McLellan did the printing.


Dominique Jouvet-Magron, Le Manoeuvre au Levier, 1923. Original etching printed directly form the copper plate, frontispiece The Print Connoisseur April 1923.


“The Print Connoisseur,” American Art News 19, no. 4 (November 6, 1920), p. 4. Stable URL:

Truesdell’s New York City studio was located in the fashionable east side, not far from J.P. Morgan’s home and library. The studio at 154 East 38th Street was shared with British print maker Frederick Thomas Reynolds (1882-1945) and also served as the meeting place for the Brooklyn Society of Etchers.

Today the address leads to an empty lot, but a sense of the neighborhood can be had thanks to the building directly across the street, owned in the 1920s by Edith Bowdoin, daughter of financier George S. Bowdoin. Although Bowdoin had her father’s carriage house converted to accommodate her automobiles, the façade remained untouched. In the 21st century, the building housed the Gabarron Foundation’s Carriage House Center for the Arts, which hosted exhibitions and lectures until 2011.

George Elmer Burr, Moraine Park, Colo., 1921. Original etching printed directly from copper plate, frontispiece The Print Connoisseur June 1921.


The Print Connoisseur is available digitally through Hathi Trust and has been indexed by David Patrick at:


Maurice Victor Achener (1881-1963), Annecy, Porte Perriere, 1923. Original etching printed directly from the copper plate, frontispiece The Print Connoisseur October 1923.

  George C. Wales, Outbound, 1923. Original etching printed directly from the copper, frontispiece The Print Connoisseur January 1923.


The person with the most nose knows most

Nikolaĭ Vasilʹevich Gogolʹ (1809-1852), The Nose by Nikolai Gogol; English translation and commentary by Stanislav Shvabrin; sixteen drawings with collage by William Kentridge (San Francisco: Arion Press, 2021). Copy 17 of 40. Deluxe edition. Graphic Arts Collection 2021- in process


“The edition is limited to 250 copies for sale with 26 lettered hors commerce copies reserved … Of these, 190 Limited edition copies are bound with cloth spines and paper sides, and 20 Variant plus 40 Deluxe edition copies are bound with leather spines and cork paper sides. All copies are signed by the artist and presented in clamshell boxes accompanied by a flipbook, “His Majesty Comrade Nose”, produced in an edition of 350 copies.

The Deluxe edition includes a photogravure “Surveying His Escape” with red pencil markings by the artist. 40 prints plus 5 Printer’s Proofs, 3 Artist’s Proofs, and 2 B.A.T. Proofs have been editioned by Lothar Osterburg in Red Hook, New York on 300 gsm Somerset with gampi chine collé and kozo insets.”–Colophon.


From the prospectus: Originally published in 1836 in Alexander Pushkin’s magazine Sovremennik (The Contemporary), The Nose tells the story of Major Kovalyov, a St. Petersburg official whose nose develops a life of its own. The absurdity of the tale, in which Kovalyov awakens to find his nose gone, then later comes to find it has surpassed him in social rank, lays bare the anxiety that plagued Russia after Peter the Great introduced The Table of Ranks: a document reorganizing feudal Russian nobility, by placing emphasis on the military, civil service and the imperial court in determining an aristocrat’s social standing.



For this edition, Arion Press chose to collaborate with artist William Kentridge, who directed and designed a visually dazzling 2010 Metropolitan Opera production of Dmitri Shostakovich’s adaptation of The Nose. This is his second project with the press, following The Lulu Plays, published in tandem with his 2015 production of the Alban Berg opera, Lulu, also for the Met. Kentridge’s method combines drawing, writing, film, performance, music, theater and collaborative practices to create works of art that are grounded in politics, science, literature, and history.



This edition includes a photogravure “Surveying His Escape” printed in warm black ink on 300 gsm Somerset with gampi chine collé and kozo insets, editioned by Lothar Osterburg in Red Hook, New York. See also:

Everett Raymond Currier

One issue of a small printing magazine turned up recently from the Currier Press in New York City. Pica: a Magazine Devoted to the Amenities of the Graphic Arts (1922-1923) was the work of Canadian-born printer/publisher Everett Raymond Currier (1877-1954). Currier was one of a small band of white male typographers who formed the Stowaways, a private club of book and magazine designers that also included Elmer Adler (founder of the Princeton Graphic Arts Collection). See Currier below second from the right.

Printing Arts News September 20, 1921


Currier trained with Merrymount Press of D.B. Updike before working with Bruce Rogers at Riverside Press and Heintzman Press in Boston. In 1906, together with Frederic Goudy, Currier established the innovative Currier Press in New York City and later, set up companies in Chicago and Philadelphia. He wrote several manuals on type and color, advised the Conde Nast firm in the design of their periodicals, and composed religious music on the side.

Among his many publications are: Everett Raymond Currier and Bruce Rogers, Type Spacing (New York: J.M. Bowles, Norman T.A. Munder, 1910, 1912). Reprinted from the “Graphic Arts magazine of August, 1910 … and the edition is limited to three hundred copies”–Colophon.

Everett Raymond Currier, The story of Caslon Old Style (Philadelphia: Lanston Monotype Machine Co., 1915). Detached from Monotype, v. 3, no. 4, Nov.-Dec. 1915.

Mirabeau’s tribute to the memory of Benjamin Franklin : delivered at the opening of the National Assembly of France, June 11th, 1790. Printed by Everett Raymond Currier; Frederic W. Goudy, typographer, Bertha Goudy, compositor (New York: Currier Press, 1923) in American printer



American Printer and Lithographer, Volume 72 Moore Publishing Company, 1921


The Printing Art, Volume 41, 1923


Althea Gyles

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), The Harlot’s House: a Poem; with five illustrations by Althea Gyles. Deluxe issue, one of fifty copies “With the illustrations in duplicate, the further set being proofs on India paper mounted, with black marginal borders, and the text printed on Japanese vellum with the plates in Folio. Original cloth portfolio (London: Imprinted for subscribers at the Mathurin Press, MCMIII. [1904]). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2021- in process

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired the 1904 pirated edition of Oscar Wilde’s poem The Harlot’s House, published by Leonard C. Smithers (1861-1907) under a fictitious imprint and accompanied by five photogravures reproducing drawings by Althea Gyles (1868-1949).

“A strictly limited edition … issued with the illustrations printed on plate paper and the text on hand-made paper, enclosed in a portfolio … This is no. … / Fifty copies printed as an Édition de luxe with the illustrations in duplicate … and the text printed on Japanese vellum. This is no. … / Twelve copies are printed as an Édition de grand luxe on pure vellum. This is no. … “–Page [2].

The book is described in the Oxford DNB by Warwick Gould:

In Paris early in May 1899 Gyles agreed to illustrate Wilde’s The Harlot’s House for the publisher, pornographer, and patron of Aubrey Beardsley, Leonard Smithers (1861–1907). Soon they were caught up in an ostentatious affair. She executed five coloured drawings which Smithers described as ‘weirdly powerful and beautiful’ and eventually published in the pirate edition in 1904 (Sherard, 342). At the height of her energies, postponing all other work to finish the illustrations for The Harlot’s House, she was plainly in love with ‘so excellent a person as Mr Smithers’ (Finneran and others, 56). Martin Secker would often see them playing chess in the domino room at the Café Royal. The gold-stamped covers for Ernest Dowson’s Decorations followed in December 1899, using a stylized rose, which Yeats identified as her ‘central symbol’, on the white parchment top board, and a pattern of thorns and foliage on the back. Four swirling birds pecking at a heart between a sun and moon surrounded by stars form the top board of John White-Rodyng’s The Night (1900).

“Miss Althea Gyles’ five beautiful and bizzare illustrations to, or rather interpretations of, Wilde’s beautiful and bizarre poem make this edition of it a notable contribution to Wilde literature, and one which collectors of his strange haunted work will greatly value. “The Harlot’s House” was one of the earliest, in fact I think the actual first, of Wilde’s poems to find its way into print, and Wilde used laughingly to tell an amusing story about its original publication. Wilde was quite a young man when it was first printed in an English weekly called The Sporting and Dramatic News, and, as with all young writers, “Oscar’s” first published poem was something of an event in the family. Hearing indefinitely that he had achieved the dignity of appearing in print, a certain distinguished and pious old lady relative of his had congratulated him. “I hear, Oscar,” she had said, “that you have had a poem published.” And then, much to Wilde’s embarrassment, she had continued, “And what is the subject of the poem?” How Wilde evaded the dilemma I forget, but I remember that even his superb presence of mind was sorely taxed to avoid shocking the good old lady with a title hardly suggestive of the innocent first fruits of a boyish muse.”–J. Fuchs, review The Harlot’s House in The International 1910

We caught the tread of dancing feet,
We loitered down the moonlit street,
And stopped beneath the harlot’s house.

Inside, above the din and fray,
We heard the loud musicians play
The ‘Treues Liebes Herz’ of Strauss.

Like strange mechanical grotesques,
Making fantastic arabesques,
The shadows raced across the blind.

We watched the ghostly dancers spin
To sound of horn and violin,
Like black leaves wheeling in the wind.

Like wire-pulled automatons,
Slim silhouetted skeletons
Went sidling through the slow quadrille,

Then took each other by the hand,
And danced a stately saraband;
Their laughter echoed thin and shrill.

Sometimes a clockwork puppet pressed
A phantom lover to her breast,
Sometimes they seemed to try to sing.

Sometimes a horrible marionette
Came out, and smoked its cigarette
Upon the steps like a live thing.

Then, turning to my love, I said,
‘The dead are dancing with the dead,
The dust is whirling with the dust.’

But she–she heard the violin,
And left my side, and entered in:
Love passed into the house of lust.

Then suddenly the tune went false,
The dancers wearied of the waltz,
The shadows ceased to wheel and whirl.

And down the long and silent street,
The dawn, with silver-sandalled feet,
Crept like a frightened girl.

“The Harlot’s House,” published in April 1885 in the Dramatic Review.

Mapping Greenwich Village Saturday Night

This aerial photograph of Washington Square Park gives a view of “The Row,” the townhouses of wealthy New Yorkers living along Washington Square Park North (Waverly Place). Below are the names of the residents in 1924/25.

“…the most charming square in all New York: De Forest, Rhinelander, Delano, Stewart, De Rham, Gould, Wynkoop, Tailer, Guinness, Claflin, Booth, Darlington, Gregory, Hoyt, Schell, Shattuck, Weekes,—these, and others are still the names of the residents of Washington Square North. Father Knickerbocker, coming to smoke his pipe here, will be in good company, you perceive!”–Anna Alice Chapin, Greenwich Village. Illustrated by Alan Gilbert Cram (2005)

Map annotated by Lew Ney 1925, given to Princeton University Library.



Lew Ney (born Luther Emanuel Widen, 1886-1963), The Greenwich Village Saturday Night (New York: [Lew New, 1924-1926]. Little Magazines LM GVSN Princeton holdings: Vol.2, no.1 (Nov. 21, 1925); 2 copies- Vol.2, no.3 (April 10, 1926). Gift of Lew Ney.


Beginning with September 20, 1924, the Greenwich Village bohemian Lew Ney (pronounced Looney) distributed his neighborhood newsletter entitled The Greenwich Village Saturday Night, written and hand-printed in his cold water studio at 246 West 14th Street (check the map!). Each issue (except v.2, no. 2) included a large, two-page map of the area below 14th street with his commentary on New York history and current residents. Princeton was given four issues by Lew Ney himself and one of the maps is annotated by him [see above], a later copy including these notes in a cleaner version.


John Sloan (1871-1951), Sixth Avenue, Greenwich Village, 1923. Etching.





A few details:











Ulysses Ab Ex

James Joyce (1882-1941) and Robert Motherwell (1915-1991), Ulysses; Etchings by Robert Motherwell for Ulysses by James Joyce (San Francisco: Arion Press, 1988). 835 pages, 40 unnumbered leaves of etchings. Copy 142 of 150. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2021- in process

“An edition of 150 copies for sale and 25 copies hors commerce, with 40 etchings by Robert Motherwell”–Limitation notice, p. [3]./ “Designed by Andrew Hoyem … ten extra printer’s copies are without illustrations and bear modified limitation and title pages”–Colophon./ Forty of the copies for sale and ten of the copies hors commerce are accompanied by an extra suite of twenty-two prints, numbered and signed by the artist. These are contained in a portfolio box (36 cm.)–with a title/limitation leaf: Etchings by Robert Motherwell for Ulysses by James Joyce./ The forty leaves of plates are joined as twenty pairs, tipped together at the fore-edge.


The artist said, “I found Ulysses at a time when I was searching for the key to a vaguely perceived modernist aesthetic that I knew I had to make my own. Joyce served my purposes then and now. If you have taken on the adventure of modernism as I have – and the history of it – there have to be a few prophets to help you when you get discouraged. You go back to them for reinforcement Joyce is permanently on my mind.”

Motherwell’s obsession with Joyce began with a painting titled Ulysses, which dates from the time he was living in East Hampton, New York. It is painted on a piece of cardboard attached to part of a wooden crate.

“The painting is named after James Joyce’s famous modernist novel Ulysses (1922) which Motherwell first read while travelling through Europe in 1935. Joyce’s style of writing, in particular his use of the technique known as ‘stream of consciousness’, had a profound effect on Motherwell, who believed that art should be an expression of the innermost thoughts and feelings of the artist. The art historian Dore Ashton has written: ‘It is no exaggeration to say that [Motherwell’s] discovery of Joyce was as important as his study of Picasso and Matisse, for Joyce revealed to him the infinite potential of free association’ (Dore Ashton, Robert Motherwell, exhibition catalogue, Padiglione d’arte contemporanea, Milan 1989, p.11).

Robert Motherwell (1915–1991), Ulysses, 1947. Oil paint on cardboard on wood. Tate Modern, London.

Wifredo Lam

By the 1950s, Surrealism had run its course in New York and Berlin. In Paris, short-lived magazines such as Medium; Le Surréalisme, Même; and Bief continued to promote the work of Breton, Péret, Lam, Masson, Tanguy, Leonore Carrington and others.

Two small fine-press poetry volumes were published in 1958 under the Paris imprint Méconnaissance (Misunderstanding), presumably hoping to continue but finding these luxury publications too costly. The first was Ce château pressenti with poetry by Ghérasim Luca (1913-1994) and a frontispiece print by Victor Brauner (1903-1966). The second was La Rose et la Cétoine; La Nacre et le Noir, with poetry by Claude Tarnaud (1922-1991) and a frontispiece etching by Wifredo Lam (1902–1982).

The Graphic Arts Collection is fortunate to have added this publication, uncut, and with a hand colored etching by Lam.
Claude Tarnaud and Wifredo Lam, La Rose et la Cétoine. La Nacre et le Noir (Paris, Méconnaissance, 1958). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2021- in process

“From the only poet to a shining whore,” Samuel Beckett for Henry Crowder to sing.

Photomontage by Man Ray (1890-1976)

Two complementary volumes were recently acquired by the Graphic Arts Collection, greatly enhancing the fine press holding of Nancy Cunard’s Hours Press and more generally, expanding material on Harlem Renaissance expatriates living in Paris during the 1930s:

Henry Crowder (1890-1955), Henry-Music. Poems by Nancy Cunard, Richard Aldington, Walter Lowenfels, Samuel Beckett, and Harold Acton. Music by Henry Crowder (Paris: Hours Press, 1930). Edition: 100. Cover photomontage by Man Ray. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process. Acquired thanks to funds provided by the Friends of the Princeton University Library.

Anthony Barnett, Listening for Henry Crowder: A Monograph on His Almost Lost Music with the Poems and Music of Henry-Music (Lewes, East Sussex, England: Allardyce Barnett Publishers, 2007). “This 128 page monograph with previously undocumented materials includes an essay, roll/discography, some 90 photos, documents, music, CD insert with rolls and recordings including the Crowder-Cunard composition Memory Blues aka Bouf sur le toit and new recordings by New York vocalist Allan Harris of six compositions by Crowder including his collaboration with Samuel Beckett.” Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process

Here is a brief snippet of music by Henry Crowder from Listening for Henry Crowder:

Born in Georgia, the Black jazz pianist Henry Crowder (1890-1955) first met the White shipping heiress Nancy Cunard (1896-1965) in Venice while performing at the Hotel Luna. They fell in love and moved to Cunard’s home outside Paris. Together they converted an old farmhouse in Reanville into a fine press printing studio, called Hours Press, where they set type, designed and printed small editions, and published the work of Ezra Pound, Richard Aldington, Norman Douglas, Laura Riding, and others. The young Samuel Beckett won a poetry contest sponsored by the press and became a valued friend.


In Cunard’s book These Were the Hours: Memories of My Hours Press, Reanville and Paris, 1928-1931, she writes about their 1930 publication Henry-Music. Richard Aldington, Harold Acton, Walter Lowenfels, and Beckett each gave Crowder poems to be set to music during an August vacation in the village of Creysse. “Nearly everything was written here in the course of four weeks, so that we went back to Paris with the Opus almost finished. … To do the covers Man Ray’s name came to me at once, for he had not only a strong appreciation for African art but for Henry as well. I had known Man Ray and had admired his work for several years.” Crowder later wrote an account of his years spent with Cunard, published posthumously, with almost no mention of this publication.

Princeton’s copy of Henry-Music includes a lengthy inscription from Crowder to Mr. & Mrs. Otto Theis: “Dear friends, if this little effort of mine brings you one moment of pleasure, I assure that I am amply repaid for whatever effort went into the making of it. You two people are realy [sic] nearer to my heart than you may suspect. Probably I am presuming when I say that, but nevertheless the Gods themselves (whoever they are) don’t always know who loves them.”

See also: Henry Crowder, As Wonderful as All That?: Henry Crowder’s Memoir of His Affair with Nancy Cunard, 1928-1935 (Navarro, CA: Wild Tree Press, 1987).

Nancy Cunard, These Were the Hours (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1969).

Below is the poem twenty-four years old Samuel Beckett gave Henry Crowder for Henry Music, and above is a snippet of vocalist Allan Harris’s recording. The complete recording is available on our CD included in Listening for Henry Crowder. **It begins very quietly**

From the Only Poet To a Shining Whore
for Henry Crowder to Sing

Rahab of the Holy Battlements,
bright dripping shaft
in the bright bright patient
pearl-brow dawn-dusk lover of the sun.

Puttanina mia!
You hid them happy in the high flax,
pale before the fords
of Jordan, and the dry red waters,
and you lowered a pledge
of scarlet hemp.

Oh radiant, oh angry, oh Beatrice,
she foul with the victory
of the bloodless fingers
and proud, and you, Beatrice, mother, sister, daughter, beloved,
fierce pale flame
of doubt, and God’s sorrow,
and my sorrow.

Hours Press

One of the most interesting small presses to come out of Paris in the 1920s was Hours Press, run by Nancy Cunard (1896-1965), with the assistance of Henry Crowder (1890-1955). Details about the press are recorded by Cunard herself in These were the Hours: memories of my Hours Press, Reanville and Paris, 1928-1931, edited with a foreword by Hugh Ford (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, [1969]).

The British heiress was a popular jazz age beauty, well over six feet tall, she was sought after by many artists including Constantin Brancusi whose bronze sculpture La jeune fille sophistiquée (Portrait de Nancy Cunard) sold in 2018 for $71,000,000.

Cunard settled in Paris at the age of 24, where she published three volumes of poetry in quick succession: Outlaws in 1921, Sublunary in 1923, and Parallax in 1925. Convinced that she could print and publish her own books, Cunard left Paris in 1927 for a house in Réanville, Normandy. There she installed a 200-year-old Belgian Mathieu hand press purchased from Bill Bird of Three Mountains editions. It came with plenty of Caslon Old Face type and Vergé de Rives paper that she happily used for most of her early books. As a printer Cunard was chiefly self-taught although she had some lessons in setting type from Leonard and Virginia Woolf. Her imprint was to be called Hours Press, perhaps a suggestion from Virginia.

Front covers above. Back covers below.


Around this time, she also fell in love with Henry Crowder (1890-1955), a Black American jazz musician and lived with him for the next eight years, building the printshop together. “Henry Crowder, . . . had helped in many different ways already . . . Together we folded the sheets into pages as they came off the new Minerva press I had just bought to increase the tempo of our work.” Many friends offered to let Hours Press publish their manuscripts and artists such as Man Ray and Yves Tanguy agreed to design the covers.

In January 1930, they moved their home and printshop back to Paris where Crowder could both print and perform with his jazz band. Under his direction, they also worked on an anthology of African American writing to be called Negro, which soon became an obsession for Cunard. While vacationing in the south of France that summer, Cunard and Crowder turned over the management of the press to Mrs. Wyn Henderson and her young printer John Sibthorpe. This freed Cunard for research and travel to collect work for their anthology but eventually, she had to choose between projects. Hours Press was closed in early 1931 having completed 25 publications.

Cunard published her Negro anthology in 1934, collecting poetry, fiction, and nonfiction primarily by African-American writers, including Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston along with writing by George Padmore and her own essay on the Scottsboro Boys.

Hours Press books:

Douglas, Norman. Report on the Punice-Stone Industry of the Lipari Islands. June 1928. 80 letterpress copies set in 11 pt. Caslon Old Face. Not for sale.

Moore, George. Peronnik the Fool. December 1928. 200 letterpress signed copies on Vergé de Rives paper set in 11 pt. Caslon Old Face. Sold for £2.

Aldington, Richard. Hark the Herald. December 1928. 100 letterpress signed copies on Vergé de Rives paper, set in 17 pt. Caslon Old Face. Mary blue wrappers. Not for sale.

Guevara, Alvaro. St George at Silene. January 1929. 150 letterpress signed copies on Velin de Rives paper set in 16 pt. Caslon Old Face. Designed by the author. Sold for 10s, 6d.

Douglas, Norman. One Day. July 1929. 200 signed copies on Velin de Rives, set in monotype. Sold for 3 £3, 3 s. Also 300 copies, Vergé de Vidalon sold £1. 10s

Symons, Arthur. Mes Souvenirs. July 1929. 200 signed copies on Velin de Rives paper. Sold for £2, 2s.

Aragon, Louis. La Chasse au Snark. Early winter. 300 letterpress signed copies on Alfa paper set in 16 pt. Caslon Old Face. Title on front designed and composed by Aragon. Also 5 copies on Japan paper. 300 copies sold at £1. 1s; 5 copies at £5, 5s.

Aldington, Richard. The Eaten Heart. Late winter 1929. 200 letterpress signed copies on Canson-Montgolfier set in 16pt. Caslon Old Face. Sold for £1, 1s.

Lowenfels, Walter. Apollinaire. Early 1930. 150 copies signed letterpress copies on Canson-Montgolfier paper set in 16 pt. Caslon Old Face. Cover front and back designed by Yves Tanguy, printed black on daffodil paper boards. Sold for £1, 10s.

MacCown, Eugene. Catalogue of Paintings, Drawings, and Gouaches. Early 1930. 1000 copies set in Caslon old Face Italics on Vergé de Rives paper. Not for sale.

Graves, Robert. Ten Poems More. Early spring 1930. 200 signed letterpress copies on Canson-Montgolfier paper set in 16 pt Caslon Old Face. Cover photomontage by Len Lye. Sold for £1. 10s.

Riding, Laura. Twenty Poems Less. Spring 1930. 200 signed letterpress copies on Canson-Montgolfier paper set in 16 pt. Caslon Old Face. Front and back cover photomontage designed by Len Lye. Sold for £1. 10s.

Riding, Laura. Four Unposted Letters to Catherine. Early summer. 200 signed copies on Haut Vidalon paper set in Garamond Italic type. Front and back cover photomontage by Len Lye. Sold for £2.

Campbell, Roy. Poems. July 1930. 200 letterpress signed copies on Canson-Montgolfier paper set in 16 pt. Caslon Old Face. Two drawings by the author. Sold for £1. 10s.

Beckett, Samuel. Whoroscope. Midsummer 1930. 100 signed letterpress copies and 200 not signed, both on Vergé de Rives paper set in 11 pt. Caslon Old Face. Won £10 prize for the best poem on ‘Time.’ Signed sold for 5s; not signed sold for 1s.

Pound, Ezra. A Draft of XXX Cantos. Midsummer 1930. 200 copies not signed on Canson-Montgolfier-Soleil Velin paper and 10 signed (2 of these on vellum) on Texas Mountain paper bound in red leather. Initial letters by Dorothy Shakespear (wife of Pound). 200 copies sold for £2; 10 copies sold for £5, 5s.

Rodker, John. Collected Poems. August 1930. 200 signed copies hand-made paper. Initial lettering by Edward Wadsworth. Front and back cover photomontage by Len Lye. Sold for £1, 10s.

Crowder, Henry. Henry-Music. December 1930. 150 copies signed. Cover photomontage by Man Ray. Sold for 10s, 6d.

Acton, Harold. This Chaos. January 1931. 150 letterpress signed copies on Canson-Montgolfier paper set in 16 pt. Caslon Old Face. Front and back cover designed and printed in blue by
Elliott Seabrooke. Sold for £1, 10s.

Aldington, Richard. Last Straws. January 1931. 200 signed copies in green suede cloth boards. 300 not signed copies in grey-brown paper boards. Designed by Douglas Cockerell. Signed copies sold for £2; unsigned copies sold for 7s, 6d.

Howard, Brian. First Poems. January 1931. 150 signed letterpress copies on Canson-Montgolfier paper set in 16 pt. Caslon Old Face. Covers designed by John Banting. Sold for £1. 10s.

Brown, Bob. Words. January 1931. 150 signed letterpress copies on Canson-Montgolfier paper set in 16 pt. Caslon Old Face. Upper cover designed by John Sibthorpe. Sold for £1, 10s.

Moore, George. The Talking Pine. Early 1931. 500 copies. Not for sale.

Ellis, Havelock. The Revaluation of Obscenity. Spring 1931. 200 signed copies. Blue cloth boards. Sold for £2.


Zapata from Yolla Bolly Press

If you were very fortunate in the 1980s or 1990s, you got to visit the Yolla Bolly Press, “Publishers of Modern Literature in Fine Press Limited Editions,” in Round Valley, Mendocino County, four hours north of San Francisco, deep in California’s Coast Range mountains. The press, founded by James and Carolyn Robertson, ceased printing/publishing with the death of James Robertson in 2001. Happily, many of their books are still available.

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired Zapata: a narrative, in dramatic form, of the life of Emiliano Zapata written by John Steinbeck with woodcuts by Karin Wikström (Covelo, Calif. : Yolla Bolly Press, 1991). Copy 33/100. Graphic Arts Collection Q-000936 (note: printed with several different colored papers)


“This work formed the basis for the screenplay, Viva Zapata!” notes the t.p. verso. Steinbeck’s text is accompanied by: Zapata, the man, the myth, and the Mexican Revolution : commentary on John’s Steinbeck’s narrative by Robert E. Morsberger.

Princeton University Library Forrestal Annex, Reserve PN1997 .V56 1993 c.1; c.2; c.3; c.4

“One hundred copies were printed, of which fifty numbered copies accompany the portfolio version of the Steinbeck narrative” “Forty copies, numbered 11 to 50, have seven handcolored illustrations, an additional Wikström print, a supplemental text, and are enclosed in a portfolio of archival board covered in buckram with bone closures. One hundred ninety copies, numbered 68 to 257, are enclosed in a slipcase of archival board covered with buckram. Copies numbered 1 to 10 and 51 to 67 are reserved for the Press”–Colophon.