The Limited Editions Club (LEC) created many wonderful, extremely collectible books over the years. Many are very sought after, and can run well into the hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. However, many remain bargains in relation to their make up. While not inexpensive ($200-500 on Abe’s), the LEC’s 1949 publication of The Complete Andersen (in six volumes containing the complete stories of Hans Christian Andersen) is one such example. Containing some of the most popular stories in literature, wonderful hand-colored illustrations by Fritz Kredel, a translation by the famous actor and humanitarian Jean Pierre Hersholt, printing done by letterpress, and with signatures of Kredel and Hersholt, this should go for many hundreds more than it does.
Hans Christian Andersen (1805 – 1875) was a Danish writer famous for his children’s stories. His fairy tales have been translated into more than 150 languages and have been the inspiration of countless retellings, movies and plays. His first fairy tales were published in 1835. Despite not selling well, more followed in 1836 and 1837. Today, Andersen’s tales, such as Thumbelina, The Snow Queen, The Ugly Duckling, The Little Mermaid and The Emperor’s New Clothes, remain extremely popular and read in every region of the world.
Fritz Kredel (1900-1973) was born in Germany and studied under Rudolf Koch. Eventually moving to the United States, he illustrated over 400 books, winning many awards and honors. He illustrated 19 books for the Limited Editions Club, spanning from 1931 (Grimm’s Fairy Tales) through 1972 (The Devil’s Dictionary). His work in this edition of The Complete Andersen is among his best.
Danish born Jean Pierre Hersholt (1886-1956) translated the 168 stories of Hans Christian Andersen into English for this LEC edition, the first time all of Andersen’s stories were published together. The translation is considered one of the best in English. Hersholt had a large collection of Hans Christian Andersen books which now in the Library of Congress. Hersholt is best known as an actor, appearing in 140 films (he also directed four). in 1939, Hersholt played a major role in forming the Motion Picture Relief Fund to help provide industry employees medical help when they could not afford it. After his death in 1956, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award was created as an honorary Academy Award given to an “individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry”.
About the Edition
- Complete stories of Hans Christian Andersen together for the first time
- Designed by George Macy
- Translation of the 168 stories into English by Jean Hersholt
- Notes and appendices prepared by Jean Hersholt
- Illustrations by Fritz Kredel and colored by hand from his drawings at the Yuster Studios under the artists supervision
- Composition of text done at The Stratford Press
- Printing by letterpress at The Ferris Printing Company, under the supervision of David Jacques Way
- Paper especially manufactured by The Worthy Paper Company
- Half blue buckram stamped with aluminum leaf, decorated paper sides from a design by Fritz Kredel
- Binding done at The Russell-Rutter Company under the supervision of Frank D. Fortney
- Six volumes, 1292 pages
- Limited to 1500 copies
- Signed by Hersholt and Kredel
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