A Look at a Mix of Later Publications from the Limited Editions Club, Part 1

As long time readers of Books and Vines know, I had a chance to spend an afternoon with Jeannie Shiff at the Limited Editions Club office in October 2011. While I have since posted reviews of many of the LEC’s of the Shiff era, I must admit that there are a large number that I have been very deficient in getting around to posting. I will remedy that over the next week or two with some postings that contain a mix of pictures from various LEC books that I do not have enough information or pictures to do stand-alone postings of.

In general, as with all of the Shiff era books that have been reviewed here, the production standards are second to none.  The paper is always the best of the best, the photogravure quality is simply the best, fantastic bindings, with nice to excellent overall designs.

In the first installment below, you will see The Declaration of Independence, published by the LEC in 2010; Poems and a Memoir by Seamus Heaney, published by the LEC in 1982; The Bottom of the Harbor by Joseph Mitchellpublished by the LEC in 1991; and Songs of the Open Road by Walt Whitman, published by the LEC in 1990.

{Ed. Note:  Readers should contact Jeanne Shiff at the Limited Editions Club at 212-737-7600 or 800-701-8870 to inquire about availability and pricing if interested. As of a few months back, I believe they had copies of The Declaration of Independence, Down by the Harbor and Songs of the Open Road remaining.}

Pictures

(All pictures on Books and Vines are exclusively provided to highlight and visualize the work being reviewed.  A side benefit, hopefully, is encouraging healthy sales of fine press books for the publishers and fine retailers that specialize in these types of books (of which Books and Vines has no stake or financial interest). Please note that works photographed are copyrighted by the publisher, author and/or illustrator as indicated in the articles. Permission to use contents from these works for anything outside of fair use purposes must come directly from the copyright owner and no permission is granted or implied to use photo’s found on Books and Vines for any purpose that would infringe on the rights of the copyright owner.)

The Declaration of Independence. 2010. Photograph by Robert Frank. Afterword by David Armitage.

  • Frontispiece photogravure, Robert Frank, Jay, New York, 1954
  • Designed, set in Monotype Perpetua and printed by Michael and Winifred Bixler
  • Hand-made paper
  • Frontispiece photogravure was printed by Jon Goodman
  • Bound by hand in homespun dark blue Japanese fabric and set into a suede-lined box covered with the same fabric at Jovonis Bookbindery in West Springfield, Massachusetts, by John von Isakovics
  • 10 3/4″ x 14 1/4″
  • Limited to 500 editions, signed by Frank
Declaration of Independence, Limited Editions Club, Book in Solander Box
Declaration of Independence, Limited Editions Club, Frontispiece and Title Page
Declaration of Independence, Limited Editions Club, Copyright Page and Sample Text #1
Declaration of Independence, Limited Editions Club, Sample Text #2
Declaration of Independence, Limited Editions Club, Sample Text #3 (Afterword)
Declaration of Independence, Limited Editions Club, Colophon

Poems and a Memoir by Seamus Heaney. 1982. Signed by the author and by Henry Pearson and Thomas Flanagan.

  • Typographic Design by John Anderson of The Pickering Press
  • Original relief engravings are by Henry Pearson
  • Composition is Linotype Janson with hand-set Post Title Medium and Hammer American Uncial has been performed by Finn Typographic
  • Daniel Keleher at Wild Carrot Letterpress has printed the illustrations and tyne text on one hundred pound letterpress paper with a laid finish made by Mohawk Mills and used in this book for the first time
  • Book bound by Robert Burlen & Son
  • Limited to 2000 copies
Poems and a Memoir by Seamus Heaney, Limited Editions Club, Slipcase Spine
Poems and a Memoir by Seamus Heaney, Limited Editions Club, Book Spine
Poems and a Memoir by Seamus Heaney, Limited Editions Club, Book Cover
Poems and a Memoir by Seamus Heaney, Limited Editions Club, About the Leather
Poems and a Memoir by Seamus Heaney, Limited Editions Club, Title Page
Poems and a Memoir by Seamus Heaney, Limited Editions Club, Sample Illustration #1 with Text
Poems and a Memoir by Seamus Heaney, Limited Editions Club, Sample Illustration #2 with Text
Poems and a Memoir by Seamus Heaney, Limited Editions Club, Colophon

The Bottom of the Harbor. 1991. By Joseph Mitchell. Photogravures by Berenice Abbott.

  • Five photogravures by Berenice Abbott
  • Text set in Monotype Bell by Michael and Winifred Bixler
  • Printed at Wild Carrot Letterpress
  • Paper made at Cartiere Enrico Magnani in Pescia, Italy
  • Photogravure plates were made by Jon Goodman and were printed by  Sara Krohn and Windgate Studio on Hand-Made H.M.P. paper
  • Bound in black linen with a black leather spine
  • Slipcase is covered in black linen
  • 9 1/2″ x 12″
  • Limited to 250 copies, signed by Mitchell
The Bottom of the Harbor, Limited Editions Club, Book Spine and Cover
The Bottom of the Harbor, Limited Editions Club, Frontispiece and Title Page
The Bottom of the Harbor, Limited Editions Club, Sample Illustration #1 and Text
The Bottom of the Harbor, Limited Editions Club, Sample Illustration #2 and Text
The Bottom of the Harbor, Limited Editions Club, Colophon

Songs of the Open Road, by Walt Whitman. 1990. Photogravures by Aaron Siskind.

  • Book designed by Kevin Bagos Jr. and Dan Carr
  • Six photogravures by Aaron Siskind
  • Set in English Monotype Scotch at Golgonooza Letter Foundry by Julia Ferrari and Dan Carr
  • Text printed letterpress by Heritage Printers on a paper mould made at Carterie Enrico Magnani
  • Paul Taylor made the photogravure plates and printed them with Clary Nelson at Renaissance Press on Richard de Bas paper
  • Binding done at Campbell-Logan in Minneapolis using a spine and fore edge of black Nigerian goatskin and beautiful dark green linen that was dyed especially for this edition
  • 14 1/5″ x 17 1/2″
  • Limited to 550 copies, signed by Aaron Siskind
Songs of the Open Road, Limited Editions Club, Book in Slipcase
Songs of the Open Road, Limited Editions Club, Top View of Book
Songs of the Open Road, Limited Editions Club, Title Page
Songs of the Open Road, Limited Editions Club, Sample Illustration #1 with Text
Songs of the Open Road, Limited Editions Club, Colophon
Songs of the Open Road, Limited Editions Club, Monthly Letter

5 thoughts on “A Look at a Mix of Later Publications from the Limited Editions Club, Part 1

  1. Spot on, Robert!

    This LEC book is a gem and is analogous to the beautiful LEC edition of James Joyce’s ‘Dubliners’, specifically:

    1. Great collection of short stories focused on a specific locale that the author is intimately familiar with (in Joseph Mitchell’s case, the waterfront and harbor of NYC).

    2. Beautiful photographs by a gifted photographer of same locale reproduced using photogravure technique.

    3. Top quality hand made paper from Cartiere Enrico Magnani.

    4. Elegant, understated book moroccan or Nigerian goatskin leather and linen-covered boards, with matching linen-covered slipcase.

    Both books can usually be found on abebooks.com for about $600 in fine condition, money well sent in my opinion. One significant difference, however — ‘The Bottom of the Harbor’ was issued in a very small run of 250 copies, unusual for LEC. Even the ultra-expensive Sidney Shiff livres d’artiste books costing thousands of dollars that followed in the next decade had runs of 300 to 400 copies.

  2. Interesting books, which, were they not so expensive, I’d love to add to my collection. The biggest disappointment for me is the Heaney, with Pearson’s “illustrations” which are decidedly not to my taste. The biggest surprise is The Bottom of the Harbor, with which I am not familiar, but which, after having seen, I’m really interested to find out more.

Leave a Reply