A couple weeks back Books and Vines highlighted the wonderful 1942 Limited Editions Club (LEC) edition of The Education of Henry Adams, with stunning etchings by Samuel Chamberlain. Now that I am three-quarters of the way through reading it, I can only re-emphasize what a must have book it is. Not only is the design and execution extremely apropos for this autobiography, but the content is proving worthy of all the praise that has been lavished on it for more than 100 years now. Which brings me to the point of this article — that when it comes to Henry Adams, the LEC followed their 1942 Education home run with a 1957 grand slam in their edition of Adams’s other masterpiece, Mont Saint-Michel and Chartres.
The LEC Mont Saint-Michel and Chartres is conservatively designed by the great American book designer/illustrator/type designer T.M. Cleland in a classic manner, seemingly simplistic but oozing with intellectual aura. The type, Monotype Poliphilus, works perfectly for this work and the Curtis Rag paper is nice, as always. As you may recall, I felt that Samuel Chamberlain’s etchings for The Education were amongst the best I have ever seen in an LEC. Just wait until you see the photographs that he provides to Mont Saint-Michel and Chartres below! Beautiful is an understatement. Re-produced directly from the negatives by The Photogravure and Color Company, the photographs transcend time yet emanate a feel of medieval context, perfectly appropriate for a book that was written to celebrate what Adams saw as the harmony of medieval society.
Mont Saint-Michel and Chartres was privately published by Adams in 1904, a few years prior to his completing The Education of Henry Adams, which was also privately published. Mont Saint-Michel and Chartres provides thought-provoking reflections from Adams’s active mind; history, travel, poetry and architecture are only some of the many areas of interest woven throughout his text. Medieval society, as represented by the great cathedrals of France, provides gist for the mill within Adams’s mind, providing the unifying theme. Mont Saint-Michel and Chartres was publicly released in 1913 and quickly received an excellent critical reception. It has been considered a classic ever since. I look forward to reading this, hopefully soon after I complete The Education.
About the Edition
- Illustrated with 59 photographs by Samuel Chamberlain, reproduced by The Photogravure and Color Company
- Introduction by Francis Henry Taylor
- Designed by T.M. Cleland
- Type set in Monotype Poliphilus
- Composition and printing done by the Press of A. Colish, Inc., Mount Vernon, New York
- Curtis Rag paper from Curtis Paper Company, Newark, Delaware
- Binding in grey buckram, with a black leather label, stamped in gold, designed by T.M. Cleland
- Binding done by Frank Daniel Fortney of Russell-Rutter Company of New York
- 7″ x 10″, 462 pages
Pictures of the Edition
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