OT: Doubleday Doran Limited Editions

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OT: Doubleday Doran Limited Editions

Feb 9, 2015, 2:25pm

I am looking for information about DD Limited Editions Signed by Famous American Artist series. I came across a nice looking 1944 edition of Wilkie Collins The Moonstone illustrated and signed by William Sharp and limited to 1,000 copies. After researching I found a few more titles under this series but online info is scarce:

Anna Karenina 1944, Fritz Eichenberg
The Way of All Flesh 1944, Andre Durenceau
Robinson Crusoe 1945, Fritz Kredel
The Life of Samuel Johnson 1945, Gordon Ross
Barchester Towers 1945, Donald McKay
The Oregon Trail 1945, Thomas Hart Benton

When my copy of The Moonstone arrives I will examine it and provide pictures.

Feb 9, 2015, 2:27pm

Looking forward to the review.

Feb 9, 2015, 3:48pm

> 1
Never heard of it and god knows I do not need any more books to collect...so I sort of love/hate you right now :-) But I too look forward to your review.

Feb 9, 2015, 4:44pm

A bookstore I used to frequent had the Barchester Towers for awhile - I do not remember enough about it to be all that helpful, but I do remember that for whatever reason I didn't find it compelling enough to warrant the $20 or $30 they were asking.

Feb 10, 2015, 12:16pm

I had the DD Moonstone at one time because I liked Sharp's work for the LEC/HP Poe, and although I thought his illustrations were at least as good as Dignimont's for the LEC/HP, the production values--paper, typography and binding, were so much inferior I donated the book to my son's school.

I must say though I'm tempted to seek out the Benton-illustrated The Oregon Trail!

Feb 10, 2015, 3:18pm

>5 Django6924: DD have a few editions of The Moonstone with Sharp's illustrations. Something has to be special (other than the signature) with the limited run of 1,000. Otherwise why would anyone buy it. In fact I am not sure what was their distribution channel for this series. Hopefully I have not wasted my money...

Feb 10, 2015, 8:42pm

Your money is wasted. However, there is enough about Robinson Crusoe in The Moonstone to give you two books in one.

Feb 10, 2015, 11:59pm

>6 BuzzBuzzard:

vdanchev, mine was a trade edition--definitely not a limited run--so I am eager to hear what you think about it.

>7 leccol:

Don, isn't it odd that the only time Hollywood tackled this novel, was back in the early 1930s, and the studio was Poverty-Row Monogram? (I think there were some earlier silent version which must not have been particularly distinguished). The Woman in White on the other hand, had the lavish 1940s version with the inimitable Sydney Greenstreet as Count Fosco, which despite jettisoning half the book, was still an entertaining and fairly faithful version. I also remember a riveting English miniseries on PBS in the early 80s that was a splendid adaptation. I wonder why the poor Moonstone has been given such short shrift?

Feb 11, 2015, 5:58am

I have read The Moonstone twice, and as I remember it, it was the butler who turned to Robinson Crusoe as to the scriptures for advice and solace. I have also read The Woman in White twice, but didn't enjoy it as much as The Moonstone.

But as Tristram Shandy says, every man has his own Hobby Horse, when commenting upon his Uncle Toby's predilection toward studying fortifications.

If it is one thing I have learned from this group it is to try and understand another's Hobby Horse. For example, Django and I used to trade bitter recriminations because we didn't understand each other's Hobby Horse. But as we grew to be more understanding of each other's Hobby Horse, the recriminations stopped.

Those of you who are not understanding of another's Hobby Horse, should carefully peruse The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, so that you may become more tolerant of eacher others Hobby Horse.

Feb 11, 2015, 5:37pm

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Feb 11, 2015, 9:17pm

>10 EclecticIndulgence:

Sterne is delightful--it takes a bit to attune your ear to his unique style, but once you have, you will always regret that he wasn't able to leave us more than Tristram Shandy and A Sentimental Journey.

Feb 11, 2015, 11:30pm

The funniest of all the classic comedic novels. I've only read one to compare with its humour. The modern classic The Horse's Mouth by Joyce Cary. Although the African novels by Evelyn Waugh, Scoop and Black Mischief, are right up there also.

Feb 18, 2015, 2:21pm

As promised some pictured from the 1944 Doubleday Doran LE of the The Moonstone. Limited to 1,000 copies and signed by Sharp.

Colophon: Printed in Bulmer Monotype cast from matrices imported from England. It was set and printed by The Merrymopunt Press. Boston, Mass. The illustrations, by William Sharp, were printed in gravure by the Photogravure & Color Co., New York, N.Y. The book was designed by A. P. Tedesco under whose direction it was printed.

Book is bound in woven gray cloth with light brown blocking and decorations. Top edge is gilded. Other edges uncut. The paper is not mentioned but it has to be archival since it still looks as new. It is thin, has a nice crackle to it and works superbly for the illustrations. As for the illustrations I do not think they can be beat. I love Dignimont and the LEC The Wanderer but I think Sharp did a better work than him for The Moonstone.

Fine press book without a leather binding!

Feb 18, 2015, 2:33pm

vdanchev, the design is almost identical to my old copy, but mine was the trade edition, with black binding, not printed at Merrymount and, I'm fairly positive, not letterpress. As I mentioned, I liked Sharp's illustrations at least as much, though not more than, those of Dignimont, but if I would have had your splendid limited edition of this, I would have kept it!

Feb 18, 2015, 4:20pm

>14 Django6924: Through my research I have found out that DD LE Illustrated by Famous American Artists are similar in design to their kid brothers. I suspect that the paper is different but more importantly the press work as well as the reproduction of illustrations in the limited edition is superior. I just picked up the 1945 DD LE of Gulliver's Travels illustrated by Jon Corbino for $15! His curious color illustrations are clearly more vibrant in the limited run. This ties up very well in the discussion about what makes a book a fine press edition. Sometimes the difference is subtle but at the same time one can argue that it is huge.

Editado: Feb 18, 2015, 5:12pm

What a nice find. Do tell more and continue this. Did Moonstone come with a slipcase?

Feb 18, 2015, 5:50pm

>16 ironjaw: The slipcase is missing but I think DD LE were issued with such.

Feb 18, 2015, 6:45pm

>15 BuzzBuzzard: Strikingly original pictures! This definitely falls into the affordable gem category.
Corbino also illustrated Marco Polo for a DD LE. Totally different style, but apt and attractive.

Editado: Feb 19, 2015, 4:46am

>17 BuzzBuzzard: Well thanks for the pictures and the info. I went ahead and bought Moonstone also sans slipcase for $40 with another 20 for shipping to Denmark. Couldn't resist it. It looks wonderful and the illustrations are striking.

Feb 20, 2015, 1:50pm

>19 ironjaw: You are welcome! I hope you like it.

DD has two limited editions illustrated and signed by Salvador Dali: Essays of Montaigne and The Autobiography by Benvenuto Cellini. Although they are limited to 1,000 copies the price is a fraction of the asking price of Lysistata and Ulysses. I find this odd.

Feb 20, 2015, 1:51pm

Let's hope that stays that way!

Feb 21, 2015, 3:20pm

I have to say that judging by the photos, the DD Moonstone is more appealing to me than the Arion Moonstone, which is very attractive in its own right.

Feb 23, 2015, 2:03pm

>22 ultrarightist: DD Moonstone is a nice book. It could have been nicer if it were a little larger in size and with a different binding. When it comes to fine press books (setting price aside) there is something about owning a 70 - 80 years old book that almost certainly makes me favor it over newly produced one.

Feb 23, 2015, 9:05pm

>23 BuzzBuzzard:

The physical size of the DD Moonstone was nice, as I remember it--more compact and lighter than the LEC--but I remember the type seemed small and cramped in comparison. This is one book I wish they had let Dwiggins design--2 handy volumes would be about right.

Feb 25, 2015, 12:47pm

>24 Django6924: They have that for the LE of Anna Karenina. Illustrated by Eichenberg but not with his typical wood engravings. I will post pictures when I get it.

Feb 25, 2015, 2:19pm

The 1945 Doubleday Doran LE of Gulliver's Travels. The type used for this edition is Faifield Linotype. It was set and printed by The Country Life Press at Garden City, N. Y. Profusely illustrated with full page color pictures and line drawings by Jon Corbino. Signed by him. I find the illustrations unusual and I like them. The paper looks and feels identical to the one used for the DD LE Moonstone. Both books have the same dimension, but the font size for Gulliver's is larger, which makes it easier to read.

How different this one is compared to the first HP Gulliver. Perhaps the HP wins by an inch but DD Gulliver is still a very attractive book!

Mar 12, 2015, 1:58pm

The 1944 Longfellow ML sheds some light on the Doubleday Doran Illustrated Editions project: In the Doubleday project, the work of twelve artists is being used. One of these twelve has never been commissioned by us to illustrate books.... DD plans were likely fluid in 1944 and ultimately at least three of the artists were never commissioned by the LEC: Andre Durenceau, Jon Corbino and Salvador Dali. Corbino also did two books so DD might have ended up using less than twelve artists.

This is the list of books from the DD Illustrated Limited Editions that I was able to compile so far:

Anna Karenina 1944, Fritz Eichenberg
The Way of All Flesh 1944, Andre Durenceau
Robinson Crusoe 1945, Fritz Kredel
The Life of Samuel Johnson 1945, Gordon Ross
Barchester Towers 1945, Donald McKay
The Oregon Trail 1945, Thomas Hart Benton
Gulliver's Travels 1945, Jon Corbino
The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini 1946, Salvador Dali
The Travels of Marco Polo 1948, Jon Corbino

Mar 12, 2015, 2:52pm

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Mar 12, 2015, 3:23pm

>28 EclecticIndulgence: The colophon is at the back of the book but the limitation number and the artist's signature is at the front. I have never seen a DD regular edition first hand but based on pictures it looks like the LE is slightly bigger (not always though), has monochrome one piece binding (sometimes identical to the regular edition) and the reproduction of the illustrations is better (as far as I can tell). If you compare DD LE to LEC you will be disappointed! Definitely inferior materials, press work, etc. Of the three DD LE that I have I really like the Moonstone. Now would I pay $200 for Benton's signed Oregon Trail (there is a copy on eBay right now) certainly not. Would I pay $1,000 + for Dali's signature - definitely not. But some of these and there are only around a dozen total are nice bargains and in my opinion well designed books.

Mar 12, 2015, 7:46pm

Some pretty adventurous commissioning by DD. I like the Dali Cellini a lot and am quite taken by his Montaigne but doubt I'll be able to afford them. He also did Macbeth for them, which I find less successful and seems to have been issued only as a trade edition. It does, however, have a fabulous patterned binding.

My own Dali collection is therefore likely to stay at one: the 1953 Folio Society As You Like It illustrated with stage and costume designs he did for a production by Luchino Visconti. As it's an early FS it doesn't have a slipcase but a great dustjacket:

Mar 12, 2015, 8:17pm

>30 featherwate:

One of the volumes in the Folio Society Shakespeare "Quill Edition" (that's how I distinguish these wonderful almost pocket-sized editions) that I have always wanted--alas, it's the priciest of them all, and not often (as in "never") found on this side of the pond.

Mar 18, 2015, 12:43pm

One of the measures of success of Macy's achievement is how other publishers in the mid-1940s began trying to emulate Macy's success by bringing out their own illustrated editions of classics--and I'm specifically referring to the publishing giants--not the small private presses. The ML for the LEC Longfellow mentions Doubleday Doran, and vdanchev has supplied some wonderful examples from that firm. Of course Doubleday Doran was a publisher of fairly expensive books, and the fact that they were able to commission well-known artists such as Eichenberg and Benton shows they were aiming at the same market niche as the LEC. But for the Modern Library--the inexpensive arm of the Random House publishing company--to commission illustrations for classic works of literature really shows how successful the Heritage Club concept was.

And it's telling that one of the first books issued by the Illustrated Modern Library was an edition of the book that had been the blockbusting success for the Heritage Club--Crime and Punishment. Their edition used an artist who never worked for Macy, but who illustrated Random House's two-volume Anna Karenina. I think his work here is rather more successful than his AK, but still doesn't supplant Eichenberg's Crime and Punishment in my opinion. The production values, especially the thin grade of paper used, are not in the same league as the HP edition, but I think it an interesting edition nonetheless, and its compactness compared to the HP is very attractive for people with younger eyes. It is particularly interesting as a homage to the success of the Heritage Club, which was for other publishers an even more impressive achievement than the LEC.

Mar 18, 2015, 7:50pm

Interesting note about the Illustrated Modern Library. I have a few and enjoy them, but did not know they were motivated by the success of HP.

When I was younger I collected a lot of ML books. At one time considering whether that should be my primary library - compactness and affordability being the attraction. However, I am currently planning on abandoning that effort, and divesting myself of most of my ML books, the exception being the Illustrated Modern Library books I think, which I shall keep.

What else do we know about the Illustrated Modern Library publications?


Mar 18, 2015, 8:49pm

I have mentioned the Warren Chappell-illustrated Tom Jones in the thread discussing the merits of the LEC versions, finding it good, but not as fine, in my opinion, as the later Random House edition illustrated by Lawrence Beall Smith. I also have the Illustrated Modern Library's Green Mansions with attractive, though too professionally commercial, illustrations by McKnight Kauffer.

The first illustrated Modern Library is purportedly The Holy Bible illustrated by Fritz Kredel, but I have never seen a copy of this--though I have seen a selection of Bible stories with Kredel's illustration from Peter Pauper. As Peter Pauper printed other illustrated classics for Random House, maybe there is an IML version.

These books were half the price of the HP books ($1.50 the original price for the Crime and Punishment shown above), and as far as I can tell only twenty or so were published before the publisher decided they weren't going to beat the HP at its own game. My editions came in slipcases with an illustration pasted on the outside--a nice touch. The most desirable of these is undoubtedly Don Quixote--Part One only--illustrated by Salvador Dali. This runs about $300 on Abebooks--quite a bundle, and it's not even signed!

Other Macy artists utilized by the IML were Boardman Robinson, Leaves of Grass, Tom Benton, Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography and Selected Writings, George Grosz, The Divine Comedy, John Curry, Emerson's Essays, William Sharp, The Brothers Karamazov, and Allen Lewis, Longfellow's Poems.

Artists who provided the illustration for other volumes in the series who are not represented in the Macy canon are Donald McKay, Pickwick Papers, Jeanyee Wong, Confucius and Charles Locke, Walden, (in addition to Kauffer and Reiser).

Mar 18, 2015, 9:36pm

I believe I have "wuthering heights", "Pickwick papers", "green mansion", "ghost stories". None in slipcases, but stating Illustrated modern library

Editado: Mar 20, 2015, 6:10am

>34 Django6924:
The Kredel Self-Pronouncing Bible certainly seems remarkably elusive – the editor of a very useful site dedicated to the ML and IML says “Very few of this rarest of Modern Library Illustrateds are known to exist. (Your editor has never seen a copy.)” But its value is not commensurate with its scarcity. The only copy I've come across was one sold on eBay in January for $19.50. The five or six photos make the book rather drab and there's no example of Kredel's contribution. The seller might have got more if s/he had made more of its being illustrated by Kredel. Although perhaps not. The sample illustrations on the site I mentioned above seem pretty uninspired to me.
The site is at http://www.modernlib.com, and has loads of information on identifying variant editions and series (such as the Donald Rumfeldesque "Illustrated Unillustrateds”).

Although you are right to say Jeanyee Wong wasn't an LEC illustrator, she was a contributor - the calligrapher for All Men are Brothers, and the cartographer, calligrapher and cover designer of Travels in Arabia Deserta. Given that they couldn't reach Edy Legrand to sign the latter I reckon the honour should have gone to her!.
Apparently her Confucius was the best-selling title in the Illustrated Modern Library series. Perhaps not surprising in wartime: an oasis of calm in a desert of madness.

Mar 18, 3:17pm

Does anyone have a good website or resource about the limited edition releases from Doubleday Doran? I did an advanced search at AbeBooks and typed in the publisher name and then for book titles I just put "limited". A few have shown up that way. I'm trying to find some titles from Doubleday Doran that might interest me and I would like to know more about their limited editions and the publisher in general.

Mar 22, 3:35am

Just bought the 2 volume DD limited Ana Karenina. The slipcase is beat up and detached at the bottom but the books appear to be in outstanding condition. $60. Will post some pictures when it arrives.

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