New York Heritage Press - Huckleberry Finn

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New York Heritage Press - Huckleberry Finn

Nov 29, 2020, 2:34am

Looking for more information about the New York Heritage Press Huckleberry Finn. I see the 1940's print came with a dust jacket which I have never seen before on a Heritage Press book. Was this more common for Heritage in the earlier days? All the ones I have seen say "The New York Heritage Reprints" which makes me think there is an even older version available? Most of them no longer have their dust jackets so I'm certainly hunting for one that has a jacket. I also see a couple different colors for the cover.

Nov 29, 2020, 9:55am

>1 RickFlair: On occasion the Heritage Press would issue its editions with a dustjacket, although the two times I have seen this is also with the "Heritage Reprints" designation. I don't believe it was common; I wonder if it was for situations when they sold their wares through a store.

The original Huck Finn with Norman Rockwell's illustrations has a bit of an interesting history. Our very own Django6924 shared this in a separate post a little while ago, so I'll quote him below:

"In the Sandglass for my first Heritage Press edition of Huck Finn illustrated by Norman Rockwell, there is a notice that with Christmas drawing on apace, the Press intends to print Tom Sawyer, also illustrated by Norman Rockwell in a companion binding, and to place both books in a single box (slipcase), and that the 2 volume boxed set will sell at bookshops for $5–the individual price per volume at the bookshops remaining $3.75. The final paragraph of the Sandglass contains the following:

“We intend to persuade Mr. Rockwell to write personal inscriptions in each of these sets which is ordered by a member of the Heritage Club. If you want to place your order for one or more sets personally inscribed by Mr. Rockwell, you must send this order to our office before November first, since we could not ask Mr. Rockwell to make these inscriptions on more than one occasion. We will ask him to do so on November first only, and then ship the books to those who will have ordered them. In placing your order, we suggest that you give us the name of the person to whom you intend to make the gift, in order that Mr. Rockwell may inscribe that name with his own.”

In many years of searching, I have not seen this set for sale, and one might suppose the project somehow fell through…except…

In the early 1960s, when I was living in Kansas City, my favorite bookshop was the Bennett-Schneider bookshop on the Country Club Plaza. They sold new books, but had a display case that featured rare books and expensive art editions. You couldn’t touch these and they weren’t for sale, and the display was rotated on a regular basis. I distinctly remember seeing this set, which had Tom Sawyer lying flat, opened to the title page, and a notecard in front giving the books’ particulars–including the fact that the set was personally inscribed by Norman Rockwell to the book’s owner (can’t remember the name).

Was this just a fluke? Or are there more copies of this set with Mr. Rockwell’s inscriptions floating somewhere? I confess I haven’t ever seen one of the boxed sets offered for sale. My own Tom Sawyer has a copyright date from 1936, and is marked as a Nonesuch Press/Heritage Press edition on the title page. An intriguing treasure search for those of you who appreciate the productions of the George Macy era!"

Dic 19, 2020, 9:30pm

>2 WildcatJF: Wow, thanks for that information. That would be a treasure and I have not seen them together in a box set. I did find one Huck Finn with dustjacket that was NOT part of the "reprints" but the book was very aged and worn. And I don't want any of the "reprints" because it says something about "this war time edition uses LESS paper". Also, I noticed that the LEC of Huck Finn was not illustrated by Norman Rockwell.... what's up with that?

Dic 19, 2020, 10:30pm

>3 RickFlair: The LEC issued Huck Finn twice on its own without Norman Rockwell's artwork:
40. Twain, Mark. THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN. 1933. Signed by Carl Purington Rollins, designer. This reused the Kimble illustrations wit a new one utilized for the title page if I'm not mistaken.
132. Twain, Mark. ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN. 1942. Signed by Thomas Hart Benton, artist. This one tends to go for high prices.

You can find more about LEC and Heritage Press variants on this page on my blog:

Dic 22, 2020, 4:22pm

>4 WildcatJF: And regarding the 2 volume box set of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer... that was a NY Heritage release right? I found a 2 volume set where both books are inside the same slipcase but I think it might be from the Connecticut era. The Connecticut 2 volume box set is not the one we want right?

Dic 22, 2020, 5:37pm

>5 RickFlair: Yes, I believe so. I would be surprised if EMI (owners of the Easton Press who bought the rights to the Heritage Press in the 1970s) would go that extra step to get Rockwell involved to do a signed edition. However, Django6924 was the person who supplied me with that info, so perhaps he would know for sure.

Dic 22, 2020, 7:32pm

>5 RickFlair: >6 WildcatJF:

Definitely NY Heritage Press, 1940.

Editado: Dic 22, 2020, 7:34pm

>6 WildcatJF: What are your thoughts on this set? This is from NY Heritage and it does not say anything about "reprints". I know this is not the set you are talking about but this is the best I could find so far.

Editado: Dic 22, 2020, 9:57pm

>8 RickFlair: Looks better than any I've seen of the Heritage editions. I don't have either currently so I can't give you any better impression than these are nice!

Dic 23, 2020, 8:22am

>8 RickFlair:
Robert (Django6924) would know more but I believe the “-R” in the Sandglass numbers is your evidence that these are reprints.

Dic 23, 2020, 10:11am

>8 RickFlair: You know, I bought these books from the "Heritage Club" probably in the 90s before I knew anything about the LEC etc. it was obviously Connecticut-based and sent books on a monthly basis although (since they had an extensive backlist, which i didn't understand the reason for at the time) one could get extra books from a list.
They are pretty good, especially with regard to the Rockwell paintings. Overall attractive books.
I might someday replace them with New York editions (I've done this several times with Heritage exclusives) if I can find them in top-notch condition. What you've pictured looks fine and I think I would buy them.

Dic 23, 2020, 11:55am

>10 UK_History_Fan: hmmm ok but it doesn't say New York Reprints anywhere like I usually see if its a reprint

Dic 23, 2020, 11:56am

>11 laotzu225: ok but the inside of the books that I posted says "New York Heritage". If it is the Connecticut Heritage it will say on the inside of the book.

Dic 23, 2020, 1:36pm

>12 RickFlair:

Jerry is right about the "R" on the Sandglass indicating the book is a reprint. Tom Sawyer was first released as the third book in Series A in 1937 (hence Number 3A). Huck Finn came 3 years late in 1940 as the 4th book in Series D.

The use of the term "Reprint" on the title page of a Heritage book was only used on those books reprinted during wartime paper rationing, and also had the disclaimer "This reprint uses substantially less paper than the original printing" (or words to that effect-- my Heritage Reprint of Crime and Punishment is packed away somewhere and I can't be precise about the wording or whether it is on the title page or the copyright page). Another feature of the Heritage Reprints is that they came with paper dust jackets and without slipcases.

There is always the possibility of a Sandglass being put in a copy which didn't originally have one: I have HPs with "New York" on the title page and a Norwalk Sandglass. However, the ones in the picture you posted certainly look like they were the ones which came with the books pictured. A nice-looking set.

Incidentally, the original HP issues had Rockwell's color illustrations tipped-in, and none of the later reprints have this feature.

Dic 23, 2020, 2:55pm

>14 Django6924: Great information thank you so much. I did buy the set as its the best I have found. The seller sent more pictures showing that the spines are not dulled which I was very surprised to see.

Dic 23, 2020, 8:56pm

>15 RickFlair:

If it was a reasonable price, then I think you did well. The early issues of these books are VERY hard to find, especially in decent condition.

Editado: Dic 24, 2020, 4:45pm

>16 Django6924: I paid $50 total for the pair. Do you think that was appropriate?

Dic 24, 2020, 7:08pm

As long as the books are in good condition, no damage, markings, and no objectionable odors, I'd say that was a very good buy.

Editado: Dic 31, 2020, 10:46pm

>18 Django6924: The spines of both books are lighter in color than the front covers. Still a good deal? How much does that affect the value? The seller said there was no spine dulling but I just received it and there is noticeable dulling. It's not horrible but it's there. The books are in outstanding condition otherwise though.

Ene 1, 8:57pm

Still a good deal, I think. Some HPs and LECs from the 1930s and 1940s are almost impossible to find without sunned spines: the HP Sentimental Journey, the first issue of Two Years Before the Mast, the first issue of Poe's Tales of Mystery and Imagination, etc.; among LECs Moby-Dick (usually sunned unless fallen off), the first Don Quixote, even LECs from the 1950s: Histories of Herodotus; the list could go on....

Ene 2, 11:51am

> 19 >20 Django6924: It is a problem. An otherwise excellent volume may have a spine not only sunned or faded but almost unreadable. I have been looking for a copy of the HP Pickwick Papers with illustrations by Gordon Ross (1938). This was part of an original series with uniform design. The spines all had a couple of figures of characters from the book on a beige background and the title in a gold oval. All the copies I've seen on ebay have had extremely darkened spines with the figures invisible.
While I personally have no interest in collecting the entire set, there are worse things a booklover could do. I do have David Copperfield (sold from an estate) in excellent shape and a good example of how fine this series was.

Ene 2, 2:12pm

>21 laotzu225:

I collected all of the HP Dickens while I was a member of the Heritage Club and gradually replaced the Connecticut volumes with the earlier NY editions which used Clarence Hornung's series binding of gray cloth with burgundy decorations and the gold medallion on the spine. All in all a wonderful set, and though some of the volumes are better illustrated than others, I prefer the Heritage Dickens on the whole to the Nonesuch Dickens (as reprinted by the other publishers which used the original illustrations by "Phiz," Cruickshank, et al.) The original Nonesuch Dickens I would probably have tried to collect at one time, but only don't seriously believe it is worth its astronomical price in comparison to the HP set. I realize this is heresy, but....

Incidentally, collectors of the HP Dickens will notice a difference in the Hornung bindings. In some the gray linen is darker than others. The darker, identified in the Sandglasses as "Bancroft window shade linen" and "British gray" was the original color chosen by Hornung; apparently at some point in the series this no longer was available and was replaced in 1950s re-issue of Great Expectations by a much lighter gray "Interlaken linen."

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