"I can hardly describe to you the effect of these books. They produced in me an infinity of new images and feelings that sometimes raised me to ecstasy, but more frequently sunk me into the lowest dejection." Frankenstein’s Monster, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.
Today, we wanted to share images from our Pennyroyal Press edition of Frankenstein, designed and printed with original wood engravings by print-maker Barry Moser.
Special Collections recently received the latest installment of a multi-year gift from New York collector Jerry Buff. This latest donation of over 1550 books consists mainly of fine-press and deluxe publications, considerably augmenting our collections of several American, British, and German private presses, as well as the work of important designers, publishers, and pressman. We are delighted that the donation included a number of Pennyroyal Press editions, including Frankenstein.
Each week, one of the staff members here in Special Collections chooses a book from the stacks to share. As the weeks go on, you’ll get a chance to meet everybody on staff and discover their favorite items in the collection.
This week’s staff pick was chosen by graduate assistant Hayley Jackson. She chose Victor Hugo’s much-loved Les Misérables, a five-volume set from the UWM Book Arts Collection. This particular edition, produced by the Limited Editions Club in 1938, was designed and printed by Peter Beilenson at the Walpole Printing Office in Mount Vernon.
In addition to being fond of the novel, Hayley was drawn the high quality printing and the beautifully textured wood engravings by artist Lynd Ward. While he is best known for his wordless dramatic novels, Ward was a frequent illustrator for the Heritage Limited Editions Club. Each volume of Les Misérables has a full-page wood engraving depicting the volume’s title in addition to several smaller illustrations throughout the text. The final volume was signed by Ward.
See it in the catalog here.
What’s in a banner?The images used in our banner are from the third edition of Owen Jones’s classic work “The Grammar of Ornament” (London: Bernard Quaritch, 1868). Jones, a designer and decorator primarily interested in the use of color in ornamental design (“form without colour is like a body without a soul”) was an early proponent of the use of chromolithography (“The Grammar of Ornament” was first published in 1856). The book presents hundreds of samples of color designs from across time, geography, and culture. Sample images from the book are presented here.We chose images from this book for use in our banner because we believe they represent some of the core areas of documentation at UWM’s Special Collections: history, culture, art, design, and the history of books and printing. Of course, chromolithography is also Max’s favorite printing technology.
Today marks the 53rd anniversary of the creation of the Berlin Wall, which separated the eastern and western blocs of Berlin, as well as the entire nation of Germany, for nearly 30 years. We decided to share some images from our copy of Berlin, 13. August: Spermassnahmen gegen recht und menschlichkeit. The title roughly translates to Berlin 13. August: Barriers to Law and Humanity. This book was published by the Federal Ministry of All-German Affairs in September 1961 and chronicles the events of August 13, 1961, showing images of the original barbed wire fencing and the effect of the wall on ordinary German civilians. The images of separated families trying to share special moments, such as the pictured wedding above, are particularly poignant.
See it in the catalog here.
It’s Irish Fest in Milwaukee this weekend, so we pulled James Stephens’s Irish Fairy Tales to share with you!
The book contains ten retellings of Irish folktales, many concerning the Fianna, small warrior-bands of Irish mythology featured in tales from the Fenian cycle, and their captain Fionn mac Uail (often transcribed as Finn McCool). It features sixteen color plate illustrations and several black and white illustrations from renowned illustrator Arthur Rackham. Rackham is regarded as one of the leading illustrators of the “Golden Age” of book illustration in Great Britain.
See it in the catalog here.
We’re kicking off a new weekly feature here at UWM Special Collections - Fine Press Fridays! One of our goals in Special Collections is to document the history of the book and how the form of the book has been used by publishers and printers to express their ideas throughout time. As such, we have a strong focus on works produced by the fine press movement. The contemporary fine press printing movement originated in the 19th century with the work of Englishman William Morris. Disenchanted with current printing methods and desirous of returning to a time when books were printed with care and artistry, Morris founded the Kelmscott Press in 1891, printing books by hand using handmade paper and ink. The movement spread to several countries and continues to this day.
Our inaugural Fine Press Friday piece is A Note by William Morris, in which Morris describes his goal to create books “which would have a definite claim to beauty, while at the same time…be easy to read and…not dazzle the eye, or trouble the intellect of the reader by eccentricity of form in the letters.” The final book printed at Kelmscott Press in 1898, the work relays Morris’s ideas of what constituted a beautiful book, his attempts to “redeem the Gothic character from the charge of unreadableness which is commonly brought against it,” the history of Kelmscott Press, and a bibliographic list of every work Morris printed at Kelmscott. One of the most unique features about this book is that it contains all three types designed by Morris; the main body of text is set in his Golden typeface, while quoted passages from Morris’s lecture “The Lesser Arts” appear in his Chaucer and Troy typefaces. The book also contains examples of Morris’s ornamentation and features a wood engraving by Edward Burne-Jones.
See it in the catalog here.Fine Press Friday? Yes, please!
Phil Hale, a London based illustrator, knows what to do. His illustrations are incredibly rich with disjointed movement, explosive energy, and raw masculinity that which all combines into an overwhelming visit to drama itself.Hale‘s caught-in-the-moment subjects in contexts that can be described as a bit dark reminded me of the time I fell in love with J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. In my fantasy world, Hale and Salinger would be exchanging ideas for a collaborative project to illustrate Catcher over a casual dinner (Salinger making sure the plot in the book is followed), where I would join them for the meal as a mutual acquaintance they don’t mind having around, share a few laughs with the fellows, and silently admire them both while watching them talk.