Austin, Texas: W. Thomas Taylor, 1985. Limited, finely bound edition. Quarter leather. This one of ten specially bound, signed, and numbered copies of the limited edition is accompanied by the original publisher’s promotional leaflet and housed in the original Solander case. The colophon states that of an edition “limited to one thousand copies… “THIS IS NUMBER X OF TEN SPECIALLY BOUND COPIES”. The limitation number “X” is hand-inked and the limitation line partially overwritten by the signature of “Joseph Blumenthal” – the typographer. Below his signature Blumenthal wrote the date “October / ‘85”.
The vast majority of the edition - 99 percent of the copies - were issued clothbound and slipcased. The ten “specially bound copies”, of which this is the last, were bound in quarter cedar-hued goatskin over blue-gray cloth boards, with the hand-numbered and signed colophon, and housed in an oatmeal cloth Solander case, felt-lined with leather spine label. The contents, printed on Mohawk Superfine paper and printed from Blumenthal's own Emerson type, include Blumenthal's text, followed by 31 illustrated plates and an extensive index.
This copy is in fine condition, with just a hint of superficial rubbing to the spine ends where they contacted the cloth of the inner surface unprotected by the felt lining. The volume appears otherwise immaculate. The Solander case is very good plus, sound though with a small bump to the upper front corner and some toning along the spine and fore edges. The publisher’s original promotional leaflet measures 8.5 x 11 inches (21.59 x 27.94 cm), comprised of four panels, all printed, detailing the genesis of the work, and providing brief biographies of the author, printer, and publisher. This brochure is folded once horizontally and shows mild staining along the left and right vertical edges of the title panel.
Of this book, the publisher, W. Thomas Taylor, writes “Robert Frost told his early biographer Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant that he was ‘the best-printed American writer.’ That boast may well have been justified, for Frost’s poetry has been put into type by many of America’s finest book designers, including D. B. Updike and Bruce Rogers. Joseph Blumenthal’s Robert Frost and His Printers is an engaging and informative account of the creation of these fine books… Each book is placed in context by the inclusion of biographical information about the printers, and Frost’s relations with them.”
In his Foreword, the author, Joseph Blumenthal, writes “Included are descriptions of the limited editions, Christmas cards, posters, and other special printings of Frost poetry; data about circumstances that led to their publication; and something about the people who were responsible for design and production… Sole responsibility for selection is my own. After diligent search I dare to hope that there are forgivably few sins of omission.”
Blumenthal (1897-1990) was uniquely suited to author this work, being “responsible for more than a dozen fine editions of Frost’s works, as well as twenty-five years of Christmas greetings, many of them first printings of new poems.” Blumenthal, with whom Frost had “a warm and intimate friendship” of thirty years, “was the founder and, for nearly five decades, the director of the highly respected Spiral Press.”. Item #007256