It is difficult to find at any price, and it is a gorgeous book, well worth a search. In 1908, Kenneth Grahame wrote The Wind in the Willows in book form, assembling a series of letters which he had written to his small son at school, letters in which the adventures of a mole and a toad and a badger were narrated in serial fashion.
Grahame was very fussy about how his book would look in publication form, so he contacted the one person in the world who was best suited for the illustrations, Arthur Rackham. As karma would have it, Rackham had too many irons in the fire at the time, and declined the request. But he did not decline the LEC request. For us, and just before he passed away, Rackham provided 16 water colors, two of which were clear panoramas of the Thames River at just those points which Kenneth Grahame had in his mind.Our edition was designed by Bruce Rogers, arguably the greatest living book designer of his era. Rogers used the very practical Baskerville type, and he went beyond that type in making use of a capital letter type of his own creation which he used at the opening of each chapter. Although the type was printed in black ink, the headings were printed in brown ink; and several decorations have been done in green. For the paper, Rogers selected a gray-white made to his specifications by the Worthy Paper Company.
Ever the fastidious one, Rogers spent a week at the Worthy mill showing the craftsmen exactly how he wanted the paper manufactured and finished. The final product has a pleasant "tooth" to its surface, and has the crackle in the fingers which is always indicative of fine paper. The water color paintings were reproduced in color plates by the Sun Engraving Company of London. They were printed upon smooth white paper, then mounted upon an extra heavy paper made by Worthy.A gray border was printed on this paper around each plate. All the printing was undertaken at the Walpole Printing Office in Mount Vernon, New York. The sheets were gathered and folded and bound by the Russell-Rutter Company in New York. The sheets were placed in a heavy board case, the back of which was covered with staunch buckram. The sides of the boards were covered with a decorative material coming from a design worked upon the material by hand through silk screens.
This is a consummate production of skilled artisans at every level of production. I leave it to you, the potential reader, to determine if it "just" a children's book! This is number 691 of 2,020 copies, and is signed by Bruce Rogers. The offer includes a panoply of memorabilia: the September, 1940 LEC pre-publication announcement; "The Inside Story, " an eight page pamphlet which provides the same essential information typically summarized in the Monthly Letter; a "To the Members" clarification from the LEC to explain the expanded printing total to include both subscribers and non-subscribers; the envelope in which the original subscriber received his/her LEC packet of information; and the 20+ page "The Advance Announcement" detailing what to expect with the arrival of The Grapes of Wrath, The Wind in the Willows, and The Decameron, all special publications in 1940. Again, this is a must have for any serious LEC collector, and the condition is quite fetching when compared to those copies usually in the marketplace.
It also has a special appeal for anyone with a young heart, or who knows a special someone with a young heart to whom one might lovingly read. Thank you for reading this presentation, and good luck in your searches. Feel free to contact me with any questions. This item is in the category "Books & Magazines\Antiquarian & Collectible". The seller is "629north61ststreet" and is located in this country: US.
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