Book Arts From The Veatchs
By Michael Stillman
We are reviewing our first catalogue from The Veatchs Arts Of The Book, though this is their 55th such publication. Its title is Recent Acquisitions in Fine Printing, Type Specimens, Bookbinding, Leaf Books & Bruce Rogers. Bob and Lynn Veatch of Northampton, Massachusetts, have been selling antiquarian and collectible books for over three decades, with their specialty being the book arts. This particular catalogue covers numerous topics associated with book arts, includes several leaf books (books which include a leaf from another, older text), and many by or about Bruce Rogers. Rogers was a noted book designer in the first half of the twentieth century, who created books for notable private presses such as the Limited Editions Club and the Cambridge and Harvard University presses. Here are just a few samples from the Veatchs' latest catalogue.
Item 17 is the first work of one of the more notable private presses, Bird and Bull. The title is A Collection of Receipts in Cookery, Physick and Surgery, and one can assume it is the artistic aspects of this book more than the subject matter that makes it noteworthy. On the Bird and Bull website, publisher Henry Morris describes the design and execution of this book as "indifferent," but the paper was special. Morris entered the publishing business because of his interest in handmade paper, and by being one of the few people who could produce it in 1958. This copy is number 9 of just 100, and is inscribed by Morris to fellow papermaker John Mason. Priced at $1,600.
Fast forward 47 years, and the Veatchs also offer Bird and Bull's latest publication: My Log & Diary 1994-2005 by Henry Morris. Its subtitle explains what is within its covers: "Interspersed with anecdotes and observations on book collecting, printing, private presses and other bookish matters." This, too, is a limited edition, but 47 years afforded Morris the confidence to up his print run to 160. Item 20. $450.
One more Bird and Bull before we fly, or stampede on. Item 19 is Three Erfurt Tales 1497-1498. These old tales were translated into English by Dr. Arnold Price, and the book has an introduction by Lessing J. Rosenwald. Published in 1962, it contains 24 woodcuts taken from Rosenwald's copy of the book. For those who do not know him, Lessing J. Rosenwald was one of the greatest collectors of the twentieth century. He succeeded his father in running the then huge retailer Sears, Roebuck, but retired at an early age to pursue public service and collecting. In keeping with his immense public spiritedness, he eventually donated his magnificent collection of rare books to the Library of Congress. The Veatchs' copy of this book contains a 1965 inscription from Rosenwald. $500.