West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company
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Does anyone in this group have much knowledge of the West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company's publications?.
I had never heard of them until recently when I found a selection of their books in a second hand book shop. I initially thought when I saw them that they were published by the FS until I picked one up and had a closer look. They come in very similiar slipcases to Folios except each slipcase was decorated with small illustrations. I bought two from the selection on offer , one of which says it is a Limited Edition , but does not appear to have an issue number. Both books are illustrated by Bradbury Thompson and the illustrations suit the books very well. The first is Tales by Edgar Allen Poe (1964) and the second A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers by Henry Thoreau.(1966)
I own a copy of Daisy Miller by Westvaco (which from searching the internet is how they called themselves). I picked it up at a used bookstore where it was shelved with the Heritage Press books. The store owner didn't know anything about the company. It has a good slipcase, interesting illustrations and a nice cover. The illustrations are period paintings, rather than illustrations specifically commissioned for the book. Looking over the ones I can find on the internet, that sometimes seems to have been the case. Apparently, Bradbury Thompson was a well-know graphic designer with a connection to the company and has written well-regarded texts on graphic design.I have a little concern over the binding, as it feels looser than the way Folio, Everyman's, etc binds theirs, but it isn't having any issues and it's nearly 40 years old.
An internet search shows a used bookstore in Connecticut has a large stock. They describe most (including mine) as coming from an annual "American Classics" book series that included 50 titles. They have theirs priced from about $35-$125, but I picked mine up for about $10. Another with a large supply describes them as privately published, once a year at Christmas. Oak Knoll Books also describes them as published once a year by this large paper company.
I would be interested in more information if others have it. The books are attractive, and I would certainly consider picking up more.
I just did a search on Abebooks and found a few editions. One states the following: "Issued as part of a series of books done as gifts for the employees every Christmas."
If this is true I suspect the number in circulation today must be quite small ?
From a bookseller's web page regarding 50 Authors : 50 Classics A MeadWestvaco Anthology (by Various Authors, Limited Edition Published by Westvaco Corporation in n.p.: 2007), they then state the following: "The Christmas 2007 issue by MeadWestvaco which is the 50th and last volume in Westvaco's` annual American Classic series."
In another entry regarding The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (by Washington Irving, Limited Edition Published by Westvaco, West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company in n.p.: 1958), they state that "This was the WESTVACO Christmas release of 1958 which was the first volume in their annual American Classic series which was published each year until 2007."
Thanks for the link, Os. I especially liked the description of The Red Badge of Courage which has a bullet hole and "blood" stains on some of the pages. Someone was very imaginative.
#5 Thanks for the link Os. It states there that some are extremely uncommon but I wonder how many copies of each issue were published?
#6 The layout of the Poe is very well done. One of the stories "The Purloined Letter" is laid out as a letter with the text running vertical on the page and is set with uneven right margins to simulate the style of handwriting. So in order to read it you have to hold the book open, turn in round in the hand, and read from top to bottom. When I get time I will post some pages to show what I mean. Each of the other stories has some such similiar and unusual layout feature. I understand the layout of each book was by the graphic designer Bradley Thompson.
I have Westvaco's 1994 Christmas offering, and it is a real gem: Ring Lardner's wonderful You Know Me Al. It is a limited edition--no indication of what the limitation is--with type set by the Stinehour Press on a beautiful cream-colored paper made, of course, by Westvaco. A nicely detailed image of a baseball with stitching and a facsimile of Lardner's signature is blind-stamped on the front of the buckram-bound boards. The typographical layout and composition are fine and not gimmicky. The master stroke is the illustrations: full-color reproductions of original 1915 Cracker Jack baseball player cards. Some of the famous players represented are mentioned in the "busher's" letters to his pal--including Tris Speaker and Joe Tinker (of the immortal trio of Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance).
It's too bad Westvaco discontinued this series. The choice of this book for the American Classic Series shows they had a knowledgeable and discriminating editorial staff, as well as access to some fine designers.
No thanks for the link Os. I have purchased three of the volumes: Tales by Edgar Allan Poe; The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane; and 50 Authors : 50 Classics. The 50 Authors I bought is in mint condition and I got it primarily for the bibliography booklet included with it.
Of note is that Westvaco runs the lettering on the spine from bottom.
As N11282 still has not posted any pictures from Tales I will post some quick ones I took after receiving it today.
I also received an email from Town's End Books (see link posted by Os above) that they will be at a book fair in Boston April 30th and May 1st and asking if I would like them to bring any books. I am considering asking them to bring several of the Westvaco titles (dare I ask them to bring them all?).
>9 LucasTrask: thru 16
Sorry LucasTrask. I wish I could say I didn't realize what I was doing, but I had just obtained from Mr. Townsend the 50/50 work you mentioned, plus Dicken's American Notes: 1842 (which has a cover much like your Poe, except 'BOZ' is blind-stamped on the cover) and Letters of John and Abigail Adams: 1762 to 1826. I also acquired from another dealer (assuming it arrives in the mail soon) Westvaco's 25 year edition, An Anthology of American Classics: Volume XXV, as a sort of pairing with the 50 year (and final) publication.
So, I have to admit that I knew what would happen (though not to whom) when I posted the link.
The Poe is outstanding! What about the Stephen Crane? I'm not 100% satisfied with either my Peter Pauper Press edition--which didn't hold up well at all--nor my Heritage Press (which is a surprise because I'm a huge fan of John Curry and thought his LEC Literary Works of Abraham Lincoln and John Brown's Body were superb).
The temptation from the pictures posted above was too much for a Poe fan such as myself.. I just ordered a copy.
Damnit and I was supposed to be saving for Beowulf!!!!
>8 Django6924: Your description of the Lardner makes it sound irresistable...I looked it up on Abe and expected to reel at the prices but it's available for practically nothing. Thanks for the pointer!
If you're talking about Town's End books (post's 9-16), he's a used book dealer, so you would only see it if he still has one in his catalog (or has not yet removed it from a recent sale). This is an FS site, but it's gotten off a bit onto another publisher's works in which Town's End books happens to specialize.
yes, I just went to the link in message 5. OK, you must have all bought up his stock!
I have got to stay off this site. Thanks to this discussion I've ordered from ABEBooks Westvaco's Red Badge of Courage and Poe and the FS Blue Fairy Book. My wallet is screaming and so will my sister when all these books show up.
>25 haniwitch: Tell me about it....
Went with You Know Me Al (thanks Django) and have decided may as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb so am going to order Red Badge tomorrow morning.
I blame LucasTrask and his pictures. ;-)
I probably have perfectly serviceable copies of the Poe stories in other books but I just couldn't resist a bat slipcover. And I'm hoping that the bullet hole and blood will entice my nephew to read the Red Badge of Courage (if not I'll re-read it--I only vaguely remember it from high school). And every time I'm on a used book site I check for the Blue and Red Fairy Books so I guess it wasn't too much of a surprise that I'd pick the Blue one up when I had a chance.
But I still blame LucasTrask. If I hadn't been looking for the Poe I wouldn't have found the other two. I will however forgive you completely LucasTrask if tell me how to post pictures. Astropi asked for pictures of Nights Thoughts in another thread and now I have the books I don't know how to do it.
>27 haniwitch: You're right to take Trask to task. The Poe pics sold me on the quality of the series...Django's mention of Crackerjack card repros hooked me on Lardner (which I also already have a perfectly fine, if ordinary copy of).
While, I think you need to blame N11284 and Os as well as me. If not for them I would not have purchased any Westvaco books. I already had a complete Poe in hardcover, but N's description was too much for me and I had to buy the Poe (and which I am very happy with). I am also considering several other titles, as the 50/50 Anthology's bibliography includes a picture of all fifty publications.
I ended up asking the book seller to bring all his Westvaco titles to teh Boston show if possible, and also listed 9 I am especially interested in.
I will post a few more pictures shortly.
I'm sorry now that I ever began this thread, especially if I have started some people on the road to financial ruin :-)
Bad enogh being hooked on Folios !
I've just been cleaning and rearranging bookshelves, and I realised that my copy of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow was published by the West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company. I bought it on a whim, well before I became a member of this group, and I purchased it because it looked so like the few antique books I owned at the time - large margins and old-fashioned but clear type.
The paper is quite heavy and the binding is very handsome, though plain. The introductory text states:
Our purpose in presenting this well-known American classic is to re-create not only the form, type and printing minutiae of The Sketch Book, in which The Legend of Sleepy Hollow first appeared in 1820, but the essence of the period as well. In his time Washington Irving, too, evoked an earlier era by devising imaginary characters to retell age-old legends in a new guise... We are papermakers, whose pride in the historical evolution of both our own industry and printing, is matched only by our interest in those present-day techniques which have enabled us to bring you this example of classic literature in a form which is authentically 1820 yet typically 1958.
It's a great little edition of an excellent tale (which bears little resemblance to Tim Burton's fun but slightly silly film). I've got quite a few more shelves to clear out, but once I've finished I'll post some pictures.
I have scanned all fifty pictures from the 50 Books bibliography. Thirty-two of the pictures are quite small and therefore have a limited resolution, while the remaining 18 are larger so they have better, but still limited resolution.
Based on the first edition, 1796
Edgar Allan Poe
Based on the first publication in four American periodicals, 1843-1845
The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table
Oliver Wendell Holmes
Based on the first edition, 1858
A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
Henry David Thoreau
Based on the first edition, 1849
Selections from the first book edition, 1870
The Red Badge of Courage
Based on the first edition, 1895
Sailing Alone around the World
Based on the first edition, 1900
Based on the first edition, 1842
Healthy, Wealthy & Wise
Selections from Poor Richard’s Almanac published 1732-1757
Fables in Slang
Selections from the Chicago Record, 1897-1904
A Brief Description of New York
Based on the first edition, 1670
Based on the first edition, 1878
Thomas Jefferson, Monticello, Virginia, USA
Selected writings, 1774-1825, The Statesman, The Politician, The Philosopher
Letters from an American Farmer
J. Hector St. John de Crèvecœur
Based on the first edition, 1782
Memories of the American Frontier
Five selected chapters from two books, 1885-1893
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Four selected essays plus other excerpts, 1841-1844
Decorum, A Practical Treatise on Etiquette and Dress
Edited by John A. Ruth
Based on the first edition, 1879, including excerpts from Hill’s Manual of Social and Business Forms, 1880
Voices from an Earlier America
An anthology of poetry, 17th to 19th centuries, with selections by 24 American poets
A Young Patriot in the American Revolution
Written in 1809; based on the first publication, 1922
An Anthology of American Classics
Selections from a quarter century of limited editions, 1958-1981
Based on selections from Twice-Told Tales, 1837-1842, and Tanglewood Tales, 1853
America: An Affirmation of Faith
An original collection of patriotic expressions
Almanac & c.
An original collection of 12 early American almanacs, 1758-1877
James Fenimore Cooper
Chapters from Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales
Innovation & Achievement
An original collection of 13 selections in praise and recognition of American creativity
Excellence, An American Treasury
An original collection of 100 inspirational selections to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the company’s founding
Based on the first edition of The Call of the Wild, 1903, and 8 short stories of the Klondike, 1899-1907
Listen! The Wind
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Based on the first edition, 1938
Washington & His Generals
Joel Tyler Headley
Selections from the first edition, 1847
Two Years before the Mast
Richard Henry Dana, Jr.
Based on the first edition, 1840
The Complete Manual for Young Sportsmen
Based on the first edition, 1856
You Know Me Al
Based on the first edition, 1916
The Federalist Papers
Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay
A selection of 21 essays from the original 85 papers, 1787-1788
A Treasury of American Humor
Original volume based on the clever prose of 10 of America’s greatest humorists, 1915-1935
Not Without Laughter
Based on the first edition, 1930
Democracy in America
Alexis de Tocqueville
23 of the most admired selections from the first editions, in two parts, 1835 and 1840
Based on the first edition, 1913
Letters of John & Abigail Adams, 1762-1826
Letter selections and introductions from Our Sacred Honor, 1977
Travels with Charley in Search of America
Based on the first edition, 1962, including the last chapter, L’Envoi, which first appeared in the 2002 centennial edition
First Across the Continent, The Story of the Exploring Expedition of Lewis & Clark
Based on the first edition, 1901
DVD: Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West by National Geographic
The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Based on the first edition, 1925
CD: Louis Armstrong’s Mack the Knife, recorded live at the Newport Jazz Festival, July 4, 1957
A Silk Road Journey
The Good Earth
Pearl S. Buck
Based on the first edition, 1931
CD: A Silk Road Journey (instrumentals and vocals) is based on music and orchestration for Samara
A Silk Road Journey II
A Passage to India
E. M. Forster
Based on the first edition, 1924
DVD and CD: Intriguing India, a two-disc set, combines the sounds, images and colors of India with music selections
50 Authors : 50 Classics
A MeadWestvaco Anthology
Authors from half a century of limited editions, 1958-2007, with new literary selections
50 Books : A 40-page, retrospective catalog
They're gorgeous! It's interesting to see the changing design styles over the years.
Lucas, thanks so much for taking the time to post these. Now, I'm over to Abebooks to hunt for some copies!
Great work, Lucas, thanks for posting.
I didn't think it was possible but I'm looking forward even more keenly to the arrival of the Lardner & Crane I have on order.
I may have to go back to Town's End books for the Richard Henry Dana...
>88 LaCamera: Especially if you weren't around when it was put there...
Lucas: thanks for all the scans. They've answered one question I had, having just bought the Hemingway volume, which was whether the layout (ragged right margin, generous white space and paragraphs with extraordinarily deeply indented first lines) was the house style or chosen to suit Hemingway's text. Looks like the latter, as your scans suggest that although ragged right and white space are quite common, the deep paragraph indentations are much less used. It's a layout that let's the eye read very quickly - absolutely right for Hemingway.
So, I ordered the Willa Cather and the Jack London; there are many more have caught my eye.
I just received the Jack London, Farther North - it is fabulous! apart from some dust on the top of the slipcase and a little shelf rubbing on the bottom, it is like new, seems as if it has never been opened.
Even though I have been collecting this series for quite a while, I just discovered this thread. I currently have 39 of the 50 from this series. My Grandfather & I both worked for West Virginia Pulp & Paper/Westvaco/MeadWestvaco now MWV. He retired when I was still a kid, then I started there when I was 18 and worked for 23 years until I went out on disability a few years after finding out I had Multiple Sclerosis. The books are just amazing, not only in their design, execution, and selection, but also for why they were created. I am currently reading them in order, taking them in context with when they were distributed, what was going on in the country and to a certain extent the company. They also help to remind me of different times. I used to say better times, but I have to come to realize that life is far too complicated to be measured at only one data point.
Can you elaborate a bit more on why they were created? Were they only produced as gifts for staff anf customers as I have read somewhere? and if so any idea of how many copies of each edition were published.?
"...why they were created?" can probably best be answered from the forward of the first book in the series (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow).
..."We are papermakers, whose pride in the historical evolution of both our own industry and printing, is matched only by our interest in those present-day techniques which have enabled us to bring you this example of classic literature in a form which is authentically 1820 yet typically 1958."
There is a more in depth forward in the catalog of the last in the series (see message 32)
They were gifts given to customers and friends of the company around Christmastime.
I can not recollect ever hearing officially how many were published. I expect the number fluctuated each year along with the company's business. At one point I ran across an unsubstantiated claim on the Internet that only 300 were published of the first book in the series.
Oh I see, this is similar to what Lakeside Press http://www.lakesideclassicbooks.com/ offers their employees each year.
A copy of the first book, Sleepy Hollow, sold last night on Ebay for $38.77 without the slipcase. I bid on it, but not enough.
If anyone sees the Poe on sale somewhere (with slipcase) - please let me know! the available ones were snapped up quickly!
Texaco, The Westvaco titles are along the lines of FS titles, with individually designed bindings, interior illustrations and slipcases. Looking at the Lakeside Press titles I think they are only similiar in that they are privately printed.
mobilecad, it's not surprising that you just found this thread. After all looking in an FS group for a thread on Westvaco titles is not something that is obvious. Thanks for joining in the conversation once you did find it.
I bought my copy of Sleepy Hollow for $7.50 a couple of years ago in a secondhand bookshop in the middle of Ohio. Everything else there was overpriced, and I assumed the Sleepy Hollow volume was too (I didn't know anything about Westvaco at the time), but it took my fancy so I bought it. It's quite an unassuming little book, so I would guess that there might be many other used book stores in that part of the world that might also carry cheap copies.
Thanks LucasTrask; these are really lovely and there are several that I want (especially the Poe!!).
Thank you for the welcome LucasTrask. I am going to try and inquire what the publication numbers were for each year. It may take me while so please be patient. I also need to review the policy on this forum to see if I can post links that I find of books that are for sale.
I have found out that although the number varied from year to year there were approximately 2,000 printed of each book.
I have this exact book (Poe printed in 1964 and pictured above), and while I am absolutely attached to it and it's beauty, I am just curious if you know how much it is actually worth? Thanks
>I bough my copy of Poe in a secondhand Dublin bookshop for €20.00. It is in excellent condition. I'm really sorry now that
I did not buy more of those they had for sale. Because I had never seen this publisher before I just bought 2. see post #1
I just found this copy of Four Million on E-Bay. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=300440361395&ssPageNa...
Has anyone received their Westvaco books with an Ex Libris card inside. I think this is the presentation card as it has "Presented by..." and then there is a signature. I'm just curious whether these cards came with the book loose or were they affixed in the books. Did all books come with presentation cards? Also, was the owner section blank or did they type the names on some of them? Just curious. If anyone can help that would be great! Thanks.
10 of my 32 Westvaco books have an Ex Libris card. The Travels with Charley, You know Me Al, 20 Tales, and Decorum have Ex Libris cards that match the slipcase. The others are just plain cards. All of mine have the recipient's name plus the presenter, except the Charley copy.Sometimes the names are typed, other times handwritten. Most of my cards are lose but are few are pasted (and one scotch taped in).
Also, an additional book, Thomas Jefferson' Monticello, has a appreciation card to the Massachusetts Historical Society. I think they must have meant to print this in the book but realized it was missing too late.
Just saw 2 titles from the American Classics series in a Dublin bookstore at the weekend. Passed on both as I have overspent on books this month and the wife will surely kill me when she finds out:
The first is:
American Cookery by Amelia Simmons published in 1963
and the second is:
The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table by Oliver Wendell Holmes published in 1965
I had saved up some money and was feeling profligate one evening, and I ordered six Westvaco volumes from sellers on Amazon Marketplace. The results:
Two books came without slipcases. They're being sent back.
Three books came in significantly worse condition than described. They're being sent back.
One book (You Know Me Al) arrived in splendid condition and well packaged.
In American baseball (the subject of the one keeper in the lot), as in book buying, one out of six is a pitiful success rate. I now have five sellers from whom I will no longer purchase, and one from whom I will gladly do so. My Westvaco collection, which I would have never started if not for this thread, is growing. But at a slower rate than anticipated!
Coynedj, your experience with Amazon Marketplace is similar to mine. I now buy books from Amazon Marketplace only if I'm looking for a reading copy and don't care how tatty it may be regardless of the description (one time I received an ex-library book that had been described as "excellent" without mentioning, of course, that it was an ex-library book). I now stick to abebooks where the descriptions tend to--gasp--match the actual merchandise.
I also have had horrible experiences with Amazon Marketplace when it comes to books, and have had a similar 1/4-5 margin of successes to failures
My experience has been different with Amazon Marketplace. There are definitely a few Westvaco editions that I think were not accurately described - but the Easton Press and Folio Society books have all come as described.
I just received another of the Westvaco books - Travels with Charley. It is in perfect condition, absolutely beautiful.
Maybe I should start up an LT group, Westvaco Christmas Book Collectors, what do you think?
I have several of them now, but not yet that one. They are well-produced books, without question. The older volumes, and the last few, come up rarely and at inflated prices on Ebay, so it may take a while for me to get them all.
We could also just continue to post on this thread (which, admittedly, might not draw in Westvaco collectors who aren't Folio devotees). Since there are no new Westvaco books coming out, and there's no issue with pricing in Australia, a new group would probably see little activity.
The Fine Press Forum was created specifically for books like the Westvaco that don't have the sizeable following of Easton Press/Folio Society. You may want to post there.
Ooshi I suspect that like me you will love them. The few I have are very well produced and the illustrations really suit the story. As I said in #1 the first one I saw I mistook for a FS edition until I pulled it out from the bookshelf.
Thanks N11284, I am really looking forward to receiving this one -although I have only read a few of her books, Willa Cather is one of my favourite authors, and the anticipation of discovering a new publisher to enjoy and collect makes it a double joy (although maybe not to my bank balance!).
It is a lovely book, Ooshie. What I like about these books is the clever way they incorporate different kinds of paper (all described in detail at the back) and the very original typography; FS design is very staid compared with these editions.
I Just added two Westvaco books to my collection. I was looking at a section of FS editions when I ran across them. I picked up A Brief Description of New York by Daniel Denton for US$5 and Almanac &c., edited by Karen M. Bloom, for US$10, both in very good to near fine condition. I felt like I got away with something at those prices.
I just picked up Tales by Edgar Allen Poe on ebay for $30. And I was the only one who bidded on it! I would have gladly paid more if anyone had tried to outbid me. It's such a beautiful book!
>126 Sand_Man:: oh If I'd known I'd have gone for it too! I keep searching for it. Does it have the slipcase?
Yup it does! I'm still in a state of disbelief... how can a book like this on ebay only get one bidder?? The book has some obvious wear to it, like it was read many times. But all in all, it's in pretty good shape. I've spent some serious money on quite a few beautiful books, but ironically this is one of the best books in my collection, and it was only $30! I'm definitely keeping my eye out for other books by the West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company. If I see another Poe somewhere I'll let you know ASAP!
I have collected more than half of the Westvaco books, and yes they are very well produced books and I like the fact that they are of uniform size - displayed correctly they can be quite appealing. Unfortunately, I appear to now have all of the volumes that can be bought for reasonable prices, and I am hesitant to pay up for the rest given what I paid for what I have. Congratulations on your acquisition - I may buy one of my own some day!
>128 Sand_Man: thanks! they are such beautiful books, lovely paper and artfully typeset.
I currently have a dozen Westvaco titles, although I am interested in buying several more.
In the year since this thread began, I've bought 35. This is the biggest group of enablers I've ever run across.
I noticed just now on e-Bay Westvaco's edition of Ring Lardner's A You Know Me Al, an absolute gem of comedy, with a Buy it Now price of $4. An absolute steal. If I didn't already have a copy, I'd buy it!
35!! Thanks for making me feel better about my own restraint and willpower!
I found a copy last year for $5 on Abe, it's a beautiful edition and Lardner is a comic master. In fact, I wouldn't mind a Folio edition of his short stories to replace my battered but much-loved paperback.
Bought Hemingway In Our Time for $4 a few days ago, still waiting for it to arrive but for less than €12 including P&P I reckon it's a steal.
Ever since I found my first Westvaco by accident (see post #1) I have come to love the quality of these books.
I've been trying so hard not to give in to the temptation of buying some. They seem to be so well made and attractive editions with such an interesting history. I believe you started quite a trend with your first post.
> 136 -
Yeah, when I find something new to obsess about, I find it hard to hold back. I now have all of the ones that can be found at low prices, so the ones I'm missing are the hard to find, expensive volumes. Hence, my purchase pace has slowed (though I did just buy a batch of the newer ones....)
>135 Django6924: I bought it, looks like a great way to check out the Westvaco books.
Just received my copy, haven't read it yet. Very nice book, great condition - certainly appears to be worth the $5 I paid.
just unpacked my latest acquisition, Listen! the Wind. It seems as if it has never been opened, perfect condition, not even the slightest mark on the slipcase, and has the most beautiful endpapers!
Just unpacked my latest also and,as above, it is in perfect condition, it even contains the business cards of two of the Westvaco executives who presented it.
This group is such an enabler! :P I'd never heard of Westvaco prior to this thread, but I'm now contemplating Two Years Before the Mast and Farther North. And the Poe looks stunning.
I couldn't resist the Poe. I love bats so as soon as I saw LucasTrask's picture in message #10 I was on the hunt for it. A day later I had found a copy and ordered it. How could I pass up Poe and bats all in the same book?
Oh, no, not another bat lover.
My daughter is a bat nut. Some years ago, we were on vacation to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. There's not much going on there - the north rim is where the towns are, and we were there at the very start of the season. So, one day we went to the ranger lecture, and discovered that it was about the bats of the canyon.
When she saw that, she dragged us to the front row. Halfway through the lecture, the ranger showed a close-up of a bat's face, and was saying "Most people would consider this very ugly..." when said daughter squealed quite loudly "Oh, he's so cuuuuute!"
It took a while before the ranger could continue with the talk.
On the topic of Westvaco, I'm up to 37 of the 50. And the Poe is one I still don't have, despite having been a Poe fan for many years.
1. We are not nuts; maybe a little batty but definitely not nuts (sorry, I couldn't resist). :-)
2. Bats are essential creatures, especially here in mosquito central.
3. I'd probably react the same way to the picture, although not quite so vocally.
An architectural firm built their new headquarters just down the road from us. They're known for their eco-friendly structures. The things I like most about it? They kept the surrounding trees when building and they put up a bat house. I'd put one up but my yard is the size of a postage stamp and I don't know how my neighbours would react (especially since even the smallest ones house about thirty bats).
As for the Westvaco I hope you find a copy of the Poe. You won't be disappointed. I'm really trying to curb my spending (and focussing mostly on FS books) so I have only one other Westvaco, Crane's Red Badge of Courage.
>148 coynedj:, 149 There is an amazing two page photo of a bat hovering above a blossom to get at the nectar in this month's National Geographic ("Open All Night", May 2011).
I'd take a look at it but my issue hasn't arrived yet. And I can't remember if we get it just before or just after the first of the month so I don't know if it's late or not. Probably late. They recently "fixed" our postal system so things are taking even longer than usual.
Ooh, found the picture on NG's website. Very nice. Thanks.
Just picked up the Harte and the Lardner books at Oak Knoll in New Castle, Delaware. No slipcovers, but the books are in great shape.
Devotees who enjoy books pierced by bullet-holes might like to know that Westvaco's The Red Badge of Courage has a new companion. A (non-FS) Limited Edition of Jeffrey Deaver's pastiche James Bond mystery, Carte Blanche, is being issued on 26 May. As well as a binding of "white Nappa leather, the same grade of leather used in a Bentley’s interior", it has not only the hole but THE BULLET ITSELF - numbered. According to the designer:
"The reader has the excitement of finding the bullet housed in the centre of the pages with the text positioned so that the reading experience is undisturbed. I hope they find the book as exciting to hold and look at as the unfolding drama itself.”.
And instead of a boring old solander box or clamshell it comes in "a stunning metal case shaped like a Bentley car".:
(As you can see, if you don't like the book, you can always use the casing as a butter-dish.)
This seems to me less a cause for celebration than a product-placement hommage to Jeff Koons. But if I'm wrong, and it catches on, then keep an eye on Ebay: I'm going to up the value - and reading experience - of my FS Luttrell Psalter by firing a crossbow bolt through it. The winning bidder can opt to have the name of his or her best enemy - or loved one - carved in to the shaft before dispatch.
Wow! I never knew their was such an interest in the westvaco Christmas books. I was involved in printing the last twenty issues. It was always the highlight of the year for me. I can not tell you how much pride and hard work went into the creation of the Christmas book. I was the person who created the ink colors for the books, many times spending days getting the shade just right. It is great to see that so many people appreciate these beautiful books.
Well , for my part I really appreciate the work you guys put in. I had never heard of these books until I discovered one by accident in a second hand book shop.( see post#1 ) I hope the people who received these as gifts appreciate them also.
I expect you have one of each?
>155 schifty: I can well believe that you all put your heart and soul into producing these extra-special books. I don't have many but love them all, and delight in the different papers used, the typefaces, layout and harmonious colours, right down to the ribbon marker.
Welcome schifty, I’m glad that you found this Westvaco thread in a group for the Folio Society here on LibraryThing.
To be honest I’ve never really thought about the ink colors before, even though I own the Eaton Press edition of The Emerald City of Oz which uses green ink in the illustrations. After reading your comments I checked a few of my Westvaco titles I didn’t see any mention of the ink in the colophons nor do I believe does the Folio Society give any information about the ink in their books. The ink seems to be an important, but overlooked part of the book making process. Would you mind going into more details about the process of creating the ink colors and how you decided what color you wanted?
You are right the ink is not mentioned and it was a big part of the book. Each color usually started as a match to a specific item say a piece of tinted paper or maybe a piece of cloth. Many times it was an idea in the mind of the books creator. Those were the ones I enjoyed most of all. In my early days it was a little difficult to interpret a color idea from another persons mind but over the years as I got to know her I was able to share her vision. And yes it was the same person for all twenty years. I believe I may still have some of the ink formulas along with the names that I gave to them. As I recall I did not name them anything really exciting maybe westvaco light match blue and things like that. I may have some slightly interesting stories as to how some of the colors came about, none come to mind right now at 2:30 in the am. If I think of anything I will post. Otherwise I would be happy to answer any questions that I can.
I think it's way cool to have someone involved in the production of these special volumes joining in the thread! And I'm just enough of a collector that I'd love to know the name's of the colors for the books I've managed to acquire. I suspect there are a few others on this list who would as well. So, whenever you run across one, it would be great if you'd post it here. And back stories...you bet!
"If I think of anything I will post."
Please do! It's all too easy to take elements like ink and paper for granted (particularly when they fit so seamlessly together as in the Westvaco books) and forget how much craftsmanship and hard work went into their choice or creation.
ok, when I get back to the shop I will dig up any info I can. I will have to double check and make sure it is ok with my company and the publisher (westvaco) I don`t think it will be a problem. If its ok I should be able to get paper type, some ink color`s and production run quainities. I will let you know one way or another.
My Poe arrived ;-) I love the fact that they used different paper for each story, and different typesetting styles. A treasure.
I ran across the Bret Harte volume in a local used bookstore last week and grabbed it. A very nice looking book.
I now own a copy of Tales by Poe (1964). Box set, which is really cool. It's in good condition as well!
This is exactly what mine looks like, although mine's in slightly better condition.
Just bought the Poe off Ebay on Monday - I only have 3 or 4 left to go to have the complete series. Can't wait for it to arrive - it was listed as "Like New" by a 99.9%-positive-feedback seller.
The tough one is the Sleepy Hollow book, #1 in the series. They've sold for $50-$60 recently, and I haven't been willing to spend that much.
Hey coynedj, Where are you seeing them sell for $50 - $60... I havent seen any listed in a while. I think the only one I have seen is on ebay at around $100....?
I saw two listed about 2-3 weeks ago that didn't mention Westvaco in the title. Both got 5-10 bids and sold in that price range. The one listed at $100 has been there for months at $125, and the seller finally realized that it was overpriced. Judging by the two sales it still is, despite the $25 price drop.
I've just taken delivery of A Silk Road Journey and A Silk Road Journey II (nos 80 and 81 in Lucas' images above). Absolutely beautiful!
I've ordered Farther North by Jack London, American Notes by Dickens, O Pioneers by Willa Cather, and Poe's Tales on Amazon. This has been an expensive January!
So far, I've received Farther North, O Pioneers!, and Tales. My God, these are nice books. Especially the Poe, I love that each story uses a different paper and layout. It's a beautiful design.
I'm already looking at what to order next!
>174 britchey: I have those three too, agree that they are lovely. Another one I love is Listen, The Wind - and amazed at how interesting and well-written it is.
I just received a copy of America: An Affirmation of Faith, which is not a title I would normally pick up, but I have become such a fan of Westvaco's Christmas books. Anyway, at the back of the book, there is a very interesting four page explanation of choices made for this title. For example, the typeface is Baskerville since it was introduced in America by Benjamin Franklin, and the bookmark is a blue moire ribbon similar to the neck ribbon used with the medal of honor.
I'm also happy to report that I snagged a copy of The Celebrated Jumping Frog & Other Stories for $29 (no slipcase, though). Eagerly awaiting for it to arrive!
> 177 - Well done with The Celebrated Jumping Frog - it's one of the tougher ones to find (I have most of the series now). The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is the true grail, though. These books are even more addictive than Folios, possibly because you know that there is an end to them.
I just received Daisy Miller from an eBay seller in the US. It is a very stylish book. I feel another addiction coming on!!
Today I received the Silk Road Vol I & II (from Germany strangely) and they are both so stunning. It saddens me that they are no longer making these editions. They were taking them in such innovative directions. I particularly love the three piece slipcase for Vol II.
Got Hemingway In Our Time today, loved some of the Nick Adams stories from a volume of short stories gotten at Hemingway's house in Key West which I've since given away, so I'm pleased this volume includes Big Two-hearted River, one of the ones I liked the most. The Cezanne illustrated slipcase and endpapers, cloth binding and good paper enhance the physical beauty of the book.
I really like that volume, too, olepuppy. You can practically feel the thick daubs of paint on the slipcase. I'm pretty sure it's also the only Westvaco I have with a ribbon.
>181 olepuppy:, 182 The Hemingway is an excellent edition. They put such thought into every aspect of their editions. By the way, they started putting in ribbon markers in with An Affirmation of Faith in '84.
If you like Langston Hughes, I highly recommend the Not Without Laughter it is also a stunner and not that hard to find. I've only read his poetry, so I'm looking forward to reading a novel by him.
I've just gotten the LOA Harlem Renaissance volume with the Hughes, but I may have to get the Westvaco too for the overall beauty of the book, the illustrations look marvelous.
From what I've seen the whole book production in the last ten years jumped up a notch, and since the books are newer it's been easier to find mint copies.
edited to add entire post, memory like a sieve
I see a good number of these in various shops in my state of Virginia. There was a Langston Hughes edition which caught my eye last weekend. I think I'll go back and grab it.
Because they were free gifts, you can find them secondhand for quite cheap, anywhere from $10-50, with $30 being the average in my recent experience. The more rare and desirable ones, like Red Badge of Courage and Typee, go for closer to $50-100. Apparently, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow goes for hundreds in Fine condition.
I had been considering buying some of these books since first reading this thread several months ago. Today, I stumbled across a batch of seven of them at the friends of the library sale, all near fine or better:
America: An Affirmation of Faith - 1984
Almanac & c. - 1985
Chapters - James Fenimore Cooper -1986
Innovation & Achievement - 1987
Excellence, An American Treasury - 1988
Listen! The Wind - Anne Morrow Lindbergh - 1990
Two Years before the Mast - Richard Henry Dana - 1992
$15 for the lot. Great start to my collection
I picked up Langston Hughes' Not Without Laughter today. Its an absolutely beautiful edition and I believe the only fine edition I've seen of Hughes only novel. $16 and a joy to leaf through and eventually read.
Just received the $9 Hawthorne: it seems pristine, slipcase without the slightest scuff, and inside, an inserted (not stuck) Ex Libris in the name of Charles R Smith, Jr, with the illegible signature of the person who presented it. The gilding on the top edge is so bright and shiny I think the book has never been out of its slipcase.
I'm reading the Hawthorne - and have just received Not Without Laughter - you MADE ME buy it! And it is absolutely beautiful, inside and out.
Two more books and my collection will be complete. I just bought a superb copy of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - now I just need the Thoreau and Roosevelt volumes. Those open spaces on my shelf are crying out to me.
just find these on ebay
Ah, but being in the States, I found the postage of $110.90 to be a bit too much to handle!
Sorry check again, I am based in the U.K so the shipping quoted is to the U.K
try this link
I think you need to either contact the seller or enter your Zip code on the shipping page.
Delayed FS renewal so I ordered Democracy in america by Tocqueville. As stated in > 71, this is a selection from the original work but, provided that you 're a Tocqueville fan and that you already own a complete edition, it is a" must have". You will get a great visual sense of time and place. It includes a very useful itinerary of Tocqueville in a 1830s map of the States , 23 short chapters, each one with a 3 page era- engraving , coming from the historical archives of The Old Print Shop.
Mint state and inexpensive but if you're in the UK or ROW be prepared to pay more for pay & postage than for the book itself.
BTW: this the first prose book I own where the text is aligned left . Any idea of why? Is this the case also with other Westvaco books?
>198 P3p3_Pr4ts:, in all those I own, the text is aligned left (ragged right). They probably just decided to do it that way...
>198 P3p3_Pr4ts: this the first prose book I own where the text is aligned left
I'm confused - In English and most European languages where words are read left-to-right, text is often aligned ‘flush left’. Do you mean something else?
>200 Osbaldistone: Actually the vast majority of books are "justified", i.e. the text is flush left and right. It is quite rare for books to be "left aligned" (except for poetry), which technically means the right edge is ragged. I have just picked a dozen or so non-poetry books off my nearest shelf and every single one is text justified.
Edit: iPad spelling!
"198, in all those I own, the text is aligned left (ragged right). They probably just decided to do it that way..."
I doubt it! The house style of the Westvaco Christmas books was set by Bradbury Thompson, one of America's greatest graphic designers and typographers (the greatest perhaps?) - I think he designed every book in the series. He was an early enthusiast for 'flush left, ragged right' typesetting. Maybe he was influenced by Eric 'ragged right' Gill and his 1931 An Essay on Typography, which (among much else) argued that it was impossible to maintain truly legible word and character spacing in justified lines.
> 202 "Maybe he was influenced by Eric 'ragged right' Gill . . ."
Yes - as, for example, in The Four Gospels, for the Golden Cockerel Press. See the FS facsimile!
>203 boldface: Yes indeed! - my partner has a copy. And Bradbury Thompson's ragged right Washburn College Bible is regarded by many as his master-work. It looks fabulous and can be picked up ridiculously cheap but as it's unlikely I'd ever actually read it, I can't justify its taking up shelf space.
What an amazing collection! Congratulations.
You may have the only full collection on the planet in private hands.
coynedj... share you excitement at having a complete set. Most impressive and lovely to see your photograph... which I shall store as a super book picture. well done. I have only about 3 or 4 volumes as they are rare in S A but worth looking out for. Thanks for sharing.
Great work, coynedj! Most impressive to see them all together.
I have mine spread out over my book collection, but they look very nice all together. Happily, I only need two more books to complete my collection and one of them is easy to find.
they look lovely; all the same height, too. Could you tell me what is the one next to Typee with a buckle on the spine; I've been peering at it but can only make out the first word, The...
The Prairie Traveler is correct. The books are shelved in order of publication.
If anyone in the States has cash burning in his/her pocket.. a complete collection came out in ebay:
Westvaco American Classic Series
If anyone is still interested in this subject and series I would appreciate the discussion. Recently, after my father passed away, was looking through his thousands of books for something to read. As he had loaned me several of this series in the past, I began searching through his collection. As he was not much for filing anything in order when he came home at night from Westvaco's corporate office in NYC, I took all of the books off the shelf and put them in order, finding 44 of the 50 published, all in their original dust jackets, all in pristine condition, duplicates of several and many with signatures of Westvaco executives inside their covers on "gift cards". Some of the gift cards had the date (such as "Christmas 1992), my father's signature as Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Westvaco, and some with Wendle Wilke's signature (my father's successor with hand written "Merry Christmas" to my father and mother). So far I have not found the 1958 (the first), 1959, 1960, 1963, 2003 and 2007 (the last) books. I thought three more were missing but recalled he had loaned me two and my brother one. Others may be with other family or still just somewhere else among the thousands of other books. I am trying to locate them. As one reading this may expect, I have a vested interest in filling out the series with the missing books, with dust covers, in pristine condition and, if possible, along with any signed gift cards, especially if signed by Thomas Long (Sr.). I have no intention, nor does the family, to sell any of them, just to fill out and keep the series. If anyone has any information on this series or the missing books, I would appreciate it. I do have the titles of all of the books, corresponding years, including those missing. Thomas R. Long Jr.
Westvaco American Classics Series
Dear coynedj, I would be greatly interested to know how you became interested in and obtained the entire series. My father collected this series while working for Westvaco from 1962 to 1997, as well as one volume from 1961 and most of 1998-2007. Some he signed gift cards for as Senior Vice President and General Counsel but brought home as extras I guess. Some, after he retired were sent to him by his successor, Wendle Wilke, with Wilke's signature and handwritten "Merry Christmas" to my mother and father. Having recently set all of the series I could find in order, found a few that were missing in other rooms and/or on other book shelves, I found all but six. Those I found, including two I had borrowed and one my brother borrowed, are in pristine condition, in their original dust jackets, showing no evidence of wear (unless you count the publisher's intended hole in "The Red Badge of Courage"). As I treasure these books, as my father did, I would be interested to know your interest, if you are of a mind to share that. TRL Jr.
>216 TRLJR: Hey, welcome to LibraryThing.
I hope you catalog the collection here. (LT, not the talk thread)
What serendipity. I just read your post and then stumbled across this article. The current iteration of Westvaco is merging into a gigantic corporation. http://www.juno-news.com/news/read/category/Top%20News/article/the_associated_pr...
What a wonderful collection! I'm glad this thread came up again. I've ordered O Pioneers! by Willa Cather, an author sadly neglected by Folio (they have only done Death Comes for the Archbishop as far as I can tell).
I discovered Westvaco through this group, as I recall. Since they are concentrated on American historical publications and I am a Yank, they fit well with my interests and I picked up a few of the lower-cost volumes available just to see why so many people were praising them. After that, I was hooked and started seeking them out. I've read a number of them and find the production values quite high. I don't regret my decision to get them all.
2wonderY - and all who responded, Thanks for responding! It is heartening to know others have interest in the Westvaco Classics Series. I am unclear as to what you (2wonderY) mean by "...catalog the collection here (LT not the talk thread)". As said, I have access to my father's collection which, at this point I can find all but six of the complete 50, the six missing listed in my previous post.
conedj - Great that you and others, not having had the benefit of introduction to the series by Westvaco employees have found and enjoyed the collection.
varielle - Yes, I find it sad that Westvaco, having been English-Irish & Scotch paper makers (as the American walnut company crest engraved paper weight my father gave me reads) for generations, sold out to the mega-corporate wave. I know my father was very proud to work for a company that valued making quality products, especially their "fine paper" division, took great pride in their publications such as this series and strove to maintain integrity in all of their business relations. That is why I treasure his collection and hope to complete it with the missing six volumes. When I get a chance, I'll try to post a picture of the 44 volumes with the Westvaco walnut paper weight here, or wherever it is appropriate. Maybe I'll add it to my "facebook" page.
TRLJR hi welcome to this thread . I love these books but as I only have 3 or 4 if what I have are among your missing volumes I am happy to let you have then . See my catalogue on LT . In SAfrica they seldom come up so I would rather my books go to someone trying to complete a collection. . I will wait until someone flies to the USA to send to you , if you can be helped .
Westvaco American Classics Series
Africansky1 - Hi and thanks for responding. I believe I have the volumes listed in your collection. I've begun adding those I have to my catalogue on LT. As I do not have them in hand and most were not found by the search, I did not add all the details properly, I'm sure. I'll try to clean it up when I can and add the rest. As said, I believe there are only six of the 50 missing but may still be around the family somewhere. I'll do more searching in the next few weeks.
TRLJR, when you are ready to post an image, you can upload it to your LT member gallery, here: http://www.librarything.com/gallery/member/TRLJR
Then, simply point to it as a link (or include it as an image) in a post in this thread, and we can all enjoy it.
Os, thank you for the directions and example. I'll try to post a picture, or pictures soon. I've just traveled to my folks place and have now found all but four of the fifty book and two copies of at least four of them. As I may have exhausted the search of bookshelves here, I may have to start trying to locate the missing books for sale, somewhere via the web. All of the 46 (plus the duplicates) are in pristine condition, many show no evidence of having been taken out of their sleeves, other than for me to check them and the final 2007 is still was still in its mailing box, in my father's closet!
The years/books I am missing are: 1958 - "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" (1st year), 1959 - The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaberas County", 1960 - "Four Million" and 1963 - "American Cookery". Unfortunately, for taking pictures right now, I just left two of the books at home I'd meant to bring with me and live 300 miles away. Oh well, next trip I'll put all I have together, along with a couple of Westvaco logo desk accessories and take a picture. Maybe by then I'll find, or be able to purchase the missing four. Cheers!
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