The Definitive Dwiggins no. 208—Crosby Gaige, Part 2
The Definitive Dwiggins no. 207 outlined the career of Crosby Gaige (1882–1949) prior to his decision to become a publisher; examined how and why he included W.A. Dwiggins among his small coterie of book designers; discussed Veni Creator! by Humbert Wolfe (the joint Christmas gift book he, his wife, James R. Wells, and the author had privately printed); and then surveyed the many variations of the ram mark Dwiggins designed for Crosby Gaige, Publisher. This post focuses on the four books Dwiggins designed for Gaige and a fifth one to which he contributed vignettes.
Ballades from the Hidden Way
None of the books that W.A. Dwiggins designed for Gaige were among the first eight to be announced. The first one to be published was Ballades from the Hidden Way by James Branch Cabell which was issued August 6, 1928.  Cabell (1879–1958) was the first American author on Gaige’s list. The book was not exactly a first edition. In the preface Cabell explained the genesis of the “ballades”:
Hereinafter, I have somewhat re-arranged those verses in ballade form which compose a part of From the Hidden Way. They are perhaps not the least faulty of the rhymes to be found in a scrapheap which contains nowhere, to my twentieth-century taste, anything absolutely earth-staggering in merit. But the boy who wrote them left at his decease, as it happens, just enough ballades—or, in any event, just enough verses which were virtually ballades—to make up a volume of the exact size desired by my present publishers. It was an accident which appeared so plainly providential that I have preferred to shift responsibility; and to let coincidence serve as the real editor in the shaping of this selection. 
For Ballades from the Hidden Way Dwiggins was responsible for the entire book, from binding to colophon. The binding is dark blue cloth with a botanical border—built up from celluloid stencil elements—stamped in gold. Dwiggins’ also used his stencil elements to create a weeping willow on the title page and two pairs of hanging vines as flanking elements in a double-page border design, all printed in red.
Cabell was initially skeptical of Dwiggins’ design, but came to appreciate it once he saw advance proofs of the pages. He wrote to James Wells, Gaige’s associate:
I shall then, I hope, be justified in my conviction that this is going to be the most beautiful by far of all my books. The effect of the red border I, after suitable endeavors, cannot imagine, but I have not the least doubt it will be excellent. This is the only book of ballades I have ever seen in which the pages balance. I was wondering how that difficulty might be solved, and am much pleased with the solution here. 
Cabell repeated the sentiment to Gaige upon seeing the final book in early August:
First and foremost, I am wholly delighted with the form you have given my verses, and see no fault in it anywhere.… I admire the ingenuity with which the problem presented by a collection of ballades is here solved. I imagine it is the only collection of ballades existent in which the pages balance so nicely and each poem is laid before you as a whole. Mr. Dwiggins has genius. 
Dwiggins managed to balance the poems on opposite pages by sleight-of-hand. The elaborate red border of rules and stenciled vines that initially worried Cabell serve to unify the double-page spread. It diverts attention from the uneven areas of white space created by differences among the poems in terms of line length and number of lines. Dwiggins was pleased with the results, telling Gaige, “It strikes me as a really handsome book… that does credit to publisher, printer and author—not to mention the horticulturist who grew the vines around the pages.” He thought that Cabell “ought to be flattered to have his verse mounted so”—as indeed he was.  For his efforts Dwiggins was paid $250.00. 
Although Cabell’s attention was rightly focused on the presentation of his poems on the page, it is the binding and the title page that are memorable. The horticultural motif on the double-page spreads is anticipated by the border on the binding and the tree on the title page. The delicate nature of the ballades, suggested by these plants, is reinforced on the title page by widely letterspaced capitals in type for the title and author’s name and a light informal hand-lettered script for the phrase, “De balader j’ay beau loisir.”
One person not happy with the book was Bennett Cerf of Random House, the distributor of the Crosby Gaige books. In September 1928 he wrote a letter to Gaige calling Anna Livia Plurabelle by James Joyce “a sorry looking affair for $25.00” and describing Ballades from the Hidden Way as “a fiasco”. He was upset over phony first editions and over what he considered flagrant over-pricing by Gaige of his books. The Cabell book was priced at $20.  Cabell was upset by Cerf’s comments, telling Gaige the news was “wholly depressing,” and yet saying that he sympathized with “the feelings of the Random House people”.  Cerf had nothing negative to say, however, about Dwiggins’ design of Ballades from the Hidden Way. It should be noted that, at this time, Dwiggins was working for Random House, via Elmer Adler and Pynson Printers, on an illustrated edition of Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson.
Soon after publication of Ballades from the Hidden Way, Dwiggins assured Gaige that he would work on the three other books as fast he could. He would work on the interiors as soon as he got proofs from Rudge, the printer; and he would start designing the covers once he knew how the books would bulk.  Apparently Rudge had the galleys for the Robinson and Sandburg books ready before those of the Strachey book since the first two were published on October 2, 1928 and the latter not until November 24.
The next two books Dwiggins designed for Crosby Gaige, Publisher were also books of poetry: Sonnets: 1889–1927 by Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869–1935) and Good Morning America by Carl Sandburg. Both books are radically different in appearance from Ballades from the Hidden Way as well as from each other.
The Robinson collection of sonnets has a binding of alternating floral and decorative stripes in rose on a dove gray paper over boards, with black cloth for the spine. As with the Cabell “horticulture,” the decorations are made from celluloid stencils, though the two bindings do not share any elements in common. The spine is stamped in gold with a the author’s name being hyphenated in a typical Dwiggins manner: EDWIN / ARLING- / TON / ROBIN- / SON. The title page is devoid of decoration—unless one counts the Gaige ram mark printed in red—with everything set in Caslon, the typeface used for the text. Once again, The Printing House of Edwin Rudge handled the printing. The edition was 561 copies on BR [Bruce Rogers] Rag paper with nine on green paper. 
Of Sonnets: 1889–1927, Gaige had this to say, “The most difficult of the American poets was Edwin Arlington Robinson, who had a curious tight-lipped reticence. Although I met him many times and he dined at my home, there was a mental and physical stiffness about him that prevented his forgetting he was a poet. I published a book of his sonnets, which Dwiggins designed with classic simplicity.” 
The plainness of Dwiggins’ interior design for Sonnets: 1889–1927 was due perhaps to the heavy workload he was under in 1928. In late October, after he had finished his design of the Robinson, Sandburg, and Strachey books, he complained to his friend Carl Purington Rollins, “Too much product this year. The Crosby Gaige things demanded in too much of a hurry, no time to ripen. Got to think ’em out a little, what? Taking more time since July, and getting a better result.” 
Good Morning, America
Carl Sandburg (1878–1967) was a journalist, storyteller, poet, biographer, and folk singer. As a poet he was considered a descendant of Walt Whitman. His poetry was marked by informal diction, social realism, praise of American agriculture and industry, and a preference for free verse. Sandburg’s reputation was originally made with the publication of Chicago Poems (New York: Henry Holt, 1916), which included his most famous poem “Chicago” (1914).  It was followed by the Pulitzer Prize-winning Cornhuskers (1918) and Smoke and Steel (1920). After the publication of Good Morning, America he shifted his attention to a multi-volume biography of Abraham Lincoln and other historical works.
Dwiggins’ design of Good Morning, America is perhaps his most Art Deco-looking book. The red linen binding has two geometric designs (buildings?) on the spine with the title and author in sans serif lettering; and a zig-zag design on both front and back—all stamped in gold. The title page is dominated by a yellow sunrise over a cityscape (presumably Chicago). The title, author’s name, and imprint are letterspaced in a gothic sans serif type. Each section of the book is announced with a divider page sporting a tiny stenciled design in a variety of colors.The text is set in Scotch Roman, Dwiggins’ second favorite typeface at this time following Caslon. As usual the printing, on BR Rag paper, was done by The Printing House of Edwin Ridge. 811 copies were printed with 750 of them for sale. There were some copies on green paper, but no information on the exact quantity. 
Of all his Gaige projects, Dwiggins undoubtedly felt the most comfortable with Good Morning, America. The poet’s Midwestern roots and his plain spokeness would have appealed to him, even though his memories of his time in Chicago were not wholly pleasant ones. It is the one Gaige book where Dwiggins indulged in his new “concrete-mixer” stencil designs in contrast to the more vegetative designs of both Ballades from the Hidden Way and Sonnets: 1889–1927. The use of a gothic sans serif would have been shocking to contemporary bibliophiles, but Dwiggins had experimented with such types in a proposed design for When the Sleeper Wakes by H.G. Wells four years earlier. 
What Sandburg or Gaige thought of the design of Good Morning, America is not known. The New York Times reviewed the trade edition of the book published by Harcurt, Brace and Company, and thus focused entirely on Sandburg’s poetry—in a carping spirit that found his Whitmanesque style no longer appropriate for a mature America.  Robert Gunn in The Publishers’ Weekly did look at the Crosby Gaige books from an aesthetic standpoint, but only in sweeping statements. He said that the quality of the books proved the skeptics wrong; that they are good first editions and examples of typographic excellence. 
Elizabeth and Essex: A Tragic History
Lytton Strachey (1880–1932), the author of Elizabeth and Essex, was a member of the Bloomsbury Group. He is best known for Eminent Victorians (1918), a set of irreverent biographies of Cardinal Henry Manning, Thomas Arnold, Major-General Charles George Gordon (Gordon of Khartoum), and Florence Nightingale. His biography of the tortured romance between Elizabeth I, Queen of England, and Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, was co-published by Crosby Gaige and Chatto & Windus of London, though all of the production was done in the United States. Even with a large print run of 1060 copies (100 not for sale), Elizabeth and Essex appears to have been the best-selling Crosby Gaige title, even priced at $20. The edition was sold out by spring of 1929. 
Elizabeth and Essex is the only book that Dwiggins designed for Crosby Gaige to be chosen as an AIGA Fifty Books of the Year. Its appearance caught the attention of an anonymous columnist for The New York Times who, a week after reviewing it, apologized for having inadvertently omitted mention “of the typographical beauty of the limited first edition of this book, which was published by Crosby Gaige in America, and distributed by Random House of New York. The volume was designed by W.A. Dwiggins, and it stands as one of the handsomest specimens of good book making produced in 1928. The title page is a delight; the body type singularly inviting and clear.” 
The title page of Elizabeth and Essex is dominated by a “monogram” composed of the letters of “Elizabeth R” in all caps. Dwiggins clearly derived the monogram from the obverse of the 1601 Silver Pledge Halfpenny. The monogram and the title—in a light, elegant script—are both hand-lettered by Dwiggins. The Gaige ram has been relegated to the colophon page. The text is set in Monotype Caslon 337. It was printed on BR Rag paper by The Printing House of William Edwin Rudge, with twenty copies on green paper. There are six half-tone plates in the book, including the frontispiece, an Elizabethan-era portrait of Elizabeth I.
Despite the comments of The New York Times columnist the most distinctive aspect of Dwiggins’ design of Elizabeth and Essex is the binding.The spine is black cloth stamped in gold with the sides covered in decorated greenish-gray paper over boards. It is the decoration that is stunning, a riotous all-over floral pattern in periwinkle blue. It is a much more adventurous design than those made earlier for Ballades from the Hidden Way and Sonnets: 1889–1927. Dwiggins’ total mastery of figure and ground anticipated his brilliant binding pattern for Tales by Edgar Allan Poe (Chicago: The Lakeside Press, 1930).
1928 was a watershed year for Dwiggins, the year in which he finally made the transition from advertising designer to book designer. This was heralded by his cousin Laurance B. Siegfried in The Publishers’ Weekly several weeks prior to the publication of Elizabeth and Essex. In an article titled “So These Are Dwiggins!” he summarized Dwiggins’ achievements in the book world over the course of the year: the format for The Sun Dial Library books, Ballades from the Hidden Way, Good Morning America, Sonnets: 1889–1927 by E.A. Robinson, The Complete Angler by Isaak Walton (Boston: C.E. Goodspeed & Co., 1928), Paraphs by Hermann Püterschein (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1928), Layout in Advertising by Dwiggins (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1928). and, in progress, Tales by Edgar Allan Poe for The Lakeside Press, and Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for Gaige. Siegfried left out not only Elizabeth and Essex, but also America Conquers Death by Milton Waldman (New York: William E. Ridge, 1928), and five trade books for Knopf for which he was doing the binding. Siegfried’s conclusion was that “…the publishers are waking up to Dwiggins.” 
Carl Purington Rollins, printer to Yale University Press and a close friend of Dwiggins, was even more laudatory a month and a half later in The Compleat Collector column for The Saturday Review of Literature. He reviewed Elizabeth and Essex, America Conquers Death, Ballads [sic] from the Hidden Way, and Layout in Advertising. He called Dwiggins a “genius clothed in modesty” who was not well known—until now—due to the ephemerality of his work and his location in Boston. He went on to declare that:
Those who have been familiar with the work done by William Addison Dwiggins of Boston for advertisers have long wished that he might take a more prominent part in the designing of less ephemeral work. For many years he has been recognized as one of the foremost designers in this country, and perhaps the most versatile and thoughtful of all those who have done lettering and decorative design for purely commercial uses. 
Rollins considered his skill as a typographer evident in his advertising work, but said that Dwiggins approached books more as a designer than a typographer. He described Ballades as a typical Dwiggins book: “a commingling of type and decoration which, whimsical in conception, yet holds itself completely together as a printed book.” America Conquers Death was less typical since its design relied almost entirely upon type, while the binding of Elizabeth and Essex displayed his new style of decoration. But Rollins saved his most effusive praise for the text of Layout in Advertising. The book showed a mind “which facilely deals with such extremely mundane affairs as advertisements, but which ought to be teaching philosophy.”
It is easy to dismiss the comments of both Siegfried and Rollins as highly biased observers, yet it is undeniable that, whatever the merits of an individual book, the breadth and depth of Dwiggins’ work during 1928 was astonishing. 
Old Mrs. Chundle: A Short Story
There is one additional Crosby Gaige, Publisher book that Dwiggins contributed to, but did not design. It is Old Mrs. Chundle, a previously unpublished short story by Thomas Hardy (1840–1928). According to Pamela Dalziel the story was unknown during Hardy’s lifetime and was only discovered due to Gaige’s search for original texts for his publishing program. Hardy died at the beginning of 1928 and Gaige acquired the story through negotiations with his widow.  The book was designed by Daniel Berkeley Updike and printed by The Merrymount Press. Dwiggins contributed two vignettes to it, one for the title page and one to open the story. 
Old Mrs Chundle: A Short Story was begun in mid-July 1928, but not published until January 1929.  The text is set in Janson, a typeface that Updike was using at the same time for his monumental The Book of Common Prayer. 742 copies of the edition were printed on Zanders hand-made paper and 13 copies on gray French Ingres paper. The binding is a green and gold floral-patterned cloth-backed paper over boards. The pattern consists of alternating vertical bands of flowers and zig-zags. (Its traditional rendering is in strong contrast to the similar pattern Dwiggins designed for Sonnets: 1889–1927 by Edwin Arlington Robinson.) 
“Crosby Gaige wants to have a ‘woodcut-like’ drawing of about this style, made for a title-page of a story by Hardy, that I am printing for him.” Updike wrote to Dwiggins sometime between the middle of July and the middle of September 1928. “It’s about a curate who was not nice to an old woman, who up and died, leaving him all her property. Then, like ‘Peter, he wept bitterly.’ The enclosed won’t do, for it depicts someone (to quote Mrs. Leiter) in ‘the garbage of a monk.'” He asked Dwiggins if the clothing could be changed for “a more modern clerical shirt”.  Whatever Dwiggins drew in response was apparently not entirely acceptable to Updike. The printer sourly complained that, “The curate’s hat ought to be black and with a wide flapping brim, but that is not all—the hat should be off, not on. I am sorry that when you pray, you have not better manners!”  It took another revison before Dwiggins satisfied Updike. In the end, the hat (with a broad brim) ended up on the ground, next to the curate who has fallen to his knees to pray. Dwiggins was paid $50.00 for his efforts. 
As Old Mrs. Chundle was in production, Gaige was preparing to abandon the publishing business, just a little over a year after he had entered it. “By early 1929 the production of limited editions for the delectation of the book collector had become more of a business than a pastime as more commercially minded men than I took it up,” Gaige wrote in Footlights and Highlights, his autobiography. ” I sensed this fact and quite willingly passed the enterprise on to other hands.” In reality he had already given up the business to his associate James R. Wells at the beginning of December.  Publishing historian John Tebbel (ghost writer of Gaige’s autobiography), says that his increasingly irritable relations wth Bennett Cerf of Random House was the reason.  “Early in 1929, the imprint of the Fountain Press will replace that of Crosby Gaige in the series of limited and signed first editions of prominent contemporary writers begun by the latter in 1928,” declared Random House. 
Crosby Gaige, Publisher seems destined to have had a short life. Although he “made a small fortune within a year’s time out of high priced limited editions,” Gaige seemed to have always preferred Broadway to publishing. During 1928 he tried to bring three novels to the stage at the same time he was ostensibly engaged in publishing first editions.  However, even after Gaige turned his book business over to Wells, he continued to dabble in printing, immediately setting up a private press with Frederic Warde, the typographer at The Printing House of William Edwin Rudge. The venture was called The Watch Hill Press.  Gaige lost the fortune he had made from his plays and his publishing endeavor in the Wall Street Crash of 1929. He continued to produce plays in the 1930s, but increasingly he was known in the final two decades of his life as a food and cocktail writer. The twenty-two finely-printed first editions he published were merely a blip in his career.
A final comment
Gaige attended the ceremony at The Yale Club on February 4, 1929 when the American Institute of Graphic Arts awarded its Gold Medal to Dwiggins. It was probably the only time the two men ever met. 
1. Ballades from the Hidden Way by James Branch Cabell (New York: Crosby Gaige, 1928) is item 28.01 in The Books of WAD by Dwight Agner (Baton Rouge, Louisiana: The Press of the Nightowl, 1974). It is set in Monotype Caslon. 831 copies were printed on Vidalon paper and another 8 on special gray paper. Printing was done by The House of William Edwin Rudge. Cabell was clueless about the copies on special paper. Upon returning the signed pages to Gaige, he asked, “What, by the way, is the significance of those seventeen or so copies which I autographed upon a different kind of paper?” See James Branch Cabell to Crosby Gaige 19 July 1928 in University of Virginia, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, James Branch Cabell Papers, Box 3.
2. Quoted in Preface to the Past by James Branch Cabell (Holicong, Pennsylvania: Wildside Press, 2003), p. 173. The source of these revised ballades was From the Hidden Way: Being Seventy-Five Adaptations in Verse by James Branch Cabell (New York: Robert M. McBride & Co., 1916).
3. James Branch Cabell to James Wells 6 June 1928 in University of Virginia, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, James Branch Cabell Papers, Box 3.
4. James Branch Cabell to Crosby Gaige 5 August 1928 in University of Virginia, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, James Branch Cabell Papers, Box 3.
5. W.A. Dwiggins to Crosby Gaige 8 August 1928 in University of Virginia, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, James Branch Cabell Papers, Box 3.
6. See the 1 May 1928 entry in his account books in the Boston Public Library, 1974 W.A, Dwiggins Collection, Box 81(1), Folder 6. The date of payment is puzzling since it is nearly three months before the book was published. Perhaps Dwiggins completed his design in the spring. There is no surviving correspondence about the book while it was in progress. And Gaige makes only a cursory reference to it in his autobiography. “By long distance I dealt with James Branch Cabell, and W. A. Dwiggins designed a beautiful edition for his Ballads [sic] of the Hidden Way.” Footlights and Highlights by Crosby Gaige (New York: E.P. Dutton and Company, Inc., 1948), p. 211.
7. Bennett Cerf to Crosby Gaige 17 September 1928 in Columbia University, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Bennett Cerf Manuscript Collection, Box 173. He had previously complained about over-pricing in a letter of 10 July 1928: “One of two more similar examples of flagrant over-pricing will give the name of Crosby Gaige, I am convinced, a black eye among the booksellers that will never be effaced.” The object of his ire was Fifty Romance Lyric Poems compiled and translated by Richard Aldington. For more on the conflict between Cerf and Gaige on these topics see Beauty and the Book: Fine Editions and Cultural Distinction in America by Megan L. Benton (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2000), pp. 137–138 and 229. It is interesting to note that Carl Purington Rollins had caught on to absurdity of the first edition market early on. In an undated letter to Frederic Allen Whiting he complained that, “The situation in printing changes more rapidly than I ever supposed it could. The damned traders have discovered the possibility of getting fifteen dollars for a four dollar book, and now the middlemen are trying to hog all the profits—witness the grotesque absurdity of a book designed by Rogers, printed by Rudge, published by Crosby Gaige, and distributed by Random House, and retailed by the book stores! In this case they say they should charge fifteen dollars to break even (that is, give everyone his rake-off)! It is not only absurd, but it means the break-down of the whole scheme, I am afraid.” See Carl Purington Rollins to Frederic Allen Whiting n.d. [1928?] in Yale University, Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library, Carl Purington Rollins Papers, Box 1.
8. James Branch Cabell to Crosby Gaige 16 September 1928 inUniversity of Virginia, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, James Branch Cabell Papers, Box 3.
9. W.A. Dwiggins to Crosby Gaige 8 August  in University of Virginia, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, James Branch Cabell Papers, Box 3. In the letter also asked, “Am I wrong in putting the C.G. book-label after the C.G. books? It will not take long, but I cannot steal a minute! 18 hour day[.]” This is presumably a second bookplate, distinct from one commissioned at the beginning of the year, since Dwiggins’ account books include a 18 October 1928 entry for a “leather bookplate”. See Boston Public Library, 1974 W.A. Dwiggins Collection, Box 81(1), Folder 6.
10. Sonnets: 1889–1927 by Edwin Arlington Robinson is item 28.07 in The Books of WAD by Dwight Agner (Baton Rouge, Louisiana: The Press of the Nightowl, 1974). Green paper copies were a hallmark of many Crosby Gaige, Publisher books, perhaps in imitation of green paper limited edition books designed by Bruce Rogers and T.M. Cleland for Alfred A. Knopf in 1924. Hogan says that the green paper copies had a darker gray paper for the binding, a vellum spine, and a gilt top edge. See A Bibliography of Edwin Arlington Robinson by Charles Beecher Hogan (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1936), pp. 33–34. The book was priced at $20.
11. Footlights and Highlights by Crosby Gaige (New York: E.P. Dutton and Company, Inc., 1948), p. 211.
12. W.A. Dwiggins to Carl Purington Rollins 22 October 1928 in Yale University, Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library, Arts of the Book Collection, Carl Purington Rollins Papers, Box 2. Earlier in the year he explained to Rollins that his work was being severely affected by the deaths of his wife’s parents within seven weeks of each other, but that he was managing to handle things. See Dwiggins to Rollins 31 May 1928 in Rollins Papers, Box 2.
13. “Chicago” opens with the famous stanza: “Hog Butcher for the World, / Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, /Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler; / stormy, husky, brawling, / City of the Big Shoulders:”.
14. Good Morning, America (without the comma on the binding or title page) is item 28.08 in The Books of WAD by Dwight Agner (Baton Rouge, Louisiana: The Press of the Nightowl, 1974). The price was $15. The green paper copies are mentioned in “A Selective Checklist of Sandburg’s Writings” by Ralph G. Newman in A Tribute to Carl Sandburg at Seventy-Five edited by Harry E. Pratt (Chicago: Abraham Lincoln Bookshop, 1953)—Being a special edition of the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society issued to commemorate the 75th Birthday of a great American, January 6th, 1953.
15. Dwiggins coined the phrase “‘concrete-mixer’ abstractions” to describe his more geometric stencil designs. See W.A Dwiggins to Alfred Knopf 9 October  in University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Papers, Box 732, Folder 4 and Dwiggins to S.A Jacobs 7 July 1947 in Boston Public Library, 2001 Dorothy Abbe Book Collection, shelf 4, box of items from S.A. Jacobs, Golden Eagle Press.
16. See Transactions of the Society of Calligraphers, Bulletin No. 1, Part I (January 1, 1924) and the chapter title and running head to the double-page spread reproduced in The Definitive Dwiggins no. 58.
17. “The poet jumps up from writing in his shirt sleeves to slap humanity on the back. His poetry is breezy, bluff and wistful by turns. It is an American product surely, but the product of an America in its teens. And we like to think that America is now grown up.” From “Carl Sandburg Sings Out, ‘Good Morning, America’; His New Volume of Poems Shows Him Still the Undisciplined Craftsman” by Percy Hutchison in The New York Times (21 October 1928), p. 62. The Harcourt, Brace and Company edition of Good Morning, America was published several weeks after the Crosby Gaige edition. The typography is identical, but the binding is different and the divider pages are missing. The binding is cornflower blue cloth with only the title author stamped in gold. Dwiggins’ title page was reused as a jacket design. The composition was electroplated from Rudge and the printing was by The Quinn & Boden Company of Rahway, New Jersey. Dwiggins’ name does not appear at all in the book.
18. “The Crosby Gaige Imprint and Its Value” by Robert Gunn in The Publishers’ Weekly (October 6, 1928), p. 1472. Cerf would have disagreed. In late September he was still grousing about the quality of Crosby Gaige books. See Bennett Cerf to Crosby Gaige 27 September 1928 in Columbia University, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Bennett Cerf Manuscript Collection, Box 173: “This [At First Sight by Walter de la Mare] marks the receipt of the third book in succession from you that I consider entirely incompatible with the standard we have been trying to set for Random House, and a disgraceful hold-up at the price you have set for it.”
19. Elizabeth and Essex is item 28.10 in The Books of WAD by Dwight Agner (Baton Rouge, Louisiana: The Press of the Nightowl, 1974). Anger does not mention the green paper copies or Chatto & Windus as a co-publisher. The Random House Announcement for Spring and Summer 1929 (Fifth List) said that it was out-of-print along with the Sandburg and Robinson books, both of which were issued in smaller runs.
20. “Books and Authors” column in The New York Times (9 December 1928), Section 4, p. 12. The opposite page has an advertisement for the American trade edition of Elizabeth and Essex published by Harcourt, Brace and Company, priced at $3.75.
21. “So These Are Dwiggins!” by Jacob Püterschein (pseudonym of Laurance B. Siegfried) in The Publishers’ Weekly (November 3, 1928), pp. 1896–1904. Siegfried mistakenly said Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was a Gaige book when in fact it was being prepared by Pynson Printers for Random House. For three of the Knopf books Dwiggins also contributed the title page. Hermann Püterschein was Dwiggins’ alter ego, meaning that two of the books mentioned were written by him as well as designed by him. Four of the books were AIGA Fifty Books of the Year winners: America Conquers Death, Elizabeth and Essex, Layout in Advertising, and Paraphs.
22. “Designed by W.A. Dwiggins” by Carl Purington Rollins in The Saturday Review of Literature vol. V, no. 23 (December 29, 1928), pp. 560–561.
23. Left out of the summary of his book work is 22 Printers’ Marks and Seals that was in preparation for Rudge. Dwiggins also designed a number of advertising pieces for S.D. Warren & Co. and the Rag Content Paper Manufacturers, created mastheads for The Atlantic Monthly and Life (the humor magazine), and carried out miscellaneous small jobs such as marks and bookplates during the year.
24. Thomas Hardy: The Excluded and Collaborative Stories edited by Pamela Dalziel (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), pp. 215–226.
25. Old Mrs Chundle is not listed in The Books of WAD by Dwight Agner (Baton Rouge, Louisiana: The Press of the Nightowl, 1974). It is no. 683 in Daniel Berkeley Updike and His Merrymount Press; Notes on The Merrymount Press and Its Work by Daniel Berkeley Updike. With a Bibliographical List of Books Printed at the Press, 1893-1933, by Julian P. Smith (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1934), but Smith does not mention Dwiggins’ contribution.
26. Merrymount Press job ticket no. 12027 is dated 18 July 1928. See Henry E. Huntington Library, The Merrymount Press Collection, Merrymount Press Invoices Book no. 6 (January 1927 to October 1928); and Boston Athenaeum, The Merrymount Press Collection.
27. The job ticket at The Boston Athenaeum contains a scrap of binding paper labeled “Razzi #181”, but I have been unable to match this reference to a binding cloth manufacturer.
28. Daniel Berkeley Updike to W.A. Dwiggins n.d. [faded carbon] in Henry E. Huntington Library, The Merrymount Press Collection, Correspondence no. 108:703. The illustration provided to Updike by Gaige is missing.
29. Daniel Berkeley Updike to W.A. Dwiggins 24 September 1928 and 1 October 1928 in Henry E. Huntington Library, The Merrymount Press Collection, Correspondence nos. 108:704 and 108:705.
30. See the entry for 8 October 1928 in Henry E. Huntington Library, The Merrymount Press Collection, Merrymount Press Invoices Book no. 6 (January 1927 to October 1928): “B251 W.A. Dwiggins Drawing, curate, for Crosby Gaige title page 50 00”. Proofs of the vignette are in Boston Athenaeum, The Merrymount Press Collection, job ticket no. 12027. Although Updike had one of the Gaige marks in hand, he did not use it in Old Mrs. Chundle. The man is cut no. 2463 in Book of Designs II in Providence Public Library, The Merrymount Press Collection.
31. Footlights and Highlights by Crosby Gaige (New York: E.P. Dutton and Company, Inc., 1948), p. 211. Crosby Gaige to James Joyce 11 December 1928: “This is to inform you that I have disposed of my publishing business to Mr. James R. Wells and associates of 522 Fifth Avenue, New York City. In the future I expect that my only connection with publishing will be by way of my hand press. Frederic Warde and I plan to produce some modern books by old time methods.” Quoted in James Joyce’s “Work in Progress”: Pre-Publication Editions of Finnegans Wake Fragments by Dirk Van Hulle (London and New York: Routledge, 2016), p. 127 note.
32. A History of Book Publishing in the United States vol. III: The Golden Age Between the Two Wars 1920–1940 by John Tebbel (New York and London: R.R. Bowker Co., 1978), p. 168. For a summary of the relations between Gaige and Cerf see Beauty and the Book: Fine Editions and Cultural Distinction in America by Megan L. Benton (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2000), p. 136.
33. See A Preliminary Announcement of the Random House Program for Spring 1929 in Columbia University, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Bennett Cerf Manuscript Collection, Box 36.
34. The quotation is from Burton Rascoe. See Burton Rascoe to Paul Johnston 16 April 1931 in New York Public Library, Rare Books and Manuscripts, Paul Johnston Papers, Box 1. Crosby Gaige took options on three novels in 1928—The Unmarried Father by Floyd Dell, Black Mecca by Wallace Thurman and William Jourdan Rapp, and Bad Girl by Vina Delmar—with only the first, under the name Little Accident, making it to Broadway that year. The others were successfully produced in 1929 and 1930 respectively.
35. For more on Crosby Gaige, Frederic Warde, and The Watch Hill Press see “Frederic Warde, Crosby Gaige, and the Watch Hill Press” by Simon Loxley in Printing History New Series 4 (July 2008).
36. See An Eulogy in a City Club House (New York: The Harbor Press, 1929).