The Definitive Dwiggins no. 438—Book jackets for Alfred A. Knopf [Part Two: 1936–1941]
W.A. Dwiggins contributed designs to 328 books published by Alfred A. Knopf according to Dwight Agner, author of The Books of WAD: A Bibliography of the Books Designed by W.A. Dwiggins (Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Press of the Nightowl, 1974). I use the phrase “contributed” because he did not design all of these books in the conventional understanding of the term. Agner’s list includes books where Dwiggins was responsible for: 1. the typography, binding, and jacket; 2. the typography and binding; 3. the binding only; and 4. the title page only. By his count Dwiggins designed jackets for only 43 books: nine between 1926 and 1935; twenty-three between 1936 and 1941; ten between 1942 and 1949; and 1 from 1950 to 1956. 
This post is the second of a multi-part survey of Dwiggins’ jackets for Knopf which will go beyond Agner’s enumeration to also look at jackets partially designed by him, jackets containing elements originally designed by him for other purposes (e.g. bindings or title pages), and jackets that were planned by him but not carried out. The jackets are listed in rough chronological order. 
The Heady Years: 1936–1941 continued
Although Dwiggins worked on books to one degree or another for thirty years, the famously close relationship between the designer and the publisher did not truly begin until 1936. In the previous nine years, Dwiggins was essentially treated as a decorator, being called upon to contribute just the binding or title page to fifteen books. He designed—in the sense of being responsible for the typography of a text—only twelve books. In contrast, in 1936 alone he designed eleven books.  He followed that up with typography for twelve books in 1937 and fifteen in 1938. Then, inexplicably, the number dropped off with only four such books in 1939 and seven in 1940. However, as soon as Knopf put Dwiggins on a retainer May 1, 1941 his typographic work shot up to fourteen titles that year.
In 1931 Dwiggins told Jacobs, “I do not get any speed with wrappers… What I am interested in these days is making things according to my own pet standards…. Consequently you will get the most out of me by keeping me for things where selling isn’t the main point….”  He reiterated his stance several times throughout 1936, and yet, ironically, that year and the next were the peak years of his work as a jacket designer. Furthermore, nearly all of the twelve jackets Dwiggins created in those two years are among his most memorable. After that creative outburst, his number of jackets shrank with a total of seven between 1938 and 1941. 
Sometime in the spring of 1936 Dwiggins suggested to Jacobs that Knopf restrict itself to a standardized style of jacket as a means of immediately identifying the publisher’s titles in a crowded bookstore. His idea was for the jackets to be printed in red and black on white paper. Jacobs responded by telling him that white jackets were no good since they got dirty too easily. “I thought of that, too.” Dwiggins wrote back. “Have to be buff, black and red—but, as you said, too many others use the same—couldn’t own it.” 
Two months later Dwiggins sent Jacobs a letter entitled “HOME-STUDY COURSE”. In it he explained why it was a bad idea for Alfred Knopf to ask him to create unusual designs, even if that was something he preferred to do:
Salesforce-Dealer-Author… they have to control: they are the contact with the market (Author not so much of course).When they do, my “doing what you think best with each book” toward “unusual designs and layouts and sizes” will be, not only lost motion, but in each instance a bad handicap to Salesforce—ask ’em. I find from many talks with normally cultivated people that they want usual packages when it comes to books, and are desperately bothered by the novel and unexpected.
My interest (and, maybe, ability) lies along the line of the unusual in printing—so it comes out that the better I do on my own terms the worse I do for you!
So what?… I suggest that the best way I can help you will be for us [to] dismiss the new from our formula and drop back to safe-and-sane usual—simply making a good readable article without frills that Salesman and Dealer will stand behind. My function would be to help the printer make a neat package—(up to Front Office, of course, to say whether such help would be worth money!)
I’ve had the hunch for some time that my hand on AAK books has been against the current of good merchandising instead of with it.… I know,—you get get a little copy out of it in “fan” regions, but that’s a pretty thin slice of the market…. 
Although Dwiggins did not mention jackets, they were apparently part of the unusual package that Alfred Knopf envisioned. At the end of June, Knopf replied, “Now I happen to agree that the present packaging of books is old-fashioned and from a merchandising point of view ineffective. It seems to me that the dust jacket hasn’t changed since it was first invented.” He said he tried a new idea in 1933, but that the book dealers “set up a howl”. The whole idea was too expensive and “was finally thrown down the sewer”. But he was interested in any ideas that Dwiggins had and willing to pursue them. 
On July 27, 1936 Dwiggins told Jacobs, “The point about jackets is simply this: Call me in on jackets that are likely to fit in with my mood about jackets—and not where you need something of another kind.”  Apparently, he had been in a receptive mood for months since he had created jackets for six books since April. The disconnect between what Dwiggins said and what he did is not surprising. Throughout his career he consistently told his clients what he thought while indicating a willingness to bend to their wishes. His relationship with Knopf was no exception. It was surely one of the reasons Alfred Knopf preferred to work with Dwiggins rather than other book designers such as Bruce Rogers or T.M. Cleland, both of whom he esteemed highly. But Alfred A. Knopf was a trade publisher and not a fine press, a distinction which Dwiggins not only understood, but was willing to accommodate.
Given Dwiggins’ pliability, it is not surprising that Jacobs asked him three weeks later if he would like to do some jackets for Knopf.  Although his response is not recorded, Dwiggins designed only one more Knopf jacket in 1936. It was for The Borzoi Reader, a book that was especially important to Alfred Knopf since it celebrated his first twenty years as a publisher.
The American Language (fourth edition) by H.L. Mencken [Agner 36.07]
There is no correspondence between Dwiggins and people at Knopf about the design of the jacket for the fourth edition of The American Language by H.L. Mencken. This is surprising since 1. the design became the template for not only the supplements that were published, but also for the jackets of other unrelated books; and 2. Mencken was a very voluble booster of Dwiggins’ efforts as a designer. 
• •. •
The Old Man’s Coming by Gustaf-Janson Gösta [Agner 36.03]
The jacket for The Old Man’s Coming is possibly the most unusual of all of Dwiggins’ jackets. The Art Deco title lettering is similar to the geometric alphabet he had created for American Alphabets by Paul Hollister (New York: Harper Brothers, 1930) is combined with the rest of the text in a light cursive. Although the abstract stenciled decoration is typical of his work at this time, the presence of tone in some of the shapes is unprecedented. The design, which is copied from the binding, was part of an experiment on Dwiggins’ part with offset printing. In April he told Jacobs that he had been asking Jack Ladd about using offset to print binding designs, apparently with the goal of saving money:
He [Ladd] says that a placed design i.e. shelfback etc. in position, printed on the cloth before handling,” Dwiggins wrote, “requires a hand process in assembling boards and cloth; and consequently eats up any saving that might happen in the printing. He advocates it for patterns on the cloth, where you use pasted labels, or where stamping of titles would be done independently of the offset design. 
Dwiggins liked the results, but never seems to have followed up with other offset-printed bindings or jackets, possibly because there was no economic advantage over gold-stamping which he liked. Instead, in later years, he spent more time exploring stamping with colored inks.
• •. •
The Enchanted Voyage by Robert Nathan [Agner 36.08]
The Enchanted Voyage was the first of eleven books by Robert Nathan that Dwiggins designed for Knopf. He wanted to use his binding design and print it offset, as he had done with The Old Man’s Coming. But he worried that the idea wouldn’t satisfy the “sales force”. He must have been right because the published jacket was done by Norman Reeves.  Its pictorial style was antithetical to the kind of jackets Dwiggins was interested in doing.
• •. •
Stories of Three Decades by Thomas Mann [Agner 36.06]
Sometime in the first half of 1936 Dwiggins sent a letter to Jacobs with the heading “MANN JACKET” in which he wrote:
My dope is that the eye-trap is “Thomas Mann.” Nobody, as I figure, is going to be jerked off his feet and hauled back to look by ‘Stories of Three Decades’ [.] But “Thomas Mann” and the big mug are good bait. So, says I, my first drawing is a better show-bill than the tracing. But your people know more about selling books than I, and better let them settle it. 
The jacket for Stories of Three Decades ended up just as Dwiggins described it, though not exactly as he wanted it, as can be discerned from his comments on a proof:
Looks prime to me.
Probably Mr. Mann will like this picture better, but I think you miss a bet in “billboard” by being timid about “crops”—but me, I’m not pig-headed and I think this looks good, too. 
The design, like the one for The American Language, satisfied the sale office enough that it was reused for other books such as The Morning after the First Night by George Jean Nathan (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1938).
• •. •
Early Americana and Other Stories by Conrad Richter—jacket [Agner 36.11]
Conrad Richter, author of Early Americana and Other Stories, specifically asked Alfred Knopf to commission Dwiggins to do the jacket for his book.  Dwiggins agreed to do it, but took longer than expected due to illness, described by him as “flu. pip. botts and sequela”.  He described the result as “mighty snappy”. 
It is a fairly conservative design, though not as much so as either The American Language or Stories of Three Decades. The lettering on the jacket for Early Americana and Other Stories is primarily in the Fat Face vein. The vignette vaguely suggests the American West and the decoration on the spine has Mayan overtones. The muted colors are atypical for Dwiggins: brown and black on a taupe ground.
• •. •
Not Under Forty by Willa Cather—jacket [Agner 36.01]
With the jacket for Not Under Forty Dwiggins returned to the jazzy, colorful approach of The Old Man’s Coming. He was very satisfied with the design, telling Jacobs:
Cather jacket is nearly right in color that I hesitate to say anything about modifying. The proof is an exact balance of the three colors as I doped them. My samples are flat watercolor and consequently a shade more intense in hue than your inks. For your purpose—i.e. sparkle on the book counters—the two reds might be made a trifle more brilliant if that can be done without upsetting the balance. For my purpose the proof is OK as it is and I’d be afraid to monkey with it! I am mighty well pleased with the way it comes out—as I hope Mr. and Mrs. [Alfred and Blanche Knopf] and Miss [Cather] are also. 
Jacobs must have liked the design, since Dwiggins told him in late July 1936, “Immensely encouraged by your OK for Cather jacket (matters not whether you did it to keep me in good humor, or whether you think it good merchandising—point is that you are willing to try the experiment of ‘savage’ color.)” 
The ‘savage’ color was an eye-popping combination of vermilion, pink, and gray. The design, with its oversize abstract stenciled floral arrangement, is one of Dwiggins’ most famous jackets. Knopf used the format for the jackets of new and reprinted books by Cather, altering the color combinations (and reducing the “savagery”) and having Charles Skaggs contribute new lettering. 
• •. •
More Poems by A.E. Housman—jacket [Agner 36.04]
Dwiggins continued to toggle back and forth between radical designs and conservative ones for Knopf books during 1936. The jacket for More Poems by A.E. Housman reflected its staid contents. 
• •. •
The Borzoi Reader ed. by Carl van Doren [Agner 36.15]
A third jacket that Dwiggins designed in 1936 which subsequently served as the basis for other jackets is the one for The Borzoi Reader.  He pronounced its undulating striped design to be “very gesnifty”.  The lettering on the front is in the peculiar slab serif that Dwiggins often used, marked by serifs thicker than the thins of the letters. It is preceded by an abstracted sprig of laurel. The wavy title on the spine is part of an implied banner with stylized tassels. Below it Dwiggins has placed the Borzoi dog in an oval with a crenellated border suggesting a seal of approval for the book’s contents.
• •. •
My Father Paul Gauguin by Pola Gauguin [not in Agner]
“Paul Gauguin portrait, and dope on jacket [received]” Dwiggins told Jacobs on August 20, 1936, but the jacket for My Father Paul Gauguin that was published is not his work.  There is no explanation for why the job was turned over to another artist.
One likely reason that Dwiggins did not carry out the jacket for My Father Paul Gauguin is that he was inundated with other work for Knopf, including jackets for four or five books that were completed in 1936 although the books themselves were not published until 1937. He told Jacobs in early October, “I judge the way to do is to carry on all these things at once, lightly hopping from piece to piece, like a plumber.” Acknowledging the burden, in a subsequent letter he suggested that Jacobs hire New York City lettering artists like Frank Conley to carry out his sketches. 
Jacobs responded that he thought Dwiggins wanted to experiment with “packaging” books and that the jacket for Not Under Forty was intended as a step in that direction. He emphasized that Knopf was paying him a premium for these jackets.  Two weeks later, on December 7, 1936, he paraphrased for Dwiggins some of the reactions the sale department had to the “experimental” jackets:
Not Under Forty—“Swell, though some of the booksellers think it does not quite represent the nature of the book.”
The Borzoi Reader—”A very effective jacket with one drawback—the names of the authors included in the volume should have gone on the front of the jacket.”
The Sea of Grass—”Interesting display though not dramatic enough.”
Zest for Life—”A good jacket for an unimportant book.” 
The latter two titles were not published until 1937.
A Short History of Music by Alfred Einstein [Agner 37.03]
Although Dwiggins designed the interior and binding of A Short History of Music and was supposedly working on its jacket, the final design was not his. The published jacket is a simple design with all text set in Weiss Initials Series III on a split black/wine red background. It was probably carried out by someone on the Knopf production staff.
• •. •
The next four books described below were published in 1937, but they were designed (including their jackets) in late 1936.
The Life of Richard Wagner 1848–1860 by Ernest Newman [not in Agner]
On November 20, 1936 Dwiggins sent a sketch for the jacket of The Life of Richard Wagner 1848–1860 to Jacobs with this note:
If this sketch [Wagner], or something like it, seems good, and you want to go ahead with working-drawing in N.Y. to save time you will not hurt my feelings. You would be giving me aid and comfort in fact. There’s a young feller been in to see me a couple of times who seems to have a flair for my kind of lettering—free lance in your town: Frank Conley, 611 West 138 St. Good kid. I don’t know if he will do work at my absurdly low prices, but he’d be willing to ‘working-drawing’ my sketches maybe. Jacket-designs is a subject that I have been trying to talk with you about for two months. Horribly expensive luxury for me, and too close to advertising to thrill me. Later, about this… Anyway, there must be a slew of good letterdraughtsmen [sic] in N.Y., and some of them willing to carry on from rough sketches in another hand. 
Jacobs accepted Dwiggins’ suggestion, but Conley (1912–1986) acted as a collaborator rather than a mere draughtsman. In updating Jacobs on the progress of the jacket, Dwiggins wrote:
As to the Wagner jacket, I am putting the date in and substituting the head of Wagner in place of the lyre. But on thinking it over, both Conley and I think a solid positive panel for the title (which I suggested in my previous letter) would not be a good idea. It would make the jacket look a little bit too cheap—like those horrible gigantic reprints that are being merchandised today. But I don’t want to experiment with your color combination… I think that if we use the cerise and green of the Cather jacket [Not Under Forty] together with a black, we will get a most striking thing. 
The final colors were slightly different from Dwiggins’ first color comp with cerise replacing the magenta. The jacket design must have pleased the sales department because the format—with the red replaced by teal—was used retroactively as a new jacket for the first volume in Ernest Newman’s biography of Wagner that had been published four years earlier. 
• •. •
Zest for Life: Recollections of a Philosophic Traveller by Johan Wøller [Agner 37.14]
On October 22, 1936 Dwiggins, after “fighting the back-flare of a heavy cold that I thought was licked,” sent the drawing for the jacket of Zest for Life to Jacobs.  Accompanying the artwork was a letter headed “ZEST FOR LIFE JACKET” explaining his thinking behind the design which was far wilder then either The Old Man’s Coming or Not Under Forty:
Mr. Møller’s [sic] theme is largely JAVA: hence a South Sea theme, not javanese sic], but such as might be set going in a western mind by the stimulus Java, Sumatra, Malay.
Far-East color, blond, i.e. high key. Scheme A, I think, might cary [sic] best on the tables, but Scheme B is good, too. Your printer will brighten the color a little, my samples being matt [sic] water-color—but do not brighten too much.…
I have not left a panel for a blurb—my argument being that the jacket in this case is to catch the eye and induce the person to pick up the book and find out inside that it is a philosopher’s animadversions on foreign lands. If you said all that on the jacket you’d take the sting out of the attractive title Zest for Life.
Drawing is a là BATIK, hence the white lines show. Also a certain amount of raggedness is no harm—a help, in fact, and if the register is a little out it will not matter. I haven’t put register marks on—not knowing just where they would work best in your handling. 
Unfortunately, the artwork for both Scheme A and Scheme B has not survived in the Knopf or Dwiggins archives. Presumably, they were the same design differing only in how the jungle-like foliage was colored.  The final design is astonishing, even by Dwiggins’ standards. The title lettering in magenta, derived from Caslon and similar oldstyle roman typefaces, steps down word for word. It is framed by a tropical tangle of plant-like forms in magenta, spring green, and light blue. The author’s name in roman capitals is placed on a fluttering banner that unfurls diagonally across the foliage. The spine is tamer, with the title and author in roman capitals, bracketed by more lush vegetation, and “Knopf” in script within a grass-like frame.
As indicated earlier, the judgement of the sales department at Knopf was: “A good jacket for an unimportant book.” Although Zest for Life may not have been an important book, Jacobs and Dwiggins saw future potential in its jacket design. Dwiggins, on a proof (see above), declared, “it will make an eye-full on the sales-tables, yes?”  In May 1937 they began discussing how to use it as the basis for other jackets with Jacobs proposing that “additions”—meaning other titles and author names—be made by Sam Bass, one of the New York City lettering artists he relied on. Dwiggins countered by suggesting “that you could get variety if you wanted by different sets of colors. Our scheme of the ZEST FOR LIFE colors as a standing blank jacket to fill later, very good.” 
The book they were discussing was Hadrian the Seventh by Frederick Baron Corvo (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1937), possibly the first title in the Alblabooks series to receive a new jacket. Dwiggins ok’ed Bass (b.1910) as the letterer and, when he saw the finished jacket, described it as “Prime”.  The Zest for Life template was subsequently used for other Alblabooks jackets over the following two years, some with different colors as per Dwiggins’ suggestion and lettering by either Bass or another New York City artist. 
• •. •
Tsushima by A. Novikoff-Priboy [Agner 37.09]
The visual evolution of Dwiggins’ jacket design for Tsushima can be seen at The Definitive Dwiggins no. 421. Below is the final design with its odd combination of decoration and illustration.
• •. •
The Sea of Grass by Conrad Richter [Agner 37.11]
“Sea of Grass jacket very fine,” Dwiggins wrote to Jacobs December 5, 1936. “These three or four designs in crash colors and unusual decoration may give you a lead as to how they work in the bookstores. Some expression on this head would be a valuable lead toward the handling of later ones. More on jacket subject later, as soon as I can get a moment to arrange this.”  The three or four designs he was referring to were probably Not Under Forty, The Sea of Grass, Zest for Life, and either Tsushima or The Borzoi Reader. He never sent further thoughts on jackets, possibly because of the feedback from the sales department that Jacobs relayed to him two days later (see above).
The jacket for The Sea of Grass, contrary to the lukewarm sales department assessment, is one of Dwiggins’ best. The title lettering on the front is superb, abstract floral ornament that wraps around to the spine is nearly as wonderful as the one on Not Under Forty, and the “crash colors” combination of pink and forest green is arresting. The design was reused by Knopf for Pattern of a Day by Robert Hillyer (1940) with the colors changed to turquoise and burgundy and lettering that looks uncannily like Dwiggins’ work. 
• •. •
The Sunpapers of Baltimore 1837–1937 by Gerald W. Johnson, Frank R. Kent, H.L. Mencken and Hamilton Owens [Agner 37.04]
The jacket for The Sunpapers of Baltimore 1837–1937 is based on a sketch by Dwiggins with the finish done by either Conley or Bass. In response to Jacobs’ giving a thumb up on his sketch, Dwiggins asked him about fees: “If you can pay 25 for rough sketches of that kind I think I can manage to beat out something. I’ll bill it in at [$]25? and Wagner the same? Also [$]75 for [The] Sea of Grass.” Jacobs response was affirmative: “As for jacket fees: We can stand $25. each for The Sunpapers and the Wagner sketches. Please send us your very best-looking bill and include $75. for the finished drawing of The Sea of Grass.” 
Jacobs sent Dwiggins an unusual request in February 1937, asking him if he would mind if the Sunpapers jacket was varnished. He allowed that this was a trick that cheap reprint publishers did, but he though it would add brilliance to the design. Dwiggins’ terse response was: “I like varnish.” 
• •. •
The Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield [Agner 37.06]
The jacket for The Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield looks like Dwiggins’ work, but it is so only in part. “The lettering was done by Sam Bass,” Jacobs told Dwiggins, “he is pretty good and he’s doing quite a few things for me. He is apt to be a little bit shy of imitating your stuff out of sheer reverence for it.”  Dwiggins was not excited by the jacket. He didn’t mind that his design for the jacket of Collected Prose of Elinor Wylie had been recycled with new lettering by Bass, but he thought the result lacked “zing”. He asked Jacobs, “Why not turn the printer loose to get three or four wild vivid 2 color combines? What about gold for the green plate?, and vermilion for the lettering plate?”  There is no record of what Jacobs thought of these ideas.
• •. •
The Charlatanry of the Learned by Johann Burkhard Mencken [Agner 37.07]
There is little documentary background for Dwiggins’ design of the jacket for The Charlatanry of the Learned. He approved Jacobs’ request to varnish the jacket; and when Jacobs scolded him, “Some day you are going to send us bills for jackets,” he responded with a laconic “Mebbe”. 
The jacket is interesting for the use of bold sans serif capitals for both the author’s name and that of his descendant H.L. Mencken (1880–1956), who wrote an introduction to the book. Although Metro (Mergenthaler Linotype 1929), Dwiggins’ first typeface, was a sans serif, he rarely used sans serif lettering in his jacket and binding designs. The lettering here bears some resemblance to Metromedium except for the A with an Art Deco triangle for a crossbar. The owl vignette was taken from a 5th c. BC Greek coin called an Athenian tetradrachm. The dunce cap on the spine version was added by Dwiggins.
• •. •
Young Henry of Navarre by Heinrich Mann [Agner 37.05]
Dwiggins’ original jacket design for Young Henry of Navarre was tame (his words), bordering on boring. Although he liked it, Jacobs or someone in the sales department wisely rejected it.
Dwiggins’ second attempt at a jacket for Young Henry of Navarre was much livelier, a massing of lances with a flag as the ground for the title and an unfurling banner as the ground for Heinrich Mann’s name. The spine bore several bands with a simplified fleur-de-lys, suggesting the hubs or bands of leather bindings. The design, planned for three colors instead of two as in the first version, bled off all four sides of the front. Dwiggins was ill for several days in the spring of 1937 and unable to carry out the design. He asked Jacobs to have Bass handle it for him.  However, Dwiggins made sure he was in control of the three colors, describing those on his comp—turquoise, purplish brown, and ochre—as “unfortunate”. The final colors, which he declared to be “prime,” were more muted: Wedgwood blue, maroon, and ochre. 
Like many of the jackets Dwiggins designed in 1936 and 1937, the one for Young Henry of Navarre had an afterlife, being reused for Henry, King of France by Heinrich Mann (1939) [not in Agner] and Silence for His Worship by Bernard Ash (1954) [Agner 54.02].
• •. •
The Morning After the First Night by George Jean Nathan [not in Agner]
On October 27, 1937 Jacobs told Dwiggins that he was going to adapt the jacket for Stories of Three Decades for The Morning After the First Night by George Jean Nathan with new lettering by Bass. He wanted Dwiggins ok. He got it—along with advice by Dwiggins on the layout. 
• •. •
Serenade by James M. Cain [Agner 37.01]
See The Definitive Dwiggins no. 419 and its addendum for detailed information on the design of Serenade. The book was published in December 1937, making it the last jacket Dwiggins designed that year. It is a bravura design, rivaling the jacket for Zest for Life in its electricity; and one that fittingly concluded these two years that represented the epitome of his work as a jacket designer.
Dwiggins’ jacket work for the following four years will be described in The Definitive Dwiggins no. 438 Part Two continued which is currently in process.
1. Although Agner’s bibliography has become a standard one—and I refer to it often in my posts—it is both incomplete and inconsistent. I have been compiling a more comprehensive and more accurate bibliography for over 20 years and will eventually make it part of The Definitive Dwiggins series of posts.
2. Dwiggins often worked on multiple books at one time for Knopf, so determining a precise chronological order is impossible. I am listing them based on available correspondence relating to their designs.
3. This change was apparently prompted by financial considerations on Knopf’s part. In August 1935 Jacobs was planning Knopf’s Spring 1936 list and asked Dwiggins, “Merely as a matter of budget control, I would like to have a vague notion of what you would normally charge for the complete design of a book excluding the jacket. Plimpton charges us only part of your fee.” See Sidney R. Jacobs to W.A. Dwiggins 15 August 1935 in Folder 7, Box 732, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas. There is no record of Dwiggins’ response, but the fee must have seemed reasonable to Jacobs.
4. See W.A. Dwiggins to Sidney R. Jacobs 10 July 1931 in Folder 7, Box 732, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas. The complete quotation can be found in The Definitive Dwiggins no. 438 Part One.
5. This total is based on dates of publication. It undercounts the number of jackets Dwiggins designed in 1941 because a majority of them were for books published in 1942.
6. Dwiggins’ original letter to Jacobs has not survived. Jacobs’ response with Dwiggins’ rejoinder are both part of Sidney R. Jacobs to W.A. Dwiggins 18 March 1936 in Folder 7, Box 732, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas. It was common for Dwiggins to write comments on letters from Jacobs and then send the original letter back.
7. See W.A. Dwiggins to Sidney R. Jacobs 4 June 1936 in Folder 14, Box 731, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas.
8. See Alfred A. Knopf to W.A. Dwiggins 29 June 1936 in Folder 7, Box 732, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas. The 1933 idea was proposed by ink salesman and color expert Arthur S. Allen (1867–1944), but what it consisted of is unknown. Knopf sent Dwiggins a copy of Allen’s idea, but there is no evidence of it in either of the two Dwiggins collections at the Boston Public Library.
9. See W.A. Dwiggins to Sidney R. Jacobs 27 July  in Folder 14, Box 731, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas.
10. See Sidney R. Jacobs to W.A. Dwiggins 15 August 1936 in Folder 7, Box 732, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas.
11. See The American Language, Supplement I by H. L. Mencken (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1945) [Agner 45.15] and The American Language, Supplement II by H. L. Mencken (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1948) [Agner 48.08] as well as The Quest for Law by William Seagle (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1941) [Agner 41.21] and Courts and Cabinets by G.P. Gooch (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1946) [Agner 46.06]. For decades later reprintings of The American Language and its supplements continued to use Dwiggins’ template.
12. See W.A. Dwiggins to Sidney R. Jacobs 17 April [1935 (sic)] in Folder 13, Box 731, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas. The 1935 date added by someone other than Dwiggins is clearly a mistake since all other correspondence about The Old Man’s Coming is from early 1936.
13. See W.A. Dwiggins to Sidney R. Jacobs 28 May 1936 in Folder 14, Box 731, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas. It is unlikely that Reeves did the lettering which was probably farmed out to one of the New York letterers that Jacobs frequently called upon.
14. See W.A. Dwiggins to Sidney R. Jacobs “Friday”  in Folder 12, Box 731, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas. As I have indicated before, Dwiggins was very cavalier about dating his correspondence. Based on the publication date of Stories of Three Decades, the letter was written before June 1936.
15. Annotation by W.A. Dwiggins on proof of jacket for Stories of Three Decades in Oversize Box 3, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas.
16. See Alfred A. Knopf to W.A. Dwiggins 23 April 1936 in Folder 7, Box 732, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas.
17. See W.A. Dwiggins to Sidney R. Jacobs “Thursday” [May 1936] in Folder 12, Box 731, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas.
18. See note on jacket proof in Folder 3, Box 734, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas.
19. See W.A. Dwiggins to Sidney R. Jacobs n.d.  in Folder 14, Box 731, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas.
20. See W.A. Dwiggins to Sidney R. Jacobs 29 July 1936 in Folder 14, Box 731, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas.
21. For example see Shadows on the Rock (1946), The Old Beauty and Others (1948), and A Lost Lady (1956).
22. A.E. Housman (1859–1936) was most famous for his collection of poems entitled A Shropshire Lad (1896). He died several months before More Poems was published.
23. See The Barly Fields: A Collection of Five Novels by Robert Nathan (1938) and The World of Sholom Aleichem by Maurice Samuel (1943).
24. See W.A. Dwiggins to Sidney R. Jacobs 26 October 1936 in Folder 14, Box 731, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas.
25. See W.A. Dwiggins to Sidney R. Jacobs 20 August 1936 in Folder 14, Box 731, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas. The jacket for My Father Paul Gauguin by Pola Gauguin (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1937) can be seen on ebay.
26. See W.A. Dwiggins to Sidney R. Jacobs 9 October 1936 and 20 November 1936 in Folder 14, Box 731, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas. The jackets that Dwiggins had in hand at that time were those for The Life of Richard Wagner 1848–1860, The Sea of Grass, A Short History of Music, Tsushima, and Zest for Life.
27. See Sidney R. Jacobs to W.A. Dwiggins 25 November 1936 in Box 118, 1974 W.A. Dwiggins Collection, Boston Public Library. Jacobs said that the average fee Knopf paid for jackets was $50 and that Dwiggins was getting $75 “on speculation”. Dwiggins’ account books indicate that he was paid $60 for the jacket for Stories of Three Decades and $75 for each of the jackets for The American Language, The Borzoi Reader, Early Americana and Other Stories, More Poems, Not Under Forty, and The Old Man is Coming. See Folder 14, Box 81(2), 1974 W.A. Dwiggins Collection, Boston Public Library. The lower fee for Stories of Three Decades suggests that a jacket with a photograph was considered to be less work.
28. See Sidney R. Jacobs to W.A. Dwiggins 7 December 1936 in Folder 7, Box 732, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas.
29. See W.A. Dwiggins to Sidney R. Jacobs 20 November 1936 in Folder 14, Box 731, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas.
30. See W.A. Dwiggins to Sidney R. Jacobs 7 December 1936 in Folder 7, Box 732, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas.
31. Since Conley carried out the jacket design, Dwiggins was only paid $25 for his sketch or idea. Their jacket format was also used for the third and fourth volumes of Newman’s Richard Wagner biography published in 1941 and 194 respectively. Volume three substituted gray for the cerise while volume four used colors similar to those of volume one.
32. See W.A. Dwiggins to Sidney R. Jacobs “Thursday” [probably 8 or 15 October 1936] in Folder 12, Box 731; “Wednesday” [probably 21 October 1936] in Folder 14, Box 731; and 22 October 1936 in Folder 14, Box 731, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas.
33. See W.A. Dwiggins to Sidney R. Jacobs 22 October 1936 in Folder 14, Box 731, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas.
34. A negative photostat of the key plate for the design dated simply “October 8” [1936?] is in Folder 3, Box 734, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas. Dwiggins may have used the original artwork for this as a master design to test out color combinations.
35. See the proof of the jacket for Zest for Life in Folder 3, Box 734, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas.
36. See Sidney R. Jacobs to W.A. Dwiggins 7 May 1937 with notes by Dwiggins in Folder 7, Box 732, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas.
37. See Sidney R. Jacobs to W.A. Dwiggins 7 May 1937 (with notes by Dwiggins stamped “received 10 May 1937”) and Jacobs to Dwiggins 1 June 1937 in Folder 7, Box 732, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas. Hadrian the Seventh was published in July 1937.
38. I have been unable to determine how many of the Alblabooks titles had jackets in the Zest for Life style. Those I have discovered are: Hadrian the Seventh by Frederick Baron Corvo (1937), Germinal by Émile Zola (1937), The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp by William H. Davies (1939) (with red replacing the magenta), and The Life of Henri Brulard by Stendhal (1939). Other jackets (usually with publishing dates in the early 1940s) have jackets following that of Collected Prose of Elinor Wylie.
39. See W.A. Dwiggins to Sidney R. Jacobs 5 December  in Folder 14, Box 732, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas.
40. There are no credits on the jacket for Pattern of a Day by Robert Hillyer (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1940) and no references to it in the Alfred A. Knopf Papers at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas. Given that Dwiggins designed Sonnets and Other Lyrics (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1917), Hillyer’s first book of poetry, maybe he did the lettering. It does not look like the work of Sam Bass or Frank Conley.
41. See W.A. Dwiggins to Sidney R. Jacobs 26 January 1937 in Folder 7, Box 732, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas; and Sidney R. Jacobs to W.A. Dwiggins 26 January 1937 in Knopf Job Folders, 1974 W.A. Dwiggins Collection, Boston Publi Library.
42. See Sidney R. Jacobs to W.A. Dwiggins 11 February 1937 in Folder 7, Box 732, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas. Dwiggins also ok’ed varnishing the jacket for The Charlatanry of the Learned.
43. See Sidney R. Jacobs to W.A. Dwiggins 30 April 1937 in Knopf Job Folders, 1974 W.A. Dwiggins Collection, Boston Public Library.
44. See W.A. Dwiggins to Sidney R. Jacobs 27 May 1937 in Folder 7, Box 732, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas.
45. See Sidney R. Jacobs to W.A. Dwiggins 26 July 1937 and Jacobs to Dwiggins 4 October 1937 in Folder 7, Box 732, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas.
46. See W.A. Dwiggins to Sidney R. Jacobs n.d. [between April and June 1937] in Folder 1, Box 732, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas.
47. The two comps and proof of the jacket for Young henry f Navarre are in Folder 4, Box 734, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas.
48. See Sidney R. Jacobs to W.A. Dwiggins 27 October 1937 (with notes by Dwiggins) in Folder 7, Box 732, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Papers, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas.