Grolier Club Publications part 5
In the manufacture of this edition of the "Philobiblon" there was the full harmony which comes from a union of knowledge, skill, and taste. It is a delight to the eye, to the hand, and to the mind. A t last the book of Richard de Bury had a goodly outside, as becomes the words of wisdom within. To love books and to own a book like this is to have a foretaste of the book lover's heaven. To study a book like this in an edition like this leads away from vice and conduces to virtue. Indeed we read therein (cap. xv.) that "no man can serve both books and mammon.”
In 1889 in an edition of three hundred copies there was published the lecture on "Modern Bookbinding Practically Considered" which Mr. William Matthews had delivered before the club four years before and from which more than one quotation has been taken to enlighten the preceding pages of the present volume. Externally this volume ranged with the published lectures of Mr. Hoe and Mr. De Vinne; and internally it was illustrated as Mr. Hoe's had been with abundant photogravures.
In 1890 one of the most artistic of the club's publications was issued, artistic largely because of its seemly simplicity. This was an edition of three hundred and twenty five copies of the "Areopagitica, a speech of Mr. John Milton, for the liberty of unlicensed printing." For this Lowell wrote an introduction, characteristically commingled of wisdom and of wit: it is now to be found in the latest edition of his complete works.
In 1891 the chief publication was the address on "Washington Irving" which George William Curtis had delivered at Ashfield two years before and which has since been included in the posthumous volume of his "Literary and Social Essays." This was fitly illustrated and the edition was limited to three hundred and forty four copies. As the club increased its membership, the size of its editions had also to increase.
Hitherto the publications of the Grolier Club had been of two kinds: either they were lectures delivered before the members or they were independent works which the club wished to honor. Now there began to appear a third class, being the catalogues of the exhibitions held at the club house. In 1891 there was published a catalogue of engraved portraits of the most famous English writers, from Chaucer to Johnson; followed in 1892 by a catalogue of illuminated and pai1ed manuscripts; and in 1893 by a catalogue of original and early editions of some of the poetical and prose works of English writers from Langland to Wither. In 1894 there was printed a classified list of early American book plates; and in 1895 a catalogue of books from the libraries or collections of celebrated bibliophiles and illustrious persons of the past, with arms or devices upon the bindings. Most of these lists were set off and enriched with facsimiles; and all were models of the typographic art. And akin to these records of special exhibitions held within the club house, was a volume of "Transactions" published toward the end of 1894 and containing the history of the club to the end of its first decade.