Selections from the Campbell-Logan Bindery Collection, Pt. 1
The eminent and prolific bookbinder Gregor Campbell, Campbell-Logan Bindery, was my landlord for nearly five years, 1984-1989, and he remains a fast friend today. Back then I was adrift, having just come off a divorce, but the stars were aligned as Greg had a large loft for rent in his bindery warehouse in downtown Minneapolis. I moved in on the fourth floor and brought my business along with me. Some of my older readers will remember the space, and how suitable it was for a young bookseller at the time. The building, at 212 N. Second St., a.k.a. the Inkunabula Arts Building, was sold this year, prompting our purchase of Greg’s library, and cataloguing the books this past spring and summer brought back many unexpected and happy memories. Much of this story is recounted in the 2017 issue of Matrix so I won’t rehash too much of it here.
An astonishing whirlpool of bookish talent swirled around 212 for as long as Greg owned the building. Gerry Lange of the Bieler Press lived across the hall from me, and his apprentice Emily Mason, later Emily Mason Strayer of the Kutenai Press was often on the premises. Steve Clay of Granary Books had space on three before his removal to Manhattan. Michael Tarachow of the Pentagram Press also had space on three, and when he moved out Phil Gallo, the Hermetic Press, moved his equipment in, and later became a tenant himself on four. The printmaker and book artist Dave Rathman also lived there for a few years, as did the illustrator Randy Scholes. Amanda Degener and Bridgett O’Malley set up Cave Paper in the basement. Many others were in and out: Gaylord Schanilec, Chip Schilling, Emerson Wulling, the bookseller Steve Anderson, the printer Les Metz, the binder Jill Jevne, the publisher Jim Thueson, the type founder Norm Fritzberg, and so on, seemingly ad infinitum. Many of these names and their work appear in the pages that follow.
Among Greg’s many customers were Henry Morris at Bird & Bull, Harry Duncan at Abattoir and Cummington, and Neil Shaver at Yellow Barn, not to mention the myriad aforesaid local crowd, those with Ampersand Club and/or Minnesota Center for Book Arts credentials. Greg also counted Paul Hayden Duensing, Carol Blinn, W. Thomas Taylor, Leonard Bahr, Robin Price, and John DePol among his friends, and consequently this catalogue contains much of their work as well. Many items have a special and warm association connected to them.
A number of the limited editions herein have necessarily been described as “out of series” — meaning, of course, that the specific copy falls outside the numbering sequence. Out of series does not mean the books are defective, or unsigned necessarily; in those cases we’ve made the shortcomings known. And even if a particular book is described as being out of series it is often identified as a “binder’s copy” or “binder’s proof,” or some such marking indicating its uniqueness in the edition. Many others bear personal inscriptions within.
And, as this is a bookbinder’s library with a smattering of artist books, I will add as a final note that I have long thought the terms “design binding” and “designer binding” sell short the multitalented craftspeople who make them. There’s much more than “design” to the work these artists do, so I have adopted instead the term “artist binding” — the notion being that “artist” better completes the term in a manner appropriate to what’s being created. I’m sure that I’m not about to change the current parlance with this short proposition, but there it is: artist binders create artist bindings. Who’s to say no? Surely not the makers of artist books.
San Francisco: Arion Press, 1982. Edition limited to 500 copies, oblong 4to, title page printed in red and black, printer's note by Andrew Hoyem, plate list and 25 silhouette plates captioned in red with verses translated from the German by Alexander Nesbitt; fine copy in original pictorial red cloth portfolio (one edge a little curled), without the publisher's slipcase. Koch (1876-1934) is regarded as one of the greatest calligraphers and type designers of the twentieth century. Original bifoliate prospectus laid in.
Los Angeles: Arundel Press, 1994. Edition limited to 450 copies, small folio, pp. ; 8 photogravure portraits after paintings by Tom Clark; original natural linen over boards, paper label on upper cover and spine. Designed and printed by Jonathan Clark at the Artichoke Press. The publisher in his own words: "Begun in 1984, with a title page reading 1994, this work was finally issued in 2003! This allegorical tale features Ezra Pound, his gang composed of six Modernists, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, William Butler Yeats, T. E. Hulme, Wyndham Lewis, Ford Madox Ford, and the noted American arch-criminal John Dillinger, united to steal... the future."
Atlanta: Nexus Press, 1993. Multilevel accordian fold, approx. 6" square when collapsed, extends to over 4 feet when opened; illustrated, and with a separate leaf serving as a title page, with credits; an installation proposal conceived and designed by Bonnie O'Connell at the Penumbra Press, "dedicated to an alternative art censorship - suppress the emergence of art superstars and the Hollywoodization of art." In the original zip-loc bag.
New York: Anderson Galleries, 1918-1919. 3 volumes in 1, 8vo, pp. 186, ; 126, ; , 93, ; facsimile text illustrations; contemporary half brown morocco (likely by Allan Campbell), green cloth boards, gilt title direct on spine, t.e.g., prices realized penciled in margins; fine. Inscribed on the flyleaf: "Skylight Club from Herschel V. Jones, Jan. 2, 1924." Laid in is a memo regarding the commissioning of the binding.
New York: October 1928 and January, 1929. Three brief letters on the Jerome Kern sale on Anderson Galleries stationery. In the first Kennerley states: "I have sent you separate mail a careless advance list of the manuscripts and books of Thomas Hardy in the Kern Library...I shall send you advance proofs of the catalogue as they come from the printer..." In the second he writes: "I am enclosing the Kern prices. I did not attempt to send them to you by cable but I suppose you got them from the New York Times. The prices may startle you - as they did me - but what suprised me most was the wide distribution of buyers. In this sale Rosenbach bought only twenty percent as against sixty-eight percent in the Clawson sale. The Hardy manuscript was an enormous price but it was bought on order. It was the healthiest sale I have ever conducted..." In the third Kennerley notes "I am having some bound sets of the Kern catalogues priced with the names of the buyers and shall send you a set very shortly. Nearly every book in the sale has been sold by the booksellers."
Minneapolis Institute of Arts, . First edition, oblong 4to, pp. 128; illustrated in color throughout; contemporary gray cloth lettered in red on upper cover; original printed wrapper made into a chemise and incorporated into the tray of a gray cloth clamshell box; printed wrap-around band on red handmade paper printed with the title; fine. This is one of just 11 copies specially bound and boxed for the Minneapolis Institute of Art by Campbell-Logan Bindery.