In Quest of the Perfect Book


‘HERE is a fine volume,’ a friend remarked, handing me a copy of The Ideal Book, written and printed by Cobden-Sanderson at the Doves Press.

‘It is,’ I assented readily, turning the leaves and enjoying the composite beauty of the careful typography and the perfect impression upon the soft, handmade paper with the satisfaction one always feels when face to face with a work of art. ‘Have you read it?’

‘ Why — no, ‘ he answered. ‘ I picked it up in London, and they told me it was a rare volume. You don’t necessarily read rare books, do you?’

My friend is a cultivated man, and his attitude toward his latest acquisition irritated me; yet after thirty years of similar disappointments I should not have been surprised. How few, even among those interested in books, recognize the fine, artistic touches that constitute the difference between the commonplace and the distinguished! The volume under discussion was written by a foremost authority upon the art of bookmaking; its producer was one of the few great master-printers in the history of the world; yet the only significance it possessed to its owner was the fact that someone in whom he had confidence had told him it was rare! Being rare, he coveted the treasure, and acquired it with no greater understanding than if it had been a piece of Chinese jade.

‘ What makes you think this is a fine book?’ I inquired, deliberately changing the approach.

He laughed consciously. ‘It cost me nine guineas — and I like the looks of it.’

Restraint was required not to say something that might affect our friendship unpleasantly, and friendship is a precious thing.

‘ Do something for me, ‘ I asked quietly. ‘That is a short book. Read it through, even though it is rare, and then let us continue this conversation we have just begun. ‘

A few days later he invited me to dine with him at his club. ‘ I asked you here, ‘ he said, ‘because I don’t want anyone, even my family, to hear what I am going to admit to you. I have read that book, and I’d rather not know what you thought of my consummate ignorance of what really enters into the building of a well-made volume — the choice of type, the use of decoration, the arrangement of margins. Why, bookmaking is an art! Perhaps I should have known that, but I never stopped to think about it. ‘

One does have to stop and think about a well-made book in order to comprehend the difference between printing that is merely printing and that which is based upon art in its broadest sense and upon centuries of precedent. It does require more than a gleam of intelligence to grasp the idea that the basis of every volume ought to be the thought expressed by the writer; that the type, the illustrations, the decorations, the paper, the binding, simply combine to form the vehicle to convey that expression to the reader. When, however, this fact is once absorbed, one cannot fail to understand that if these various parts, which compositely comprise the whole, fail to harmonize with the subject and with each other, then the vehicle does not perform its full and proper function.

I wondered afterward if I had not been a bit too superior in my attitude toward my friend. As a matter of fact, printing as an art has come into its own only within the last quarter-century. Looking back to 1891, when I began to serve my apprenticeship under John Wilson at the old University Press in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the broadness of the profession that I was adopting as my life’s work had not as yet unfolded its unlimited possibilities. At that time the three great American printers were John Wilson, Theodore L. De Vinne, and Henry O. Houghton. The volumes produced under their supervision were perfect examples of the best bookmaking of the period, yet no one of these three men considered printing as an art. It was William Morris who in modern times first joined these two words together with the publication of his magnificent Kelmscott volumes. Such type, such decorations, such presswork, such sheer composite beauty!

This was in 1895. Morris, in one leap, became the most famous printer in the world. Everyone tried to produce similar volumes, and the resulting productions, made without appreciating the significance of decoration combined with type, were about as bad as they could be. I doubt if, at the present moment, there exists a single one of these sham Kelmscotts made in America that the printer or the publisher cares to have recalled to him.

When the first flare of Morris’s popularity passed away, and his volumes were judged on the basis of real bookmaking, they were classified as marvelously beautiful objets d’art rather than books — composites of BurneJones, the designer, and William Morris, the decorator-printer, co-workers in sister arts; but from the very beginning Morris’s innovations showed the world for the first time that printing belonged among the fine arts. The Kelmscott books awoke in me an overwhelming desire to put myself into the volumes I produced. I realized that no man can give of himself beyond what he possesses, and that to make my ambition worth accomplishing I must absorb and make a part of myself the beauty of the ancient manuscripts and the early printed books. This led me to take up an exhaustive study of the history of printing.

Until then Gutenberg’s name, in my mind, had been preeminent. As I proceeded, however, I came to know that he was not really the ‘inventor’ of printing, as I had always thought him to be; that he was the one who first foresaw the wonderful power of movable types as a material expression of man, rather than the creator of anything previously unknown. I discovered that the Greeks and the Romans had printed from stamps centuries earlier, and that the Chinese and the Koreans had cut individual characters in metal.

I well remember the thrill I experienced when I first realized — and at the time thought my discovery was original! — that, had the Chinese or the Saracens possessed Gutenberg’s wit to join these letters together into words, the art of printing must have found its way to Constantinople, which would have thus become the centre of culture and learning of the fifteenth century.


From this point on, my quest seemed a part of an Arabian Nights tale. Cautiously opening a door, I would find myself in a room containing treasures of absorbing interest. From this room there were doors leading in different directions into other rooms even more richly filled; and thus onward, with seemingly no end, to the fascinating rewards that came through effort and perseverance.

Germany, although it had produced Gutenberg, was not sufficiently developed as a nation to make his work complete. The open door led me away from Germany into Italy, where literary zeal was at its height. The life and customs of the Italian people of the fifteenth century were spread out before me. In my imagination I could see the velvet-gowned agents of the wealthy patrons of the arts searching out old manuscripts and giving commissions to the scribes to prepare hand-lettered copies for their masters’ libraries. I could mingle with the masses and discover how eager they were to learn the truth in the matter of religion, and the cause and the remedies of moral and material evils by which they felt themselves oppressed. I could share with them their expectant enthusiasm and confidence that the advent of the printing press would afford opportunity to study description and argument where previously they had merely gazed at pictorial design. I could sense the desire of the people for books, not to place in cabinets, but to read in order to know; and I could understand why workmen who had served apprenticeships in Germany so quickly sought out Italy, the country where princes would naturally become patrons of the new art, where manuscripts were ready for copy, and where a public existed eager to purchase their products.

While striving to realize the significance of the conflicting elements I felt around me, I found much of interest in watching the scribes fulfilling their commissions to prepare copies of original manuscripts, becoming familiar for the first time with the primitive methods of book manufacture and distribution. A monastery possessed an original manuscript of value. In its scriptorium or reading-office one might find perhaps twenty or thirty monks seated at desks, each with a sheet of parchment spread out before him, upon which he inscribed the words that came to him in the droning, singsong voice of the reader selected for the duty because of his familiarity with the subject-matter of the volume. The number of desks the scriptorium could accommodate determined the size of this early ‘edition.’ When these copies were completed, exchanges were made wdth other monasteries that possessed other original manuscripts of which copies had been made in a similar manner. I was even more interested in the work of the secular scribes, usually executed at their homes, for it was to these men that the commissions were given for the beautiful humanistic volumes. As they had taken up the art of hand-lettering from choice or natural aptitude instead of as a part of monastic routine, they were greater artists and produced volumes of surpassing beauty. A still greater interest in studying this art of handlettering lay in the knowledge that it soon must become a lost art, for no one could doubt that the printing press had come to stay.

Returning to the office of Aldus, I pause for a moment to read the legend placed conspicuously over the door: ‘Whoever thou art, thou art earnestly requested by Aldus to state thy business briefly and to take thy departure promptly. In this way thou mayest be of service even as was Hercules to the weary Atlas, for this is a place of work for all who may enter.’ But inside the printing office I find Aldus and his associates talking of other things than the books in process of manufacture. They are discussing the sudden change of attitude on the part of the wealthy patrons of the arts who, after welcoming the invention of printing, soon became alarmed by the enthusiasm of the people, and promptly reversed their position. No wonder that Aldus or Jenson should be concerned as to the outcome. The patrons of the arts represented the culture and wealth and political power of Italy, and they now discovered in the new invention an actual menace. To them the magnificent illuminated volumes of the fifteenth century were not merely examples of decoration, but they represented the tribute that this cultured class paid to the thought conveyed, through the medium of the written page, from the author to the world. This jewel of thought they considered more valuable than any costly gem. They perpetuated it by having it written out on parchment by the most accomplished scribes; they enriched it by illuminated embellishments executed by the most famous artists; they protected it with bindings in which they actually inlaid gold and silver and jewels. To have this thought cheapened by reproduction through the commonplace medium of mechanical printing wounded their aesthetic sense. It was an expression of real love of the book that prompted Bisticci, the agent of so powerful a patron as the Duke of Urbino, to write of the Duke’s splendid collection in the latter part of the fifteenth century: ‘In that library the books are all beautiful in a superlative degree, and all written by the pen. There is not a single one of them printed, for it would have been a shame to have one of that sort.’

Aldus is not alarmed by the solicitude of the patrons for the beauty of the book. He has always known that in order to exist at all the printed book must compete with the written volume; and he has demonstrated that, by supplying to the accomplished illuminators sheets carefully printed on parchment, he can produce volumes of exquisite beauty, of which no collector need be ashamed. Aldus knows that there are other reasons behind the change of front on the part of the patrons. Libraries made up of priceless manuscript-volumes are symbols of wealth, and through wealth comes power. With the multiplication of printed books this prestige will be lessened, as the masses will be enabled to possess the same gems of thought in less extravagant and expensive form. If, moreover, the people are enabled to read, criticism, the sole property of the scholars, will come into their hands, and when they once learn self-reliance from their new intellectual development they are certain to attack dogma and political oppression, even at the risk of martyrdom. The princes and patrons of Italy are intelligent enough to know that their self-centred political power is doomed if the new art of printing secures a firm foothold.

What a relief to such men as Aldus and Jenson when it became fully demonstrated that the desire on the part of the people to secure books in order to learn was too great to be overcome by official mandate or insidious propaganda! With what silent satisfaction did they settle back to continue their splendid work! The patrons, in order to show what a poor thing the printed book really was, gave orders to the scribes and the illuminators to prepare volumes for them in such quantities that the art of hand-lettering received a powerful impetus, as a result of which the hand-letters themselves attained their highest point of perfection. This final struggle on the part of the wealthy overlords resulted only in redoubling the efforts of the artist master-printers to match the beauty of the written volumes with the products from their presses.


These Arabian Nights experiences occupied me from 1895, when Morris demonstrated the unlimited possibilities of printing as an art, until 1901, when I first visited Italy and gave myself an opportunity to become personally acquainted with the historical landmarks of printing, which previously I had known only from study. In Florence it was my great good fortune to become intimately acquainted with the late Dr. Guido Biagi, at that time librarian of the Laurenziana and the Riccardi libraries, and the custodian of the Medici, the Michelangelo, and the da Vinci archives. I like to think of him as I first saw him then, sitting on a bench in front of one of the carved plutei designed by Michelangelo, in the wonderful Hall of the Medicis in the Laurenziana library, studying a beautifully illuminated volume resting before him, which was fastened to the desk by one of the famous old chains. When I was introduced he greeted me with an old-school courtesy. When he discovered my genuine interest in the books he loved, and realized that I came as a student eager to listen to the master’s word, his face lighted up and we were at once friends.

In the quarter of a century which passed from this meeting until his death we were fellow students, and during that period I never succeeded in exhausting the vast store of knowledge he possessed, even though he gave of it with the freest generosity. From him I learned for the first time of the farreaching influence of the humanistic movement upon everything that had to do with the litteræ humaniores, and this new knowledge enabled me to crystallize much that previously had been fugitive. ‘The humanist,’ Dr. Biagi explained to me, ‘whether ancient or modem, is one who holds himself open to receive Truth, unprejudiced as to its source, and — what is more important — after having received Truth realizes his obligation to the world to give it out again, made richer by his personal interpretation.’

This humanistic movement was the forerunner and the essence of the Renaissance, being in reality a revolt against the barrenness of mediævalism. Until then ignorance, superstition, and tradition had confined intellectual life on all sides, but the little band of humanists, headed by Petrarch, put forth a claim for the mental freedom of man and for the full development of his being.

As a part of this claim they demanded the recognition of the rich humanity of Greece and Rome, which was proscribed by the Church. If this claim had been postponed another fifty years the actual manuscripts of many of the present standard classics would have been lost to the world.

The significance of the humanistic movement in its bearing upon the Quest of the Perfect Book is that the invention of printing fitted exactly into the Petrarchian scheme by making it possible for the people to secure books that previously, in their manuscript form, could be owned only by the wealthy patrons. This was the point at which Dr. Biagi’s revelation and my previous study met. The Laurenziana library contains more copies of the so-called humanistic manuscripts, produced in response to the final efforts on the part of patrons to thwart the increasing popularity of the new art of printing, than any other single library. Dr. Biagi proudly showed me some of these treasures, notably Antonio Sinibaldi’s Vergil. The contrast between the hand-lettering in these volumes and the best I had ever seen before was startling. Here was a hand-letter, developed under the most romantic and dramatic conditions, which represented the apotheosis of the art of hand-lettering. The thought flashed through my mind that all the types in existence up to this point had been based upon previous hand-lettering less beautiful and less perfect in execution.

‘Why is it,’ I demanded excitedly, ‘that no type has ever been designed based upon this hand-lettering at its highest point of perfection?’

Dr. Biagi looked at me and shrugged his shoulders. ‘This, my friend,’ he said, smiling, ‘is your opportunity.’

At this point began one of the most fascinating and absorbing adventures in which anyone interested in books could possibly engage. At some time, I suppose, in the life of every typographer comes the ambition to design a special type, so it was natural that the idea contained in Dr. Biagi’s remark should suggest possibilities which filled me with enthusiasm. I was familiar with the history of the best special faces, and had learned how difficult each ambitious designer had found the task of translating drawings into so rigid a medium as metal; so I reverted soberly and with deep respect to the subject of type design from the beginning.

In studying the early fonts of type, I found them exact counterfeits of the best existing forms of hand-lettering at that time employed by the scribes. The first italic font cut by Aldus, for instance, was based upon the sharp, thin, inclined handwriting of Petrarch. The contrast between these slavish copies of hand-lettered models and the mechanical precision of characters turned out by modern type-founders made a deep impression. Of the two I preferred the freedom of the earliest types, but appreciated how ill-adapted these models were to the requirements of typography. A hand-lettered page, even with the inevitable irregularities, is pleasing because the scribe makes a slight variation in forming the various characters. When, however, an imperfect letter is cut in metal and repeated many times upon the same page the irregularity forces itself unpleasantly upon the eye. Nicolas Jenson was the first to realize this, and in his famous Roman type he made an exact interpretation of what the scribe intended to accomplish in each of the letters, instead of copying any single hand-letter, or making a composite of many hand-designs of the same character. For this reason the Jenson type has not only served as the basis of the best standard Roman fonts down to the present time, but has also proved the inspiration for later designs of distinctive type-faces, such as William Morris’s Golden type, and Emery Walker’s Doves type.

William Morris’s experience is an excellent illustration of the difficulties a designer experiences. He has left a record of how he studied the Jenson type with great care, enlarging it by photography, and redrawing it over and over again before he began designing his own letter. When he actually produced his Golden type the design was as far removed from the model he selected as can be imagined, showing the strong effect of the German influence that the types of Schöffer, Mentelin, and Gunther Zainer made upon him. The Doves type is based flatly upon the Jenson model; yet it is an absolutely original face, retaining all the charm of the model, to which is added the artistic genius of the designer. Each receives its personality from the understanding and interpretation of the creator.

From this I came to realize that it is no more necessary for a type-designer to express his individuality by adding or subtracting from his model than for a portrait-pa inter to change the features of his subject because some other artist has previously painted it. Wordsworth once said that the true portrait of a man shows him, not as he looks at any one moment of his life, but as he really looks all the time. This is equally true of a hand-letter, and explains the vast differences in the cut of the same type-face by various foundries and for the typesetting machines. All this convinced me that if I were to make the humanistic letters the model for my new type I must follow the example of Emery Walker rather than that of William Morris.


During the days spent in the small, cell-like alcove which had been turned over for my use in the Laurenziana library, I came so wholly under the influence of the peculiar atmosphere of antiquity that I felt myself under an obsession of which I have not been conscious before or since. My enthusiasm was abnormal, my efforts tireless. The world outside seemed very far away, the past seemed very near, and I was indifferent to everything except the task before me. This curious experience was perhaps an explanation of how the monks had been able to apply themselves so unceasingly to their prodigious labors, which seem beyond the bounds of human endurance.

My work was at first confined to a study of the humanistic volumes in the Laurenziana library, and the selection of the best examples to be taken as final models for the various letters. From photographed reproductions of selected manuscript pages, I took out fifty examples of each letter. Of these fifty, perhaps a half-dozen would be almost identical, and from these I learned the exact design the scribe endeavored to repeat. I also decided to introduce the innovation of having several characters for certain letters that repeated most frequently, in order to preserve the individuality of the hand-lettering, and still keep my design within the rigid limitations of type. Of the letter e, for instance, eight different designs were finally selected; there were five a’s, two m’s, and so on.

After becoming familiar with the individual letters as shown in the Laurenziana humanistic volumes, I went on to Milan and the Ambrosiana library, with a letter from Dr. Biagi addressed to the librarian, Monsignor Ceriani, explaining the work upon which I was engaged, and seeking his cooperation. It would be impossible to estimate Ceriani’s age at that time, but he was very old. He was above middle height, his frame was slight, his eyes penetrating and burning with a fire which showed at a glance that he had come beneath the influence to which I have already referred. His skin resembled in color and texture the parchment of the volumes he handled with such affection, and in his religious habit he seemed the embodiment of ecclesiastical learning of the past.

After expressing his deep interest in my undertaking, he turned to a publication upon which he himself was engaged, the reproduction in facsimile of the first manuscript of Homer’s Iliad. The actual work on this, he explained, was being carried on by his assistant, a younger priest whom he desired to have me meet. His own contribution to the work was an introduction, upon which he was then engaged, and which, he said, was to be his swan song, the final message from his soul to the world.

‘This, I suppose, is to be in Italian?’ I inquired.

He looked at me reproachfully. ‘No, my son,’ he answered, with deep impressiveness; ‘I am writing my introduction in Latin, which, though called a dead language, will be living long after the present living languages are dead.’

Ceriani placed at my disposal the humanistic volumes in the Ambrosiana, and introduced me to his assistant, whose coöperation was of the utmost value in my work. I was particularly struck by the personality of this younger priest. He was in close touch with affairs outside the Church and asked searching questions regarding conditions in America. He spoke several languages with the same facility with which he spoke his own Italian. His knowledge of books and of bookmaking, past and present, surprised me. All in all, I found him one of the most charming men I have ever met. His name was Achille Ratti, and when he became Bishop of Milan in 1921, and was elevated to the College of Cardinals two months later, I realized how far that wonderful personality was taking him. One could scarcely have foreseen, however, that in less than a year from this time he would become Pope Pius XI.

When, after my drawings were finally completed, I returned to America, I took up the matter of the type design with Charles Eliot Norton, my old art professor at Harvard, then emeritus. Professor Norton was genuinely interested in the whole undertaking, and as the proofs of the various punches later came into my hands he became more and more enthusiastic.

I had arranged to use this type in a series of volumes to be published in London by John Murray, and in America by Little, Brown, and Company. An important question arose as to what should be the first title, and after careful consideration I decided that as Petrarch was the father of humanism his Trionfi would obviously be an ideal selection. The volume was to be printed in English rather than in the original Italian, and I settled upon Henry Boyd’s translation as the most distinguished.

Upon investigation it developed that the original edition of this book was out of print and copies were exceedingly rare. The only one I could find was in the Petrarch collection of the late Willard Fiske. I entered into correspondence with him, and he invited me to be his guest at his villa in Florence. With the type completed and with proofs in my possession, I undertook my second humanistic Odyssey, making Florence my first objective. Professor Fiske welcomed me cordially, and in him I found a most sympathetic personality, eager to contribute in every way to the success of the undertaking. He placed the volume of Boyd’s translation in my hands and asked that I take it with me for use until my edition was completed.

‘This book is unique, and so precious that you certainly could not permit it to go out of your possession,’ I protested.

His answer was characteristic. ‘Your love of books,’ he said, ‘is such that this volume is as safe in your hands as it is in mine. Take it and return it to me when it has served its purpose. ‘

Then came the matter of illustrations. In London I had a conference with Sir Sidney Colvin, Keeper of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum. Colvin had been made familiar with the undertaking by John Murray, who had shown him and Alfred W. Pollard some of the earliest proofs of the punches which I had sent to England. After careful examination of these, both men assured Mr. Murray that his American friend was playing a joke upon him, declaring that the proofs were hand-lettered and not taken from metal originals.

‘There is a fate about this,’ Colvin said after I had explained my mission. ‘ We have here in the Museum six original drawings of Petrarch’s Triumphs, attributed by some to Fra Lippo Lippi and certainly belonging to his school, which have never been reproduced. They are exactly the right size for the format which you have determined upon, and if you can have the reproductions made here at the Museum the drawings are at your disposal. ‘

I made arrangements with Emery Walker, the designer of the Doves type and famous as an engraver, to etch these six plates on steel, and the reproductions of the originals were extraordinarily exact. Those made for the parchment edition looked as if drawn on ivory.

Parchment was required for the specially illuminated copies which were to form a feature of the edition, and before leaving America I had been told that the Roman was the best. I naturally assumed that I should find this in Rome, but investigation developed the fact that Roman parchment is prepared in Florence. Following this lead, I examined the skins sold by Florentine dealers, but Dr. Biagi assured me that the best grade was not Roman but Florentine, and that Florentine parchment is produced in Issoudun, France. It seemed a far cry to seek out Italian skins in France, but to Issoudun I went. In the meantime I learned that there was a still better grade prepared in Brentford, England — this, in fact, being where William Morris procured the parchment for his Kelmscott publications.

At Brentford I secured my skins; and here I learned something that interested me exceedingly. Owing to the oil which remains in the parchment after it has been prepared for use, the difficulty in printing is as great as if on glass. To obviate this, the concern at Brentford, in preparing parchment for the Kelmscott volumes, filled in the pores of the skins with chalk, producing an artificial surface. The process of time must operate adversely upon this extraneous substance, and the question naturally arises as to whether eventually, in the Kelmscott parchment volumes, the chalk surface will flake off in spots, producing blemishes which can never be repaired.

For my own purposes I purchased the skins in their original condition, and overcame the difficulty in printing by a treatment of the ink which, after much experiment, enabled me to secure as fine results upon the parchment as if printing upon handmade paper.

The volumes were to be printed in the two humanistic colors, black and blue. In the original manuscript volumes this blue is a most unusual shade, the hand-letterer having prepared his own ink by grinding lapis lazuli, in which there is no red. By artificial light the lines written in blue cannot be distinguished from the black. To reproduce the same effect in the printed volume, I secured in Florence a limited quantity of lapis lazuli, and by special arrangement with the Italian Government had it crushed into powder at the royal mint. This powder I brought home to America, and I arranged with a leading manufacturer to produce what I believe to be the first printingink mixed exactly as the scribes of the fifteenth century used to prepare their pigments.

The months required to produce the Triumphs represented a period alternating in anxiety and satisfaction. The greatest difficulty came in impressing upon the typesetter the fact that the various characters of these letters could not be used with mathematical precision, but that the change should come only when he felt his hand would naturally alter the design if he were writing the line instead of setting the type. The experiments required to perfect an ink that should successfully print on the oily parchment were not completed without disappointments and misgivings; the scrupulous care required in reading proofs, perfecting the spacing, was laborious and monotonous; the scrutinizing of the sheets as they came from the press was made happier when the success of the lapis-lazuli ink was assured.

The rewards came when Professor Norton gave the volume his unqualified approval—‘so interesting and original in its typography and in its illustrations, so admirable in its presswork, its paper, its binding, and its minor accessories, a noble and exemplary work of the printers’ art’; when George W. Jones, England’s greatest artist-printer, selected the humanistic type as ‘the most beautiful face in the world, ‘ and promised to use it in what he hopes to be his masterpiece, an edition of Shakespeare’s Sonnets; when the jury appointed by the Italian Government to select ‘the most beautiful and most appropriate type-face to perpetuate the divine Dante’ chose the humanistic type and placed the important commission of producing the definitive edition of the great poet, to commemorate his sexcentennial, in the hands of that splendid printer, Bertieri, at Milan. Such rewards are not compliments, but justification. Such beauty as the humanistic type possesses lies in the artistic ability and the marvelous skill in execution of the scribes. My part was simply seizing the development of a period apparently overlooked, and undertaking the laborious task of translating a beautiful thing from one medium to another.

The Quest of the Perfect Book must necessarily lead the seeker into far varying roads, the greatest rewards being found in straying from the main street into the fascinating bypaths. My quest has resulted in giving me greater appreciation of the accomplishments of those who successfully withstood opposition and persecution in order to make the printed book a living vehicle to convey the gems of thought from great minds to the masses, never forgetful of the value of beauty in its outward aspect. I believe it possible to-day to perpetuate the basic principles of the early artist masterprinters by applying beauty to low-cost books as well as to limited editions de luxe. The story of the printed book itself is greater than that contained between the covers of any single volume, for without it the history of the world would show the masses still plodding on swathed in theological and encyclopaedic bonds, while the few would still jealously hoard their limited knowledge.