THE HISTORY OF THE LIMITED EDITIONS CLUB
George Macy started the Limited Editions Club with backing from investors in the heyday of the stock market of 1929. After enlisting founding subscribers and collaborators and preparing the initial series of 12 titles, the first book shipped during the week of the stock market collapse. The story of how the Limited Editions Club survived as a combination book club and fine press/publishing house through more than 80 years of ups and downs is a fascinating one, and it has not been properly told until now.
Macy worked closely with such designers and printers as W. A. Dwiggins, Frederic Warde, the Grabhorns, William Kittredge, Bruce Rogers, Hans Mardersteig, Francis Meynell, T. M. Cleland, Fredric Goudy, and D. B. Updike. Contributing to LEC books were the foremost illustrators of the day, as well as such artists as Picasso, Matisse, Rodin, George Grosz, Edward Steichen, and Edward Weston. Macy was eventually honored with exhibits at the British Museum and the Bibliothèque Nationale, and he was awarded the Medal of the Legion of Honor of France and the AIGA Gold Medal for lifetime achievement and service to the graphic arts.
After George’s death in 1956, his widow Helen continued to maintain the quality of the publications until she retired in 1971. After several changes of ownership and uncertain years, Wall Street financier Sid Shiff put the company back on its feet and revitalized the LEC output, producing some of the most handsome livres d’artistes of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Author Carol Grossman began collecting the LEC in the 1960s and has been conducting research with this book in mind for many years. In addition to presenting the rich history of the enterprise and the people involved in great detail, she examines the legacy and reputation of the books left to bibliophiles, scholars, booksellers, and collectors.
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