Miniature Association Books- Part I

As I’ve said before, one of the aspects of collecting miniature books I like best is the relationships that are formed between producers, sellers and collectors. Which is closely related to today’s topic, association copies. The narrowest definition, and the one most often encountered in booksellers’ catalogs is this: A copy of a book which has been inscribed by the author for a personal friend, colleague, or person of historical significance. I favor a more broad definition though. In his introduction to “Other Peoples Books Association Copies and the Stories They Tell”, Thomas Tanselle writes: “It is important to allow extreme breadth to take in every kind of documented assocation”. Let us then forage out on our own and explore the different types of associations found at Booksby.

1. Signed By The Author

The most commonly encountered type of association is a book signed by the author. Often times the books are hand signed factory style at book signings or before being released by the publisher. It’s not a close association but it does place the physical book into the hands of the author at one point.

This is "On Human Rights" by Carlos Fuentes and published by Somesuch Press in 1984. I believe Fuentes signed each of the 395 copies of this book before the s
This is “On Human Rights” by Carlos Fuentes and published by Somesuch Press in 1984. I believe Fuentes signed each of the 395 copies of this book before the sheets were folded and bound, In fact, his signature runs under the fold and reappears on the adjoining page of text. This is copy #267

2. Signed By The Publisher/Printer/Binder

Closely related to the first category is this, signed by someone, other than the author, related to the production of the book. In the world of private presses and fine bindings, this is a fairly common practice.

The Lullaby Book
Here we have “The Lullaby Book” by Eugene Field and published by the Schori Press in 1963. It is signed and numbered by the publisher/printer. This is copy #101 of 600.

Mardi Gras Customs & Costumes
Next up is “Mardi Gras Customs & Costumes by Susanne Smith Pruchnicki and published by her Bronte Press in 1992. Susanne did all the work on this book except the hand coloring, which was done by her husband. She signed and numbered this as copy #43 of 60.

3. Signed And Inscribed By The Author

This is the traditional sense of the term and one of my favorites.

Thy Joys of Collecting Children's Books
“The Joys of Collecting Children’s Books” was written by Alla T. Ford and published by her Ford Press in 1968. This one is inscribed with a flower doodle to Frances Dunn by the author. Frances was an important, early collector of miniature books and was mentioned in the last issue of “The Miniature Book Collector” in 1962 as having one of the seven largest collections in the U. S.

Ere E Eme
“Ere E Eme” is #47 of 59 copies for Robert E. Massmann’s 59th birthday in 1983. Except the printing, this book is REM, start to finish. He signed it and inscribed it to Hilda- being Hilda Neiman, an early member of the Miniature Book Society.

REM Acrostics
REM Acrostics is one of the harder to find REM Miniatures, being an edition of only 25. Again, Bob did all the work save the printing on this one, in 1972.I love that a couple if books ago we had a book from Alla Ford and now here’s to Alla Ford, signed and inscribed by Bob Massmann. This is #25.

4. Inscribed By The Publisher/Printer/Binder

Again similar to the last category. This one is fun as well.

The Strawberry Story
“The Strawberry Story” is an old Cherokee Tale printed by Frank Anderson at his Kitemaug Press in 1972. Frank signed and inscribed it to the Storms. Colton Storm ran the Storm Bindery in Sedona, Arizona. I believe the slipcase is Colton’s but I’m not sure about the binding. Of 125 copies, this is #12.

“Elusive Bon Mots” is a non-traditional book format by REM Miniatures, done in 1969. #14 of 250 copies, this one is signed and inscribed by Bob for Alla Ford and includes a quirky note on the slipcover that I just love.

5. Book With Collector’s Bookplate.

Bookplates don’t shed much light on the production of the books but tell us where they were in the past. I have some books that came to mt through some pretty important private collections.

Here is a small group of bookplates at Booksby.
1. & 2. Wilbur Macy Stone and James D. Henderson were the two most prominent collectors of miniature books from the turn of the century to the 1920’s. I wish I had books from their libraries. These bookplates are tipped-in examples in a book about collectors.
3. Arthur A. Houghton. The auction of his collection in 1979 was perhaps the largest sale of miniature books ever.
4. Stanley Marcus was chairman of Neiman-Marcus and published miniature books under his Somesuch Press imprint.
5. & 6. Robert E. Massmann was a charter member of the Miniature Book Society and published as REM Miniatures.
7. Kalman Levitan was co-founder and first president of the Miniature Book Society and published as Kaycee Press.
Also,the bookplate of Todd Sommerfeld (me) MBS member and publishes under the Booksby Press imprint.
8. Grace Broecker was a longtime collector of miniature books. Part of her collection went to the Huntington Library.
9. E. P. M. I have no information on this bookplate which is a shame because it is perhaps the most beautiful miniature bookplate I’ve ever seen. If you know who’s bookplate it is please let me know.

Well, that’s all for this week. Next week I’ll mention a few other types of associations that miniature books can have.

Leave a Reply