Two dozen visitors to the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection enjoyed a specially arranged display of modern works of fine printing on the afternoon of Wednesday, September 30th. The exhibit, which featured thirty-four Collection pieces ranging in date from 1914 to 2014, were showcased prior to the University of Delaware Library’s program and exhibition “Will H. Bradley, An American Artist: Selections from the Gordon A. Pfeiffer Collection.” Will H. Bradley was an important American illustrator and designer of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries whose works were frequently found in popular magazines. The Samuels Lasner Collection exhibit celebrated printed materials made during and long after Bradley’s active years.
Many of the selections related to the life and work of members of the famous Meynell literary and publishing family, notably Sir Francis Meredith Wilfrid Meynell (1891-1975), the well-known British typographer, designer, and poet who founded the Nonesuch Press in 1922. Francis’s father was Wilfrid Meynell, a journalist and publisher. His mother, Alice Meynell, was a highly regarded poet, critic, and Suffrage activist.
Among the items on display were several examples of Francis Meynell’s early work. Katharine Tynan’s The Flower of Peace, a 1914 collection of devotional poetry designed by Meynell and Stanley Morison and published in London by Wilfrid Meynell’s publishing firm, Burns and Oates, was shown alongside Alice Meynell’s Ten Poems, 1912-1915, one of 32 copies printed by Meynell himself on a hand press situated on his family’s kitchen table. Meynell’s venture the Pelican Press was represented by A Printer’s Miscellany, a series of broadsides produced 1921-1922, and by the five catalogues (the only recorded complete set) produced for the Serendipity Shop, the antiquarian bookshop operated by brother Everard Meynell. On view also was the first book of the Nonesuch Press, Letters form George Meredith to Alice Meynell (1923), the particular copy inscribed by Francis Meynell to his first wife, Vera; and several of Meynell’s other publications and two autograph letters.
Books produced by other printers included two of the great Grolier Club publications, New York (1915), with its famous color wood-engravings by Rudolph Ruzicka, and For Jean Grolier (2009), the catalogue of the club’s exhibitions and publications designed by Jerry Kelly (one of 26 special copies); Bruce Rogers’s edition of Max Beerbohm’s The Happy Hypocrite (1955); and The Multifaceted Mr. Morris, privately printed by Newark, Delaware-based Lead Graffiti to commemorate a William Morris conference and exhibition held at the University of Delaware in 2010.
For a list of all pieces included in the display, view the exhibition checklist. To view photographs from the afternoon, see below.