Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This is one of the nicest dust jackets I have seen on a Mencken book. The book cover above was designed by W. A. Dwiggins, one of the fathers of American Type Design besides being an illustrator, calligrapher and book designer. William Addison Dwiggins (1880-1956) did it all. He designed numerous books for Alfred A. Knopf publisher of the Borzoi books. He also wrote five books, himself, on typography, advertising and other areas of graphic design.

The above book has a beige cloth binding with the HLM initials on the front board in red, a 1955, 3rd reprint first published in 1940. It was one of Mencken’s best selling books. The front of the dust jacket is of the nicest, freshest blue you can imagine and very very Dwiggins at his best. The spine is somewhat sunned as usually found on books of this age.

Much has been written on both Dwiggins and Mencken. I am not an expert on either one so for those who would like a more detailed study of Dwiggins’ typeface go to this link where you will find a thorough treatment of his various type designs. I also refer you to the H. L. Mencken page on Wikipedia which I found rather interesting and from which I am borrowing the following reference with respect to Ayn Rand, the philosopher, ever so popular these days, and a mentor to “wizzard of buzz” Alan Greenspan, yes the old man of “wheelin and dealin” economics, the living Czar who single handedly screwed a whole economy up.

“Mencken recommended for publication the first novel by Ayn Rand, We the Living, calling it “a really excellent piece of work”. Shortly after, Rand addressed him in correspondence as “the greatest representative of a philosophy”, to which she wanted to dedicate her life, “individualism”, and, later, listed him as her favorite columnist.[18] ”    source^ Berliner, Michael, editor, Letters of Ayn Rand, Dutton (1995), p. 10 (Mencken’s opinion of the novel), and pp. 13-14 (Rand’s praise of Mencken)

Another fine Dwiggins reference can be found in the University of Maryland special library collection worth visiting. It offers a good overview of their holdings albeit the title Happy Days apparently is either not listed or not in their collection. We just received an email from Melissa Lindberg – Special Collections Coordinator, University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library, College Park, MD 20742.
“You are right that we do not have a copy of the 1940 Knopf copy of H. L. Mencken’s Happy Days in our W. A. Dwiggins collection, but we do have two copies with dustjackets in our general Maryland collection. One of these copies is actually inscribed by Mencken. Here is a link to the catalog record. Hope this answers your question.”

Advertisements