1947

Included titles: The Flower Lover and the Fairies, Anonymous; Fables of Aesop, Aesop; Selections from Songs of Innocence and Experience, William Blake; The History of Susanna, Hebrew Bible; What I Lived For, Henry David Thoreau

“This handwritten series was our first publication at Archway Press, printed by Leonard Brodney at Colorgraphic Offset Co. in two colors on the best paper then available (it was right after the war) and bound in the only colors of cloth we could then get. Carl Selden, my partner, together with each scribe, selected the stories to be handwritten; each title, as the series progressed, seemed more wonderful to our enthusiastic eyes than the preceding one: but we were unable to sell more than four- to six-hundred copies. Even in England, where I visited Stanley Morison of Allen & Unwin, I could not raise any enthusiasm for these small books (my visit to Sir Stanley is another very amusing story). With our quite limited resources we could not afford to continue the series; to the contrary, we never published the last planned volume (A. E. Housman, Poems from ‘A Shropshire Lad’) which had already been handwritten by Arnold Banks. What happened to the manuscripts? Some of the scribes had wanted them returned after reproduction, but since they had been very well paid Selden kept the manuscripts; after our separation in 1953 he gave them to an institution, I believe.

“In the years since passed the practice as well as the appreciation of calligraphy have spread, and I feel that the Scribe series would be successful if it were published today. But Governor Alfred Smith was right when he said: ‘The man who is two blocks ahead of the parade is no longer in the parade.’”

Fifty Books, AIGA for 1947

“This is one of the five ‘Scribe’ books which Archway Press published, and if I deserve any credit for it it is only as the person who conceived, directed, and in that sense then designed the whole series. The attractive details of each little volume must be credited to the individual scribe who wrote the text and illustrated it—in this case Jeanyee Wong. She uses a very graceful, tall standing letter, which fits beautifully with her illustrations.”

The Scribe Series for Archway