William Shakespeare (1564-1616). The Poems of William Shakespeare. New York: Limited Editions Club, 1941. 2 volumes. 1500 copies.

Shakespeare’s Poems followed the plays as companion volumes of the same folio size, set in the same Janson type, and printed by the press of A. Colish on the same paper. They were not, however, illustrated, but decorated by Rogers with typographic flowers and ornaments, elaborately combined to create a typographic effect. They were also used for the bindings. The Poems were also edited by Herbert Farjeon, and Louis Untermeyer (1885-1977) supplied an introduction. This was the final selection of BR for his list, the Thirty ‘successful’ books, perhaps chosen because he did not wish to include the Plays.


Beatrice L. Warde (1900-1969). “Bombed but Unbeaten”; Excerpts from the War Commentary of Beatrice L. Warde. New York: The Typophiles, 1941. 850 copies.

In 1925, Beatrice Warde moved from the United States to England with her husband, Frederic Warde, where she established her reputation as an historian of printing. Her letters to her mother, May Lamberton Becker, written between September 1939 and January 1941 were edited and published, describing in graphic detail the London blitz. Five hundred copies of the book were offered for sale to contribute to a fund for the relief of bombed children administered by Beatrice Warde, and the services of all involved in its production were donated. It was designed by Rogers and printed by the Walpole Printing Office. It contained a frontispiece portrait of Beatrice Warde by Eric Gill and a wood engraving by him of Pimlico Wharf where she lived. Reynolds Stone contributed a wood-engraved head-piece for ‘An Appreciation’ by D.B. Updike, and Alfred Fairbank did the Typophile device for the colophon. Paul A. Bennett coordinated the whole project which raised a significant amount of money to relieve the distress of homeless British children.

F3714.jpg F3715.jpg

Euclid. Elements of Geometry. Book I. With an Introduction from an Essay by Paul Valéry. New York: Random House, 1944.

In 1930, Bennett Cerf (1898-1971), the President of Random House, asked Bruce Rogers if he would be interested in designing an edition of Euclid’s Elements of Geometry, Book I. Rogers was of course interested, as he greatly admired the Byrne Euclid of 1847, but replied that he was then too occupied with the Bible and the Odyssey, and the matter was dropped for a dozen years. He then approached Cerf, who commissioned him to design and produce a limited edition which he had set in Goudy’s Deepdene Italic with fifty line-engravings of diagrams printed in a dozen different colours. It was printed by the Press of A. Colish on an English hand-made paper, the title-page decoration in silver and blue based on a woodcut by Gordon Craig (1872-1966), and the blue cloth stamped in silver. It was an elegant octavo and he said that it was produced to atone for his having failed geometry in college.

F3648.jpg F3649.jpg F3650.jpg F3651.jpg

The Holy Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments. Cleveland and New York: The World Publishing Company, 1949. 975 copies.

The wish of B.D. Zevin, president of the World Publishing Company, to add a folio Bible to his already long list of Bibles, and Bruce Rogers’ wish to design another Bible (but this time with decoration), came together in 1945 when Abe Lerner, Art Director at World, learned of the trial pages and dummy Rogers had created in a vain attempt to interest The Grolier Club in his new project. At the age of seventy-five he was immediately engaged and chose the Press of A. Colish for composition and printing. His approach was totally different from the classic austerity with which he had designed the Oxford Lectern Bible. His intention was to give the volume an oriental flavour, alluding to the Syriac and Hebrew sources on which the King James translators had based their classic version. For the large pages Rogers chose Goudy’s Newstyle type in 18-point, with modifications to a number of the characters; he also used Goudy Forum, Old Style, and Deepdene for display. The World Bible was inevitably, and sometimes unfavourably, compared to the Lectern Bible, but, Rogers had still produced a striking book.


Report on the Typography of the Cambridge University Press. Prepared in 1917 at the Request of the Syndics by Bruce Rogers and now Printed in Honour of his Eightieth Birthday. Printed for his Friends by The University Printer, Christmas, 1950. 500 copies.

The decision to invite Bruce Rogers to act as a typographical consultant to the Cambridge University Press was made in the summer of 1917, at the urging of Sydney Cockerell. The new University Printer, J.B. Peace, recognized that something had to be done to improve the quality of the books issued by such an important scholarly press. Rogers moved to Cambridge and lost no time in preparing his report, handing it to Peace in December of the same year. It was very critical, but contained many positive suggestions for improvement which were accepted and put into effect. Rogers stayed at Cambridge until 1919 to encourage implementation of the report, but it was not published until this edition appeared as one of Brooke Crutchley’s ‘Christmas Books’.

F3644.jpg F3645.jpg

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745).  Gulliver’s Travels. New York: The Limited Editions Club, 1950. 2 volumes. 1500 copies.

The most whimsical of Rogers’ books was another commission from George Macy. For the tiny residents of Lilliput he designed a miniature volume of 3 ½ x 2 ¼ inches, with the text set in 6-point Monotype Garamont, but for the giants of Brobdingnag he made a gigantic volume of 18 ½ x 13 ¼ inches, set in 42-point Ludlow Garamond. They were printed by Aldus Printers of New York and put into a slip-case designed to hold both volumes. Rogers drew maps for each volume as frontispieces and they were also used to decorate the covers. Swift’s satiric humour was matched by Rogers’ own sense of the bizarre and while the members of the LEC probably showed off the two volumes to their friends, it seems doubtful if either was read, which was normally a primary BR concern.

F3736.jpg F3737.jpg

Robert Frost (1874-1963).  The Complete Poems of Robert Frost. With a Preface by the Author, an Appreciation by Louis Untermeyer, and Wood-Engravings by Thomas W. Nason. New York: The Limited Editions Club, 1950. 2 volumes. 1500 copies.

Rogers seldom designed books by living authors, but The Limited Editions Club periodically awarded a medal and published the work of, ‘that [living] American writer who shall have published the book considered most likely to attain the stature of a classic’. For 1950 Macy made the prescient choice of Frost whose poetry had already been printed by some of the best American presses. The poet was pleased that Rogers had been offered the design commission, stating in a letter to Macy. ‘It has always been of the greatest importance to me who designed the books I wrote’. Macy also chose Thomas W. Nason (1889-1971), who had already illustrated several of Frost’s books, to provide wood-engraved illustrations. Rogers had the two volumes set in Linotype Scotch Roman, with Bulmer for the title-page, and they were printed at the Marchbanks Press in New York. They were bound appropriately in blue denim and made a generous and handsome set.

F3719.jpg F3720.jpg

John Milton (1608-1674).  L’Allegro and Il Penseroso. With Introductory Essays by W.P. Trent and Chauncey B. Tinker. New York: The Limited Editions Club, 1954. 1500 copies.

This was the last book Rogers designed for The Limited Editions Club, finished when he was eighty-four. The Pierpont Morgan Library had given permission to reproduce twelve watercolours by William Blake (1757-1827) from its collections and thus 280 extra copies were printed for it to distribute. The text of Milton’s two poems, one addressed to the goddess Mirth and the other to Melancholy, was composed by Mackenzie & Harris of San Francisco in Monotype Van Dijck type and printed by the Thistle Press of New York. The book was bound dos-à-dos (back to back) in green buckram.

F3724.jpg F3726.jpg F3725.jpg

Dante Alighieri (1265-1321). The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. The Prose Translation By Charles Eliot Norton with Illustrations from Designs by Botticelli. New York: Bruce Rogers & The Press of A. Colish, 1955. 300 copies.

Early in his career as a designer Rogers had made trial pages for a folio edition of Dante and produced more specimens while at the Oxford University Press in the late 1920s. No opportunity had presented itself to pursue this dream until his old friend A. Colish offered to produce the book and finance its publication. Rogers set to work immediately by redrawing thirty double-pages and seven single-page Botticelli illustrations from Lippman’s book, from which photo-engraved line plates were made. He ordered paper from the Fabriano mill in Italy and had the text set in 18-point Monotype Centaur, with a large Renaissance initial at the beginning of each canto. The volume was bound in full green morocco. It was a stately book, but suffered somewhat from the shaky quality of the redrawn illustrations. It was his penultimate book, followed only by the small octavo The Life of St. George in 1957. 

Part Five 1941-1955