New York: The Museum Press, 1939. Quarto (10 inches tall) booklet, four leaves sewn, self-title with single page of text. Bookplate. Some light spotting and marginal toning to first page. Very good indeed. Item #1301
"GOD'S HAND WAS CARVING LETTERS INTO THE ROCKS WHEN HE GAVE THE LAW TO HIS PEOPLE"
Museum Press booklet, with medieval Latin verse, printed in appreciation of a very select group of the great American bookmen of the twentieth century. The personal copy of recipient Paul A. Bennett—a founding member of The Typophiles—with his red-and-white bookplate tipped inside the folded leaf. Likely one of a very limited number of copies printed—a testament to the incarnational nature of book-making, with exemplary provenance.
Foremost among this pantheon of celebrated bookmen (which includes Daniel Berkeley Updike and Bruce Rogers) is a woman—Belle da Costa Greene. She is listed first, in recognition of her formidable influence, as J.P. Morgan's personal librarian and later as the head of the Morgan Library. An obituary in the New York Times described "Belle D. Greene, for many years the director of the Morgan Library" as "a somewhat fabulous figure at auction sales, who had the power to spend" and noted that "she enjoyed a very wide reputation among bibliophiles" (May 12,1950). The London Times Literary Supplement praised "the prescriptive dignity of her office, her single-monded devotion...her canny sense of quality in books or manuscripts...set Miss Greene in a unique position in the library world." Printed before the war, perhaps for presentation at a gathering in recognition of their patronage of the Museum Press, the interior leaf prints "Ad Eigilum," a verse by Hrabanus Maurus (A. D. 776—856). The booklet is accompanied by an English translation, typed on embossed letterhead addressed at the "Hotel Grammercy Park / 52 Gramercy Park North / New York." The verse, addressed "To Eigilius, about the book he has written," is a paean to the Republic of Letters: "Sole Letters have no fate and repulse death / Sole the Letters of a book revive the past."