Bookplates by John Fass
6 Bookplates for John Archer:
Above: Proofs of 6 bookplates for John Archer
John Fass created these bookplates for John Archer, superintendent of the printing office and bindery of the New York Public Library. John Archer designed and printed fine-press books published by the library, including the lavish 1932 Geography of Claudius Ptolemy, which he printed in an edition of 250 copies on handmade paper. This was the first English-language edition of Ptolemy's Geography. Plus he printed the 1940 book The Tickhill Psalter and Related Manuscripts, which the library copublished with Princeton University.
John retired from the library in 1951, after working there for 41 years. To commemorate Archer's career, the Typophiles published a tribute to him that year titled Sagittarius: His Book, Gathered for John Archer by his Friends. John Fass designed the book, which included vignettes and text by the leading American designers and printers of that era.
John Archer authored The Care and Repair of Books, which is often considered the best nontechnical discussion of the subject. In 1953 John Archer organized an exhibition at the library of John Fass' Hammer Creek Press books. John Archer was a YMCA resident, as was John Fass.
John Fass' Design for his Own Bookplate:
Above: Copy for the engraver, and a proof of John's personal bookplate
John used a similar design for the cover of the 1934 Dante's Hell, which he designed, printed, and published for the book's translator Louis How. The Dante won an AIGA 50-books award that year.
Three Bookplates for Hovey House:
Bookplates for John Fass' Harbor Press:
John's Pencil Sketch for a Bookplate:
John's Pencil Sketch for Another Bookplate:
John's Bookplate for his Harbor Press Business Partners: Elizabeth & Roland Wood:
Above: John Fass' bookplates in the September 1934 The American Printer
The author of this article in this 1934 printers' periodical suggests that no one could create bookplates better than these by John Fass, maybe not even "B. R." (Bruce Rogers) or "Updike" (Daniel Berkeley Updike). B. R. and Updike were two of the most celebrated American printers / designers of that era. John Fass was giving them a run for their money.