(Cleveland: For the author, [ca. 1950]). 515 x 355 mm. (20 1/4 x 14"). 2 p.l., 60 matted leaves. Collected and annotated by Otto Ege. ONE OF 100 SETS OF "SERIES B," with 60 leaves.

Loose as issued, housed in original light brown buckram box, black morocco label on upper cover. WITH FOUR MANUSCRIPT LEAVES AND 56 PRINTED LEAVES, as called for, in archival mats with descriptive labels written by Ege. Prospectus and contents leaf with ink stamp of book dealer Philip C. Duschnes. Short split to front joint of clamshell box, which also shows slight wear, but the box still solid and pleasing, and the contents in very fine condition.

This is an uncommonly seen complete set of one of the great leaf books of the 20th century. As stated on the contents page: "Sixty leaves from famous and rare Bibles and Testaments, dating from the 12th to the 20th century, have been selected to illustrate important changes in content and format. This collection includes Bibles of the manuscript age on vellum and on paper; incunabula[r] editions from Germany and Italy; epoch-making versions from England and the Continent during the time of the Reformation; polyglot texts, ranging from three to nine languages; early American imprints; and examples from the finest presses, extending from Jenson to Bruce Rogers." These portfolios were a collaboration between Cleveland Art Institute Dean and lecturer Otto Ege and New York book dealer Philip Duschnes, who specialized in selling individual leaves from manuscripts and early books. In his book "Otto Ege's Manuscripts," Scott Gwara observes, "To some, Otto Frederick Ege (1888-1951) is a scandal. In many cases he cut up more-or-less complete medieval manuscripts to supply middle class American connoisseurs with examples of the Book Beautiful. In fact, he created the American market for single leaves, many thousands of which passed through his hands. To others, however, Ege promoted Book Arts as a professional educator and enthusiast who fostered appreciation for medieval book design, including script, illumination, and mise-en-page." His biblioclasty was anathema to many, but he defended himself, "Surely to allow a thousand people 'to have and to hold' an original manuscript leaf, and to get a thrill and understanding that comes only from actual and frequent contact with these art heritages, is justification enough for the scattering of fragments." Perhaps fittingly, many of his carefully assembled portfolios were themselves broken up, and the leaves sold individually. Just two complete 60-leaf portfolios are recorded at auction this century.