(Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1937-41). 232 x 156 mm. (9 1/8 x 6 1/8"). 13 volumes. No. 322 OF 970 COPIES of the Autograph Edition, volume I SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR.
Publisher's original cream-colored linen over gray-blue linen boards, covers with author's cipher in gilt, black spine label, top edges gilt, others edges untrimmed and UNOPENED, and IN THE UNCOMMON ORIGINAL OVERSIZED DUST JACKETS. Containing 12 frontispieces with tissue guards (volume XIII without frontispiece, as issued). Crane AA1, first issue. Faint browning to spines of a few of the dust jackets (this browning extending onto rear panel of one jacket), two jackets with some tears and wrinkling along the bottom fold-over flaps, minor rumpling and tears to jacket edges elsewhere, but still AN EXCEPTIONALLY FINE SET, the unread volumes perfectly preserved, and the jackets with basically minor defects.
Designed by Bruce Rogers, this is a remarkably well-preserved set, complete with the rarely seen dust jackets, of the collected works of eminent American novelist Willa Cather. After a youth lived on the Great Plains of Nebraska, Cather (1873-1947) had her first short story published in 1892 at age 19 and never looked back–except in the sense that her works dealt with the Nebraska she grew up in, the destruction of provincial life, and the fall of pioneer culture. Limning those themes, "O Pioneers!" and "My Antonia," respectively published in 1913 and 1917, are among her most popular and enduring novels. She won the 1923 Pulitzer Prize for her novel "One of Ours," which tells the story of a Nebraska man at the turn of the 20th century. And "Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927) is the work that is perhaps most studied, generally being included among the 100 best 20th century novels in English. Her body of work, written over an extended period of time, is impressive. Bruce Rogers (1870–1957) is among the greatest book designers of the 20th century. Rejecting modernism, he was known for his "classical" style of design, avoiding unbalanced arrangements and rarely using sans serif type faces, preferring dependable roman faces such as Caslon and his own Centaur. The oversized dust jackets have accomplished their intended purpose to the full here, completely sheltering these volumes from light, dust, and soil, preserving them in an absolutely immaculate state. Not surprisingly, these wrappers are rarely seen: since 1975, ABPC records 20 sales of this edition of collected works, but just three are in dust jackets. And the particular design of the jackets--where the paper folds over the top and bottom of the text block--makes them even more than usually susceptible to wear and tear. (ST12646)
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PJP Catalog: ELIST4.029