Feb. 11, 2009: Rare book has priceless information


To The Editor:
Bill Birns again struck a cord in Catskill Mountain history that registered with me. He continues to bring to the attention of local residents important aspects of local history. In the Feb. 4 issue of the Catskill Mountain News he quotes from an Elbert Hubbard book about John Burroughs, called “Old John Burroughs.”
I own a copy of this beautiful and rare book, published in 1901 by Roycroft Press and written by Elbert Hubbard. It’s a small book, measuring eight and-one-quarter inches by five-and-one-quarter inches and has 19 pages. The text is Caslon type printed on Dickinson handmade, Roycroft watermarked paper. The regular edition of this book was bound in paper over boards with a cloth spine. Additionally, some copies were bound three-quarters leather with extra illumination. The suede bound version which I own is not listed in the McKenna catalog. This book contains manuscript reproduction pages and a photo of Burroughs, which were printed on Japan Vellum. The title page, initials and colophon are hand illuminated. The number of books produced is unknown for both the regular and three-quarters leather editions. Twelve copies are known to have been printed on Japan Vellum and bound full Levant. This binding is believed to be by Kinder.
I have wanted to share this book with Burroughs lovers for many years. I offered to loan it to the Roxbury and Margaretville libraries for them to scan and print copies as a fundraiser but neither wanted to get involved for copyright reasons. Since it was published in 1901, and the copyright has not been renewed, there is no problem with reproducing it.
I also offered it to Purple Mountain Press but the publisher does not seem to be interested.
I have scanned this entire book and would be willing to send the photos to anyone interested in publishing it at no charge.

Robert A. Rowe
277 Cooper Rd.
Rochester, NY 14617