“The Rich Mouse” by J. J. Lankes: A Limited First Printing

In August 2015 we launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring an unpublished story of J. J. Lankes into print in a fine, limited, letterpress edition. Our project was not only funded, but  surpassed its goal, which brought our project to life. We have now put copies in the hands of our Kickstarter supporters who made the limited edition possible, and now we’re ready to announce that a limited number of copies are still available.

The Rich Mouse set is now available for order!

The set contains the hardback letterpress limited-edition of
The Rich Mouse, and the digitally-printed The Rich Mouse 
Compendium, both housed in a handmade slipcover.

* * *
Julius John Lankes (1884–1960) was a woodcut artist, author, and college professor from Buffalo, New York, perhaps best-known for his woodcut illustrations for first editions of Robert Frost, Sherwood Anderson, and other significant writers of his day. The Rich Mouse, an allegorical fable emphasizing the snares of materialism versus the redeeming strength of love and forgiveness, written in 1950, but set aside and never published.

Bookplate for Robert Frost
Lankes is also credited with helping to elevate the woodblock print from the status of craft to fine art. Among his close to 1400 graphic works are two charming and virtually unknown illustrations he designed and cut for his own short children’s story, 

In 2006 the manuscript was discovered by W. D. Taylor, Professor of English Emeritus at the University of Richmond and curator of the University Museums’ recent exhibition, “Julius J. Lankes: Survey of an American Artist.” Dr. Taylor edited the Rich Mouse manuscript, wrote an introduction outlining its history and meaning, and proposed its publication to Dr. Richard Mathews, Director of the Tampa Book Arts Studio. The Studio is home to the c. 1845 Hoe Washington hand press, No. 3126, on which Lankes proofed and printed his blocks for Robert Frost and others. After his death his son gave the press to the University of Richmond, which placed it on extended loan to the Tampa Book Arts Studio.

A third collaborator, Bob Oldham, a typographer, press historian, author of The Columbian Handpress At 200: An Historical Summary and World-wide Census, and proprietor of Ad Lib Press, who transported the Lankes press from Virginia to Tampa—suggested that the text of Rich Mouse be set in a special casting of Frederic Goudy’s original “Village” private press typeface.

Now, in a cooperative project involving the Tampa Book Arts Studio, Ad Lib Press, and the University of Richmond, we are publishing “The Rich Mouse” in a deluxe edition, reproducing the two woodcuts made by Lankes for the story, and supplementing these with other complementary Lankes blocks.

In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the great American type designer Frederic W. Goudy, we have printed the book using a hand-set recasting of the Village type the famous type designer Frederic Goudy designed and had cut for his own Village Press. We have printed it on J. J. Lankes’s own Washington hand press using a fine all-cotton paper. The edition, limited to 150 copies, has been hand-bound in boards covered with decorated paper and inserted into a slip case.

Now the press on which Lankes printed his woodcuts to illustrate the works of Robert Frost, Sherwood Anderson, and others has been used to bring a previously unpublished text by Lankes himself into print, together with Lankes’s illustrations of his own work.

Reserve your copy of the full edition above.  And be sure to also check out the special release of Village type in Open Type digital format, at the P22 Type Foundry

1 comment:

Carl Mario Nudi said...

This is so exciting. I can't wait until I get my copy.