Abe Lerner Papers, 1929-2002
RLIN ID No.
Abe Lerner papers, 1929-2002 (bulk 1957-2002)
4 boxes (5 linear feet)
Abe Lerner was born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. From 1928 until his death he was associated with the graphic arts as a book designer, production editor, writer and speaker. Among the firms he was associated with were the World Publishing Company and Macmillan where he served as a book designer and art director. He worked with Bruce Rogers on the Bible Rogers designed for World (1949) and also did notable work as a freelance designer. Lerner was a member of the Grolier Club, an organization for bibliophiles in New York City; he served as Chair of its Committee on Modern Fine Printing from 1982 to 1984 and designed a number of its centennial publications. He designed many publications for the Typophiles and served as president for several years. During the earliest years of his career Abe Lerner was co-proprietor of a small press, the Hellgate Press, and was known as a collector of modern fine printing. He died in New York City on 14 November 2002.
Scope and Contents Note
The Abe Lerner Papers reflect its subject’s wide interest in and knowledge of the graphic arts of the twentieth century as reflected in his correspondence with book and type designers, printers and publishers and editors in the United States and Europe. Many files contain his drafts or copies of the letters he sent as well as those he received. Also: some typescripts of lectures and printed ephemera and book jackets. A small portion of the ephemera is from the Hellgate Press. The collection includes personal and professional correspondence with the following individuals: Berenice Abbott; Gregor Affleck; Elmer L. Anderson; Tony Appleton; Rowley Atterbury; Leonard Baskin; Joseph Blumenthal (Spiral Press); Max Caflisch; Will and Sebastian Carter; James Daugherty; John Dreyfus; Kathleen Garman (Lady Jacob Epstein); Philip Evergood; William Everson; Colin Franklin; Joseph A. Freilich; Morris Gelfand (Stone House Press); Michael Gullick (Red Gull Press); Carolyn Hammer; August Heckscher; Lotte Hellinga; Jonathan Hill; Edward Hopper; Andrew Hoym (Arion Press) Herbert A. Johnson; Janet Ing; Sidney Kaplan; Charles Kelly; James Mosley; Paul Needham; Richard Ramer; Bernard Rosenthal; Rudolph Ruzicka; Hans and Tanya Schmoller; Fred Schreiber; Jack Stauffacher; Michael Tarachow (Pentagram Press); Wolfgang Tiessen; Walter Tracy; John VanSickle; Ward Ritchie; Walter Wilkes; Hugh Williamson; Emerson G. Wulling; Herman Zapf and Ben Zevin.
Also correspondence concerning: Ampersand Club (Minneapolis, MN); Bertram Rota Ltd.; Bird & Bull Press (Henry Morris); Book Club of California; Double Crown Club; Dover Publications (Hayward Cirker); Fine Print (Sandra Kirschenbaum); Janus Press (Claire VanVliet); Martayan-Lan; Officina Bodoni; ; Private Libraries Association; Phaidon Press; Pierpont Morgan Library; Plain Wrapper Press (Richard-Gabriel Rummonds); Scheide Library; Stinehour Press; Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec; the Typophiles and the Whittington Press (John Randle). Some correspondence relates to his book design work for volumes by or about Alexander Dobkin, Antonio Frasconi, Paul Schwenke, and Joseph Solmon;
Finding Aid Note
Unpublished finding aid available in repository.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift; Kit Currie (Mrs. Abe Lerner; 2003.
Grolier Club, 47 East 60th Street, New York, N.Y. 10022-1098.
Box 1 Miscellaneous Files and Correspondence: A-D
AL quoted or referred to in print, ca. 1981-1997.
AL articles and speeches, ca. 1991-1992.
Book jackets, ca. 1962-1985. Some designed by AL.
Ephemera designed by AL, 1929-ca. 1985. Includes stationary, business cards, invitations
and bookplates for individuals and organizations such as the Grolier Club and the
Typophiles. Includes a few pieces from the Hellgate Press of which he was co-
proprietor ca. 1930.
“A” general: 1965-1995.
Berenice Abbott. 1 TLS 1965 Oct. 4 regarding disposition of Alfred Maurer painting.
Gregor Affleck, 1944-1945.
Elmer L. Anderson, 1988-2002.
Ampersand Club (Minneapolis, MN), 1992-1993.
Tony Appleton (English book dealer), 1981-1991).
Rowley Atterbury, 1990-2001.
“B” general: 1975-2002.
Leonard Baskin, ca. 1958-1962.
Bertram Rota Ltd., 1976-1984.
Bird & Bull Press (Henry Morris), 1977-1989.
Joseph Blumenthal (Spiral Press), 1977-1988.
Book Club of California, 1976-1985.
“C” general: 1958-2002.
Max Caflisch, 1992-1994.
Will and Sebastian Carter, 1978-2000.
Centaurs (The), 1978-1996.
“D” general: 1958-2002.
James Daugherty, 1957-1962.
Dawsons Book Store (Los Angeles), 1978-1996.
Alexander Dobkin. Correspondence about, 1975. [AL for a time collected the work of
Double Crown Club (London), 1978. AL delivered talk, “Assault on the book: fine
printing and private presses in the USA Today.” File includes typescript and
Dover Publications (Hayward Cirker), 1972-1978.
John Dreyfus, 1968-1992.
Box 2 Correspondence: E-K
Kathleen Epstein (Lady), 1966-1973. Correspondence and invoices concerning sale
works by Sir Jacob Epstein. File includes 2 ALS from Lady Epstein dated 1962 Oct. 18 and 1963 April 17.
Philip Evergood, 1964-1971. (2 folders) File includes negative of photograph of a drawing by PE.
William Everson, 1978-1982.
“F” general: 1968-1997.
Fine Print (Sandra Kirschenbaum),1984-1990. AL did some designing and reviewing for this publication.
Colin Franklin, 1979-1992.
Antonio Frasconi, 1974. File relates to AL’s work on designing Against the Grain for Macmillan. & Co,
Joseph A. Freilich, 1995-1997.
“G” general: 1964-2001.
Garman, Kathleen (see Kathleen Epstein)
Morris A. Gelfand (Stone House Press), 1982-1994.
[Grolier Club. Committee on Modern Fine Printing (1982-1984); Centennial Publications (1983-1904). Files removed and placed with associated Grolier Club material.]
Michael Gullick (Red Gull Press), 1980-1991.
“H” general: 1969-2001.
Carolyn Hammer, 1981-1994.
August Heckscher, 1979-1989.
Lotte Hellinger (British Library), 1980-1998.
Jonathan Hill (Bookseller), ca. 1984-1986; 1999-2002. AL designed catalogues for Hill. File includes correspondence and proofs. (2 folders)
Edward Hopper. 1 ALS 1958 Feb. 24. EH describes his views on printmaking.
Andrew Hoym (Arion Press), 1976-1984.
“J” general: 1970-2001.
Janus Press (Claire VanVliet), 1978-1993.
Herbert A. Johnson, 1975-1997.
Janet Thompson Ing (Janet Freeman), 1986-1994.
“K” general: 1947-2002. Includes some correspondence with Alfred A. Knopf relating to comments by AL about “publishers’ styles”.
Sidney Kaplan, 1977-1993.
Charles Kelly, 2002-2002.
Box 3: Correspondence: L-R
“L” general: 1960s.
Abe Lerner, 1992. Correspondence regarding his article “Books for Reading and Books as Objets d’Art” published in the Gazette of the Grolier Club. N.S., no. 44 (1992).
Librairie Thomas Scheler (Paris), 1996.
Library of Congress. Children’s Literature Center. Symposium 1984 Nov. 15. AL a speaker.
“M” general: 1972-2000.
Martayan Lan (New York City), 1986-2001. AL designed catalogues for this firm of antique map sellers. (3 folders).
Miscellaneous correspondence design work, 1965-1977; 2001-2002. Includes work for Martayan Lan. (2 folders)
James Mosley, 1978-1988. (see also Janet Ing file).
“Mc” general: 1964-1997,
“N” general: 1977-2000.
Paul Needham, 1985-1995.
“O” general: 1972-1997.
Officina Bodoni, 1976-1993.
“P” general” 1970-1998. File includes two United States Passports issued to AL: 1979-1984; 1984-1994.
Phaidon Press, 1975-1977.
Pierpont Morgan Library, 1989-1997.
Plain Wrapper Press (Richard-Gabriel Rummonds), 1975-1992.
Private Libraries Association, 1988-1998.
“R” general, 1968-1998. Includes some correspondence from Ward Ritchie and Rudolph Ruzicka.
Richard Ramer, 1989-1995. Correspondence relates to AL’s design work for his catalogues.
Bernard Rosenthal, 1982-1995.
John Ryder, 1981-1990.
Box 4 Correspondence: S-Z
“S” general, 1962-2001. Includes some correspondence with Rollo Silver and Reynolds Stone.
Scheide Library, 1986-1989. Correspondence relates to publication of facsimile of the Bull of Pope Callistus III (1456) owned by the Library.
Hans and Tanya Schmoller, 1978-1983.
Fred Schreiber, 1987-1992.
Paul Schwenke. Correspondence regarding proposed translation of his 1923 German language publication on Gutenberg.
Joseph Solmon. Correspondence and other material relating to AL’s design a book about this artist: Joseph Solmon (DaCapo Press, 1995).
Jack Stauffacher, 1977-1984,
Stinehour Press, 1976-1978. Correspondence regarding design work.
“T” general, 1967-1988.
Michael Tarachow (Pentagram Press), 1991-1994.
Wolfgang Tiessen, 1987-1998.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1983. Correspondence regarding AL design work on the publication of correspondence of the artist with his English publisher W.H.B. Sands.
Walter Tracy, 1988-1987.
Types and printer sources, 1978-1992.
Typophiles, 1983-2001 (4 folders)
John Van Sickle, 1989-1990. AL designed a bookplate for VanSickle. File includes examples.
“W” general: 1961-2001.
Westerham Press, 1961-2001.
Whittington Press (John Randle), 1985-1993.
Walter Wilkes, 1985-2001.
Hugh Williamson, 1979-1985.
Frank Lloyd Wright, 1867-1959. 2 brief ALS 1944 Sept. 18 and 1944 27 Sept. 27. They seem to relate to a project of AL.
Emerson D. Wulling, 1980-1998.
Herman Zapf, 1982-1992.
Box 5: Bound Volumes (Onsite)
*this box of materials was donated to the Grolier Club in March of 2015, from the estate of Kit Currie. All books written or include articles by Aber Lerner.
Gazette of the Grolier Club, New Series Number 39
Gazette of the Grolier Club, New Series Number 44
Stepping Away from Tradition: Children’s Books of the Twenties and Thirties
An Offprint from the Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, Volume 78, First Quarter.
Serving Author and Reader: About the Design of My Books, by Wolfgang Tiessen
Daniel Berkeley Updike and the British Connection by Martin Hutner
Forgers and Fools, by Maxwell Whiteman
The Private Presses of San Serriffe: a Talk by Henry Morris
A Nineteenth Century English Printing Office by Arnold Bennett
Form& Content by Abe Lerner
Assault on the Book by Abe Lerner, in custom case with Form & Content