The Planets are Aligned

sean's picture

Someone gave "Bradley His Book" to me today. (sorry links don't seem to be working now)



Isaac's picture

zoinks. how is it?

sean's picture

It is beautiful. I love the texture. The type is by American Type Founders' Company.

It took me awhile to get around to it, but here are some photos. I am afraid to lay it flat on my scanner.

If anyone (Isaac ?) can give me some more info that would be great.

Here is bit that I do know. Will H. Bradley (1868-1962) became, and is still regarded as, one of the masters of book, magazine, and graphic design during the Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts periods. Bradley's typographic and illustrative work expanded the boundaries of both fields. He re-introduced Caslon type through his book work.


kentlew's picture

Seanmichael --

Your page says "It is all offset printed." Given the date, I would be very surprised if it was offset. Perhaps you meant to say letterpress.

As you noted, Bradley was the most prominent exponent of the Art Nouveau / Arts and Crafts movement in America. He established the Wayside Press in Springfield, Massachusetts, sometime around 1896. Bradley: His Book was a magazine that he published for two years until he disbanded the press in 1896 due to poor health. He sold his press to the University Press in Cambridge, Mass., and went to work for them for a while to pay off debts.

Bradley did some lettering work for The Inland Printer. In 1895 ATF bought the rights to produce some of his cover lettering as type. That began Bradley's relationship with ATF.

Strathmore Paper (headquartered in Springfield, Mass.) was one of Bradley's customers at the Wayside Press. I believe he continued to do design and illustration work for Strathmore promotions even after he closed the press.

After closing the his press, Bradley continued to work as a designer and illustrator for magazines and advertising. He designed a successful campaign of promotions for ATF demonstrating how to use ATF types to great advantage in advertising.

Later he went on to work as art editor for various prominent magazines of the day, including Collier's Magazine and Good Housekeeping.

In 1955, the Typophiles published a chapbook honoring Bradley and it includes his "Notes Toward an Autobiography." Later, Dover Publications printed a collection of his artwork and included the "Notes" in the introduction. You may be able to find a copy of the Dover book in your library or used.

sean's picture

Oops. Of course it is letterpress. That is what is so beautiful about it! It must be the excitement getting to me.(not to mention the illustrations!)

I took it to my local antique book seller and he said it was likely worth $1000! Worth much more than money to me though. My plan is to do away with it just as it came into my hands. Someday, after I think I am some sort of accomplished designer I will give it to someone who recognizes it's beauty and is inspired by it just as I am. That is the best way I can see to preserve it.

On top of it all, and upon a closer look, the inscription is from William Dana Orcutt. What luck!

Thanks Lew, for the background. I really like Whitman and am looking forward to it's public release. When I am further along, I would be happy if you would critique a face I am working on. I would appreciate your feedback.


kentlew's picture

Thank you for the compliment, but please, call me Kent.

Orcutt?! What luck indeed. I'm sure this only adds to the value. Congratulations. I like your plan for passing it along some day.

-- K.

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