Thursday, July 29, 2021

Lee J. Harrer: The Man and His Books

 My post this month is a tribute to my friend and mentor Lee J. Harrer who passed away on April 14, 2021.  I have divided the tribute into two segments,  Lee J. Harrer: The Man and Lee J. Harrer: His Books.  The first segment is a nineteen-minute PowerPoint Presentation about Lee J. Harrer: the Man.  It is followed by photo displays of some of the books in the Harrer Collections, including books I acquired from the Harrer Library.

Lee J. Harrer: The Man

This PowerPoint Presentation was broadcast on the Rare Book Cafe TV show on May 1, 2021. For Best viewing, please enlarge to full screen after opening the video.

 Lee J. Harrer:  His Books

The first time I saw Lee Harrer's books was after the March 20, 2005 meeting of the Florida Bibliophile Society.  Paul Ruxin was our guest speaker that day and we stopped at Lee's house after the meeting.  My first thought was that I was not in a house.  I was in a library!  There were rows and rows of bookcases in every room except for the kitchen and the bathroom.  And all the bookcases were filled with books; mostly Books About Books. At least that's all I saw.  I too collected Books About Books, but I had trade editions.  Lee had limited editions of the same books I had, limited editions that I never knew existed.   I'm sure his Chicago books and Brazil books were in his house too, but the books that were imprinted on my brain that day were Lee's rows and rows of bookcases containing his Books About Books.

Lee and His Chicago Books

Lee Harrer was originally from the Chicago area, and had an extensive collection of Chicago books. I made a photo album of his Chicago Books, and acquired two of the books for my own library.

Lee had two copies of Chicago By the Book.  One for his Chicago Collection and one for his Books About Books Collection.  15 Chicago Poets is for my Poetry Collection.

The Lee J. Harrer Collection of Brazil Books

Lee's last overseas tour in the Army before he retired in 1973 was as a military adviser in Brazil.  The first books he collected and then sold as a bookseller were books about Brazil.  He continued collecting books about Brazil for 40 years.  At the time of this post, his family is still trying to find a buyer for the collection.  Here's a photo album of the Lee J. Harrer Collection of Brazil Books.

The Lee J. Harrer Collection of Books About Books

Books About Books was the largest of all of the Harrer Collections.  The majority of Lee's Books About Books were donated to the University of Tampa in 2008, 2014, and again in 2018. What Books About Books remained in his library at the time of his death were mostly books that the University of Tampa already had copies of.  Lee's daughter Lisa thought that the members of the Florida Bibliophile Society would like the opportunity to acquire books from Lee's library so she had two book sales for Society members. I took advantage of the opportunity and acquired over twenty books and pamphlets  from the Harrer Collection of Books About Books.

The Book Collector Vol 1 Nos 1-4

Years ago I had a Vol 1 No 1 Periodical Collection.  I still have remnants of it, and it looks like I am building the collection up again.  

Bibliognost Vol I Nos I-IV, Vol II Nos 1, II

Bibliognost was published from May 1975 to May 1976, and then joined the American Book Collector to become the Book Collector's Market.

Punch or the London Charivai

Punch needs no introduction.  It was first published in 1841 and closed its doors in 1992.   The Brits tried to revive it in 1996 but it only lasted until 2002.  Lee had about fifteen volumes of Punch, and if I had the shelf room I would have acquired more volumes.

The Book-Shop: A Quarterly Journal  Vol I No I, II

I didn't realize that there were two issues in this wrapper until I decided to see if I wanted to include any of Harper's articles in this post.  The March issue was actually a duplicate for me since I already had a copy along with the June 1892 issue.  And those are the two issues Lee had!  The Journal itself, I believe, only had two more issues.  I did find an interesting article in the June 1892 issue to share with you, an early article about Poe's Tamerlane!

The Private Press

Lee was into printing presses at the Tampa Book Arts Studio so it didn't surprise me that he would have this book.

The Book in America 
The English Bookman's Library: A Short History of English Printing 1476-1898

These two books fill holes in my Books About Books Collection.  I have Donald C. Dickinson's bibliography of Hellmut Lehmann-Haupt's works and now I finally have one of Haupt's works, The Book in America.  And Alfred Pollard, whom I wrote about last month, edited The English Bookman's Library Series, so I had to have that book too.

Publishing and Bookselling

The title on the spine is a little hard to see.  It reads, " Publishing and Bookselling F. A. Mumby."  A bookman by the name of L. C. Elger was an earlier owner of the book.  He pasted his Ex Libris on the front pastedown, and inserted a bag full of interesting newspaper clippings in the book.  There is at least one other book listed on the web that has his bookplate as well as newspaper clippings he inserted in the book.

Elger gathered newspaper clippings from the 1940s to the 1960s about publishers and booksellers.

Authors and the Book Trade

The top book is the 1970 reprint by the Books for Libraries Press.  The book on the bottom is a 1933 reprint of the 1932 first edition.  It was formerly owned by the renowned bookman Frederic Melcher, who also had a library of Books About Books.

Book Collecting and Care of Books

A revised edition of a guide by the Smithsonian of a bibliography and listing of books on book collecting and the book trade.

Reading For Survival

This essay is one of the last works that John D. Macdonald wrote before he died.  He wrote it for the Library of Congress and the Book of the Month Club.  Unfortunately, the 'perfect binding' isn't perfect anymore.  The glue has browned and dried and the pages have separated from the cover.

The Bookman's Wake

I had the paperback.  Now I have the hardback too!

A Roycroft Anthology

An anthology of Poetry published by the Roycrofters in 1917. Requires rebacking.  The presentation inscription interested me.  I wondered what the recipient taught.  Did she work at the Roycrofters?

A Thousand & One Epigrams and The Roycroft Shop: A History

One more Elbert Hubbard book for my Books About Books Collection.

In Celebration of the Book: Literary New Mexico

This was Lawrence Clark Powell's copy of the book.  And he donated it to the Occidental College Library. The book made its way to the Harrer Library some time after the college released it.

Some Observations on Book Design

A keepsake written and printed by Richard J. Hoffman in 1986 for the members of the Roxburghe and Zamorano Clubs.

Catalogue of an Exhibition of Engraved Portraits, being the effigies of the most famous English Writers from Chaucer to Johnson

This catalogue of the Grolier Club exhibition in 1891 is in pristine condition.  I already have the 1895 catalogue of French authors .

First Editions:  A Guide to Identification

I can't believe I'm just getting  Zempel's guide now.  But McBride's guide held me over all these years.

Essays on Collecting John Steinbeck Books
The Chief End of Book Madness
Almanack For Booklovers

A trio of pamphlets.  I already had a copy of The Chief End of Book Madness and I'm keeping both copies!


The letters FWG are the initials of the bookman Frederic W. Goudy.  This pamphlet contains tributes to him from Norman W. Forgue, R. Hunter Middleton, Myron Monsen , Jr. and Will Ransom.

A Tribute to Wilberforce Eames

I already have the 1924 first edition of this book. But that copy won't have the bookplate I am contemplating on making: From the Books About Books Collection of Lee J. Harrer.

The Lindbergh Collection of Lee J. Harrer

Books About Books weren't the only books I acquired that were formerly owned by Lee.  Back in May 2019, Lee had enjoyed reading my blog post, A Sentimental Airman's Second Aviation Collection, but he noticed that I did not have many books by or about Charles Lindbergh.  So he wrote me and told me that his Lindbergh Collection was mine if I wanted it after he died.  Here is the Lee. J. Harrer Lindbergh Collection. There are five books by Charles Lindbergh, including two copies of We; six books about Lindbergh, and fourteen books by his wife Anne Morrow Lindbergh.  This Sentimental Airman is honored to have the Lee J. Harrer Lindbergh Collection.  Thank you Lee.


RIP   Lee J. Harrer 1930-2021

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Alfred W. Pollard: The Man, His Books, and His Other Literary Endeavors


Alfred W. Pollard (1859-1944)

If portraits could talk, Alfred W. Pollard's portrait would probably be saying, "This is your 135th post to your blog, and you're finally getting around to writing a post about me?  What took you so long?"  

 I briefly mentioned Alfred W. Pollard in a June 2014 post and again in a February 2020 post.  But I should have written more about him a long time ago, particularly when I think of how many Books About Books he either wrote or edited.  He was also a literary critic and a Chaucer and Shakespeare scholar.  To say that he was a prolific writer would be an understatement.  The list of the editions of the books on the Online Books Page that he either wrote or edited covers five pages.  And that doesn't include over forty years worth of articles that he wrote for The Library, The Guardian, The Universal Review, and other English journals.  

Alfred W. Pollard was educated at King's College, University of London, and  St. John's College, University of Oxford.   A stammerer since the age of three,  Pollard said he suffered one of his two worst stammers on February 22, 1883 when he presented himself to Sir E. A. Bond, the Principal Librarian of the British Museum hoping for a position at the museum.   Pollard could translate Latin, Greek, French, and a smidgen of Italian, and was hired as an assistant at the Department of Printed Books.   He remained at the British Museum for forty-one and one- half years, retiring as Curator of Printed Books in 1924 at the mandatory retirement age of sixty-five. 

Pollard's starting salary at the British Museum in 1883 was £120 per annum, with a £10 increase each year.  Early in his career Pollard found ways to supplement his income.  He provided Greek and Latin translations for Charles Kegan Paul of Kegan Paul, Trench and Co. This led to a life-long friendship, and a professional relationship that lasted for decades.    Charles Kegan Paul introduced Pollard to other book publishers and editors of literary magazines as well.

In addition to his positions at the British Museum, Pollard was Professor of Bibliography at King's College from 1919 to 1934 and Honorary Secretary of the Bibliographical Society from 1893 to 1934, serving as editor of both The Transactions of the Bibliographical Society and The Library.  
Sidenote:  As a member of the Bibliographical Society, I have online access to all the issues of The Library dating back to its first issue in January 1889.   Pollard has numerous articles in The Library from the first issue on, and I have read many of them.  The March 1930 issue contains his article, "The Library: A History of Forty Volumes."  From reading this article, I discovered that The Library was originally the official organ of the Library Association of the United Kingdom.  The Bibliographical Society didn't officially take over the publication of The Library until 1920.

If you enjoy reading the writings of an author, I recommend that you acquire a bibliography of the author's works, if one is available.  I have a copy of  A Select Bibliography of the Writings of Alfred W. Pollard edited by H. Thomas and published by the Oxford University Press in 1938.  There are over 250 bibliographical entries covering Pollard's books and journal articles dating from 1881 to 1935.  The book itself was published in honor of Pollard's seventy-five birthday (Aug 14, 1934).  But due to delays,  it wasn't published until 1938.

I acquired this bibliography from Jim Thorp in March 2003.  I didn't know it at the time, but he would close  the doors of  THOMAS THORP  Fine & Rare Books  for good not too long after I bought this book.

The former owner of this book was invited to attend the presentation of a specially bound copy of this book  to Pollard on July 6, 1938.  I have Jim Thorp to thank for preserving the invitation that accompanied my book.

In addition to a bibliography of his writings, this book was supposed to contain an autobiography by Pollard; however, after writing about his first fifty years, he fell while trimming a tree, struck his head on the concrete pavement, and was rendered unconscious.  His recovery was slow and it left him unable to complete his autobiography.  The book's editor, Dr. H. Thomas, completed the biography,  covering the years fifty to seventy-five of Pollard's life.


Last Words on the History of the Title-Page.  With Notes on Some Colophons and Twenty-Seven Fac-Similes of Title-Pages by Alfred W. Pollard, London:  John C. Nimmo, 1891. 

I have the 1971 Burt Franklin reprint of the book.  Pollard wanted to keep the focus of the book on the beauty of the early title pages and colophons and set the book up at the Chiswick Press at his own cost.  Nimmo, the second publisher Pollard offered the book to, paid Pollard's printing costs and more, providing an exquisite binding for the book.  In his bibliography Pollard writes that the print run of 250 copies was sold within a few days of publication.

Chaucer by Alfred W. Pollard, London: Macmillan and Co. 1893.

 This is one of twelve "Primers" that Macmillan and Co. wanted J. R. Green to edit.  This book was first published in 1893, and reprinted in 1895, 1904, 1907, 1912, 1919, and 1926.  I have the 1912 edition.  My copy was formerly owned by Morris Edmund Speare (1884-1974) who left marginalia and underlined numerous passages.  

Books About Books, Edited by Alfred W. Pollard, London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co, 1893, 94.  In 1893, Pollard convinced Kegan Paul to publish a series of Books About Books:

The Great Book-Collectors by Charles and Mary Elton
Book-Plates by W. J. Hardy
Books in Manuscript by Falconer Madan
Early Printed Books by E. Gordon Duff
The Decoration of Books by A. W. Pollard
Book Bindings by Herbert P. Horne

I have the book by Pollard and the book by Horne.  Pollard changed the title of his book to Early Illustrated Books because he was unable to include eighteenth century French vignettes, and because he thought the original title "encroached" on Horne's book on bookbindings. 

 Horne changed the title of his book to The Binding of Books.  Horne's books was published in 1894. 

Bibliographica: Papers on Books, Their History and Art edited by A. W.  Pollard, London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner and Co. 1895-97.  The Books About Books series was so successful that Pollard's publisher immediately agreed to his proposal to edit a bibliographical quarterly. Even better, Pollard enjoyed more of a share of the profits than with the Books About Books series.  Surprisingly, at least to me, was that the life of the periodical was to be limited beforehand to three years.   The articles in this periodical cover book collecting and the book arts like they had never been covered before.   And when it came to selecting authors to write the articles, Pollard gathered the cream of the crop, and Pollard himself contributed several articles.   Most of the sets are bound in three bulky volumes; however, some sets are bound in six volumes. But they are usually more expensive.  

I still need to rebind my six-volume set.  The leather on the spines is badly deteriorated.  The boards are detached.  And the endpapers are browning.  Unfortunately I don't have enough leather on hand to bind all six volumes in the same shade of leather.   If I ever do get it done in this lifetime, it will be an expensive but worthy project.

The English Bookman's Library, edited by Alfred Pollard, London:  Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner and Co. 1899-1902.  This was another series of Books About Books that Pollard edited.  This series contained three volumes and Pollard wrote a general introduction for the series in the first volume.  The three volumes were published in 1899, 1900, and 1902 respectively.   I have the 1969 Burt Franklin reprint of the third volume.  

English Embroidered Bindings by Cyril Davenport
A Short History of English Printing by Henry R. Plomer
English Book Collectors by William Younger Fletcher


Books in the House:  An Essay on Private Libraries and Collections  for Young and Old by Alfred W. Pollard, Indianapolis: By Arrangement with Ralph Fletcher Seymour by Bobbs-Merrill, 1904.  I had mentioned Pollard and this very book in my Feb 1, 2020 post, "A Month in the Life of MoiBibliomaniac, and the Books He Bought That Month."  I first eyed the book in 2019 when Lighthouse Books was still located in St. Petersburg.  But for some unknown dastardly reason the book never made it to my "buy pile" that day.  I didn't hesitate one bit when I eyed it again on January 18, 2020 at the Grand Reopening of Lighthouse Books in its new location in Dade City.

In this book, Pollard provides six chapters of advice for book collectors:
1. The Buying of Books
2.  Inherited Books and Their Values
3.  The Keeping of Books
4.  On the Functions of the Collector
5.  How to Collect
6.  The Child's Bookshelf

All of the articles originally appeared in The Guardian.  The 1904 edition of the book is not listed in Pollard's selective bibliography.  But a 1907 edition published in London by Arthur L. Humphreys is listed.  For the London edition, Pollard lightly edited the six original articles, and included a seventh, "Four Centuries of Book Prices," which first appeared in The Cornhill Magazine.

I have some genealogical research to do to identify the former owner of my copy of the 1904 edition of this book.  He is a Merriam, but I don't think he's "one of the famous Merriams."   For one thing, he has too many middle initials!

 I wrote about the next book in June 2014, and briefly mentioned Pollard in the post.  But he had nothing to do with the writing or the editing of the book.  

In January 1908, George Parker Winship read a paper on William Caxton at a meeting of the Club of Odd Volumes. Later that spring he met Pollard and here's what happened.  You can read about it in  Winship's own words in the book:

Fine Books by Alfred W. Pollard, London: Methuen and Co. 1912.  This book was part of The Connoisseur's Library which was edited by Cyril Davenport for Methuen.  In the Preface of this book, Pollard remarks that Fine Books was years in the making, and had been rewritten several times.  He notes that his samples of book illustrations end around the year 1780.  Furthermore, he notes that the poorness of print and paper of books printed after 1780 have caused many collectors to lose interest in them because they  do not consider them to be "fine books."

On pages 282 and 283 of this book, Pollard confesses "a dreadful sin of my youth."  It concerns a book he edited in 1888,  Sir Philip Sidney's Astrophel and Stella.  Pollard provided additional information about the mistake in his autobiography, remarking that no critic ever noticed "the dreadful blunder."  Even more information about the mistake was provided in the listing of the work in the selective bibliography.  

Here's the whole story.  On his way home from work at the British Museum, Pollard frequently visited the premises of the Oxford Street bookseller David Stott and bought some books.  In 1888, Stott asked him to edit the Astrophel and Stella edition.  The book itself was illustrated by Thomas Lant, who provided  a portrait for the frontispiece of the book.  Believing it was Sir Philip Sidney's portrait, Pollard wrote in the introduction of the book that "the portrait of Sidney, which forms the frontispiece is reproduced from the copy in the British Museum of his engraving of his funeral by Thomas Lant."   Unbeknown to Pollard, what Lant provided for the frontispiece was a portrait of himself!   Pollard didn't discover the mistake until over twenty years later during a conversation with Sir Sidney Colvin.  Pollard admitted the error in Fine Books in 1912.  

Below is the frontispiece from the 1888 edition of Astrophel and Stella.  And next to it is the portrait of Thomas Lant from the National Portrait Gallery.

I can assure you that the portrait of Alfred W. Pollard in the beginning of this post is definitely a portrait of Alfred W. Pollard.  It is the frontispiece from Pollard's bibliography:

A Census of Shakespeare's Plays in Quarto 1594-1709 by Henrietta C. Bartlett and Alfred W. Pollard, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1916.  Pollard wrote the majority of the introduction, and provided the information of copies of larger English collections up to 1660.  Bartlett provided the information of later quartos in English hands, American copies, and unidentified copies.  I bought this book at one of the first Florida Antiquarian Book Fairs I attended after retiring from the Air Force in 1989.

A Short-Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England, Scotland and Ireland, and of English Books Printed Abroad, 1475-1640 Compiled by A. W Pollard & G. R. Redgrave, with the help pf G. F. Barwick, Geo. Watson Cole,, Ethel Fegan, F. S. Ferguson, W. W. Greg, W. Jaggard, Stephen K. Jones, F. R. D. Needham, H. R. Plomer, Cecie Stainer, E. V. Stocks and others, London: Bibliographical Society, 1926.   In 1884, the British Museum published a three-volume catalogue of books in the British Museum that were printed in England, Scotland, Ireland, and abroad.  Pollard had long been an advocate for a catalogue of the books contained in all the libraries of England, Scotland and Ireland.  He managed to convince the Bibliographical Society to support the publication of a short-title catalogue or handlist where copies of books in the libraries of England, Scotland, and Ireland could be traced.  In the book's preface and again in the memoranda, Pollard stressed that the short-title catalogue was merely a finding aid to identify the location of copies of books.

The Bibliographical Society normally only published books for its members.  However, with the increased interest in literary research, the Society decided to make this book available to the world of scholarship, and reprinted the book several times.  I have the 1969 edition.

Introductions by Richard Curle, Augustine Birrell, Edmund Gosse, John Drinkwater, E. V. Lucas, A. Edward Newton, R. W. Chapman, David Nichol Smith, Alfred W. Pollard, J. C. Squire to the Catalogue of the Ashley Library (1922-1930) Collected by Thomas James Wise, New York: William H. Smith Jr. 1934.  Pollard was one of the ten prominent bookmen who wrote introductions for the catalogue of the Ashley Library.  Wise had asked him to criticize the catalogue.  Pollard began by pointing out that there was no catalogue that he himself compiled that he didn't want to do over again to improve it.  He then proceeded to describe what a catalogue should contain and what was needed to improve catalogues in general, particularly to improve the terminology used such as "issues."  Pollard  disagreed with Wise's practice of transcribing an upper case medial v in early 17th century titles with a lower case v, where the original printer would have used u.  But overall, Pollard said that Wise's success in gathering all the facts about the books in his library was no small achievement.

Introductions... was published the same year as the book by John Carter and Graham Powell,  An Enquiry Into the Nature of  Certain Nineteenth Century Pamphlets.  Their book hinted that some of Wise's books were forgeries.  On his forgery website,, my friend Douglas Adams cites a reference that identifies Mitchell Kennerley as the publisher of the Introductions, and not W. H. Smith.  I don't know if the Enquiry was published before Introductions, but if it was, I wonder if Kennerley didn't want his name to be associated with any publication about the Ashley Library.

Before I end this post,  I want to mention some of the books by or about Pollard that I don't have in my library.


The Rowfant Library.  A Catalogue of the Printed Books, Manuscripts, Autograph Letters, Drawings and Pictures, Collected by Frederick Locker-Lampson.  London: Bernard Quaritch, 1886.  Pollard was given the task of revising the proofs of the catalogue begun by Mr. R. H. Lister. The 150 copies of this catalogue were sold out within a week.  This was the first of several libraries that Pollard compiled catalogues of.  In 1891, he catalogued a portion of the library of Charles Isaac Elton and Mary Augusta Elton. In 1907 he edited a catalogue of manuscripts and early printed books from the libraries of William Morris and Richard Bennett that formed a portion of the library of J. P. Morgan.  In 1910, he catalogued the books from the first printers that were collected by Rush C. Hawkins.  In 1912 he catalogued the fifty manuscripts that Alfred H. Huth bequeathed to the British Museum.  And in 1921 he wrote the Introduction to the catalogue of books that Robert Ernest Cowan compiled of the Kelmscott and Dove Presses in the library of William Andrewes Clark Jr. (My friend Gary Simons has a copy).

English Miracle Plays, Moralities, and Interludes. Specimens of Pre-Elizabethan Drama.  Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1900.  This was Pollard's most profitable book with eight editions, the last four with illustrations.  Pollard said this book sold better in the United States than in England.

Two Brothers. Accounts Rendered by Alfred W. Pollard, London: Chiswick Press, 1916.  This book is not listed in Pollard's Select Bibliography.  It was privately printed to give to friends of the Pollards.  On October, 24, 1914, Pollard's oldest son, Geoffrey Blemell Pollard, a Lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery was killed in the fighting near Le Baseé, France.  Geoffrey's younger brother, Roger Thompson Pollard, a Lieutenant in the 5th Royal Berkshire Regiment, was killed a year later on October 13, 1915, not too many miles from where his brother was killed.  In Two Brothers. Accounts Rendered,  Pollard provided accounts of the deaths of both of his sons.  This book is listed on  the Online Book Page.  I'll go grab a soda while you read it....  

Because there were additional requests for Two Brothers. Accounts Rendered, Pollard had the London firm of Sidgwick and Jackson publish an edition of the book in 1917.  That edition is listed on the Online Books Page as well.

Shakespeare's Fight with the Pirates and the Problems of the Transmission of His Text.  by Alfred W. Pollard, Sandars Reader in Bibliography 1915. London: Alexander Moring Ltd, 1917.  Pollard gave four lectures as Sandars Reader in Bibliography which were published in The Library in January, April July, and October of 1916.  250 copies of the lectures were offprinted under  the new title, "Shakespeare's Fight...."  Here are the original titles of the four lectures.  All are well worth reading.

1.  The Regulation of the Book Trade in the Sixteenth Century
2.  Authors, Players, and Pirates in Shakespeare's Day
3.  The Manuscripts of Shakespeare's Plays
4.  The Improvers of Shakespeare

Brick Row Book Shop Special List No. 21 English Literary Works From the Library of Alfred W. Pollard... New York: Brick Row Book Shop, 1946.  This special list contains several hundred books from Pollard's library.  The Brick Row Book Shop acquired them in a sale of Pollard's library in London in November 1944.  I would love to have a book from Pollard's library for My Sentimental Library Collection, but I doubt if a could afford one, even if one were available.   Although he wishes he did have some to sell, John Crichton, proprietor of Brick Row Books, does not have any books in stock from Pollard's library.  Nor does he have copies of Special List No. 21 for sale.  :-(   

But the Grolier Club has a copy!  I shall ask to see it if and when I ever visit the Grolier Club again!  Mark Samuels Lasner gave me a tour of the Grolier Club back in September 2011.  It's way past time for another tour Mark!