The Book of Common Prayer; and Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church According to the Use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. Together with the Psalter or Psalms of David. Boston: Printed [by The Merrymount Press] for the Commission, 1928. One of 500 copies printed on Kelmscott Hammer and Anvil paper by Daniel Berkeley Updike at the Merrymount Press. Printed in black and red throughout from handset Janson type. The cost of production was underwritten by J.P. Morgan, Jr. Full medium brown full-grained morocco by Brother Laurence [Douglas] Everson, bound circa 1970s, with subtle blind tooling along the bands and the title tooled in blind to the second compartment--undoubtedly taking cues from the original binding. The original presentation bookplate has been preserved on the front pastedown: a gift from John Pierpont Morgan to Christ Church Cathedral in Springfield, Massachusetts.
"[Updike] designed the book with the help of his partner John Bianchi, whose son Daniel Bianchi described it as 'probably the finest single piece of bookmaking accomplished by the Press,' and noted that 'the distinguishing features of this book, in which no ornamentation is used, reside in the carefully selected face and sizes of type, the quiet dignity of the initials, the sparkling vermilion of the rubrication, the crispness of impression, the harmony of the paper with the text, and the rich crimson binding.'" (The Yale University Library Gazette, 1999)
Though this copy is no longer housed in its "rich crimson binding," it is a beautiful example of bookbinding from Douglas Everson, who was known as "Brother Laurence" during his time with the Weston Priory in Vermont. As such, it is signed "LAURENTIUS MONACHUS ME FECIT". In Charles Fracchia's Living Together Alone (1979), the author visits Weston Priory and describes Everson's workshop: "Trained as a book restorer and conservator, Brother Lawrence [sic] apprenticed as a hand bookbinder as well. Several libraries, including Harvard's, where he worked before coming to Weston Priory in 1970, continue to employ his skills." His obituary notes that he "...first learned bookbinding from Ivan Ruzicka at Impressions Workshop in Boston, and later studied with Arno Werner."
"For Updike it was the culmination of everything he believed in and understood, and every facet of his personality and sensibility was called upon to produce this masterpiece of print and spirit." (A Century for the Century, 2004)
Printing and the Mind of Man 173. A Century for the Century 25.