from Overland Monthly May, 1928:
By Manly P. Hall
U. S. Crocker Co., San Francisco.
IT IS a well-established fact that the largest industry in San Francisco is printing, and that of the ten finest handcraft printers in the United States, four live in San Francisco. With the completion of Manly P. Hall’s great work, “Symbolical Philosophy,” another first-class handcraft printer will be added to California’s quota.
The H. S. Crocker Company, under the direction of John Henry Nash, has worked two and one-half years on the physical makeup of the book; but the real genius of the format is Frederick E. Keast. The future will see his name connected with much that is fine in handcraft printing. The most striking feature of the physical makeup of the book is its splendid harmony. The page values are remarkable, and the tone and color is wonderfully blended. The color plates which occur with each topic are in the four-color process, and invariably shows some of the color used in the elaborate Gothic initial letters. The Alexandria-Japan Bond paper takes a perfect imprint, giving, a strong outline to the type employed. The result is beautiful from any viewpoint.
But it is with the content of the book that the reader will find the greatest inspiration and joy. Manly P. Hall has a clear reasoning faculty which makes his meaning so simple and direct that his message is imparted without taxing the reader in any way. This is a great triumph where philosophy is the theme; and it is for this reason that “Symbolical Philosophy” as expounded by Manly P. Hall, is certain to become a standard reference book. The unusual size of the pages makes it possible for each subject to be fully treated in the four pages assigned to it. This arrangement makes each signature complete in itself. The chronological sequence is carefully preserved; and it is easy to trace the entire Christian influence from pagan to modern philosophical conceptions.
The book primarily deals with the period known as Christian civilization, and includes every phase of the teaching from astrology to exact science. The conceptions begin with the universal and finally include such concrete topics as the Bacon-Shakespeare controversy, with an elaborate explanation of the cipher code accredited to Bacon.
The chapter on the Qabbala of the Jews, on the Hermetic and Rosicrucian Brotherhoods, High Degree Masonry, The Tatars, and an enlightening chapter on the mysticism of Faust are some of the high-lights of Manly Hall’s master work. Despite the profound philosophy embodied, the style in which the book is written makes it very readable and very easily understood. It is not a book that will ever be sold over the counter of the bookshops. Its price, $75.00 a volume, prohibits this result, but the collectors and book lovers everywhere will be eager to avail themselves of the limited edition being published.
The entire Pacific Coast is to be congratulated upon such a noteworthy achievement in cultural development. It is a credit to any community to have such a work brought to a successful conclusion, and Manly Hall will long be remembered for his genuine Contribution to the real learning of his time. He is; a young man of exceptional ability, arid erudition; and it is to be hoped that this will not be other than a beginning of his literary activities.
FRONA EUNICE • WAIT COLBURN.
THE MAKING OF A GREAT BOOK
By Frederick E. Keast of the H. S. Crocker Co.
IN all the history of book fabrication in America no such volume as the book by Manly P. Hall, “An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy,” has ever been attempted before. To make it truly unique, the services of John Henry Nash, of San Francisco, foremost among the master book builders and designers of America, and the press of H. S. Crocker Co., Inc. were enlisted and the result is indeed a masterpiece of the book-makers art.
The specifications, like the contents of the volume, are amazing. The book itself is encased in a specially constructed slip case to protect it from the ravages of time. The volume stands nineteen inches high and is thirteen inches wide, and contains 260 pages of text material and 54 full page process illustrations. The paper for the text part of the book is technically known as Alexander-Japan, 100-pound basis, made by the Strathmore Paper Company. Incidentally, the paper required to print this edition made the largest order of Alexander-Japan paper ever placed in America.
The 50 chapters of text material are written exactly four pages to the chapter and are set two columns to the page, with no footnotes to distract. Two hundred and fifty illustrations in black and white embellish the text throughout the book.
The type used is twelve point Italian Old Style, while the captions for the illustrations are set in ten point Italic of the same face. The headings are set in twenty-four point Italic Caxton, lower and upper case, while the pagination is accomplished by the use of the capital letters of the same face, set in Roman numerals. A specially cut Italian illuminating initial of the Renaissance period is used at the beginning of each chapter and is printed in two colors, black and a beautiful shade of orange. This orange is the only color which appears on the text pages, with the exception of the folios, which appear in a light blue, the folios being introduced at the top of the pages.
The full page colored illustrations are of the most startling symbolic design, and are, for the most part, from the brush of J. Augustus Knapp. Forty of these illustrations were reproduced in full process colors, namely, red, yellow, blue and black. However, in order to perfectly reproduce the many gorgeous blues and greens, it was necessary in other plates to introduce special colors, including gold and silver. In the illustration of the Heraldic Arms of Jesus Christ, eight special colors were used to make the reproduction.
The illustrations, occurring as they do every four pages, are wrapped around a four page signature. In only two cases was it necessary to tip in the illustration, these instances being the illustration of the Bembine Table of Isis and the Rosicrucian Formula, both of which are reproduced in a folded sheet size 26×19.
The binding is on extra heavy boards, half bound, with specially imported baby goatskin vellum and rare Ceylon designed Batik paper, made in Germany, and in order to carry out a general uniformity, this Batik paper has been used as an end and fly sheet.
A leather label stamped in gold on the backbone is used for all editions dark brown leather for the Subscribers’ Edition; blue leather for the King Solomon Edition; purple leather for the Theosophical Edition; and red leather for the Rosicrucian Edition.
The Subscribers’ Edition of this marvelous book contains a special page with an autograph of the author, Manly P. Hall; and the list of these subscribers to this edition, 550 in all, is contained in the book. The other editions do not bear the author’s autograph, but are numbered from 1 to 550 in the King Solomon Edition, and from 1 to 250 in both the Rosicrucian and the Theosophical Editions.