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An exquisite letterpress printed and hand bound limited edition of Fitzgerald's masterwork with Art Deco flair.
417 backers pledged $132,042 to help bring this project to life.

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$132,042

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 TLDR: We are publishing a letterpress printed, hand-bound, limited edition of The Great Gatsby. The covers are made using genuine engraving, and each copy is signed and numbered.  

 Proceeds from this edition will benefit the Thornwillow Institute and Makers Village, a not-for-profit committed to teaching and perpetuating the arts and crafts of the written word.  

A timeless novel . . . 

The Great Gatsby is the Great American Novel. "It is our novel, how we present ourselves,” said American literary scholar James West, “Fitzgerald captured and distilled the essence of the American spirit." 

We are honored to announce that Thornwillow Press, with the blessing of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s family and estate, is publishing this most iconic of American novels, The Great Gatsby, in a letterpress printed, hand-bound limited edition.

Allow us to introduce you to THE GREAT GATSBY . . .
Allow us to introduce you to THE GREAT GATSBY . . .

. . . in a letterpress edition, hand-bound with engraved covers.
. . . in a letterpress edition, hand-bound with engraved covers.

In 1922, as F. Scott Fitzgerald was planning The Great Gatsby, he wrote to his editor, Maxwell Perkins, that he had begun working on a novel that was going to be different, “Something new—something extraordinary, and beautiful, and simple, and intricately patterned.” It was to be a "consciously artistic achievement" and a "purely creative work—not trashy imaginings . . . but the sustained imagination of a sincere and yet radiant world." 

He was, of course, correct. Fitzgerald was the poet laureate of what he named “The Jazz Age,” and Gatsby was his magnum opus, a novel of the American Dream, and the great price the “dream” demands of the human soul. Fitzgerald’s evocative prose has carried this novel through changing times and shifting cultural landscapes. He had a “pitch-perfect ear,” and we can hear this in sentences as rich as, “In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars,” as well as the stunning final line, “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” 

''I am not a great man,” Fitzgerald wrote to his daughter, Scottie, “but sometimes I think the impersonal and objective quality of my talent . . . has some sort of epic grandeur.'' His prose in The Great Gatsby has proven imperishable. The Thornwillow edition of this fine novel is intended to be a volume with the grandeur to match it.

We are offering THE GREAT GATSBY in several remarkable bindings . . .
We are offering THE GREAT GATSBY in several remarkable bindings . . .
. . . each is letterpress printed and features genuine engraving.
. . . each is letterpress printed and features genuine engraving.

An exquisite object:

The Thornwillow Press edition of The Great Gatsby, in concert with Kickstarter’s “Exquisite Objects” initiative, has risen to the occasion for this greatest of novels. This edition is made to endure. It features handsome typography, original illustration, letterpress printing, heavy archival stock, and genuinely engraved covers bound by hand. In addition, each copy is signed and numbered, and will include a list of subscribers.

The covers of THE GREAT GATSBY use genuine engraving.
The covers of THE GREAT GATSBY use genuine engraving.

The Artwork:

Drawing on archival photography curated by celebrated classical architect and architectural historian Peter Pennoyer, artist Mary Etcher has created a suite of multicolored plates which visualize the world Fitzgerald (and Gatsby) inhabited. These artworks capture actual places known to have inspired the settings of the novel. They are printed letterpress as the frontispiece to each chapter. 


THE GREAT GATSBY features ten letterpress art prints by artist Mary Etcher.
THE GREAT GATSBY features ten letterpress art prints by artist Mary Etcher.
The Great Gatsby features ten original illustrations.
The Great Gatsby features ten original illustrations.

Paper-wrapper and half-cloth copies feature uncut pages:

When Nick first enters Gatsby's library, he finds a man who he calls "Owl Eyes" examining the books. "It's a triumph.  What thoroughness!" says Owl Eyes, impressed by the collection. He notes, however, that Gatsby "didn't cut the pages.  But what do you want?  What do you expect?"

This is among the first cracks in the façade that Gatsby has constructed. Any reader in Fitzgerald's day would have understood his meaning — Gatsby had not cut the books, which meant he hadn't read them. But what it means for a book to be "cut" or "uncut" is nearly unknown to readers today. 

Traditionally, books are printed four or eight pages at a time on a single large sheet of paper. The sheets are then folded and sewn together. Publishers today always trim the edges of a book block when binding. However, they didn't usually in Fitzgerald's day. This would leave the top-edge or fore-edge of a book "uncut". In order to turn the pages, the reader would use a small blade to slice open the book as they went along.

To celebrate the way books were made in Fitzgerald's day — a fact so ubiquitous that he used it as a plot point — we are not trimming the top edge of the paper-wrapper and half-cloth copies of this edition. You, the reader, may choose to open the book or to leave it, like Gatsby, uncut.

A demonstration of how a book is cut.
A demonstration of how a book is cut.

How our books are made:

We start with a beautiful layout.  For Gatsby, we are using the typeface Electra, designed by William Addison Dwiggins during the Jazz Age. The text is set using the golden ratio, which gives each page luxurious margins and elegant proportions.  

Our typographers lay out the text with an eye toward proportion and scale.
Our typographers lay out the text with an eye toward proportion and scale.

Once the book is laid out, the text is printed letterpress on our Heidelberg Cylinder Press, the height of letterpress technology.

You can feel each letter as you run your fingers across the page.
You can feel each letter as you run your fingers across the page.

The pages are collated by hand, and then sewn using our Martini Sewing Machine.

The books are sewn one signature at a time.
The books are sewn one signature at a time.

For the covers, we are using a technique rarely employed in book binding: Genuine engraving.  The process is elaborate — few shops in the world are equipped with the machinery and skills to do it — but we think that Gatsby is worth it.

The covers are individually hand-stamped with engraved copper plates.
The covers are individually hand-stamped with engraved copper plates.

Then, the covers and book blocks are brought to our bindery.  Each book is bound by hand by master craftsmen with the skills to ensure the highest quality bindings in the world.

Here, the bands on a half-leather copy are being shaped with a hot pallet.
Here, the bands on a half-leather copy are being shaped with a hot pallet.

Each book takes hours upon hours to make. That's why, at the end of the day, we sign and number each copy to certify its place in the limited edition. Thornwillow books are in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum, The White House, and The Vatican, among many others.  We hope one will find its way to your collection. To celebrate all the individual subscribers, patrons, and institutions who make this edition possible, we print every name letterpress on a subscribers list, included with each copy.

THE BINDINGS:

Paper Wrapper  |  $95  |  Edition limited to 100 more than backed

Paper-wrapper copies are bound in a letterpress printed and engraved wrapper.
Paper-wrapper copies are bound in a letterpress printed and engraved wrapper.

Half-Cloth  |  $195  |  Edition limited to 100 more than backed

Half-cloth copies are bound in black cloth and engraved boards.
Half-cloth copies are bound in black cloth and engraved boards.

Half-Leather  |  Starting at $595  |  Edition limited to 25 more than backed

The first thirty backers of Half-Leather will receive a complimentary copy of "A Fitzgerald Companion" by celebrated writer and journalist Steve Garbarino, published by Thornwillow Press in 2013.  These are bound in paste paper wrappers with an engraved label.

The Half-Leather copies are bound in black Morocco and engraved paste paper boards.  They are presented in a clamshell box.
The Half-Leather copies are bound in black Morocco and engraved paste paper boards. They are presented in a clamshell box.

Full-Leather  |  $1,500  |  Only nine available, out of an edition of eighteen

The nine reserved copies of this edition are currently being held for archival collections

The Full-Leather copies are bound in green Morocco, gold stamped, and set with an emerald. They are presented in a clamshell box.
The Full-Leather copies are bound in green Morocco, gold stamped, and set with an emerald. They are presented in a clamshell box.

Full-Leather Deluxe  |  $3,500  |  Only six available, out of an edition of nine

The three reserved copies of this edition are currently being held for archival collections


The Full-Leather De Luxe copies are bound in black Morocco, gold stamped, and set with eight opals and an emerald. They are presented in a clamshell box.
The Full-Leather De Luxe copies are bound in black Morocco, gold stamped, and set with eight opals and an emerald. They are presented in a clamshell box.

THE PATRON COPIES:

In concert with Kickstarter's "Exquisite Objects" initiative, we have prepared four supremely unique full leather bindings. These are among the most exquisite bindings on any book since the Jazz Age itself, when Art Deco was cutting edge.

The proceeds from these full leather copies go to support the Thornwillow Institute, a not-for-profit 501(C)3 public charity, and are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

The exact tax deductibility of each copy is indicated in the reward summary to the right.

The Thornwillow Institute was recently awarded a grant by the State of New York to help restore a complex of historic buildings around the Press in one of the most economically distressed communities in the country. But we must raise significant matching funds for our capital campaign to activate the state grant. 

Backing one of these copies will bring much needed help to this ambitious endeavor. Once developed, the Thornwillow Makers Village will be a major catalyst for fostering craft, culture, and community. Your support will help the Institute create studio workshops, living accommodations for artists and writers, a gallery and event space, classrooms, a maker lab, recording studio, and a bookstore (the first in Newburgh in decades).

For your support, you will not only be recognized as a subscriber to the edition, but also as a patron of the Thornwillow Institute.

Please see our prospectus for more information on The Thornwillow Institute and Makers Village.
 

Full-Leather: East Egg  |  $10,000  |  Only two available, out of an edition of three

The single reserved copy of this edition is currently being held for an archival collection

Of your pledge, $5,000 is a contribution to the Thornwillow Institute and is tax deductible to the full extent of the law. You will receive a letter acknowledging your gift and will be recognized as a patron of the Thornwillow Institute. The remaining $5,000 is not deductible, as it covers the cost of your book.


EAST EGG features midnight blue Morocco. It is hand tooled in 22 karat gold on both the front and back, and is set with two opals, two moonstones, and one emerald.  Presented in a clamshell box.
EAST EGG features midnight blue Morocco. It is hand tooled in 22 karat gold on both the front and back, and is set with two opals, two moonstones, and one emerald. Presented in a clamshell box.

Full-Leather: West Egg  |  $10,000  |  Only two available, out of an edition of three

The single reserved copy of this edition is currently being held for an archival collection

Of your pledge, $5,000 is a contribution to the Thornwillow Institute and is tax deductible to the full extent of the law. You will receive a letter acknowledging your gift and will be recognized as a patron of the Thornwillow Institute. The remaining $5,000 is not deductible, as it covers the cost of your book. 

WEST EGG is bound in scarlet Morocco, with black leather laid into the front.  It is hand tooled with 22 karat gold, and set with three opals.  Presented in a clamshell box.
WEST EGG is bound in scarlet Morocco, with black leather laid into the front. It is hand tooled with 22 karat gold, and set with three opals. Presented in a clamshell box.

Full-Leather: Daisy Buchanan  |  $30,000  |  One-of-a-kind

Of your pledge, $25,000 is a contribution to the Thornwillow Institute and is tax deductible to the full extent of the law. You will receive a letter acknowledging your gift and will be recognized as a patron of the Thornwillow Institute. The remaining $5,000 is not deductible, as it covers the cost of your book.

If you are interested in this unique copy and want to learn more, please reach out to our Publisher at luke_pontifell@thornwillow.com.  We are happy to discuss how it is made, and how your pledge will contribute to craft, culture, and community through the Thornwillow Institute.  We are also happy to arrange subscription plans, if you would prefer to pay in installments. 

DAISY BUCHANAN will be bound in black Morocco, with purple leather laid into the front, and green leather laid into the back.  The cover is hand tooled with 22 karat gold in a deco design, and set with six opals and four rubies.  Presented in a clamshell box.
DAISY BUCHANAN will be bound in black Morocco, with purple leather laid into the front, and green leather laid into the back. The cover is hand tooled with 22 karat gold in a deco design, and set with six opals and four rubies. Presented in a clamshell box.

Full-Leather: Jay Gatsby  |  $30,000  |  One-of-a-kind

Of your pledge, $25,000 is a contribution to the Thornwillow Institute and is tax deductible to the full extent of the law. You will receive a letter acknowledging your gift and will be recognized as a patron of the Thornwillow Institute. The remaining $5,000 is not deductible, as it covers the cost of your book.

If you are interested in this unique copy and want to learn more, please reach out to our Publisher at luke_pontifell@thornwillow.com. We are happy to discuss how it is made, and how your pledge will contribute to craft, culture, and community through the Thornwillow Institute.  We are also happy to arrange subscription plans, if you would prefer to pay in installments.  

JAY GATSBY will be bound in black Morocco, with green leather laid into the front, and purple leather laid into the back.  The cover is hand tooled with 22 karat gold in a deco design, and set with fourteen opals and eighteen emeralds. Presented in a clamshell box.
JAY GATSBY will be bound in black Morocco, with green leather laid into the front, and purple leather laid into the back. The cover is hand tooled with 22 karat gold in a deco design, and set with fourteen opals and eighteen emeralds. Presented in a clamshell box.

More about Thornwillow

In 1985 Thornwillow was founded by Luke Pontifell, then sixteen, who spent his summer vacations printing and hand binding books. What started as a labor of love has grown into one of the leading printers and publishers of fine books in the United States, consolidating centuries of craft and technique under one roof in Newburgh, New York.

Luke Pontifell, publisher of Thornwillow, in his natural habitat—at the factory.
Luke Pontifell, publisher of Thornwillow, in his natural habitat—at the factory.

For more than thirty years Thornwillow has been committed to enhancing the relationship between the reader and the written word. Our paper, printing, binding, and books are meant to be a lasting and powerful method of communicating and preserving ideas in the modern world. Ultimately, what we do is a very simple thing. It's black ink on white paper, and from that very simple combination, one can open up visions of the universe.

Risks and challenges

We have successfully conducted twenty-five past projects, and are confident in our ability to manage any unexpected challenges. We do not anticipate any with this project. That said, we will always communicate them to our backers if they do arise.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $4 or more About $4

    Fitzgerald Broadside

    For your support of the edition, receive "The World Only Exists in Your Eyes," a broadside of quotes from F. Scott Fitzgerald.

    Includes:
    • F. Scott Fitzgerald Broadside
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    Pledge $95 or more About $95

    Paper Wrapper (Uncut)

    Receive your copy of THE GREAT GATSBY bound in an engraved paper wrapper. Each copy is individually hand numbered and signed, and your name will be included on the subscribers list

    Edition limited to a hundred more than backed.

    Includes:
    • The Great Gatsby | Paper Wrapper (Uncut)
    • F. Scott Fitzgerald Broadside
    • Your name on the subscribers list
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    150 backers
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    Pledge $190 or more About $190

    Gatsby Book Club

    Need a copies of THE GREAT GATSBY for you and a friends? Receive two copies, bound in engraved paper wrappers.

    Each copy is accompanied by a hand-bound notebook with blank heavy archival stock for notes, sketches, ideas, and inspirations for your book club conversation.

    Add $100 (includes shipping) for each additional copy you need.

    You and your friends' names will be included on the subscribers list.

    Includes:
    • The Great Gatsby | Paper Wrapper (Uncut)
    • Hand-bound Notebook
    • Your name on the subscribers list
    • F. Scott Fitzgerald Broadside
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $195 or more About $195

    Half-Cloth (Uncut)

    Receive your copy of THE GREAT GATSBY bound in half-cloth and engraved boards. Each copy is individually hand numbered and signed, and your name will be included on the subscribers list

    Edition limited to a hundred more than backed.

    Includes:
    • The Great Gatsby | Half-Cloth (Uncut)
    • F. Scott Fitzgerald Broadside
    • Your name on the subscribers list
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    Pledge $275 or more About $275

    Paper Collector

    Get three Thornwillow books, all bound in paper-wrappers

    THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald

    PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen

    INFERNO by Dante Alighieri

    Each is numbered, and your name will be included on THE GREAT GATSBY's subscribers list.

    Includes:
    • The Great Gatsby | Paper Wrapper (Uncut)
    • Inferno | Paper Wrapper
    • Pride and Prejudice | Paper Wrapper
    • F. Scott Fitzgerald Broadside
    • Your name on the subscribers list
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    Limited 15 backers
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    Pledge $290 or more About $290

    Fitzgerald Fan

    Receive two copies of THE GREAT GATSBY, one bound in a paper-wrapper and the other bound in half-cloth. Each copy is individually hand numbered and signed, and your name will be included on the subscribers list.

    Includes:
    • The Great Gatsby | Half-Cloth (Uncut)
    • The Great Gatsby | Paper Wrapper (Uncut)
    • F. Scott Fitzgerald Broadside
    • Your name on the subscribers list
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    9 backers
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    Pledge $565 or more About $565

    Cloth Collector

    Get three Thornwillow books, all bound in half cloth and letterpress boards.

    THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald

    THE WASTE LAND by T. S. Eliot

    BEAUTY IS THE BEGINNING OF TERROR: A centennial anthology of writings from the First World War

    Each is signed and numbered, and your name will be included on THE GREAT GATSBY's subscribers list.

    Includes:
    • The Great Gatsby | Half-Cloth (Uncut)
    • Beauty is the Beginning of Terror | Half-Cloth
    • The Waste Land | Half-Cloth
    • F. Scott Fitzgerald Broadside
    • Your name on the subscribers list
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    Pledge $595 or more About $595

    EARLY BIRD: Half-Leather

    Receive your copy of THE GREAT GATSBY bound in half-leather and engraved paste paper boards, presented in a clamshell box. Each copy is individually hand numbered and signed, and your name will be included on the subscribers list.

    Edition limited to 25 more than backed.

    SUPER-EARLY BIRD: The first thirty half-leather backers will receive a copy of "A Fitzgerald Companion" by Steve Garbarino, bound in a paste paper wrapper and engraved label, published by Thornwillow in 2013.

    Includes:
    • The Great Gatsby | Half-Leather
    • Clamshell Box
    • Your name on the subscribers list
    • First thirty subscribers: "A Fitzgerald Companion"
    • F. Scott Fitzgerald Broadside
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    Limited 51 backers
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    Pledge $995 or more About $995

    Half-Leather

    Receive your copy of THE GREAT GATSBY bound in half-leather and engraved paste paper boards, presented in a clamshell box. Each copy is individually hand numbered and signed, and your name will be included on the subscribers list.

    Edition limited to 25 more than backed.

    Includes:
    • The Great Gatsby | Half-Leather
    • Clamshell Box
    • Your name on the subscribers list
    • F. Scott Fitzgerald Broadside
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    Full-Leather

    Receive your copy of THE GREAT GATSBY bound in full green Morocco, gold stamped, and set with an emerald. Each copy is individually hand numbered and signed, and your name will be included prominently on the subscribers list.

    Presented in a clamshell box, and with a paper-wrapper reading copy.

    Only nine copies available.

    Includes:
    • The Great Gatsby | Full-Leather
    • Clamshell Box
    • F. Scott Fitzgerald Broadside
    • Your name on the subscribers list
    • The Great Gatsby | Paper Wrapper (Uncut)
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    Reward no longer available 9 backers
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    Pledge $1,955 or more About $1,955

    Half-Leather Collector

    Get three Thornwillow books, all bound in half leather and paste paper boards

    THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald

    PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen

    SHERLOCK HOLMES HEXALOGY by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

    Each is signed, numbered, and presented in a clamshell box. Your name will be included on THE GREAT GATSBY's subscribers list.

    Includes:
    • The Great Gatsby | Half-Leather
    • Sherlock Holmes Hexalogy | Half-Leather
    • Pride and Prejudice | Half-Leather
    • F. Scott Fitzgerald Broadside
    • Your name on the subscribers list
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 3 backers
    $
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    Pledge $3,000 or more About $3,000

    De Luxe Full-Leather

    Receive your copy of THE GREAT GATSBY bound in full black Morocco, gold tooled, and set with an emerald and eight opals. Each copy is individually hand numbered, and your name will be included on the subscribers list.

    Presented in a clamshell box, and with a paper-wrapper reading copy.

    Only three copies available.

    Includes:
    • The Great Gatsby | De Luxe Full-Leather
    • Clamshell Box
    • The Great Gatsby | Paper Wrapper (Uncut)
    • F. Scott Fitzgerald Broadside
    • Your name on the subscribers list
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 3 backers
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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $3,500 or more About $3,500

    De Luxe Full-Leather

    Receive your copy of THE GREAT GATSBY bound in full black Morocco, gold tooled, and set with an emerald and eight opals. Each copy is individually hand numbered, and your name will be included on the subscribers list.

    Presented in a clamshell box, and with a paper-wrapper reading copy.

    Only three copies available.

    Includes:
    • The Great Gatsby | De Luxe Full-Leather
    • Clamshell Box
    • The Great Gatsby | Paper Wrapper (Uncut)
    • F. Scott Fitzgerald Broadside
    • Your name on the subscribers list
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
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    Pledge $10,000 or more About $10,000

    West Egg (Institute Patron Copy)

    In concert with Kickstarter's "Exquisite Objects" initiative, we have prepared an Art Deco full-leather binding which we are calling WEST EGG.

    Only two copies are available.

    The book is bound in scarlet Morocco, with black leather laid into the front. It is hand tooled with 22 karat gold and set with three opals. Finally, it is presented in a clamshell box.

    For backing this book, your name will be most prominent on the subscribers list, and you will be recognized as a patron of the Thornwillow Institute.

    $5,000 of your pledge is tax deductible.

    Includes:
    • Patron Copy | West Egg
    • Your name on the subscribers list
    • Recognition as a patron of the Thornwillow Institute
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    Limited 1 backer
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    Pledge $10,000 or more About $10,000

    East Egg (Institute Patron Copy)

    In concert with Kickstarter's "Exquisite Objects" initiative, we have prepared an Art Deco full-leather binding which we are calling EAST EGG.

    Only two copies are available.

    The book is bound in midnight blue Morocco. It is hand tooled on both sides with 22 karat gold and set with two opals, two moonstones, and an emerald. Finally, it is presented in a clamshell box.

    For backing this book, your name will be most prominent on the subscribers list, and you will be recognized as a patron of the Thornwillow Institute.

    $5,000 of your pledge is tax deductible.

    Includes:
    • Patron Copy | East Egg
    • Your name on the subscribers list
    • Recognition as a patron of the Thornwillow Institute
    Less
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 1 backer
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  16. Select this reward

    Pledge $30,000 About $30,000

    Daisy Buchanan (Institute Patron Copy)

    In concert with Kickstarter's "Exquisite Objects" initiative, we have prepared an Art Deco full-leather binding which we are calling DAISY BUCHANAN.

    Only one copy will be made.

    The book is bound in black Morocco, with purple leather laid into the front, and green leather laid into the back. It is hand tooled on both sides with 22 karat gold and set with six opals and four rubies. Finally, it is presented in a clamshell box.

    For backing this book, your name will be most prominent on the subscribers list, and you will be recognized as a patron of the Thornwillow Institute.

    $25,000 of your pledge is tax deductible.

    Includes:
    • Patron Copy | Daisy Buchanan
    • Your name on the subscribers list
    • Recognition as a patron of the Thornwillow Institute
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
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  17. Select this reward

    Pledge $30,000 About $30,000

    Jay Gatsby (Institute Patron Copy)

    In concert with Kickstarter's "Exquisite Objects" initiative, we have prepared an Art Deco full-leather binding which we are calling JAY GATSBY.

    Only one copy will be made.

    The book is bound in black Morocco, with green leather laid into the front, and purple leather laid into the back. It is hand tooled on both sides with 22 karat gold and set with fourteen opals and eighteen emeralds. Finally, it is presented in a clamshell box.

    For backing this book, your name will be most prominent on the subscribers list, and you will be recognized as a patron of the Thornwillow Institute.

    $25,000 of your pledge is tax deductible.

    Includes:
    • Patron Copy | Jay Gatsby
    • Your name on the subscribers list
    • Recognition as a patron of the Thornwillow Institute
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Funding period

- (32 days)