It Can't Happen Here
It Can't Happen Here
Binding and cabinet for the first edition of It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis, with his manuscript sketch for the dust jacket.
Binding and cabinet for the first edition of It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis, with his manuscript sketch for the dust jacket. Read more
In 1935 Sinclair Lewis wrote a novel, It Can't Happen Here, about a populist candidate who campaigns as a buffoon, is elected President of the United States, becomes a demagogue and establishes a fascist government.
The protagonist is editor of a Vermont newspaper. When the government installs someone in his office to be sure only the right news is printed, he joins the New Underground resistance and clandestinely publishes a series of pamphlets titled Vermont Vigilance. Since the distribution of all printing equipment is monitored, they steal "an old hand printing-press" from the basement of the newspaper office, and 8-point type, a pocketful at a time.
About a year ago I started thinking about doing a binding on the first edition. While searching for a copy I came across a bookseller who had the original sketch that Sinclair Lewis did for the dust jacket.
I acquired it, and two copies of the first edition. One is a nice copy in a dust jacket.
Below is a photo of the original binding that was protected by the jacket. The symbol stamped on the cover, which also is on the spine of the dust jacket above, is called a fasces. It is a bundle of sticks tied together with an axe emerging. A symbol of authority in ancient Rome, it was adopted in Italy by Mussolini's party in 1919. Fasces is the root of the words fascist and fascism.
When this book was published in 1935 Americans were very familiar with the fasces symbol, not just because Mussolini and Hitler used it, but it had been on the back of the United States dime since 1916:
The next step would normally be to make a box or slipcase for the book, but I wanted to include additional items—Sinclair Lewis's original manuscript sketch for the dust jacket, a copy of the first edition in its original binding and jacket, copies of Vermont Vigilance, and a 1935 dime. I decided to build a cabinet for all the elements in the form of a fasces that would open to become a display. I've started construction, and am using this Kickstarter to raise funds to help pay for the time it will take me to complete it.
The cabinet will be 38" tall and 8" in diameter. First I made three cardboard models half size that opened in different ways.
Then I started construction of the cabinet:
Using full size facsimiles of the contents, I am now working on the interior of the cabinet, deciding where to put shelves, compartments, and displays, using cardboard mockups. Once the interior design is final I will use the cardboard pieces as templates for cutting the wood parts. The exterior will remain unfinished until the inside design is final, because some of the wood rods may have to be temporarily removed for attaching interior parts.
If you got this far and would like to see a photo album of this project on facebook, with many more stages of the construction of the book and cabinet, click here. "Like" my facebook page to follow the progress of this and future projects. You also can see albums of previous projects there.
Get a special gift for your support!
A Bookmark with my spine design for It Can't Happen Here
This bookmark is stamped on shiny coated paper that I acquired in 1980 for use as record labels, and has a peel-off adhesive back, in case you want to do something else with it. You can choose this as a reward for a pledge of $10.
The Art of American Book Covers 1875-1930, Paperback Edition
"…this is one book you don't want to miss.”
– Fine Books & Collections Magazine.
Ready to ship in December is the Paperback Edition of my book The Art of American Book Covers 1875-1930. At the end of the 19th century book covers were revered as works of art. Publishers commissioned distinguished artists such as Maxfield Parrish and Rockwell Kent to create exquisite covers that brought Modernism into American homes. Many of the most successful cover artists were women, such as Margaret Armstrong and Sarah Wyman Whitman. The Art of American Book Covers is an entertaining and educational retrospective, lavishly illustrated with more than one hundred full-color plates.. You can get a copy in your local bookstore for $24.95, or at a discount on amazon.com, but if you select it as a $25 reward here on Kickstarter your copy will be inscribed to you or the person of your choice.
The Book Art of Richard Minsky | My Life in Book Art
Ready to ship in December is The Book Art of Richard Minsky | My Life in Book Art, a full color autobiographical art book.You can get a copy in your local bookstore for $34.95, or at a discount on amazon.com, but if you select it as a $35 reward here on Kickstarter your copy will be inscribed to you or the person of your choice, and will come in a clear archival dust jacket.
This is my reification of the fictional pamphlet published by the New Underground resistance in the novel, printed on the Kelmscott-Goudy Albion handpress at the Cary Graphic Arts Collection, Rochester Institute of Technology, in April 2017. It has three printed pages (one folded sheet). 32 copies were printed on Mohawk Superfine, an acid-free paper. See the description of this $75 reward for more details.
Below is a photo of the press while I was printing this. It was originally owned by the English artist, author and social activist William Morris.
Ὁ Τυραννικὸς Ἀνὴρ | The Tyrant
While Artist-in-Residence at the RIT Cary Collection working on the Kelmscott-Goudy Albion pictured above I also printed a quote from Plato's Republic, in Greek, making eight small editions on different mouldmade and handmade papers. You can read more about these prints here. Each is accompanied by a 10" x 13" translation printed by archival pigment inkjet on Rives Heavyweight paper. Below are photos of the prints on white or cream Rives BFK paper, and of the translation
The Art of American Book Covers 1975-1930, Hardcover Edition
See the description of the paperback edition above. There were two printings of this hardcover edition in 2010. Both sold out quickly, and the publisher, George Braziller, Inc., decided to issue it only in paperback after that. I still have a few copies, and if you choose this $125 reward I'll sign and inscribe one to you or the person of your choice, and make a clear polyester dust jacket for it.
The Philosophy of Umbrellas
An essay by Robert Louis Stevenson printed on Tyvek and made into an umbrella. More details and a video at http://minsky.com/umbrellas.htm
M is a unique 23" x 32" print, not an edition, that I made on the Kelmscott-Goudy Albion while artist-in-residence in April, 2017 at the RIT Cary Collection. More information about it is here.You also might like to see my other works about social issues.
Thank you for looking. Please contact me if you have any questions.
IT CAN'T HAPPEN HERE.
Risks and challenges
There are always creative and technical challenges in making it work. With over 50 years of experience to draw on, coming up with new concepts and methods is what makes it worth doing.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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