The Four Gospels
The Four Gospels: The Gospel According to St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke and St. John with Decorations by E.E. Weiss and Introduction by Ernest Sutherland Bates.
Leipzig, Germany: Printed for members of the Limited Editions Club by Poeschel & Trepte, 1932.
Call Number: (SPL) BS 2553 .B35 1932
Gift of Loryn Romadka, from the collection of Austin F. Lutter.
Special Collections, Golda Meir Library
The Limited Editions Club chose to produce a fine edition of the Bible, "the most-quoted book," as a literary rather than religious icon. Macy said of the work's literary merit, "Those of [King James'] followers who made the translation which is now known to us as the King James version succeeded in creating the loveliest prose that has ever been written in the English language."
The club selected acclaimed German book artist E.E. Weiss to create an appropriate presentation for the great work. Macy explained the choice on the merit of Weiss' earlier work, "The trademark of [Professor Weiss'] genius is beauty; the hall-mark of his genius is restraint." Weiss was to place "The Four Gospels in a dress which would prove ingratiating for the reader to read rather than to contemplate."
The text was decorated with Weiss woodcuts, handset in Weiss Antiqua, printed in blue, red and black inks on uncut Flanders Hahnemulle hand-made paper, and bound with terra-cotta paper sides. Macy praised Weiss' presentation: "The effect produced by these hand-cut borders, these simple designs and almost crude initials, is particularly appropriate in the book, the text of which narrates the history of the beginnings of Christianity." The simple format, crisp print, large margins, capital initials and woodcuts also reflect the ascetic quality of German textual traditions.