THE LIBRARY OF CHARLES W. CLARK (7 Volumes)
San Francisco: Taylor, Nash & Taylor | John Henry Nash, 1914-1922. Hard Cover. Good binding. Item #7591
Folio. Vol I: , 137; Vol II: , 101; Vol III: , 78; Vol IV: , 105; Vol V: , 107; Vol VI: , 73; Vol VII: , 130 pp. Limited edition, one of 35 copies. Printed in black Calson with red title on Kelmscott paper. Volume I is bound in plain wrappers on machine-made paper and appears to be a page proof; Volumes II through VII are as issued in blue-gray paper over boards backed in linen; some volumes are unopened. Bindings are generally soiled and edgeworn with fraying at the corners; some minor toning and chipping to the spine labels; nevertheless bindings are fairly solid and present well; several of the volumes have pencil markings in the margins throughout, as though someone were checking a library against this catalog, otherwise these are clean but for a few leaves with some minor toning; the wrappers to Volume I are quite chipped and there is an modern but no recent repair reattaching the covers. Despite the wear, this remains a presentable set.
Charles W. Clark was the son of Senator William Andrews Clark, Sr. and like his father notable book collector, though as Harlan writes in his biography of Nash, "Wealthy, educated, and informed, Clark was a competent book collector. His approach to book collecting was less encompassing than that of several of his contemporaries; it was also much more scholarly and discriminating. . . . His collection of incunabula and the English classics was to become outstanding during the 1920's" (p. 26). Taylor, Nash & Taylor printed the first volume of this catalogue of his private library, largely done under Nash's careful eye. Having been very pleased with Nash's work on the first volume, when Clark discovered he had set up his own firm a couple years later he met with Nash and commissioned him to finish the project. The second volume became Nash's first commission; he would finish the seventh volume six years later in 1922. Harlan writes of that meeting, "Whether he knew it or not, Nash had achieved success at that moment" (p. 27). O'Day corroborates Harlan's note about Clark's collection, he write: "Clark's library was especially rich in incunabula and these catalogues are valuable for the detailed descriptions and collations. They are also extremely rare on account of the very limited number of copies issued." A remarkably uncommon set, all the more because according to OCLC more than two dozen of the 35 copies are in institutional hands making it extremely rare in commerce. Harlan, Robert D. John Henry Nash: The Biography of a Career (1970); O'Day, Catalogue, p. 1; OCLC: 2028770.