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By Louise Harlow See Lot 87 HERE

Lot 87

The brothers grew up in a house full of children. Edwin (1889-1968) was 11 years older than Robert (1900-1973). In a UC Berkeley oral history interview, Edwin recalled that his first foray into printing involved assisting an uncle who owned a print shop in Indianapolis. He was only 13 years old, but a voracious reader. Before turning 20, Edwin ventured to Seattle, finding a position as a sheet music printer; however, he soon became bored with the monotony of the work. And he had always loved books, remembering: “I used to go to the public library and I got interested in title pages. I would take down the books and look at the title page of every book … until they stopped me because I wasn’t putting them back right.”

He returned to Indianapolis for five years, founding Studio Press with Robert, then convincing his younger brother to migrate west to San Francisco..

The brothers Edwin and Robert came to San Francisco in 1920, with printing experience but with little schooling. Both had a keen aesthetic sense, were highly intelligent, and voracious readers.  The 1920’s marked a period in American culture when there was a growing interest in books as a luxury product, during this time the Grabhorn Press became an integral part of the fine press movement.

Grabhorns stood out for their exuberant and adventuresome approach, with a prolific output of more than 650 books that varied in scale and style.

The three volumes here include;

Wah-To-Yah & the Taos Trail, 1936 By Dr. Lewis Hector Garrard


This diary, written by the young Lewis H. Garrard, includes contemporary descriptions of Native Americans, traders, mountain men, with their dress, behavior, and speech, and also includes legendary characters such as Kit Carson. Garrard attended the trial of some of the Mexicans and Pueblos who had revolted against U.S. rule of New Mexico, newly captured in the Mexican-American War, and wrote the only eye-witness account of the trial and hanging of six convicted men This edition of his diary was published by the Grabhorn Press, one of the most highly renowned private presses in America in the twentieth century, run by brothers Edwin and Robert Grabhorn; with woodcuts by Mallette Dean, well-known for the beauty and elegance of his work. This book took the Grabhorns seven months to make, it was the third volume of “the Third and last series of Rare Americana”.

The Gentle Cynic, one of 250 copies by

Dr. Morris Jastow


The Gentle Cynic, one of 250 copies by

Dr. Morris Jastow

Morris Jastrow Jr. was an American orientalist and librarian associated with the University of Pennsylvania.He was educated in the schools of Philadelphia, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1881. His original intention was to become a rabbi. For this purpose, he carried on theological studies at the Jewish Seminary of Breslau in Germany while pursuing the study of Semitic languages at German universities. The Gentle Cynic is a translation of the Book of Koheleth, commonly known as Ecclesiastes, its origin, growth and interpretation.

The Red Badge of Courage, one of 980.  According to the website Library Thing it is one of the most coveted editions of Stephen Cranes book.


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  • Polly Curtiss

    Thanks for the deep dive!

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