LEA, Tom. The King Ranch. Kingsville, Texas, Printed for the King Ranch [by Carl Herzog in El Paso, Texas], 1957.
Two volumes, small 4to. Original full coarse linen printed with the running 'W' brand, being a facsimile of the saddle blankets woven and used on the King Ranch, patterned endpapers, rough fore-edges, the other edges sprinkled, in the original linen slipcase with gilt-stamped leather spine label; pp. [x], 467, ; [x], -838, numerous plates, vignettes and maps (some in colour, printed with 'special inks') after drawings by Tom Lea, plus facsimiles of documents; a very attractive set of a sumptuously produced book.
First edition, limited to 3000 copies, the biggest book on the biggest ranch not only of Texas, but the United States. 'This is the best account of the most famous ranch in the world. William Reese called it `perhaps the most exhaustive ranch history ever written.' Frank Goodwyn said that `in addition to being an encyclopedic compendium of information on the ranch, the book is also a work of art....' ...The research for the book was partly done by Holland McCombs and the sixty-six pages of footnotes were prepared by Frances L. Fugate' (Jenkins 121A). This is the sought-after Saddle Blanket Edition of Tom Lea's detailed account of the most famous of Texas ranches, designed, printed and bound in Texas.
Carl Hertzog (1902-1984) was one of the leading printers, typographers, and book designers of the United States in the middle of the 20th century. 'Effective printing, he held, should help the reader focus on the content; it should never call attention to itself. He carefully selected the size and shape of the book, paper color and texture, style of type, and binding to suit the subject matter. Once the type was set he would rework it to avoid bad spacing and breaks at the end of lines and pages. Finally he would check the press run for variations in inking, all for the sake of enhancing the appearance of the printed page. He campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness of and appreciation for printing' (Texas State Historical Association, Handbook of Texas, online). The Texas artist and writer Thomas Calloway Lea III was a friend of the printer. 'His two-volume history The King Ranch (1957) was considered by some scholars to be the greatest ranching history ever written' (ibid). - This is the first issue with page 507 in volume two beginning with the word 'Alice'. - Not a single copy of this edition was for sale; the book was produced to be given to friends, guests and business partners.