Across the Plains
Robert Louis Stevenson. Illustrations by Mallette Dean.
Hillsborough: The L-D Allen Press, 1950. Tall octavo. Quarter buckram and printed boards, previous owner's sticker (beautiful design) affixed to the inside of the front board. 76 pages. Limited edition, one of two hundred copies. Near fine.
The type face is Bulmer; the paper is all rag Oxbow (hand-set and printed letterpress on handmade paper). Designed, printed, and bound by Lewis & Dorothy Allen, a husband and wife duo, in Hillsborough, California. This is a portion of Stevenson's travel memoir, chronicling his immigration to the United States through New York and journey by train to San Francisco. A beautiful example of mid-century California fine press, quite scarce.
"I can safely say, I have never been so dog-tired as that night in Chicago. When it was time to start, I descended the platform like a man in a dream. It was a long train, lighted from end to end; and car after car, as I came up with it, was not only filled but overflowing. My valise, my knapsack, my rug, with those six ponderous tomes of Bancroft, weighed me double; I was hot, feverish, painfully athirst; and there was a great darkness over me, an internal darkness, not to be dispelled by gas. When at last I found an empty bench, I sank into it like a bundle of rags, the world seemed to swim away into the distance, and my consciousness dwindled within me to a mere pin’s head, like a taper on a foggy night."