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Annotated Reference Guide to Collectible Books

Gehenna Press

Charting the Macabre: Gehenna Press

Inspired by William Blakeís example of being a poet, artist as well as a bookmaker, the Gehenna Press was started by Leonard Baskin in 1942, while studying at Yale University. It immediately gained attention for its high attention to artistic detail, including original woodcut prints made by Baskin himself (who was also a sculptor and professional artist), as well as innovative type printing and design.

Later, the press became better well known for its subject material, commonly called dark, macabre or nightmarish. In actual fact the output may at best be considered Romantic or Tragic, which is not surprising given the character of the times, with news of the Holocaust affecting every freethinking artist in the West.

Gehenna Press later featured works by Ted Hughes, Silvia Plath, reprints of Blake and several natural history books with original woodcut illustrations of insects and animals by Baskin. The Press became synonymous with Baskinís art, which itself is surreal or oddly real, with elements of the grotesque and alienation figuring heavily.

As collectible items, Gehenna Press is a very recent addition to the stable of fine presses, and yet have made a remarkable impact. They display a particular insight into the history of modernist poetry and modern bohemian literature, which any collection featuring Plath, Hughes, Pound, Auden or Elliot would so well to consider./p>

For the collector the Gehenna Press is still so recent as to quickly lose itself in the vagaries of the market, however, signed first editions, with Baskin original woodcuts elevate the desirability of his items considerably. Currently signed editions of Hughes or Plath can be found, produced by Gehenna Press for little more than a few hundred dollars. Given Baskinís unique place in the history of post-war modernism, these have the potential to become highly collectible.

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Brown, Charles. Alcuin. Gehenna Press (1870). 300 copies with a signed etching portrait

Skelton, John. A Poem Called the Tunning of Elynour Rummynge. Gehenna Press (1953). 118 copies with 13 wood engravings by Baskin

Owens, Wilfred. Poems. Gehenna Press (1956). 400 copies with wood engraving by Baskin from a Ben Shahn drawing

Owen, Wilfred. Thirteen Poems. Gehenna Press (1956). 400 copies with wood engraved portrait by Baskin

Crane, Hart. Voyages. Gehenna Press (1957). Six Poems from White Buildings; 1000 copies; six woodcuts by Baskin

Hecht, Anthony. Seven Deadly Sins. Gehenna Press (1958). 300 copies with engravings signed by Hecht and Baskin

Blake, William. Auguries of Innocence. Gehenna Press (1959). 250 copies with wood engravings by Baskin

Redon, Odilon. Homage to Redon. Gehenna Press (1959). Ten Portraits Cut and Engraved on Wood by George Lockwood with Redon's Essay on Bresdin Lithography and the Nature of Black. Translated by Hyman Swetzoff; 150 copies

Kennedy, Ruth. Four Portrait Busts by Francesco Laurana. Gehenna Press (1962). 500 copies with 12 photographic plates

Browne, Thomas. Of Garlands and Coronary or Garland Plants. Gehenna Press (1962). 500 copies printed for Smith College

Morris, William. On the Nature of Inspiration. Gehenna Press (1962). 100 copies

Burns, Robert. The Jolly Beggars. Gehenna Press (1963). 300 copies with a wood engraved portrait by Gillian Lewis

James, Bertha Ten Eyck. Zodiac. Gehenna Press (1963). 350 copies with 12 wood engravings

,. A Catalogue of Gehenna Press Works. Gehenna Press (1964). And Other Works by Leonard Baskin; 200 copies

Gardner, Robert. A Human Document. Gehenna Press (1964). printer's copy run of 500 with a wood engraving by Baskin

Held, Julius. Rembrandt and the Book of Tobit. Gehenna Press (1964). 1000 copies with 50 plates by Meriden Gravure

Cornell, Thomas. The Defense of Gracchus Babeuf. Gehenna Press (1964). 300 copies signed by Baskin with 21 etched portraits by Thomas Cornell;50 copies have a second suite of etchings on Rives

Halley, Anne. Between Wars and other Poems. Gehenna Press (1965). 500 copies; 2 drawings and a tailpiece by Baskin

Baskin, Leonard. Cancelleresca Bastarda Displayed in a Series of Maxims and Mottos with Alphabets and Ornaments. Gehenna Press (1965). 100 copies illustrated by Baskin

Baskin, Leonard. Caprices and Grotesques. Gehenna Press (1965). 500 copies with drawings by Baskin

Hatch, Benton. Check List of the Publications of Thomas Bird Mosher. Gehenna Press (1966). 500 copies

Conrad, Joseph. Conrad's Manifesto. Gehenna Press (1966). 1100 copies; woodcut by Baskin; 100 copies have a wood engraving portrait

Page, Alex. Grossmuti. Gehenna Press (1966). 150 copies

Hecht, Anthony. Aesopic. Gehenna Press (1967). 500 copies with engravings by Thomas Bewick; 50 signed by Baskin with an extra siut of engravings

MacLeish, Archibald. An Evening's Journey to Conway Massachusetts, An Outdoor Play. Gehenna Press (1967). 400 copies signed by Baskin; wood-engraved frontis

Nathan, Leonard. Matchmaker's Lament. Gehenna Press (1967). And Other Astonishments. 400 copies with drawings by Baskin

MacDiarmid, Hugh. The Eemis Stane. Gehenna Press (1967). 500 copies; Portrait of Hugh Macdiarmid by Leonard Baskin cut on wood by Takeshi Takahara

Baskin, Leonard. Culs de Lampe. Gehenna Press (1968). 250 copies; 2 woodcuts

Sewall, Samuel. The Selling of Joseph. Gehenna Press (1968). 100 copies with a woodcut by Baskin

Baskin, Leonard. Bresdin to Redon: Six Letters. Gehenna Press (1969). 400 copies with an etching by Baskin

Thoreau, Henry David. Civil Disobedience. Gehenna Press (1969). 650 copies

Euripides,. Hippolytus. Gehenna Press (1969). 200 copies with etchings by Baskin

Baskin, Leonard. Laus Pictorum. Gehenna Press (1969). 250 copies with wood engravings and etchings

Melville, Herman. Melville on Piranesi. Gehenna Press (1969). 1200 copies with an engraving of a Piranesi print

Hui-Ming, Wang. The Birds and the Animals. Gehenna Press (1969). 200 copies with 21 prints by Wang Hui-Ming

Agee, James. The Last Letter of James Agee to Father Flye. Gehenna Press (1969). 500 copies; woodcut by David Godine

Shakespeare, William. Titus Andronicus. Gehenna Press (1969). 12 (24) etched prints on Rives

Baskin, Leonard. Caesar. Gehenna Press (1970). 200 copies with an etching on Rives

Baskin, Leonard. Moby Dick Suite. Gehenna Press (1970). 200 copies each with 9 lithographs by Baskin

Goethe,. West-Ostlicher Divan. Gehenna Press (1970). 300 copies; drawings by Baskin; 100 copies contain an additional etched portrait of Goethe signed by Baskin

Baskin, Leonard. Romeyn de Hooghe. Gehenna Press (1971). 100 copies with a woodcut of de Hooghe

Poe, Edgar Allan. Anastatic Printing. Gehenna Press (1972). 60 copies with portrait of Poe

Wensinger, Arthur. Peter et Amicorum. Gehenna Press (1972). 110 copies

Judson, J. Richard. The Drawings of Jacob de Gheyn II. Gehenna Press (1972). 150 copies with 112 reproductions

Shakespeare, William. Othello. Gehenna Press (1973). 200 copies, signed, with woodcut; deluxe edition of 200 with 10 woodcuts

Kunitz, Stanley. The Coats Without a Seam. Gehenna Press (1974). 150 copies

Woolman, John. Some Considerations on Keeping Negroes. Gehenna Press (1975). 250 copies

Baskin, Leonard. Demons, Imps and Fiends. Gehenna Press (1976). 450 copies with 19 drawings from line cuts

Hughes, Ted. A Primer of Birds. Gehenna Press (1981). 250 copies with 7 woodcuts by Baskin

Yglesias, Jose. One German Dead. Gehenna Press (1988). 110 copies with etchings

Baldwin, James. Gypsy and Other Poems. Gehenna Press (1989). 325 copies with etchings by Baskin

Fainlight, Ruth. Sibyls. Gehenna Press (1991). 26 copies with woodcuts by Baskin. 8 copies have an extra set of woodcuts

Franklin, Colin. The Gehenna Press: The Work of Fifty Years. Gehenna Press (1992). 1942-1992 The Catalogue of an Exhibition Curated by Lisa Unger Baskin, Containing an Assessment of the Work of the Press by Colin Franklin, A Bibliography of the Works of the Press by Hosea Baskin and Notes on the Books by the Printer Leonard Baskin

Baskin, Leonard. Zapf's Civilite Disclosed. Gehenna Press (1995). 175 copies illustrated by Baskin; 25 deluxe copies have an extra suite of drawings

Baskin, Leonard. Nature's Mould. Gehenna Press (1997). 26 copies with 26 etchings signed by Baskin

Hughes, Ted. Howls and Whispers. Gehenna Press (1998). 110 signed copies with 12 engravings by Baskin; 10 deluxe copies with 3 watercolors and a second suite of etchings

Baskin, Leonard. The Disconnected Sodality. Gehenna Press (2005). 30 copies with 24 lithographs and 18 woodcuts