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A Happy oll aboration Re-visited

By AI Lowman

Near the entra nce to the Nita tewa rt H a ley Memo ri a l Libra ry in Midl and is a ter–

race in which a re la id paver that commemorate no ted we t Texa ns. One o.f tho e

pavers bea r the simple in cripti on: "Carl Hertzog Printer at the Pass of the No rth

wh enshrined the literature of thi land with books of matchless bea uty." T hi ca t–

a logue is a remarkable reco rd of that achievement, one that goes a long way toward

refur bishing the reputati on of one who dominated printing art in the Southwest fo r

a ha lf century. For those attuned to bea uty in the printed word , Hertzog' wo rk en–

dure beca use no o ther de igner between the Atl antic and the Pac ific gave o much

thought and attenti on to the relati onship between ubj ect matter and fo rmat. r, at

lea t, no one else expre sed it with such fervor and frequency. Hertzog left an end–

le paper trail deta iling hi s tho ughts about every aspect of ev ry book he eve r con–

ceived. Each element of a book- paper, typeface, ink , layout, binding-had to bea r

directly on the subj ec t matter at hand .

I reca ll a world -wea ry Au tin booksell er lamenting some three decades ago that

Hertzog books wer beginning to look a like




thi we re true, it wa tr ue onl y

in the ense that each book demon trated certa in tanda rd of taste in size and hape,

cho ice of paper co lor and texture, typeface, harmoniou page layout and margin ,

pac ing between letters and leading between lines to ensure reading comfort, im–

macul ate presswork, and a binding with eye appea l. Ye , H ertzog books were a like

in that he pa id eri u attenti on to each of the eel ments. Yet each book sto d on its

own merits. Like good old Homer, however, even H ertzog nodded from time t time.

In later years some of his binding choices in pa rticular eem less than inspired. But

those a re the exceptions. Even so, he would off r hi reasons. Each bu ye r mu t then

dec ide fo r him elf.

T he books that H ertzog produced from abo ut 1937 to 1.947 may how, n the

whole, mo re indi vidua lity than tho e in the po t-r948 period . In the ea rli er peri od,

he operated with fewer resources but greater freedom, as he was virtua ll y a one-man

how. After r 948 mo t of his effo rt was devoted to fo unding, then operating a col–

lege print hop on the campus of Texa Western ollege whi ch, in

1. 9

52, turned into

a sma ll publishing enterprise. For the next two decades he worked practica lly full –

time in a jo b a pre director fo r which he was pa id only ha lf time. Hi confronta–

tions with the college business manager became the stuff of campu legend. In spare

ho urs he was free to hustl e o utside book wo rk that, once des igned and pe ked, had


be farmed o ut fo r typesetting, printing, and binding. The ab ence of effective con–

tro l in those circum tances left him bitterly fru trated.

But the achievement of the po t-1948 period is by no mea n to be deni grated.

The fir t publica ti on of the Texas We tern Pre s in 1952 wa

{Janish Heritage of the


(Item 7 herein), with text by Francis Fugate and illu trations by Jose i -

neros. That same yea r Hertzog rac ked up an off-campus succe s with the producti on