The Colophon. An adventure in enthusiasm.


“An adventure in enthusiasm.” This is how Elmer Adler (1884-1962) described his magazine The Colophon: A Book Collectors’ Quarterly (later A Quarterly for Book Lovers). Each signature within an issue was produced by a different printer using their own choice of papers, typography, and illustration. The signatures were bound together in boards by Adler’s Pynson Printers and marketed to 2,000 subscribers.

Similarly, each cover was designed by a different artist in a different style beginning with the first issue, which was designed by the Scottish American artist Edward Arthur Wilson (1886-1970), a student of Howard Pyle. Adler kept the original art, including separations and multiple drafts for each issue. When he moved to Princeton to establish the graphic arts collection for the university, the cover art came with him.

Here is a list of the cover artists through 1935:

Edward A. Wilson Part 1 1930 February
Joseph Sinel Part 2 1930 May
Gustave Jensen Part 3 1930 September
Donald McKay Part 4 1930 December
W. A. Dwiggins Part 5 1931 March
T.M Cleland Part 6 1931 June
Leroy Appleton Part 7 1931 September
Frank McIntosh Part 8 1931 December
Edward A. Wilson Part 9 1932 February
Boris Artzybasheff Part 10 1932 May
T.M. Cleland Part 11 1932 September
Ervine A. Metzl Part 12 1932 December
John Atherton Part 13 1933 February
Marie Lawson Part 14 1933 June
Jack Tinker part 15 1933 October
Louis Bouché Part 16 1934 March
Carl Noell part 17 1934 June
Farle A. Drewry Part 18 1934 September
Kirk C. Wilkinson Part 19 1934 December
Frederic W. Goudy Part 20 1935 March

Artists can be searched through the online index at

The Colophon. New York: Pynson Printers, 1930-1940. Graphic Arts Reference Collection (GARF) Z1007 .C71; Vol. 1, pt. 1 (Feb. 1930)-v. 5, pt. 20 (March 1935); new ser., v. 1, no. 1 (July 1935)-v. 3, no. 4 (autumn 1938); new graphic ser., v. 1., no. 1 (1939)-no. 4 (Feb. 1940)