Arthur Steven at the Ryerson Press: Designing the Post-War Years (1949-1969) (1)

By Speller, Randall | Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada, Fall 2003 | Go to article overview

Arthur Steven at the Ryerson Press: Designing the Post-War Years (1949-1969) (1)


Speller, Randall, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada


Lorne Pierce (1890-1961), the editor of the Ryerson Press from 1920 to 1960, will long be remembered for his energetic and inspired leadership of one of English Canada's most historic (3) and influential publishing firms. His role in the creation and development of a Canadian literature, and his nurturing of a generation of Canadian writers are now rich areas of study for the literary and book historian. (4) Yet Pierce must also be remembered for the significant part he played in the development of Canadian book design and illustration. His personality, his taste, and his commitment to publishing beautiful books at the Ryerson Press contributed to the transformation of the Canadian book industry.

During the period from 1920-1950, Ryerson established an important reputation as a publisher of well-designed and well-illustrated books. As Sandra Campbell has pointed out, Canadian art was a vital part of Pierce's patriotism and literary mission, and his "exposure to such art was, therefore, an important element in appreciating 'the spirit of Canada.'" (5) Campbell also notes that "Pierce's exposure to the cultural nationalism of the Group of Seven sharpened his patriotic desire to publish such poets as Bliss Carman, Sir Charles G.D. Roberts, and Wilson MacDonald, whose landscape poetry seemed to him to give Canadians a literary sense of their landscape in a manner analogous to the canvases of the Group of Seven." (6) For Pierce, art and literature went hand in hand. Pierce was a strong advocate and collector of Canadian art throughout his career, and his wife, Edith Chown Pierce, was a recognized pioneer collector of Canadian glass. The arts and their personal associations with artists were central to their lives, and contributed to Pierce's solid and lasting commitment to the production of well-designed books. Many artists, including C.W. Jefferys, Thoreau MacDonald, and members of the Group of Seven, enjoyed the patronage and employment of the Ryerson Press. (7) Pierce ensured that many of the books he published "were beautifully designed to set a standard in appearance which other Canadian books might be made to emulate or surpass." (8) Pierce, himself, stated that each book "has to be designed and sometimes illustrated, and promotion discussed with several departments. We want the book to read well, and make sense, and we want it to look professional, for the Editorial Department is jealous of the House imprint, and wants all its books to look as if they came from master craftsmen." (9) W.S. Wallace, in his (albeit incomplete) bibliography of the Ryerson Press, records the Press's contribution to the graphic arts in Canada and credits the influence of Pierce:

   In what I have said about Lorne Pierce's work as editor of The
   Ryerson Press, I have confined myself to the matter of publication.
   I have not dealt with the revolution he accomplished in the
   matter of format. William Briggs has published books in a decent
   and respectable format as became the Book Steward of the
   Methodist Church; but I cannot think that anyone was ever
   persuaded to buy one of his books because of its appearance.
   Pierce evidently made up his mind from the beginning that he
   wanted the books which he edited to be published beautifully.
   He enlisted the services of several Canadian artists, notably
   Thoreau MacDonald (who designed the Ryerson crest or colophon), and
   he designed formats for Ryerson books that were so far ahead of
   what had preceded them that one could not recognize them as
   publications of the same house. One needs only to look at the
   Ryerson Poetry Chapbooks to realize the change. (10)

Pierce gathered around him some of the most talented book artists of his day to create books that are now recognized highlights of twentieth-century Canadian book design. He remained an active participant in the art direction of books he felt should receive special treatment. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Arthur Steven at the Ryerson Press: Designing the Post-War Years (1949-1969) (1)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.