(Cambridge, Riverside Press, 1906). 11 1/2 x 17 1/2. xxxiv double-column pages. Illustrated with seven "stained glass windows" richly colored by hand. Quarter vellum & boards decorated with a fleur-de-lis pattern, vellum tips. Minor faults to binding: small bump to spine base, light wear bottom edges, small white spot to one top edge, rear board faded top quarter. Small, contemporary bookseller’s label on rear pastedown. A very good association copy, inscribed to Major W. Van R. Whitall. His small morocco booklabel has offset onto a part of the inscription. Inscribed "Dear Whitall, The pattern on the cover of this book was taken from a wall decoration in the Crypt at Chartres, and the illustrations from the Charlemagne window, Bruce Rogers." Item #17330
No. 53 of 220 copies on American handmade paper. Set in French lettre bâtarde & civilité types and hand printed in black, red, blue, and golden brown; opening initial printed in gold. Rogers had a hand--literally--in the binding: to achieve a mellow, antique effect, he rubbed a red paste wash over the printed paper. From the over 400 books he designed, Rogers selected (when asked in an interview) 30 which he considered totally successful. This is one of the "BR 30." American Art Association auctioned Whitall's library in 1927. Lots 1014 to 1087 were headed "Important Series of Books Designed by Bruce Rogers." This copy, illustrated in the auction catalogue, brought $300.
The Riverside Press was the printing department of Houghton, Mifflin publishing company. The “Department of Special Bookmaking” was Bruce Rogers’ domain. George Mifflin was so proud of the “Roland,” he sent a copy to Theodore Roosevelt at the White House. The President was so impressed, he visited the Riverside Press to view Rogers’ other special editions. Roosevelt wrote to Mifflin “I am not an expert on these matters, but comparing that ‘Song of Roland’ with other modern printing (notably with a very handsome edition of a great German book I have) it seemed to me far ahead, and almost like some of the very beautiful printing of books at the end of the Fifteenth Century.”Warde *71. Artists of the Book in Boston # 72.