[Brooklyn: ca. 1912].
Approximately 180 pages, comprising: 143 manuscript pages; 17 typescript pages; 18 pages of printed poems, mounted; a 5 pp printed booklet "Lines of an Octogenarian..."; a 7 pp printed booklet, "The Ship of State," by Charles S. Mackenzie; a 16 pp printed booklet "Leisure Rhymes ... by Mrs. C.G. Mackenzie"; 7 mounted photographs of the Mackenzie family, and 6 mounted postcards of sites around Scotland. 4to. "Hail Brothers of the printing ink!" Quarter-leather ruled accounting ledger. Spine chipped, boards moderately worn. Item #307715
An unpublished manuscript of poems by the nineteenth century Scottish-American printer and poet, Colin Grant Mackenzie (1832-1913), whose long career as a journeyman pressman brought him into association with Harper Brothers, J.F. Trow, Houghton, the University Press, and other important 19th century American publishers and printers, as well as with many leading American literary men of the day. The album of poems, mostly in manuscript, comprise an unpublished Fourth Series of "Random Rhymes," and was made for his son, Charles S. Mackenzie.
Born in Banff, Aberdeenshire, Mackenzie learned hand-press printing at the offices of the Banffshire Journal before moving on to an apprenticeship at the London Art Journal. When "he arrived in New York in 1850 [he] was a fullfledged journeyman pressman. His first work in this country was with John F. Trow, the book-printer, who at that time printed all of D. Appleton & Co.'s books. In 1854 he accepted a position with Harper Brothers and made the woodcut overlays for their illustrated work. [Mackenzie was the first printer in America to make such overlays.] He was next connected with C. A. Alvord, who was at that time considered the best woodcut printer in New York. Later on Mr. Mackenzie joined the University Press of Cambridge, Massachusetts, which was then known as Welsh, Bigelow & Co., and was a partner for seventeen years. During this time he printed the writings of Longfellow, Whittier, Lowell, Holmes, Bryant and other literary men of the day" (Inland Printer, vol 51, 1913, p 120). Mackenzie spent the last thirty years of his life in New York, and died in Brooklyn at age 80; obituaries described him as the oldest journeyman pressman in New York.
The upper cover of the commercial ledger which contains the manuscript bears the handwritten title-inscription: "This Book is the Fourth Series of Random Rhymes in Manuscript and Reprint, and is for my Son Charles S. Mackenzie." The first three series had been published in 1867 (Cambridge: the author), 1883 (New York: the author), and 1903 (Brooklyn: J.J. Bowles). Mackenzie also published a volume of Temperance Rhymes (Boston: 1862), broadsides, and a number of poems in journals and newspapers of the day.
The manuscript includes approximately 50 poems, all of which appear to have been composed after publication of the "Third Series" in 1903. Of special interest is the 200 line paean to the printing press, "Lines for the Old Time Printing Pressman's Association," which in addition to exalting the medium of print and the operators of presses, mentions by name several American pressman. Excerpts:
"Hail Brothers of the printing ink!
Ye are the faithful, loyal crew,
You hold within your faithful hands,
Power, mightier than Archmedian screw–
The Printing Press rules all the lands
Chicago sends her choicest men,
And with the native boys competes;
Dittman, with tints from two to ten,
Makes rainbow daubs upon his sheets
To Claim on more, Chicago means;
'Tis now some thirty years I think,
Stevens was in his callow teens
And now he's peddling printer's ink
Mark Cormack, see his pleasant smile,
Which all his happy thoughts express;
With five point talk he'll you beguile
And sell you then an Auto Press"
Also of note is a printing on silk of "Lines Addressed to the Scotchmen in the United States," written and presumably printed by Mackenzie himself; and the manuscript "Ballad of the Games played and won by the Crescent Hockey Club; ending with a clean sweep and winning the Championship for 1908," as well as another ballad about the Crescent Hockey Club clipped from a magazine printing. There are also several poems about Mackenzie's hometown of Banff, evidently inspired by a journey there; poems dedicated to friends and neighbors; verse letters to family members; a poem on a steamship journey from New York to New Orleans; on a trip to Bermuda; on the Republican victory of 1904; etc. The manuscript also includes a 7 page typescript of a poem by his Mackenzie's son Charles S. Mackenzie, titled "Impromptu Lines for the Reception to President Roosevelt," with manuscript corrections; a 7 pp printed booklet also by Charles; a 16 page booklet of "Leisure Rhymes" by Mrs. C.G. Mackenzie; and a 5 page printed booklet "Lines of an Octogenarian" by Mackenzie in honor of his 80th birthday celebration––these latter three booklets presumably printed by Mackenzie himself.
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