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William D. Wittliff's Encino Press

William D. Wittliff's Encino Press (cont)

The first item to bear the Encino Press imprint was a program for the dedication of Lyndon B. Johnson’s boyhood home, The President’s Boyhood Home (Dallas, 1965). Designed and produced after-hours at the S.M.U. Press, the two hundred numbered copies were soon snapped up by discerning collectors. Although the presswork may have been a shade light, the rust-colored ink, sandy-toned paper, and tan wrappers blend into an exceptionally appropriate, tasteful, and handsome package. A string tie lends a final touch of atmosphere.

Hard on the heels of its first success, the Encino Press issued Bob More: Man and Bird Man (Dallas, 1965), a deluxe format reprint of a 1941 essay by J. Frank Dobie, permission for which had been given by Dobie just a month before his death in 1964. Its squarish shape is unusual for a western volume, but one quickly senses an exuberance and intensity which characterizes most of Wittliff’s efforts. The double-spread title page is attractive and well balanced, strong and forceful. The earth color of the Southwest is reflected in the brown ink of the folios, in the running titles, and in the handsome Strathmore endsheets. On the colophon page there appears, for the first time, the Encino Press device – the letters “E P” with an oak leaf decoration. Finally, the book is encased in tan cloth boards with an attractive title label – large, perhaps, but appropriate.

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