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William R. Holman

William R. Holman (cont)

In 1971, William Holman designed Nancy Barker’s account of The French Legation in Texas; Volume I: Recognition, Rupture, and Reconciliation for the Texas State Historical Association. It is doubtful that the regime of King Louis Philippe ever had finer treatment. Page by page it is a thoughtfully composed volume that required many hours of labor and recalls Oscar Wilde’s admonition that “details in life are unimportant, but in art details are vital.” One can scarcely miss the French influence on the binding, revealed through an acetate jacket. Printing on acetate is difficult, but the usual blurbs appear here on the inside flaps, once again revealing Holman’s ingenuity and innovation.

As if to reiterate that good things do indeed come in small packages, William Holman designed several small octavos for the Humanities Research Center. Notable among these were The Wiseian Forgeries (1969) by William B. Todd, Wise’s Swinburne Transactions (1970) by James T. Bratcher and Lyle H. Kendall, Jr., and On Contemporary Bibliography: With Particular Reference to Ezra Pound (1970) by Donald Gallup. In the last instance, the unique arrangement of the title page shows a particular flair. Invariably, these monographs have a gracious simplicity with carefully planned pages and good type selection. Holman believes in keeping the compositional scheme unaffected; although points and leading may vary, he never employs more than two typefaces in a single publication, with one spectacular exception: This Bitterly Beautiful Land (1972).

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