Joutel’s Journal of La Salle’s Last Voyage

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Joutel’s Journal of La Salle’s Last Voyage


Henri Joutel; edited by Melville B. Anderson


Chicago: The Caxton Club



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Brief Notes on Book

The Caxton Club’s first publication, owned by the Club’s first president James Ellsworth and bound for him at the Club Bindery in New York.


I collect books and pamphlets related to the Anglo-American book trade during the late 19th and early 20th century, and am interested in the history of bibliophilic organizations like the Grolier Club, the Rowfant Club, and, of course, the Caxton Club. I thought this volume from my collection was uniquely suited to share with this particular audience. Joutel’s Journal of La Salle’s Last Voyage was the Caxton Club’s first publication, designed and printed by R.R. Donnelley and Sons Co. at the Lakeside Press in Chicago in 1896. It is a reprint of the 1714 English translation, and was an ambitious undertaking for the Club’s first book. Professor Melville Anderson of the University of Wisconsin edited and annotated this edition, and the resulting volume was of considerable historical interest. 203 copies of the book were printed on American handmade paper, and three additional unbound copies were printed on Japanese vellum. This is one of the three vellum copies, and it was owned by the Caxton Club’s first president, James W. Ellsworth. In The Caxton Club 1895-1995, Frank J. Piehl relates the following about this publication: “Of the three copies on Japanese vellum, one was reserved for the Club archives, and two were sold at auction at the annual meeting in February 1897 to James W. Ellsworth and George S. Payson for fifty and forty-five dollars, respectively.” Ellsworth had the book bound in full morocco at The Club Bindery in New York. His engraved bookplate is affixed to the front pastedown, and the binder’s pallet on the front turn-in reads “Club Bindery 1898 For James W. Ellsworth.”


Tom Dannenberg




Henri Joutel; edited by Melville B. Anderson, “Joutel’s Journal of La Salle’s Last Voyage,” Caxton Club Exhibits, accessed March 3, 2024,