Topic 2: Three Mountains & Contact

Bill Bird and Three Mountains Press

William Bird, a journalist by profession, took up handprinting as a hobby after moving to Paris, and in 1923-24 published in small runs a series of works by Pound, William Carlos Williams, Ford, and Hemingway (in our time, 1924, with only 170 copies for official release but 50 for review). As colophon, Bird adopted the image of Three Mountains. From 1924, Three Mountains worked with McAlmon's Contact Editions for distribution, and on later works Bird hired help for printing and even (for Pound's Antheil) outsourced the printing to Darantierre in Dijon. Bird sold the press in 1928 to Nancy Cunard. Shown here are Ford Madox Ford's Women & Men (1923, no. 74 of 300) and Ezra Pound's music criticism, Antheil and the Treatise on Harmony (1924). While the wrappers of these books read Three Mountains Press, on the title-pages the Three Mountains imprint has been covered with a label for Contact Editions, attesting to the collaboration. Bird's bestseller might well be his own little Practical Guide to French Wines (1924), which went through at least three printings.
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Updated 5 June 2000 by the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.
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