Lakeside Classics Collection

"The Lakeside Press"

A Little History of the Lakeside Press Classics


The Lakeside Press Classics series was started in 1903 by Thomas E. Donnelley, then president of RR Donnelley & Sons Company and son of the founder. Thomas E. Donnelley believed that a simple book, dignified and well designed, would be an appropriate holiday gift. 

In the introduction to the first Lakeside Press Classics, he wrote, "If, in a modest way this volume conveys the idea that machine-made books are not a crime against art, and that books may be plain but good, and good though not costly, its mission has been accomplished".

The basic format of the Lakeside Press Classics has remained the same for more than 100 years, testifying to the sound design of the first volume. Every 25 years the cover material is changed and type style adjusted to keep pace with current developments in fine book making. Production methods are updated as book manufacturing improvements are introduced. Current editions use electronic page composition, digital scanning and state-of-the-art computer-to-plate technologies.

Many of the early volumes consisted of the speeches and writings of noted Americans. With the publication in 1911 of The Autobiography of Gurdon Saltonstall Hubbard, the series took its present character: first-person narratives of American history, usually taken from books long out of print and not easily obtainable. Through the 1980s, the volumes emphasized history on the North American continent, including titles on the Civil War, the American Old West, early exploration and everyday frontier life. During the 1990s, as the company extended its business internationally, the series was expanded to include narratives by Americans with experiences beyond our borders.

Today, the volumes are still produced with the utmost honor, dignity and respect as when they were started in 1903. The Men and Woman of RR Donnelley still take great pride in producing this great book, even with its simplest design. I know of no other series that have such pride and enjoyable meaning behind them as "The Lakeside Classic" does.

Read more about the books by clicking on the special report below..........



In the past 100 + years, no less than 25 different interpretations of our Indian head have been created. Yet, no matter what form it takes, the prestigious Indian head pressmark is respected worldwide as a seal of quality from RR Donnelley "The Lakeside Press" -- leader of the printing industry.

RR Donnelley "The Lakeside Press" distinctive company logo -- an Indian chief's profile -- has undergone many changes since its creation nearly 100 + years ago. Yet, its basic visual message remains strong and clear: RR Donnelley "The Lakeside Press" pioneering spirit makes it the printing industry's leader.

The idea for RR Donnelley "The Lakeside Press" pressmark came from the exterior of one of its early plants -- the Lakeside Press Building at Plymouth Court and Polk Street in Chicago. In 1897 Howard Van Doren Shaw, the building's architect, decided to enhance the appearance of the south wall. The company commissioned Joseph C. Leyendecker, a young Chicago artist, to design an image that Shaw envisioned: the head of a Native American chief set against the Fort Dearborn blockhouse, which was originally located along the Lake Michigan shoreline, not far from RR Donnelley "The Lakeside Press" printing plant. His design was transformed into terra-cotta shields for the building and, shortly thereafter, was adopted as RR Donnelley "The Lakeside Press" pressmark because it associated the company's progress with the frontier spirit of early American life.


RR Donnelley's distinctive Indian-head artwork -- an Indian chief's profile -- is no longer part of the company's logo or visual identity. This change was made based on customer and employee research to better understand what our stakeholders expect from our brand. The Indian-head originated as a "pressmark" and today it is reserved for such special uses as employee service awards, the RR Donnelley Foundation and on Lakeside Press publications.

Additional Books.

RR Donnelley & Sons Co. Printed many different books throughout its creation. Included is the great book Moby Dick or The Whale written by Herman Melville and illustrated by Rockwell Kent. The black and white sketches are remarkable. In 1930 RR Donnelley printed two different books, both of which are great classics and very collectible. The first book was printed by RR Donnelley came in a set of three which also include a slip case. According to many, there were only 1000 of the three book sets ever produced which makes them very collectible. The second edition was printed by Random House and was produced in one book. Because we feel it's important to provide collectors and personal book owners the finest quality possible, we search for only the finest Moby Dick books and bring them to you.