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In Memoriam — Marie Christensen Dern (October 17, 1936-May 22, 2020)

Last year, on May 22, Rare Books lost our dear friend, Marie Christensen Dern. On that day, like the rest of the world, we were sheltering in place. We were locked out of our office, and more disorientingly, out of the Rare Books Vault. We were unable to hold Marie’s books in remembrance of her vibrant personality, her prolific bookmaking, her lively humor, her kindness and grace.

Marie was born in Salt Lake City and raised in Utah. She met her husband, Carl, when they were children. Carl and Marie moved to California where Carl, a sculptor, opened a studio and Marie began collaborating with poets and authors and producing fine press books.  “Jungle Garden Press,” begun in the basement of her house in 1974, was named after the Dern’s backyard.

14 CRIMINAL SONNETS
Phyllis Koestenbaum
Fairfax, CA: Jungle Garden Press, 1984
PS3561 O345 A14 1984

Printed by Marie C. Dern using Dante and Garamond types. Bound by Sandra Good. Produced for the Book Arts Program at Mills College. Edition of twenty-five copies.


SPELLS
Marie Christensen Dern (1936-2020)
Fairfax, CA: Jungle Garden Press, 1985
N7433.4 D444 S6 1985

From the colophon: “This suite of broadsides was designed, printed, and bound by Marie Christensen Dern. Each portfolio contains five original drawings by Carl Dern. Ten portfolios were made and finished on January 10, 1985. This was a project for the Book Arts Program, Mills College, Oakland, California.

Marie received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master of Arts degree from Mills College in 1986. Her books are in the collections of the New York City Public Library, the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, many other institutions, and ours.

The Jungle Garden Press archive resides in Special Collections at the J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

Over many years, we used Marie’s books in our exhibitions and put Marie’s books into the hands of enchanted students and community members. We featured one of her books, Winter Orchard, as the Marriott Library’s 2013 annual card. We blogged about her books. In one instance, she let me know how happy she was to hear from a researcher after he discovered this post on her book, Duet,: “I’m doing research for a presentation about Hank Williams and William Shakespeare for the International Country Music Conference. I’m comparing and contrasting multiple dimensions of Hank’s and Will’s lives and works. I’ve made many comparisons between Hank’s songs and Shakespeare’s sonnets, plays, and poems. I was delighted to discover your book, Duet, combining Your Cheatin’ Heart and Sonnet 147.” We had posted this book on her birthday in 2016.

We teased each other unmercifully about our mutually bad correspondence. But when we did write to each other it was heartfelt and usually funny.

The last time I heard from Marie, she was letting me know about a retrospective of her work at the Bolinas Museum in 2020, inviting me to come. Yes! But, no. And then, no.

Today, with this virtual retrospective, we honor Marie and express our gratitude for her faithful friendship and the books she contributed to our grateful world.

Memory eternal.

WILLIAM CASLON’S TYPOGRAPHIC ABC
Fairfax, CA: Jungle Garden Press, 1991
Z250 W57 1991

Designed and printed by Marie C. Dern on a Chandler & Price press.

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L’OEUF DANS LE LIVRE
Marie C. Dern (1936-2020)
Fairfax, CA: Jungle Garden Press, 1992
N7433.4 D47 O4 1992

Book contains an egg nested in hollowed out pages.

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HAIR TODAY, GONE TOMORROW
Marie C. Dern (1936-2020)
Fairfax, CA: Jungle Garden Press, 1994
N7433.4 D45 H3 1994

Leaves of book tied together with straw. Signed by Marie Dern.

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SALT WATER POEMS
Molly Fisk (b. 1955)
Fairfax, CA: Jungle Garden Press, 1994
PS3556 I8146 S3 1994

Designed, printed and bound by Marie C. Dern. Type is Bembo. Engravings made by Harms Graphics, San Bruno, California. Papers are Rives lightweight and Crinkled Chiri. Edition of one hundred and fifty copies. Rare Books copy signed by the poet, the artist, and the bookmaker.

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SMILEY & SCOWLEY
Marie C. Dern (1936-2020)
Fairfax, CA: Jungle Garden Press, 1994
N7433.4 D45 S5 1994

Folded accordion-style and tied with colored string.
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MAGIC RABBIT’S BOOK OF APPLIED RABBIT TRICKS
Arthur Okamura (1932-2009)
Fairfax, CA: Jungle Garden Press, 1995
N7433.4 O43 M3 1995

Text letterpress printed in Gill Sans type on Hosho paper with cover papers from Arches. Photopolymer plates by Leda Black of Black Swan Printing, Oakland, California and Susan Acker of Feathered Serpent Press, Novato, California. Cover drawings printed by San Anselmo Printing, San Anselmo, California. Bound by Marie C. Dern and Amy Webb. Box by John DeMerritt. Designed and printed by Marie C. Dern. Edition of twenty-five boxed sets. Rare Books copy is no. 7, signed by the author.

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STONE SOUP
Marie C. Dern (1936-2020)
Fairfax, CA: Jungle Garden Press, 1997
N7433.4 D45 S86 1997 oversize

Book laid in steel box with hinged cover. Box contains a stone. From the colophon: “Marie C. Dern made the book. Carl Dern made the box. The rock made itself.” Edition of five copies. Rare Books copy is no. 2.

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DANCING WITH KNUTE
Marie C. Dern (1936-2020)
Fairfax, CA: Jungle Garden Press, 1998
PS3554 E583 D36 1998

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MAYHEM, PESTILENCE & DISASTER
Marie Dern (1936-2020)
Fairfax, CA: Jungle Garden Press, 2000
N7433.4 D45 M38 2000

Five folded panels with letters on top spelling ‘danger’ on one side and ‘hazard’ on the other. Edition of ten copies. Rare Books copy is number 5 and is signed by the author.

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AT THE METROPOLITAN
Marie Christensen Dern (1936-2020)
Jungle Garden Press, 2002
N7433.4 D47 A8 2002 oversize

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BUSH BOOK
Marie C. Dern (1936-2020)
Fairfax, CA: Jungle Garden Press, 2002
N7433.4 D47 B87 2002

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PETITES HISTOIRES
Marie C. Dern (1936-2020)
Fairfax, CA: Jungle Garden Press, 2002
N7433.4 D45 P47 2002

Designed and letterpress printed by Marie C. Dern from photopolymer plates made by Alan Hillesheim, Digger Pine Press, Berkeley, California. Paintings and prints by Inez Storer. Box by John DeMerritt. Edition of thirty copies. Rare Books copy is no. 14, signed by the bookmaker and the artist.

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CHAIRS
Carl Dern (1936-2009)
Fairfax, CA: Jungle Garden Press, 2003
N7433.4 D444 C4 2003

Accompanied by a miniature metal chair. Letterpress printed by Marie C. Dern. Edition of ten copies. Rare Books copy is no. 8, signed by Marie and Carl Dern.

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HAIRDO
Marie C. Dern (1936-2020)
Fairfax, CA: Jungle Garden Press, 2003
N7433.4 D45 H34 2003

Limited edition of 15 copies. Rare Books copy is number 7 and is initialed by author.

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METTA FUGUE
Marie Dern (1936-2020)
Fairfax, CA: Jungle Garden Press, 2003
N7433.4 D45 M4 2003

Set in Bell type and letterpress printed. Bound by hand. Edition of twenty-five copies.

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POEM
Marie C. Dern (1936-2020)
Fairfax, CA: Jungle Garden Press, 2003
N7433.4 D47 P64 2003

Issued in a box. Edition of four copies. Rare Books copy is no. 2, signed by the author.
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THE BOOK OF MORMON: AN ACCOUNT WRITTEN BY MARIE C. DERN
Marie C. Dern (1936-2020)
Fairfax, CA: Jungle Garden Press, 2004
N7433.4 D47 B66 1994

Artist’s book created on the occasion of the author’s excommunication from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
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COUNTING
Marie Dern (1936-2020)
Fairfax, CA: Jungle Garden Press, 2005
N7433.4 D45 C68 2005 oversize

Edition of ten copies. Rare Books copy is no 9, signed by Marie.

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SEEING THINGS
Marie C. Dern (1936-2020)
Fairfax, CA: Jungle Garden Press, 2005
N7433.4 D47 S44 2005

Letterpress printed with Bembo type, bound by hand, covers are pastepaper. Edition of ten copies. Title page inscribed by author.

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MIRACLES
Marie C. Dern (1936-2020)
Fairfax, CA: Jungle Garden Press, 2006
PS3554 E583 M57 2006

Letterpress printed by Marie C. Dern. Prints and cover papers hand silkscreened by Martha Shaw. Typeface is Centaur. Paper is Somerset. Bound by Martha Shaw and Marie C. Dern. “We are still friends.”

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BAA BAA BLACK SHEEP
Martha Weston (d. 2003)
Fairfax, CA: Jungle Garden Press, 2008
N7433.4 W468 B33 2008

Drawings by Martha Weston. Letterpress printed with Claude Garamond type on Momi and Hosho papers. Edition of fifteen copies.

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DŌGEN
Eihei Dōgen (1200-1253)
Fairfax, CA: Jungle Garden Press, 2010
BQ9449 D654 A6 2010

Twelve poems by Dōgen, a 13th-century Japanese monk, philosopher, mystic, and poet; and drawings by Carl Dern, artist, sculptor, and humane soul, who died in 2009. Letterpress printed in Goudy Old Style type on Okawara paper. Four-needle, non-adhesive binding. Bound in handmade mulberry paper. Laid in wrapper made of handmade Shizen screen-printed papers with string and bead closure. Designed and printed by Marie Dern. Edition of ten copies. Rare Books copy is number 8, signed by the bookmaker.

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CROW
Danielle Guidici Wallis and Marie C. Dern (1936-2020)
Fairfax, CA: Jungle Garden Press, 2012
N7433.4 W357 C7 2012

Text is letterpress printed on mulberry paper, knitted bark paper Text comes from a found, handwritten note whose author sought the return of a half-blind pet crow. A facsimile of the note is pinned to the sculptural book. Drawings on vellum and curved paper replicating the rings of a tree. Accordion book with tree stump binding made of knitted paper bark with piano hinge closure.

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SOFTBOILED HAPPINESS
Danielle Guidici Walls and Marie C. Dern (1936-2020)
Fairfax, CA: Jungle Garden Press, 2013
N7433.4 W357 S64 2013

Ten prints on toast. Housed in a “toaster.” The “toast” is handmade by Danielle with invasive plant species in Redlands, California. The “toaster” is made by Marie. Poem and Letterpress by Marie. Collage by Danielle.  An edition of three copies.

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ZIP
Marie C. Dern (1936-2020)
Fairfax, CA: Jungle Garden Press, 2013
N7433.4 D47 Z5 2013

Accordion alphabet book with ornaments from “Ornaments, Decorative Designs, Special Characters and Initials of the Gage Printing Company, 1914.” 120 point Caslon type, plaster letters, collaged ornaments. Paper is Johannot, binding by John DeMerritt and Sandra Good. Edition of three copies. Rare Books copy is number 3, signed by the author.

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POEMS BY HAND
Kay Ryan (b. 1945)
Fairfax, CA: Jungle Garden Press, 2015
PS3568 Y38 P6 2015

Seven poems written out by hand on single sheets of paper. Designed and letterpress printed by Marie C. Dern with plates made by Richard Seibert using handset Garamond type on handmade paper from Twin Rocker. Silkscreen prints by Martha Shaw. Box by John DeMerritt. Edition of fifteen copies. Rare Books copy is no. 6.

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THE WRECK OF THE HESPERUS
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)
Fairfax, CA: Jungle Garden Press, 2016
N7433.3 L66 2016

Edition of ten copies.

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