Vehicle Editions

magazines & Presses

Vehicle Editions

Annabel Lee [née Levitt]
New York


Simon Pettet, Conversations with Rudy Burckhardt About Everything (1987).


I started Vehicle Editions as an enthusiastic cottage industry, working out of a railroad flat in Little Italy, printing by letterpress at Center for Book Arts a couple of blocks away, binding in the kitchen, storing the books under the bed, making limited editions by hand. I had already worked in publishing uptown as well as in a union offset printing shop as an AB Dick 360 operator and as a computer and hot-lead typesetter. Authors, artists, craftspeople, apprentices, and the publisher worked in close collaboration to ensure that the format of each book reflected its contents. As one reviewer wrote, “Each book is custom designed to fit its contents.” Score, a score of the dance piece Lazy Madge with writings by choreographer Douglas Dunn, was the first “commercially” produced Vehicle Edition. Published in 1977 in an edition of about 500 copies, it served both the dance and the literary communities as a document of multidisciplinary collaborative work.

Ted Berrigan’s Train Ride was produced with materials tested for at least 250 years. The edition is 1,500 copies printed letterpress—the typeface is monotype Gill Sans, the same used throughout the British railway system. Artist Joe Brainard not only designed the cover but also contributed to the overall design and editorial decisions. Smithsonian Depositions & Subject to a Film by Clark Coolidge was produced on a Xerox machine using a high grade of bond paper in an almost square format to achieve a unique book object containing most unusual essays on subjects that might otherwise seem mundane: the making of the movie Jaws and the work of sculptor Robert Smithson. Instead, these are a couple of Coolidge’s most intriguing works.

Annabel Lee, Ancram, New York, September 1997

Franco Beltrametti, Airmail Postcards (1979). Cover and drawings by the author.

Franco Beltrametti, Airmail Postcards (1979). Cover and drawings by the author.

Vehicle Editions (complete)

Allen, Roberta. The Traveling Woman. 1986. Cover and drawings by the author.

Beltrametti, Franco. Airmail Postcards. 1979. Cover and drawings by the author.

Berrigan, Ted. Train Ride. [1978]. Cover by Joe Brainard.

Coolidge, Clark. Smithsonian Depositions & Subject to a Film. 1980.

de Winter, Leon. The Day Before Yesterday: Six Stories. 1985. Translated from the Dutch by Scott Rollins.

Dunn, Douglas, Annabel Levitt, and Lazy Madge. Score. 1977; second printing 1999. Cover by Nat Tileston.

Guest, Barbara. Quilts. 1980.

Hell, Richard. Hot and Cold. 1998. Cover, drawings, and photos by the author.

Knowles, Christopher. Typings 1974–1977. 1979.

Lally, Michael. Just Let Me Do It: Love Poems 1967–1977. 1978.

Levitt, Annabel. Calisthenics of the Heart. 1976.

Levitt, Annabel. Continental 34s. 1977.

Levitt, Annabel. The Erie-Lackawanna Railroad Train Poem. 1979. Broadside.

Mar Shimun, Surma D’Bait. Assyrian Church Customs and the Murder of Mar Shimun. 1983. With an introduction by His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Notley, Alice. When I Was Alive. 1980. Cover by Alex Katz.

Pettet, Simon. Conversations with Rudy Burckhardt: About Everything. 1987.

Phillips, Jayne Anne. Counting. 1978; second printing 1982. Cover by Rae Berolzheimer.

Phillips, Jayne Anne. Fast Lanes. 1984. Cover and drawings by Yvonne Jacquette.

Ratcliff, Carter. Give Me Tomorrow. 1983. Portraits by Alex Katz.

Schuchat, Simon. Light & Shadow. 1977. Cover by Rochelle Kraut.

Schuchat, Simon. Wushan Gorge. 1979. Broadside.