Family Card - Person Sheet
Family Card - Person Sheet
NameDennis David Myer COHEN 1329
Birth29 Apr 18911329,1333
Death24 Feb 19701333
Birth1891, Edgbaston, Warwickshire, England
FatherHerbert David COHEN (1855-1933)
MotherJennie SALAMAN (1865-1921)
Death1 Jan 19601333
Notes for Dennis David Myer COHEN
Notes Colin Cohen “He kept a great house for French Resistance people during the war, my father lived there when my mother and sister were evacuated, but it must have been a bit like the office for him as he was the MI6 officer responsible for al intelligence activities in Europe at the time...”1333

Reproduced from the Times1333

Publisher and connoisseur
Mr Dennis Cohen, who died on Tuesday, was by profession a publisher, by nature a connoisseur. He came of a well-to-do family, with strongly marked Forsyte characteristics, including some memorably idiosyncratic aunts; and in his youth he pursued with zest the life of a cultivated, mildly Bohemian man-about-town.

In 1927 he founded the Cresset Press. Bacon’s Essays, in folio, printed at the Shakespeare Head, was followed by a number of handsome ├ęditions de luxe, of which the best known today is Gulliver’s Travels decorated by Rex Whistler. An early member of the Double Crown Club, he paid scrupulous attention to the matching of fine hand-press-work with enterprising illustrations, commissioned a number of the best wood-engravers of the day for editions of The Apocrypha or The Pilgrim’s Progress or, on a smaller scale, the elegant four-volume Herrick printed in Oxford’s Fell type,with decorations by Albert Rutherston.

When the market for books like these collapsed in the thirties, the Cresset Press turned to general publishing, matching best sellers like Nora Waln and John O’Hara with poets like Ruth Pitter and scholars like George Sansome, John Summerson and C P Fitzgerald. With John Hayward as literary adviser the list always contained a strong component of belles lettres (the Cresset Library was a uniquely imaginative series of punctiliously edited reprints), and with James Shand of Shenval Press in charge of production Dennis Cohen’s feeling for the look of his books found a continuing if less luxurious expression.

His taste was as clearly visible at home. Most strollers down Old Church Street, Chelsea, are excusably unaware that it contains, facing away from the street, the only domestic buildings in this country designed by two of the leading exponents of the so-called ‘International Style’; in the mid-thirties Dennis Cohen commissioned Erich Mendelsohn (with Serge Chermayeff), while his life-long friend Benn Levy commissioned Walter Gropius (with Maxwell Fry) to build them and their two beautiful wives adjacent houses looking on to an almost park-like double garden. Within, the Mendelsohn house was designed for the effective display of its owner’s fine collection of Chinese art; while one end of the dining room did double duty as the spectators’ gallery for the squash court.
Dennis Cohen’s personal style was one of restrained Edwardian elegance’ the green Rolls-Royce convertible, the Moykopf shoes, the bandana in the sleeve; in later years a tweed Ulster, and sometimes a silk stock stock in the evening. His looks perhaps became more distinguished in middle age, and his self-deprecatory manner lent a special piquancy to the frequent sparkle of a dry, low-keyed wit.

Dennis David Myer Cohen was born in Birmingham on 29 April 1891. Educated at Harrow and Trinity College, Oxford, he fought in the First World war as a gunner (and was wounded), later joining Herbert Samuel’s staff in Palestine. In the Second World War he served under Sigismun Waley in the Treasury. He married first, Kathryn Hamill, who died in 1960, and secondly, Mrs Mary Harrison, who survives him. The Times, 2 Feb 1970
Last Modified 16 Oct 2009Created 21 Mar 2024 by Jim Falk