The four-volume series was called Lettera, A standard book of fine lettering, written or, perhaps more precisely, curated by Armin Haab (with Alex Stocker for volume 1 and with Walter Haettenschweiler for volumes 2, 3 and 4), and published in Switzerland by Arthur Niggli. The first volume is in its 9th edition, the first being in 1954. The books are a curious collection of examples of a wide range of typographic styles, with a heavy leaning towards lettering. Still, the mix of examples is hard to justify in the groupings that they are in.
As author of the project Armin Haab seems to be an interesting personality, but it is hard to trace his history. There is an example of his photography online, as well as a book of ethnographic photographs of Bhutan, and a book on Mexican Graphic Art by him. Born in Baar, Switzerland on 28 of January in 1919, Armin studied photography in Switzerland in the 1940s and combined a job of a salesman in the family-run mill and of a photographer. He was a photo-reporter for Du Magazine from 1950 to 1957. Haab passed away on March 4, 1991 in Oberwil, Switzerland. Would love to find out more on how these books came about and more about Armin Haab. https://coopertypography.wordpress.com/2009/12/30/lettera/