1990 - 1999
The Private Press-Man's Tale. newtown, PA: Bird & Bull Press, 1990.
This book is a collection of satirical poems and prose pieces about the private press and the related worlds of book collecting, book selling, and papermaking. It includes illustrations by Lili Wronker.
Three Lions and the Cross of Lorraine: Bartholomaeus Anglicus, John of Trevisa, John Tate, Wynkyn de Worde, and De Proprietatibus Rerurm. newtown, PA: Bird & Bull Press, 1992.
Wynkyn de Worde's edition of Bartholomaeus Anglicus' De Proprietatibus Rerum (circa 1495) was the first English book printed on paper which had been made in England. The book itself was a popular medieval encyclopedia, originally composed in the thirteenth century. Its printer, Wynkyn de Worde (d. circa 1534?), had worked as an apprentice to William Caxton (circa 1422-1491 or 1492), the first English printer. Three Lions and the Cross of Lorraine was originally conceived as a leaf book which would utilize the leaves from an incomplete copy of De Proprietatibus Rerum. It was printed accompanied by essays about the book and with facsimiles of the woodcuts printed in Wynkyn's fifteenth-century original. Morris has since identified Three Lions as his most important publication on Western papermaking history.
[De Proprietatibus Rerum. Westminster: Wynkyn de Worde, 1495].
This leaf was issued with Three Lions and the Cross of Lorraine.
Complete Woodcuts from Three Lions and the Cross of Lorraine: The 19 Opening Chapter Illustrations of Wynkyn de Worde's De Proprietatibus Rerum. Corrected printers' dummy, December 1999. Bird & Bull Press Archives.
Henry Morris reprinted the woodcut illustrations from Three Lions in a pamphlet included with his forty-fourth anniversary bibliography. In that version, Morris supplied some of the images with facetious captions. The printers' dummy shows some of Morris' discarded ideas for captions; the final version has the physician exclaiming "Holie Cowe.".
Sweynheym & Pannartz and the Origins of Printing in Italy: German Technology and Italian Humanism in Renaissance Rome. McMinnville, OR: Bird & Bull Press for Phillip J. Pirages, 1992.
Conrad Sweynheym (d. 1477) and Arnold Pannartz (d. circa 1476) were the first printers to operate in Italy, as well as the first to operate outside of Germany. They began working at the monastery of Santa Scolastica at Subiaco around 1464 and later worked at the Palazzo Massimo in Rome from 1467 to 1473. This book provides a history of the Sweynheym and Pannartz firm. It also includes a single leaf from the Swenheym and Pannartz edition of Nicholas of Lyra's Postilla Super Totam Bibliam, which was printed in Rome in 1471. The decorative initials used in the chapter headings are facsimiles of the rubricated initials that appeared in the 1471 edition. Morris later identified this as his most important book on early printing history.
Postilla Super Totam Bibliam. Rome: Conrad Sweynheym and Arnold Pannartz, 18 November 1471.
This leaf was enclosed with Sweynheym & Pannartz and the Origins of Printing in Italy.
Two Birds With One Stone: My Log and Diary, 1980-1993, Printer's dummy, 1994.
Two Birds With One Stone prints selections from a semi-daily log that Morris used to record details about his printing projects. It offers a firsthand window into the day-to-day workings of the Bird & Bull Press. Morris notes that, because the source material was not originally intended for publication, it includes "many freely expressed and controversial opinions which I took some perverse pleasure in printing." Two Birds With One Stone was originally conceived as a complimentary volume for all Morris' standing subscribers. He began printing it with this idea in mind, as is shown in the foreword in this printers dummy. Morris changed his mind at the suggestion of his wife, Pearl, who thought the book would be less valued if it were given away for free. The text of the foreword in the finished book is thus markedly changed, as Morris has noted by hand in this copy.
Photograph of Henry Morris at work, 29 June 1982. Proof for inclusion in Two Birds With One Stone. Bird & Bull Press Archives.
Five Short Stories by Marcel Ayme. newtown, PA: Bird & Bull Press, 1994.
Although popular in France, only a handful of Marcel Ayme's works had been translated into English and all of them were out of print by the time Morris printed his edition. The five stories printed here were selected from a larger collection, Across Paris and Other Stories, first printed in 1961. This edition is illustrated with wood engravings by Gaylord Schanilec, which were commissioned especially for this printing. Producing the combination of fine details and solid blacks utilized in the engravings presented a particular challenge. Schanilec, who printed the wood-engravings himself, had to re-cut his engravings substantially in order to achieve the desired effect. In a letter to Morris, he described it as "the toughest job I've ever done." Selected prints of the wood-engravings can be seen framed on the wall.
Draft sketch of illustration, "State of Grace," for Five Short Stories by Marcel Ayme, with manuscript note by Henry Morris. 21 July 1993. Bird & Bull Press Archives.
Proof of illustration, "State of Grace," for Five Short Stories by Marcel Ayme, with manuscript notes by Gaylord Schanilec [14 May, 1994?]. Bird & Bull Press Archives. This proof includes Schanilec's handwritten notes about the logistics and extreme difficulties involved in printing these illustrations.
Wood engravings for Five Short Stories by Marcel Ayme, 1994.
Another interesting tidbit.
Rarities of Numismata Typographica: Four Examples of Early Dutch Printers' Bookbinders' & Booksellers' Guild Medals. newtown, PA: Bird & Bull Press, 1996.
Guild medals, which were primarily used by seventeenth and eighteenth-century Dutch tradesmen, were used to identify oneself as a qualified guild member. This book features four facsimile guild medals, which were cast from original specimens in Morris' personal collection.
Broadside Vignettes: The Poster/Broadside Format Joined With the Book. newtown, PA: Bird & Bull Press, 1997.
All of the broadsides in this volume were designed to be self-contained stories. In the prospectus, Morris described the set as "a new art form evolved from the best traditions of the finely-printed book and broadside." It was printed, in part, to make use of a newly purchased large-size Vandercook printing press. Morris has since said that the set "was too big, too heavy and impossible to shelve." Although many of the recipients liked the book, several complained that it was difficult to shelve or even impossible for them to lift. One customer built a coffee table especially for the book, and then asked Morris "not to send any more books that require furniture building." Morris notes that "most copies are leaning against a wall, like mine."
Forty Years of Bird & Bull: 1958-1998. [newtown, PA:] Bird & Bull Press, 1998.
The title page presents this volume as one "comprising the accumulated knowledge gained from four decades of practical experience in running one of America's most successful private presses." The catalog description for the one copy offered for sale proclaimed that "if you, like many others, want to know everything that has packed its way into Henry Morris's head over the last forty years, then this book will give you such an insight." All of the pages are blank; the book was printed for subscribers as a way to use up remaindered paper.
Vignettes: An Eclectic Assemblage of Anecdotes About Papermaking, the Private Press, Printing and its History, Book Collecting, Numismata Typographica and Much More. Volume II. newtown, PA: Bird & Bull Press, 1999.
The second volume of Vignettes adopts a similar approach as the first - to combine the book and the broadside and provide an assortment of brief pieces about books and bookmaking - but does so in a smaller scale. The prospectus notes that, unlike its precursor, Volume II "doesn't have to be stored by leaning it against the wall." Many of the pieces in this volume are autobiographical and document the history of the Bird & Bull Press. Shown here is a sheet of Morris's first handmade paper, alongside photographs of him making it.