University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

of the
Angelica and Amity


(bulk dates 1974-1979)

Manuscript Collection Number: 447
Accessioned: Purchased, 1995
Extent: 3 linear ft. and oversize
Content: Books, catalogs, printing samples, production materials, printing plates, correspondence,
photographs, financial papers, and ephemera.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: July 2002 by Gerald Cloud

for reference assistance email Special Collections
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Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
(302) 831-2229

Table of Contents

Biographical Note

The Angelica Press was founded in Brooklyn, New York, in 1974 by Dennis and Marilyn Grastorf. The Grastorfs both graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology’s School of Printing in 1969 and immediately began working in the printing trade. Dennis Grastorf was a third-generation New York printer. His maternal grandfather, L.L. Stillwell, served as editor- publisher of the Angelica Advocate and owned a print shop in Angelica, New York. Bill Grastorf, Dennis’s uncle, ran a printing business in Grandville, New York, and Dennis’s father and mother owned the Belmont Dispatch and a print shop in Belmont, New York. Dennis eventually bought his parents’ print shop, renaming it the Amity Press.

After graduating from Rochester Institute of Technology, Dennis worked in a number of commercial print shops in New York City, gaining experience in both fine letterpress printing and commercial offset printing. Marilyn Grastorf worked as a designer and an illustrator for various firms on the East Coast before teaming up with her husband to design and illustrate books. In 1974 the Grastorfs founded the Angelica Press in Brooklyn, where they set out to carry on the fine press traditions Dennis learned from his father and grandfather. The first book produced by the Angelica Press was Washington Irving’s Christmas at Bracebridge Hall (F3) illustrated by Marilyn Grastorf. The Grastorfs eventually moved their print shop to New York City, continuing to turn out fine press books until about 1980.

In 1975, after the death of Dennis’s father, the Grastorfs purchased the newspaper and print shop in Belmont, New York, renaming it the Amity Press. Dennis raised the standards of the Belmont press with the aim of making it one of the top commercial presses in the country. The Amity Press completed a series of projects for the Mysterious Press, which included The Adventures of Herlock Sholmes, (F9) designed by Dennis and printed in 1976.

Dennis Grastorf also used the Angelica Press to distribute other fine press books, including works by the Basilisk Press, the Circle Press, the Janus Press, the Oliphant Press, and the Whittington Press.


Biographical information derived from the collection (see F36).

Scope and Content Note

The Archive of the Angelica and Amity Presses spans the dates 1967–1983, with the bulk of items spanning the dates 1974–1979. The archive includes published books, printing samples, production materials, artwork, printing plates, photographs, paper and cloth samples, correspondence, financial records, and ephemera related to the presses and its owners. The archive documents the products, operations, and distribution projects of the presses, as well as aspects of the personal relationship between Dennis and Marilyn Grastorf. Throughout the collection, most printed works have been removed for cataloging with the printed collections in the Special Collections Department.

The first two series in the archive contain works printed, designed, and illustrated by Dennis and Marilyn Grastorf. Included are extensive production materials for many of the books produced by the Angelica Press. There are two copies of their first book, Christmas at Bracebridge Hall, including one copy with an annotated dust jacket. The most complete example is the group of materials for A Voyage to Laputa illustrated by Warren Chappell, which includes correspondence, original illustrations, 56 copper and lead printing plates, a dummy copy, and the final work. There is also a copy of Wood Type of the Angelica Press, the press’s most significant publication. The archive also includes many printing samples from other Angelica Press projects. An early sample of Dennis’s work, William Dean Howell’s The Country Printer, is also included.

The financial records in the archive include a forty-page proposal for a business loan, prepared by Dennis Grastorf, including a history of the two presses and brief biographies of Dennis and Marilyn Grastorf (F36). The proposal details the current financial state of the two presses and describes what improvements would be made upon approval of the loan.

The Distribution and Fine Press Series contain files related to Dennis Grastorf’s interest and involvement with other fine presses in the United States and Britain. Among the presses represented in the archive that Dennis helped distribute are the Basilisk Press, the Circle Press, the Janus Press, the Oliphant Press, and the Whittington Press. Included are publications, printing samples, and correspondence. The archive also contains many fine press items, such as catalogues, artwork, and printing samples, that represent the work of other fine presses. The Spiral Press of New York City is especially well represented.

The Series of personal items includes photographs of the Grastorfs and correspondence between Dennis and Marilyn, including handmade and illustrated greeting cards.

Series List

I.   Grastorf Series

II.  Angelica Press

III. Financial Records

IV.  Fine Press Distribution

V.   Fine Press Materials

VI.  Personal Papers

Contents List

Box -- Folder -- Contents

          Series I. Grastorf Series

1    F1   The Country Printer, Excerpts From An Essay Written in 1896, 1967
          By William Dean Howells.  S.l.: The Press of the Good
          Mountain, 1967, small 4to., paper-covered boards with
          paper cover label. (vii), 12, (2) pages.  Printed in a
          limited edition of 100 copies for the Typographic
          Workshop, Rochester Institute of Technology by Dennis
     F2   A Letter From Santa Claus, 1972
          By Mark Twain.  S.l.: s.n., 1972.  Printed for the
          friends of Dennis and Marilyn Grastorf.
          Series II. Angelica Press
     F3   Christmas At Bracebridge Hall, 1974 (Copy 1)
          By Washington Irving.  Brooklyn, NY: The Angelica
          Press, 1974.  Limited edition of 2000 copies with a
          preface by Dennis and Marilyn Grastorf and
          illustrations by Marilyn Grastorf.  Copy preserved in
          original glassine and cardboard shipping case with a
          printed “thank you” note laid in.
     F4   Christmas At Bracebridge Hall, 1974 (Copy 2)
          A second copy with an annotated paper dust jacket.
     F5   Christmas At Bracebridge Hall jacket art, 1974
          Original artwork by Marilyn Grastorf.
     F6   The Cock Crows At Christmas, 1974
          By William Shakespeare.  Brooklyn, NY: The Angelica
          Press, 1974.  Christmas keepsake with original wood
          engraving by Marilyn Grastorf.  With original envelope.
     F7   Hellmut Lehmann-Haupt, A Bibliography, 1975
          By Donald C. Dickenson.  NY: The Typophiles, 1975.
          Foreword by Herbert Cahoon, and “A Bookman’s Credo” By
          Hellmut Lehmann-Haupt.  Edition of 750 copies printed
          by the Angelica Press with typographic design by Dennis
          Also included is a typescript with autograph
          corrections and correspondence from Donald Dickenson,
          Hellmut Lehmann-Haupt, Harvey Simmonds, Robert Leslie,
          and carbon copies of Dennis Grastorf’s letters related
          to the bibliography’s publication.  Additionally, a
          catalog of devices for The Typophiles is also included.
     F8   Sleigh Bells, 1975
          By Edgar Allen Poe.  Brooklyn, NY: The Angelica Press,
          1975.  Christmas keepsake with original wood engraving
          by Marilyn Grastorf.  With original envelope.
1 F9 The Adventures of Herlock Sholmes, 1976 By Peter Todd (a.k.a. Charles Hamilton, 1875-1961). NY: The Mysterious Press, 1976. An edition of 1250 copies was designed by Dennis Grastorf and printed at his Amity Press. Although no finished copy of this book is present, correspondence related to publication, book cloth samples, a binding mock-up, annotated typescripts, and printed colophon pages are included. F10 The Mysterious Press, 1976 Promotional materials for the Mysterious Press including artwork, promotional flyers for The Adventures of Herlock Sholmes. F11 Eighty-Five Golden Florins, First and Rare Editions of Favorite Books Selected by Christopher Morely, 1976 By Erica Doctorow and Gary Cantrell. NY: Adelphi University, 1976. Catalog for an exhibition at the Swirbul Library Gallery of Adelphi University. Typographic design by Dennis Grastorf with an illustration by Marilyn Grastorf, printed in an edition of 500 copies at the Angelica Press. This copy is unnumbered. Also included is production correspondence, notes, and original artwork by Marilyn Grastorf. F12 Fordham University Press, 1976 Correspondence and finished business card for Fordham University Press business cards. F13 Charles Pratt In Memoriam, (1976) (2 copies) Eulogy delivered by William Maxwell, 27 May 1976. Handset, printed by Lawrence Barth, assistant to the Grastorfs. Edition of 300 copies. F14 A Voyage To Laputa, From Travels By Lemuel Gulliver,1976 By Jonathan Swift. (Brooklyn, NY): Angelica Press. Limited edition of 1000 numbered copies signed by illustrator Warren Chappell, of which this is copy number 1. Includes slipcase and original cardboard shipping case. F15 A Voyage To Laputa, From Travels By Lemuel Gulliver, proof copy, 1976 Proof sheet mock-up with autograph notes in Warren Chappell’s hand. F16 A Voyage To Laputa, From Travels By Lemuel Gulliver, dummy copy, 1976 Printed, uncut, and unbound dummy copy. 1 F17 A Voyage To Laputa, From Travels By Lemuel Gulliver, dummy copy, n.d. Folded dummy copy with pages and signatures marked. F18 A Voyage To Laputa, From Travels By Lemuel Gulliver, working copy, 1976 Photostat of a previously published version of A Voyage with autograph notes. F19 A Voyage To Laputa, Warren Chappell Correspondence Postcards and letters from Chappell to the Grastorfs including: 5 ALS, 7 ACS; one letter and several of the cards have illustrations and drawings by Chappell. Also included in an invitation and small exhibition catalog of Chappell’s drawings and illustrations at the University of Virginia, February-March, 1983. 2 F20 A Voyage To Laputa, copper plates, 1976 56 lead and copper plates used to print 28 two-color illustrations. (Housed separately.) 1 F21 A Voyage To Laputa, production items, 1976 Original artwork by Warren Chappell, including a mock- up with layout notes, book cloth, customer and business correspondence, production notes, and typescript with autograph corrections of Dennis Grastorf’s note on Swift and the edition. F22 When Men Were Animals and Animals Were Men: A Study of the Graphic Work of David Itchkawich, 1976 John Mattingly. NY: Angelica Press, 1976. With a preface by Michael Lang. Typescript with autograph corrections. F23 When Men Were Animals and Animals Were Men, production items, 1976 Includes galleys (3 pp.), sales prospectus, artwork, correspondence from John Mattingly, David Itchkawich, Dennis Grastorf, and others involved in productions, and production notes. F24 The Wood Type of the Angelica Press, 1976 N.P.: Angelica Press. Folio leaves organized in four folders, lacking colophon and wooden storage case. F25 Fine Press Christmas Catalog, 1977 Correspondence, photographs, and other production items for a catalog of fine press books, including Angelica Press, Bird and Bull Press, Press of the Night Owl, Stanbrook Abbey Press, and others. F26 Grolier Club, The Ninety-Third Annual Meeting and Dinner, 27 January 1977 Dinner invitation and Grolier Club artwork, also includes two earlier invitations with autograph notes. F27 The Wasp in a Wig, A Suppressed Episode of Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1977 By Lewis Carroll. NY: The Lewis Carroll Society of North America, 1977. F28 The Wasp in a Wig, uncorrected galley proof, 1977 Includes a bound galley proof, binding sample, photocopy of a Smithsonian article discussing the suppressed episode and its publication, production correspondence and notes, and book cloth and paper samples. F29 Designer’s Gourmet, 1979 New York: Angelica Studios, 1979. A book of recipes compiled by Paul Chevannes and Dennis Grastorf and printed in an edition of 250 copies of which this is number 73. Illustrations by Paul Chevannes. F30 Form and Content, The Books of the American Private Presses Today, 1979 Lerner, Abe. NY: Angelica Press, 1979. Text of an address delivered at the Grolier Club, pamphlet designed by Dennis Grastorf and printed at Amity Press. Copy number 331 of an edition of 500. F31 Angelica Press Print Jobs and Ephemera, (1975 – 1979) Includes Angelica Press stationery and business cards, Press book catalog for 1975-1976, two items each for the Grolier Club and the Long Island Historical Society, meeting and wedding announcements, flyers, Christmas cards, and other ephemera. Also includes typescript photocopy of an article on fine press work by Dennis Grastorf. F32 Angelica Press Artwork, n.d. Miscellaneous artwork for Angelica press projects. F33 Angelica Press Promotional Items, n.d. Photographs, artwork, and other promotional items related to the Angelica Press. Series III. Financial Records F34 Amity Press Banking records, 1975 Cancelled checks and bank statements for the Amity Press. F35 Loan documents and correspondence, 1975 – 1976 Promissory note, loan agreement, insurance documents, and correspondence related to a business loan for the Amity Press. 1 F36 Report for Request of Loan, July 1975 Detailed business loan request for the Angelica Press Corporation including index, history and description of Angelica and Amity Presses, biographies of Dennis and Marilyn Grastorf, financial reports, newspaper and magazine clippings on the Angelica Press, and correspondence from customers and clients. The Grastorfs prepared this report. F37 Dennis Grastorf Expense Account Receipts, balance sheets, and bank books detailing Grastorf’s expenses. 3 F38 Grastorf and Angelica Press Corporation Tax Returns, 1970 – 1977 Income tax forms and returns. F39 Phoenix Mutual Insurance Policy, 1975 Insurance policy and related documents. F40 Allyn and Small Insurance Policy, 1975 – 1978 Insurance policy and related documents. F41 Miscellaneous Financial Documents, 1973 – 1976 Includes invoices, receipts, and correspondence related to business finances. Series IV. Fine Press Distribution F42 Basilisk Press Catalog, order form, and correspondence between Dennis Grastorf and Charlotte Garry of the Basilisk Press (England). Basilisk Press also distributed Angelica Press books in the UK. F43 Circle Press Publication check list, balance sheets, and correspondence between Dennis Grastorf and Ronald King of the Circle Press (England). F44 Janus Press Publication checklist, printing samples, flyer, postcard, balance sheet and correspondence between Dennis Grastorf and Claire Van Vliet of the Janus Press. F45 Oliphant Press Book list, Oliphant Press printing samples and greeting cards, photograph, artwork, balance sheets, and correspondence between Dennis Grastorf and Ronald Gordon of the Oliphant Press, including a brief history of the press. 3 F46 Whittington Press Printing samples, catalog, photographic negative, balance sheets, and correspondence between Dennis Grastorf and John Randall of the Whittington Press (England). Series V. Fine Presses F47 Anvil Press Catalog for artist and printer Victor Hammer, including biographical notes. F48 Birch Hill Press Printing samples, 2 ALS from Paul Livingston of the Birch Hill Press to Dennis Grastorf, and a keepsake recipes book. F49 Equity Press Pamphlet from the Friends of Leo H. Joachim Testimonial Dinner. Joachim was the co-founder, editor,a nd publisher of Printing News. F50 Frederic William Goudy Society Print samples, publication notices, and ephemera from the Frederic William Goudy Society. Also includes a keepsake edition of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens with illustrations by Charles Dougherty, printed in a limited edition of an unspecified number of which this is copy number 454. Also includes a poem by Earl H Emmons, “Le Chapeau Immortel” with a foreward by Frederic Goudy. F51 Private Press of Paul Hayden Duensing Print samples, photocopy of an article written by Paul Hayden Duensing on private presses, and a ALS from Paul Hayden Duensing to Dennis Grastorf. F52 Kingsly Parker, illustrator Six works by the illustrator Kingsly Parker. Black Holes, NY: The Drill Press, 1979. Copy 246 of 510, signed by Parker. Circum, NY: The Circumfused Press, 1980. Copy 235 of 475, signed by Parker. Drawings, NY: K. Parker, 1978. Copy 27 of 400, signed by Parker. Pornocrats, NY: The Crude Press, 1981. Copy 66 of 300, signed by Parker. Sofas, Smug Incumbents, NY: The Crude Press, 1982. Copy 89 of 400. Starting with Flags, Forty-Three Drawings, NY: K. Parker, 1976. Copy 221 of 600. F53 Marchbanks Press Printing sample. 3 F54 Pre-Columbian Press Printing samples and keepsakes. F55 John Roberts Press ALS from Bernard Roberts of John Roberts Press and “Lament of the Cats of Rapallo,” a broadsheet poem by Ruthven Todd written on the death of Ezra Pound, this copy is number 98 of 100, signed by Todd. F56 Philip Smith, bookbinder ALS from Philip Smith to Dennis Grastorf, 2 photographs of Smith’s work, a pamphlet on Smith’s work and a brief biography, and news clippings. (see F64) F57 Spiral Press, part 1 Printing samples, book plates, greeting cards, exhibition catalogs, memorial pamphlets, and programs. F58 Spiral Press, part 2 F59 Spiral Press, part 3 F60 Stanbrook Abbey Press Exhibition catalogs, printing samples, and correspondence between Sister Hildeleth Cumming of the Stanbrook Abbey Press. F61 Printing Ephemera Printing and paper samples, artwork, news clippings, periodical, newsletters, and ephemera. Series VI. Grastorf Personal Items F62 Photographs Photographs of Dennis and Marilyn Grastorf and unidentified others, including “Webster County Nebraska, 1972” by Lucia Woods. F63 Personal Correspondence Miscellaneous correspondence including 4 TLS and 3 ALS from Philip Smith (see F57) F64 Grastorf Correspondence Miscellaneous correspondence between Dennis and Marilyn Grastorf, including illustrated and handmade greeting cards. F65 Karate Certificate, 1983 Karate certificate for Dennis Grastorf.

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