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Printing and the Book Arts

The History and Technology of Printing, Papermaking,
Calligraphy, Typography, Fine Press, Design, and the Book Trade

Selected Primary Resources


The Special Collections Department of the University of Delaware Library houses a wealth of research material relating to the history and technology of printing, papermaking, and the book arts. The Library's extensive rare book collection ranges from early printed books from the fifteenth century to examples of fine and small press printing of the present day. Special Collections also houses extensive collections of manuscripts, ephemera, and archival materials relating to printing, papermaking, and the book arts. The following guide represents a selected list of relevant holdings in these areas.

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Printed Collections

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Rare Book Collections

Special Collections houses a vast number of rare books in a variety of subject areas. Books from the fifteenth century through the nineteenth century may be found in its collections in the history of science and technology and the history of horticulture. Holdings are also strong in such traditional collecting areas as history, literature, and the arts.

Fine Press and Illustrated Books

The University of Delaware Library includes examples of fine press printing from virtually every significant press from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The collection is particularly strong in American and British fine presses of the twentieth century. Special Collections also houses an extensive collection of illustrated books, including artists' books, botanicals, and manuscript facsimiles. Please see Selected artists books in Special Collections.

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Trade Catalogs, Type Specimens, Paper Samples

The Library's collection of more than 2,000 trade catalogs includes a substantial number relating to the printing and publishing industries. In addition, the catalogs often serve as examples of developments in the technology of printing and illustration. Special Collections also houses a strong collection of type specimens and holds numerous paper samples.

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Visual Material

The poster collection in Special Collections is made up of several thousand nineteenth and twentieth century advertising posters and American and European political posters. The collection includes several hundred posters for books and magazines dating from the 1890s to the 1980s, and posters advertising American and foreign movies, theater, musical and artistic events from the 1940s to the 1980s--including over 300 posters from rock concerts at the Fillmore East and West in the 1960s. Among the political posters are Portuguese posters, British peace posters, and World War I and II material from the U.S. and Europe.

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The ephemera collection focuses primarily on the printing and publishing industries, Delaware ephemera, Fairs and Expositions, and Horticulture. Printing ephemera includes both nineteenth century samples of printing for cards, scrap pictures and other examples of chromolithography and a collection of twentieth century fine press broadsides. Of particular note is a recent gift of several hundred nineteenth-century American playbills and theatrical ephemera. Delaware ephemera contains a wide variety of printed items, photographs, and realia dating from the nineteenth century to the present day. The Exposition material includes photographs, maps, prints, and souvenirs. The ephemera collection also includes late eighteenth and early nineteenth century examples of ballad sheets, execution notices, and political broadsides. The prints in this collection are primarily nineteenth century views, portraits, historical subjects, and horticulture.

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Manuscripts and Archival Resources

Unpublished finding aids to manuscript and archival collections are available in Special Collections, and a growing number of these have been posted on the Library's server for access via the Internet.

MSS 358 Archive of the Press of A. Colish, 1913-1990 (bulk dates 1930s -1950s); 5 linear ft. with oversize material

American fine printer and publisher Abraham Colish (1882-1963) began his career in printing at age twelve in a small printing shop in Bridgeport, Connecticut. By 1907, in New York City, Colish opened his own composing office and specialized in advertising typography. After several moves to progressively larger offices in Manhattan, the Press of A. Colish relocated to a printing plant in Mount Vernon, New York, in 1956. The Press of A. Colish produced work for the Limited Editions Club, the Grolier Club, the Typophiles, Colophon, the Pforzheimer Library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, publisher Henry Schuman, and others. In addition to business records, advertising, print jobs, and reference materials, the collection includes Colish's correspondence and design work with T.M. Cleland, Bruce Rogers, and Rockwell Kent. Abraham Colish's son Louis assumed management of the Press upon his father's death in 1963. In the late 1980s, the Press of A. Colish, also known as A. Colish, Inc., merged with Laurel Printing of Elmsford, New York.

MSS 312 John Anderson papers, 1949-1994 (bulk dates 1978-1994); 5 linear ft.

Typographer, book designer, and printer John Anderson (1915- ) was born in New Jersey and based in Philadelphia for much of his work. Anderson founded Pickering Press in 1946, reviving the imprint in Philadelphia in 1963 after a brief stint designing for Paul Wheeler's Northland Press in Flagstaff, Arizona. Several of Anderson's apprentices became successful printers themselves: Claire Van Vliet, proprietor of Janus Press; Neil Shaver, of the Yellow Barn Press; and Leonard Seastone of the Tideline Press. Anderson collaborated extensively with the wood engraver John De Pol. Anderson's papers include material related to his career as a printer, especially as proprietor of Pickering Press. The collection includes personal and business correspondence with clients, fellow printers, and print enthusiasts; books designed and printed by Anderson; sample books and type specimens; and broadsides, advertisements, bookplates, engraved printing blocks, and other ephemera. A number of Pickering imprints are cataloged separately in the printed holdings of Special Collections.

MSS 447 Archives of the Angelica and Amity Presses, 1967-1983 (bulk dates 1974-1979); 3 linear ft. and oversize

Third-generation New York printer Dennis Grastorf established Angelica Press in Brooklyn, New York, in 1974, with his wife Marilyn Grastorf, a designer and illustrator. The press relocated to New York City, where the Grastorfs continued producing fine press books until about 1980. In 1975, Dennis Grastorf purchased his father's press in Belmont, New York, and renamed it Amity Press with the goal of becoming a high quality commerical printer. The archive of both presses 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.

MSS 210 Paul A. Bennett collection, 1914-1971 (bulk dates 1930-1960); 2.3 linear ft. (ca. 786 items)

Paul A. Bennett (1897-1966) was Director of Typography for the Mergenthaler Linotype Company for 30 years before his retirement in 1962. He was a founding member and unofficial secretary of The Typophiles, a group of enthusiasts for the graphic arts. In addition to other works, Bennett wrote Books and Printing (1951). The collection includes correspondence, printed material, and ephemera related to Bennett's career and interest in typography. Correspondents include Beatrice Warde, Lester Douglas, Rudolph Ruzicka, the American Institute of Graphic Arts, the Rounce & Coffin Club of California, as well as The Typophiles.

Bird and Bull Press Archive, ca. 1958-1993, 22 linear feet.

Printer and papermaker Henry Morris established a private press near Philadelphia under the imprint Bird & Bull in 1958. Since that time, Morris has produced books, broadsides, ephemera, and other printed materials that are an important part of the contemporary American private press scene and significant documents in the art, craft, and history of hand papermaking. The Bird & Bull Press Archive contains correspondence, publications of the press, ephemera, paper samples, business records, manuscripts and editorial matter pertaining to the Press' publications, and a host of related materials. The Bird & Bull Press is a significant resource for the study of fine printing and hand papermaking in America, as well as a tribute to these arts.

MSS 316 Black Stone Press Archive, 1974-1984; 5 linear ft.

Poet, designer, publisher, and printer Peter Koch (b. 1943) established the Black Stone Press in his native Missoula, Montana, as a forum for his own work and that of fellow surrealist poets. Between 1974 and 1977, he published Montana Gothic, a poetry journal. He bought his first handpress in 1978, and in 1979 apprenticed under Adrian Wilson at the press in Tuscany Alley in San Francisco. He operated Black Stone Press in the Bay Area and printed a number of books with his wife, Shelley Hoyt-Koch. Following the dissolution of Black Stone Press in 1984, Koch has printed under the name Peter Rutledge Koch, Typographic Design, and Peter Koch, Printer. The Black Stone Press Archive provides a thorough history of the press, and includes correspondence, galleys, negatives, broadsides, books, literary journals, ephemera, and business records of the press. Books published by Black Stone Press are cataloged and available in Special Collections.

GRA 115 William Augustus Brewer bookplate collection, n.d., ca. 13,000 items

Delaware resident the Reverend William Augustus Brewer was an avid bookplate collector. His wife, Augusta LaMotte Brewer, bequeathed this collection to the University of Delaware Library after her husband’s death. The Brewer Bookplate Collection comprises 12,680 printed bookplates dating mainly from the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Additional bookplates, periodicals, and imprints have been added to the collection.

MSS 153 Cuala Press collection, 1903-1943; 1 linear ft. (ca. 265 items)

Elizabeth and Lily Yeats, sisters of William Butler Yeats and Jack B. Yeats, founded Cuala Press in 1908 in Dublin. Under the influence of the Arts and Crafts Movement, the cottage industry aimed to employ women and educate working class girls, producing embroidery and works from a small fine press. Cards and broadsides from Cuala Press included poetry and artwork by contemporary Irish writers and artists, including the Yeats brothers. This collection includes correspondence related to orders from Cuala Press, advertisements, ephemera, photographs, and hand-colored cards and broadsides from the Cuala Press.

MSS 297 John De Pol collection, 1837-2004 (bulk dates 1935-2001); 51 linear ft.

Artist, printmaker, and wood engraver John De Pol was born in 1913 in Greenwich Village in New York City. After service in World War II, De Pol worked as a typographer and graphic designer for Lewis White, The Thistle Press, and Bernard Brussel-Smith. By the early 1950s, De Pol began to spend more time designing and engraving for The Stone House Press, John Anderson's Pickering Press, and Pandick Press. The collection comprises the personal papers and an additional extensive book collection, tracing the evolution of John DePol’s craft from his early experiments in lithography during his military service, to his apprentice years with Lewis White, on through his prolific career as a wood engraver for commercial firms and fine press printers which continued into the twenty-first century. Most of the John De Pol Collection consists of examples of his work created for keepsakes, private presses, books, businesses, and corporations. The work includes greeting cards, books, pamphlets, brochures, proofs, clippings, flyers, broadsides, and programs, as well as illustrations for books and other publications. The collection also includes personal correspondence, and material related to De Pol's personal history, career, art, and many achievements.

MSS 211 Lester Douglas collection, 1920-1960; 2 linear ft. (1,137 items)

Noted book designer and authority on typography, Lester Douglas (d. 1961) was Director of Art and Printing for the Chamber of Commerce of the United States for 25 years. He was responsible for design of that organization's publication, Nation's Business. Other work included designs for The Limited Editions Club. Douglas was a founding member of the History Publishers Foundation, and was active in The Typophiles, The American Institute of Graphic Arts, and the American Historical Society. The Douglas collection includes personal and professional correspondence related to these organizations as well as his work as a designer. Correspondents include Paul Bennett, Mergenthaler Linotype Co.; Herman Cohen, Chiswick Bookstore; F.E. Dayton, Conde Nast Press; and Mrs. Edna Rushmore, Golden Hind Press.

MSS 338 Letters from calligraphers to Sidney Feinberg and George Grady, 1938-1976; 59 items

American book designer and calligrapher Sidney Feinberg began his interest in calligraphy while stationed in England during World War II. Following the war, Feinberg lived in New York and worked as a book designer for American Book-Knickerbocker Press, later American Book-Stratford Press. George Grady founded the George Grady Press, a New York City firm which was noted for private and fine printing. Originally assembled by an unknown collector in a notebook labeled "Calligraphic Letters," this collection comprises fifty-nine letters and cards from various calligraphers, printers, and graphic artists, all addressed to Feinberg or Grady. Correspondents include Lili Cassel-Wronker, Tony La Russa, James and Ruth McCrea, Oscar Ogg, George Salter, Paul Standard, and others.

MSS 319 Paulette Greene paper collection, 1669-1987; 1.6 linear ft.

This collection of handmade, watermarked, and decorated paper samples was compiled between 1962 and 1987 by Paulette Greene, an ABAA bookseller located in Rockville, New York. In addition to the paper samples are reference files on the represented paper processes and paper artists, and a limited amount of correspondence related to collecting this information. Strengths of the collections include samples of decorated papers, which include printed and marbled endpapers. Paper artists represented include Claire Van Vliet, Mariana Roach, and Douglass Howell.

MSS 209 Frederic W. Goudy collection, 1922-1969 (bulk dates 1930-1950); 1.5 linear ft. (410 items)

Born in Bloomington, Illinois, Frederic W. Goudy (1865-1947) became a world renowned type designer. After jobs as a bookkeeper and a clerk in a bookstore, he studied typography and learned from printers in the Chicago area. In 1895, he established the Camelot Press and a magazine, Chap-Book, both short-lived. He married Bertha Sprinks in 1897 and she eventually became an expert typesetter working with her husband. Goudy established the Village Press in 1903 and won the bronze medal for book printing at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904. He moved the Village Press to various locations in New York, gaining recognition as a type designer and selling type faces to the Caslon Foundry in England and Mitchell Kennerley. This collection relates to the life and work of Frederic Goudy, and includes samples of his printed work, honorary tributes, type specimens, writings by Goudy, and a small amount of correspondence. Of special note are 33 tributes from various presses in commemoration of the 35th anniversary of Bertha and Frederic Goudy's Village Press.

MSS 289 William Graily Hewitt letters to Sidney Feinberg, 1944-1953; 43 items

English calligrapher, illuminator, and author William Graily Hewitt lived from 1864-1952. After encouragement from Sydney Cockerell, Hewitt studied calligraphy with Edward Johnston and was one of Johnston's first pupils at the Central School of the Arts and Crafts in London. Hewitt succeeded Johnston as an instructor and taught courses in lettering for over 30 years. He authored several books on handwriting, including The Pen and Type Design (1928) and Lettering (1930). This collection consists of letters from Hewitt to American book designer Sidney Feinberg. Feinberg initiated the correspondence by writing for advice on calligraphy when he was stationed in Great Britain during World War II. The letters are rich with Hewitt's passion for calligraphy, instructions on writing and materials, opinions on print design, and reflections on his career in calligraphy.

MSS 412 W. Russell Hood collection related to typography and graphic design, 1569 - 1970 (bulk dates 1950 - 1969), 1.3 linear ft. and oversize

This collection is a working reference file of original and reproductive lettering and design from the sixteenth to the twentieth century, as well as articles and clippings on typography and design spanning the dates 1950-1969. The files were created by W. Russell Hood, a Philadelphia-based industrial designer.

MSS 236 Press of Kells collection, 1916- c. 1981; 37 items

The Press of Kells was founded in Newark, Delaware, around 1916 by Everett C. Johnson (d. 1926). Johnson, founding editor of the Newark Post, was also a devotee of fine printing and the ideal of craftsmanship espoused by William Morris. Johnson's venture with the Press of Kells was influenced by his American contemporary, Elbert Hubbard, who established the Roycrofters in East Aurora, New York. The collection includes a number of documents, ephemera, and clippings related to the press. Many of the fine press works from the Press of Kells are cataloged and available in the printed holdings of Special Collections.

MSS 516 J. Ben Lieberman papers, 1902-1997; 66 linear ft. 9 oversize boxes and map case storage

The J. Ben Lieberman papers reflect some of the accomplishments of educator, printer, and self-described "generalist" J. Ben Lieberman and his wife Elizabeth Koller Lieberman. The collection documents the lifelong passion of the Liebermans for popularizing personal printing and their leadership in the modern private press movement in America. The papers relate to the Liebermans' personal and professional printing projects, the social and professional networks of printers and typographers, printers' chappels, type specimens, commercial type directories, and other trade ephemera. The collection also contains a wide variety of printed material. Printed formats include magazines, newspapers, posters, prop cards (proprietors' cards), greeting cards, books, galley and page proofs, broadsides, keepsakes, invitations, menus, prospectuses, type specimen sheets, calendars, stationery, clippings, forms, manuals, catalogs, brochures, reports, announcements, book covers, and ephemera. Additionally this collection includes correspondence, photographs, negatives, contact sheets, paper samples, bills and receipts, mock-ups, notes, a design portfolio, stereotypes, electrotype plates, minutes, a corporate seal, bylaws, membership lists, applications, histories, and phonograph recordings. Other formats, such as lithographs, etchings, a charcoal drawing, and watercolors, are related to the small collection of artwork accumulated by Ben Lieberman.

MSS 148 Samuel Loveman correspondence, 1911-1976 (bulk dates 1932-1968); ca. 170 items

American book dealer, poet, and editor Samuel Loveman (d. 1976) was proprietor of Bodley Book Shop in New York City, and associated with Dauber & Pine Book Shop and Gotham Book Mart. In partnership with David Mann, as the Bodley Press, he published Hart Crane, by Brom Weber; The Case of Ezra Pound, by Charles Norman; and a reprint from Walt Whitman's The Wound Dresser. The collection consists of letters from various literary figures to Loveman, chiefly acknowledging receipt of poems and books from Loveman, but also includes other business letters related to the book trade.

MSS 452 Pentagram Press Archives, ca. 1974-1994, ca. 13 linear feet.

Founded in 1974 by the Milwaukee-based poet Michael Tarachow as a publishing outlet for poetry and other new literature, the Pentagram Press originally contracted its printing to local Milwaukee houses. By 1978, Tarachow had acquired his own press and over the past two decades he has gained recognition as both a respected printer and as a publisher of poetry and other literature. Since 1974 the Pentagram Press has produced more than seventy books and a host of broadsides and other ephemera. The Archives include correspondence, manuscripts, editorial materials, business records, and other material pertaining to the work of the Pentagram Press.

Plough Press Archives, ca. 1959-1991, 12 linear ft.

During his career as a scholar of printing history, Geoffrey Wakeman established himself as one of the most important historians of papermaking, binding, and color printing of his time. In 1967, Wakeman established the Plough Press as a medium for presenting his research. The Archives of the Plough Press consist of manuscripts, correspondence, and editorial matter for publications, business records, research files, ephemera, and a variety of other materials pertaining to the work of the Plough Press. Accompanying the Archive is a substantial portion of Geoffrey Wakeman's library on the history and technology of printing.

MSS 469 R. Hoe and Company records, 1876-1929, 1 linear ft.

The R. Hoe & Company records includes catalogs for various pieces of printing machinery, samples of company letterhead, price lists for materials produced by R. Hoe & Company, printed collections of publisher opinions regarding the quality and efficiency of Hoe products, British patents extended to the company for manufacture in London, assorted printed ephemera from R. Hoe & Company, and material related to William R. Fish, a civil engineer who patented various improvements in the field of printing technology.

Arthur W. Rushmore papers, 1900-1959; 111 items

From their home in Madison, New Jersey, Arthur Wisner Rushmore and his wife Edna Keeler Rushmore ran the Golden Hind Press. They produced over 200 titles, including editions of Edna St. Vincent Millay's poems and children's books. After Rushmore's death in 1955, his wife continued the Golden Hind Press. Arthur Rushmore was head of the manufacturing department of Harper & Brothers Publishers from 1904-1950, a well-known designer of books, and an active member of The Typophiles. The collection includes material related to his work at Harper & Brothers, the Golden Hind Press, and printed ephemera.

MSS 600 Frank W. Tober papermaking and paper samples collection, cira 1050, 1850-1993; 7 linear ft.

Frank W. Tober, born in Detroit, Michigan, maintained a wide range of book collecting interests, including the history of printing and publishing, the history of papermaking and the manufacture of paper, the era of Napoleon and the French Revolution, and contemporary fine printing and book arts. This collection consists of a wide variety of paper specimens and samples from around the world, including manufacturers' paper sample books, catalogs, individual paper specimens, and a portion of St. Louis collector and bookbinder Francis T. Guelker's collection on the history and craft of bookbinding and papermaking. It also includes a variety of books, articles, pamphlets, brochures, and other printed ephemera relating to all aspects of papermaking and the book arts.

MSS 501 University of Georgia Press collection, 1934-1999; 10 linear ft. and oversize

The University of Georgia Press collection contains trade materials published between 1934 and 1999 that were used by the production office at the press. Founded in 1938, the University of Georgia Press is the oldest and largest publishing house in the state and one of the largest publishing houses in the South. Included are typeface catalogs; book material catalogs, particularly cover materials, paper samples, headband samples, and foil samples; periodicals relating to visual arts and communication, and the font index for the press itself.

University Place Book Shop Papers, 1968-1988; 120 items

Bill French, proprietor of University Place Book Shop in New York City, was the source for work of Afro-American, African, and Caribbean writers before these authors were widely accepted in the mainstream publishing world. The collection includes correspondence, addressed to French, Walter Lowenfels, and others at University Place Book Shop, from a number of such authors.

Thomas Webb Scrapbook, ca. 1841-1847; 1 volume

This scrapbook consists of trade lists and circulars compiled by "Mr. Thomas H. Webb, Bookseller, Boston." Most of the lists are from dealers and publishers in Boston and New York, but other cities such as Philadelphia; Richmond, Virginia; and Portland, Maine are represented. An alphabetical index at the front of the scrapbook provides access to its contents.

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