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Letterpress and Bookbinding

ART 367-011
Prof. Mike Kaylor | January 29, 2004

for reference assistance email Special Collections

or contact:
Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
(302) 831-2229

The Special Collections Department of the University of Delaware Library houses a wealth of research material relating to the history and technology of letterpress printing and bookbinding, from traditional fine binding to contemporary artists' books. The Library's extensive rare book collection ranges from early printed books of the fifteenth century to examples of fine and small press printing of the present day. Special Collections also houses extensive collections of ephemera, manuscripts, and archival materials relating to printing, papermaking, and the book arts. The collections include the archives of several private presses, and the personal papers of typographers, designers, calligraphers, and printers. The following guide represents a selected list of relevant holdings in these areas.

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Printed Collections

Search strategies to locate printed sources related to letterpress and bookbinding in Special Collections:

  1. Limit your search to Special Collections:
    • From DELCAT > Search by Library Collection > select Special Collections
  2. Use LC subject terms such as those below to search for material related to printing and the bookarts
    • Alphabets
    • Artists' books
    • Book design -- handbooks, manuals, etc.
    • Bookbinding
    • Bookbinding -- Specimens
    • Lettering
    • Paper -- Sample books
    • Paste papers
    • Printed paste papers
    • Printing -- Specimens
    • Private presses
    • Type and type-founding
    • Type ornaments -- Specimens
    • Wood types (Printing)
  3. Search by name of the press:
    • From DELCAT > Advanced Search > Search Keyword in Publisher [i.e. Bird and Bull Press]
  4. Try call number browsing, such as Z250.3 to browse sources about type ornaments and printing specimens.
  5. Consult subject guides and online exhibitions available from Special Collections:
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Selected books shown in class:

Barton, Carol June.

Everyday Road Signs. [Rosendale, N.Y.: Women's Studio Workshop, 1988.

LOCATION: Special Collections folio Z 239 .W6 B37x 1988

Bible. N.T. Gospels. English. 1931. Authorized.

The four Gospels of the Lord Jesus Christ according to the Authorized version of King James I. With decorations by Eric Gill. [Waltham Saint Lawrence, Berkshire] : Golden Cockerel Press, 1931.

LOCATION: Special Collections folio BS2553 .G5

Chen, Julie.

Leavings. Berkeley, Calif.: Flying Fish Press, 1997.

LOCATION: Special Collections Folio+ N7433.4 .C44 L43x 1997

Ferrucci, Kate.

Limestone Lives. Bloomington: People to People Press, 2002.

LOCATION: Special Collections - In Process

Gill, Eric, 1882-1940.

A book of alphabets for Douglas Cleverdon / drawn by Eric Gill ; with a foreword by Douglas Cleverdon ; and an introd. by John Dreyfus. Wellingborough : Christopher Skelton, 1987.

LOCATION: Special Collections NK 3631 .G54 1987

Gorrick, Anne.

"Swans, the ice," she said. Rosendale: Women's Studio Workshop, 2001.

LOCATION: Special Collections - In Process

Hamady, Walter.

Neopostmodernism, or, Dieser Rasen ist kein Hundeklo, or, Gabberjab number 6. Mt. Horeb, Wis.: Perishable Press, 1988.

LOCATION: Special Collections - In Process

Hemingway, Ernest, 1899-1961.

Big Two-hearted River. Portland, Me.: coyote love press/romulus editions, 2002.

LOCATION: Special Collections PS3515.E37 B5 2002

Hobson, Charles, 1943-

Dancing with Amelia: Amelia Earhart's six years of marriage with George Palmer Putnam; images & fictions by Charles Hobson. San Francisco: Pacific Editions, 2000.

LOCATION: Special Collections N7433.4.H62 D35 2000

Hormone Derange : the first 16 broadsides, 1991-2000. [Berkeley] : Hormone Derange Editions, [2000].

LOCATION: Special Collections FOLIO+ Z231.5.P7 H67x 2000

Koch, Peter Rutledge.

Real lead : deep drive letterpress printing. Berkeley : Peter Koch, Printers, 2002, c2001.

LOCATION: Special Collections Z250 .K66x 2002

Koch, Peter Rutledge.

Hard words / Peter Rutledge Koch. [Berkeley?] Gallery 16 & Peter Koch, Printer, 2000.

LOCATION: Special Collections FOLIO+ N7433.4.K66 H3x 2001

Lemnius, Levinus, 1505-1568.

De gli occvlti miracoli, uarii ammaestramenti delle cose della natura : con probabili ragioni & artificiosa congiettura confermati : con due tauole,l'una de' capitoli, l'altra delle cose piu notabili / Levinio Lennio. In Venetia : Appresso Lodouico Auanzo, 1563.

LOCATION: Special Collections Unidel BF1410 .L46x 1563

McMurray, Mark.

Type specimens of Caliban Press : on the occasion of its sixth anniversary. Montclair, N.J. : [Caliban Press], 1991.

LOCATION: Special Collections folio Z232 .C155 M36x 1991

Model, Johann Georg, 1711-1775.

Récréations physiques, économiques et chimiques / de M. Model ... ; ouvrage traduit de l'allemand, avec des observations & des additions, par M. Parmentier ... A Paris : Chez Monory ..., 1774.

LOCATION: Special Collections Unidel QD25 .M6414x 1774

Morris, Henry, 1925-

Printed paste-papers for three-piece bookbindings. Newtown, Pa. : Bird & Bull Press, [1990].

LOCATION: Special Collections TS1220 .M67x 1990

Musæum hermeticum, reformatum et amplificatum : omnes sopho-spagyricæ artis discipulos fidelissimè erudiens : quo pacto summa illa veraque lapidis philosophici medicina, qua res omnes qualemcunque defectum patientes instaurantur, inveniri & haberi queat : continens tractatus chimicos XXI ... in gratiam filiorum doctrinæ, quibus germanicum idiomaignotum est, latina lingua ornatum. Francofurti : Apud Hermannum à Sande, 1678.

LOCATION: Special Collections Unidel QD25 .M75 1678b

Ornamented types : twenty-three alphabets from the Foundry of Louis John Pouchée / introduction, James Mosley. London : I.M. Imprimit, in association with the St. Bride Printing Library, 1992-1993.

LOCATION: Special Collections folio+ Z250.3 .O76x 1992

Paracelsus, 1493-1541.

Trei Tractat Philippi Theophrasti Paracelsi Bombast ... Der Erst, von Öffnung der Haut, und ihrer natürlichen Verletzung, sampt der Heylung, Der Ander, von Heylung der Wunde[n], Der Tritt, von Schlangen, Spin[n]en, Krotten, Krepsen, Muttermehler, &c. und ihrer Tugent ... Getruckt zu Strassburg : Durch Theodosium Rihel, 1570.

LOCATION: Special Collections Unidel BF1410 .P37x 1570

Romero, Pepe.

The journey of the guitar : a portrait of Pepe Romero in his own words / selected and edited by Robin Price ; palladium print by James W. Pitts. Middletown, Conn. : Robin Price, c1999.

LOCATION: Special Collections ML 419 .R76 A34x 1999

Rossello, Timotheo.

Della summa de' secreti universali in ogni materia ... / di don Timotheo Rossello ... In Venetia : [s.n.], 1580.

LOCATION: Special Collections Unidel AG103 .R82 1580

Spalding & Hodge.

Printing papers : a handbook for the use of publisehrs & printers. London : Spalding & Hodge Ltd., [1915].

LOCATION: Special Collections TS1220 .S63x 1915

Van Vliet, Claire.

Woven and interlocking book structures : from the Janus, Steiner and Gefn Presses / Claire Van Vliet and Elizabeth Steiner. Newark, Vt. : Janus Gefn Unlimited, 2002.

LOCATION: Special Collections Z116.A3 V36x 2002

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Ephemera is any material normally discarded after its intended use. Printed ephemera captures the look of days gone by and provides excellent source material for study of typographic design and historic printing processes. Examples of ephemera are greeting cards, calendars, menus, postcards, tickets, tradecards, letterhead stationery, and other colorful items.

Several ephemera collections in Special Collections focus 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. Delaware ephemera contains a wide variety of printed items from business and social use dating from the nineteenth century to the present day.

The Exposition material includes photographs, maps, prints, tickets, and other souvenirs from great fairs such as the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. The ephemera collection also includes late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century examples of ballad sheets, execution notices, and political broadsides, all of which represent interesting samples of typographic design.

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Manuscripts and Archival Resources

Please see addtional sources from the Printing and the Book Arts subject guide.

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

Typographer, book designer, and printer John Anderson (b. 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.

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.

(in process) John De Pol papers, ca. 1920s - 2002, ca. 60 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. Most of the John De Pol papers 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. An exhibition drawn from the extensive collection as well as the Library's printed holdings will be on display at the University of Delaware Library in Fall 2004, in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Printing History Association, to be held in Newark, Delaware.

MSS 211 Lester Douglas collection, 1920-1960; 4.6 linear ft.

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.

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