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Grolier Club Exhibitions

Looking Back

A Bibliography of Printing.

A BIBLIOGRAPHY OF PRINTING.

E.C. Bigmore (1838–1889), C.W.H. Wyman (1832–1909). London: Bernard Quaritch, 1880. Octavo.

Though titled “A Bibliography of Printing,” and indeed the main text is an alphabetical listing of books and journals pertaining to the subject, this volume is far more than that, since most entries are supplemented by substantial and informative commentaries. The commentaries not only flesh out details, but also express sound opinions about the contents. In three volumes totaling almost a thousand pages, A Bibliography of Printing has become a key resource for the study of the art.

LENDER: The Grolier Club

Typographia. Typographia.

TYPOGRAPHIA.

Thomas Curson Hansard (1776–1833). London: Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy, 1825. Octavo.

Hansard’s manual is divided into two parts: historical (over 400 pages) and practical (over 500 pages). The large tome is a thorough investigation of the craft of printing from both angles, drawn to some extent from earlier works such as Stower’s Printer’s Grammar and Rowe Mores’ work on the English typefounders. Then-modern technologies such as stereotyping and lithography are covered in this comprehensive volume.

Hansard was not hesitant to express his opinions: he condemns modern types with very fine serifs (such as Bodoni and Didot), and praises (perhaps too much?) George Clymer’s Columbian Press.

LENDER: The Grolier Club

Typographia, or the Printer's Instructor.

TYPOGRAPHIA, OR THE PRINTER’S INSTRUCTOR.

John Johnson (1777–1848). London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown & Greene, 1824. Two volumes, issued in octavo, duodecimo and sixteenmo formats.

In 1817, Johnson moved to London, where he set up shop on his own and began work on his nearly 1300-page history and manual of printing, Typographia. The first volume is mainly historical, while the second is devoted to practical information for the practicing printer, along the lines of Moxon and Fertel.

Typographia is notable not only for its length, but also for the care devoted to its composition in an extremely small type. In the larger edition each page is surrounded by an elaborate border made of hundreds of metal type ornaments, while a simple two-line border is used for the smaller issues.

PROVENANCE: Antiquarian bookseller Colin Franklin; later David R. Godine

The Biography and Typography of William Caxton.

THE BIOGRAPHY AND TYPOGRAPHY OF WILLIAM CAXTON.

William Blades (1824–1890). London: Trübner & Co., 1877. Octavo.

William Caxton was England’s first printer, and therefore of great importance in the history of typography. A successful merchant and diplomat, Caxton began his work as a printer in Bruges in 1473, after being somewhat involved with a printing operation in Cologne in 1471-72. In 1476 Caxton brought the skills he had learned on the Continent to London, where he set up a press in Westminster Abbey.

A couple of Caxton’s types were not very elegant, but they did possess a crude charm. However, his second type is a fine bastarda.

LENDER: Jerry Kelly

Jacobus de Voragine / The Golden Legend.

JACOBUS DE VORAGINE / THE GOLDEN LEGEND.

William Morris (1834–1896). Hammersmith: The Kelmscott Press, 1892. Quarto.

In Morris’ time, books were printed in thin, spindly perversions of Bodoni and Didot’s modern style fonts. Such types were very weak in comparison to the work of the early printers, which Morris admired. After seeing projected enlargements of the pages of Gutenberg, Jenson, Zainer and others in a slide lecture given by Emery Walker, Morris decided to start his own press, which he named the Kelmscott Press, in order to print books in the manner he admired.

The Golden type was an amalgam of the work of Jenson and Jacobus Rubeus, as seen through Morris’ mediaevalist eyes.

LENDER: Jerry Kelly

Notes on a Century of Typography at the University Press Oxford. Notes on a Century of Typography at the University Press Oxford.

NOTES ON A CENTURY OF TYPOGRAPHY AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS OXFORD.

Horace Hart (1840–1916). 1693–1794, Oxford: Printed at the University Press, 1900. Folio.

The Oxford University Press is probably the oldest continuously operating publisher in the world, with origins dating back to 1633. Over the centuries the Press accumulated a large amount of typographic material from an extremely wide assortment of sources. Notably, when Bishop John Fell became the head of the operation in 1672, he saw the need to expand and improve upon the types available at Oxford.

By the time Horace Hart became controller of the press in 1883, these resources were something of a disorganized mess. Hart took on the task of cataloguing and organizing this disparate material.

PROVENANCE: Inscribed by the author to the Grolier Club

The American Chapbook. The American Chapbook.

THE AMERICAN CHAPBOOK.

Will Bradley (1868–1962). Elizabeth, New Jersey: American Type Founders, September 1904–August 1905. Duodecimo.

Will Bradley had a remarkable and diverse career as a graphic designer. As a matter of fact, he may very well be the first to whom the term “graphic designer” could aptly be applied: not only did Bradley design advertisements, pamphlets, and books, but also typefaces, ornaments, magazines, and even movie titles. His style was eclectic, ranging from art nouveau, somewhat in the vein of Aubrey Beardsley, to arabesque, classical, avant-garde, and even a crude early American look.

Among Bradley’s many clients were the Strathmore Paper Company, Harper & Row Publishers, Ladies’ Home Journal, Hearst Magazines, and American Type Founders, for which Bradley designed a monthly series of small chap books to promote their types and ornaments.

LENDER: Jerry Kelly

Founderies de Caractères et Leur Matériel Dans les Pays-Bas du XVe au XIXe Siècle.

FOUNDERIES DE CARACTÈRES ET LEUR MATÉRIEL DANS LES PAYS-BAS DU XVe AU XIXe SIÈCLE.

Charles Enschedé (1855–1919). Haarlem: Joh. Enschedé en Zonen, 1908. Folio.

The Enschedé type foundry in Holland has a distinguished history, dating back to 1703. The company had been owned by the descendants of Johannes Enschedé for many generations, well into the twentieth century.

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the firm, Charles Enschedé, a sixth-generation descendant of the founder of the company, Johannes Enschedé I (1708–1780), compiled a history of typefounding in the Netherlands from its beginnings up to 1900. The text also touches on the very beginnings of the printer’s craft.

LENDER: The Grolier Club

Founderies de Caractères et Leur Matériel Dans les Pays-Bas du XVe au XIXe Siècle.

TYPEFOUNDRIES IN THE NETHERLANDS FROM THE FIFTEENTH TO THE NINETEENTH CENTURY.

Charles Enschedé (1855–1919). Haarlem: Stichting Museum Enschedé, 1978. Folio.

Like the original French edition, the English edition is printed letterpress on a fine mold-made paper in a generous format. It is also handset from foundry type, this time using Jan van Krimpen’s Romanée type instead of the Fleischman fonts employed for the 1908 French text. The book, designed by Bran de Does, is one of the most beautiful productions of its time, and one of the most substantial letterpress books to appear after the 1960s.

LENDER: The Grolier Club

Historic Printing Types

HISTORIC PRINTING TYPES.

Theodore Low De Vinne (1828–1914). New York: The Grolier Club, 1886. Quarto.

Theodore Low De Vinne was a practicing printer who, from humble beginnings, rose to head one of the largest printing companies in New York. In addition to his very significant accomplishments as a printer, De Vinne was also a student of the craft.

In Historic Printing Types, based on a lecture delivered at the Grolier Club on January 25, 1885 (when the Club was less than a year old), De Vinne offers great insight into the evolution of printing types, from the invention of printing to his own time.

De Vinne was one of the nine founders of the Grolier Club, and he printed most of the Club’s early publications.

PROVENANCE: Given to the library of the Grolier Club by the author; one of two copies printed on vellum

Printing Types: Their History. Forms, and Use.

PRINTING TYPES: THEIR HISTORY, FORMS, AND USE.

Daniel Berkeley Updike (1860–1941). Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1922. Two volumes. Octavo.

Covering four centuries of typographic practice in the Latin alphabet from Germany, France, and Italy, to England, the lowlands, Spain, and the New World, Updike reviews in depth the development of typography from its beginnings to the time of his writing. He delves into a complex subject with clarity, insight, and style.

Updike’s historical chapters are sandwiched between an introduction and conclusion relating the study to contemporary printshop practice. Almost all of the advice provided in those sections are as applicable today as they were a century ago, when Printing Types first appeared in print.

PROVENANCE: Martin Hutner, author of several books and articles on Daniel Berkeley Updike and the Merrymount Press