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Grolier Club Exhibitions

Deep Impressions. Typography: The History and Practice of Printing, 1900 to date.

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Books Designed by Dard Hunter for the Roycroft Press.


Three representative examples from a collection of twenty books designed by Dard Hunter for the Roycroft Press. Dard Hunter (1883-1966), America's foremost historian of paper and papermaking, was also an accomplished designer; and the books he did for Elbert Hubbard’s delightfully idiosyncratic press stand as important examples of American Arts and Crafts printing, and also provide insight into the early design experience of a great figure in book history.

Gift of Riva Castleman, 2005.

Manhattan: An Ode

Joseph Ignatius Constantine Clarke. by Joseph I. C. Clarke; an essay by Elbert Hubbard. East Aurora, NY: The Roycrofters, 1910.

Printing Ink Specimen Books. 

The Grolier Club Library has added over a dozen printing ink specimen books to its collection since 2005. Colorful and eye-catching, these books chart the technological innovations that transformed printing ink production from a laborious, handcrafted process into a streamlined commercial industry by the twentieth century.


Printing Ink Specimens.

Frederick H. Levey Company. New York: Fred'k H. Levey Company, 1931?

Purchased in 2015 with Grolier Club Library Harper Funds.


Fine Printing Inks.

Lewis Roberts Inc. Newark, NJ: Lewis Roberts Inc., 1940s?

Purchased in 2016 with Grolier Club Library Harper Funds.


Eight Selected Black Inks.

Fishburn Printing Ink Company. [Watford, England: Fishburn Printing Ink Co., ca. 1950].

Purchased in 2016 with Grolier Club Library Harper Funds.


Original drawing for the cover of The Colophon no. 3 n.s. vol. 1 (Winter 1936).

M. (Thomas Maitland) Cleland, 1880-1964. Pen and ink, 10½ x 8¼ in.

Thomas Maitland Cleland worked primarily as an art designer for magazines such as McClure’s and Fortune, despite the fact that he was not particularly interested in advertising, other than as a way to make a living. D. B. Updike was an early mentor, and Cleland’s fine press work exhibits the classical approach and fine detail characteristic of the Merrymount Press—qualities very much on display in this production drawing for the cover of the Winter 1936 issue of The Colophon.

 Gift of Marie Korey in memory of Richard Landon, 2016.


Manuale Typographicum.

Hermann Zapf, 1918-2015. New York: Museum Books, 1954 (Frankfurt am Main: Heinfich Egenolf).

Grolier Club member and type designer Jerry Kelly ranked Hermann Zapf’s Manuale Typographicum as “forever among the greatest works of typography and printing.” The work features 100 quotes relating to various aspects of the book, selected and arranged by Zapf into creative and original typographical designs. The types were culled from the archives of the Stempel type foundry in Frankfurt am Main, where Zapf worked as a lettering artist.

This specimen features a quote by Theodore Low De Vinne (1828-1914), New York City printer and founding member of the Grolier Club.

Gift of Pamela Estes in memory of Richard Estes, September 2010.


ATF Alphabets.

American Type Founders Company. Elizabeth, NJ: American Typefounders Co., ca. 1950s.  

The American Type Founders Company issued these type specimen cards between the 1950s and 1960s in a walnut-finish box designed to blend with contemporary office furniture. The approximately 180 cards contain samples of popular typefaces designed for tracing and for convenient side-by-side comparison. As attested by the accompanying advertising brochures, new cards could be ordered and added to the box as they were issued. This is a rare example of a complete set. 

Purchased in 2015 with Grolier Club Library Harper Funds. 


ABC of Bugs and Plants in a Northern Garden.

Judy Sgantas. [Newark], VT: Janus Press, 2012.

This double alphabet book is a recent addition to the Grolier Club Library’s small but select collection of lettering books. The geometrically formed capital letters entwined with plants and insects were designed by artist and gardener Judy Sgantas after classically inspired Renaissance models. The capital “M” (for Moth) shown in this opening closely recalls the character designed by Fra Luca Pacioli for his Divina proportione (Venice, 1509) and used for many years as the logo of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Sgantas’s drawings were digitally scanned and reproduced on sheets printed in letterpress by Claire Van Vliet of the Janus Press.

Gift of Beau Brauer in honor of John Neal Hoover, 2014.