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Grolier Club Exhibitions

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

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Overslag-boek, zeer nuttig voor alle liefhebbers der edel boekdruk-konste, M.D.CC.XCIV [1794].

Joannes Josephus Balthazar Vanderstraelen, fl. 1794-1831.

Printed manuals on how to arrange formes of type for printing in the various formats (folio, quarto, octavo, etc.) are common, but manuscript imposition manuals, although they must once have been standard tools in many early printing houses, survive in extremely small numbers. This example, the earliest known Dutch imposition manual, written out in 1794-1795 by a printer living in Antwerp, is especially notable for the large number of unusual variant imposition patterns it offers, and for its striking use of color. In consideration of its age, scarcity and importance, the Club determined to publish a photographic facsimile of the manuscript, which appeared, edited and with scholarly notes by Grolier Club member Frans A. Janssen, in 2014.

Purchased in 2006 with Grolier Club Library Harper Funds.


Typographie économique, ou, L'art de l'imprimerie mis à la portée de tous, et applicable aux différens besoins sociaux

Charles Philibert, comte de Lasteyrie du Saillant, 1759-1849. Paris: Chez l'auteur, 1837. 

This unattractive little pamphlet represents an attempt by philanthropist and printer Charles de Lasteyrie to make the printing process more accessible to the masses. The pamphlet describes a system of “economical typography” involving a special portable press capable of printing letterpress, engravings, and lithographs; and a type font of his own devising that eliminated uppercase letters as well as most punctuation and other “non-essential” characters. The pamphlet was printed lithographically on Lasteyrie’s press using his types; and although his various innovations combine to produce a text almost as ugly as it is unreadable, Typographie économique is nevertheless a fascinating component of the revolution in printing technology sweeping through Europe in the first half of the nineteenth century.  

Purchased in 2004 with Grolier Club Library Harper Funds.

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Specimens of Machine Cut Wood Type! 

Wm. H. Page Wood Type Co. Norwich, CT: Wm. H. Page Wood Type Co., [1890]. 

William H. Page (1829-1909) was one of the principle wood type manufacturers of the nineteenth century, acclaimed for the artistic sensibility and skill he brought to the craft. This was one of the last specimen books he issued before the company was taken over by J. E. Hamilton in 1891. 

Large display letters like the examples shown in this opening could be produced more easily and affordably with wood types than with metal types. As a result, they were widely used for broadsheet advertisements and other commercial productions.   

Purchased in 2011 with Grolier Club Library Harper Funds. 

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Eugene S. Flamm Collection of Shakespeare Fine Press Books.

In 2012 former Grolier Club President Eugene Flamm made the Club an extraordinary gift of 29 Shakespeare fine press editions, including the 1912 Doves Press edition of Venus & Adonis, one of 200 copies on Batchelor laid paper; and the 1893 Kelmscott Press edition of The poems of William Shakespeare, one of 500 copies on paper. The gift was just one of many made by Dr. Flamm during his terms as Chair of the Grolier Club Library Committee, and as Club President, and it significantly enriched the Club’s collection of representative examples of fine press books.

Gift of Eugene S. Flamm, 2012. 

(Above) The Poems of William Shakespeare printed after the original copies of Venus and Adonis, 1593, The Rape of Lucrece, 1594, Sonnets, 1609, The Lover's Complaint.

Kelmscott Press. Hammersmith: Kelmscott Press; [London]: Sold by Reeves & Turner, 1893.  

(Below) Venus and Adonis (1593).

Doves Press. Hammersmith: Doves Press, 1912.