Deep Impressions. Typography: The History and Practice of Printing, to 1900.
Ranulphus Higden. trans. John Trevisa. Westminster: Wynkyn de Worde, 13 Apr. 1495.
The Grolier Club Library owes its collection of fifteenth-century books entirely to the generous donations of members. Paul Chrzanowski joined these distinguished ranks in 2019 with his gift of Wynkyn de Worde’s 1495 Polycronicon, the second printed edition of Ranulphus Higden’s widely popular universal history.
Fifteenth-century books are generally collected by the Grolier Club not for their subject matter but as representatives of important facets of binding, printing, or type design. This edition of the Polycronicon is notable as the first English book to contain printed musical notation (the title-page is in fascimile).
Gift of Paul Chrzanowski, 2019.
Overslag-boek, zeer nuttig voor alle liefhebbers der edel boekdruk-konste, M.D.CC.XCIV .
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.
Adlocutio et encomia variis linguis expressa, quæ summo pontifici Pio VII: typographiæ imperiale musæum invisenti.
J. (Jean Joseph) Marcel, 1776-1854. Paris: Imprimerie Impériale, 1805.
This stately keepsake was produced to honor the visit of Pope Pius VII to the French imperial printing office on January 31, 1805. It contains a series of words of welcome and addresses in eight languages, including Arabic, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Latin, and Spanish. Doubling as a work of propaganda, the keepsake showcased the wide typographic range of the Imprimerie Impériale, which was restored and expanded under Napoléon to accommodate his growing empire.
Purchased in 2011 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.
Original drawing of the interior of the Plantin-Moretus Museum, Antwerp, Belgium, 1887-1888.
Joseph Pennell, 1857-1926. Pen and ink on paper, 15¾ x 20 in.
Joseph Pennell, a Grolier member from 1884 until his death in 1926, and one of the most distinguished American illustrators of his time, created this drawing for the Grolier Club publication Christopher Plantin and the Plantin-Moretus Museum at Antwerp, printed by Theodore Low De Vinne in 1888. The drawing is shown alongside De Vinne’s personal copy of the book sumptuously bound in citron morocco by Zaehnsdorf.
Drawing purchased in 2007, supported by a gift from Mark Samuels Lasner.
Book purchased in 2013, supported by a gift from Pamela Estes in memory of Richard M. Estes, and Florence Fearrington.
Theodore Low De Vinne Papers.
One February day in 2010, during one of the worst snowstorms in recent memory, a truck delivered ten boxes of books, letters, business correspondence, and “personalia” relating to fine press printer, print historian, and founding Grolier Club member Theodore Low De Vinne (1828-1914). At the suggestion of Grolier member and De Vinne scholar Irene Tichenor, the archive was donated to the Grolier Club by the Andrew Mellon Library of Choate Rosemary Hall, where it had languished, largely unused, since its acquisition from a De Vinne descendant some decades ago. The Choate gift adds both depth and breadth to the Grolier Club’s own De Vinne holdings and complements other similar scholarly collections on the art and history of the book. Shown here is the etching plate for Thomas Johnson’s iconic portrait of De Vinne, alongside Tichenor’s 2005 monograph on the printer, No Art without Craft, featuring the etching on the cover.
Also shown is the January 1, 1858 contract establishing De Vinne's partnership with Francis Hart, with whom he would later fall out.
Gift of Choate Rosemary Hall, 2010.
The Printers' International Specimen Exchange.
The Printers' International Specimen Exchange was an influential annual subscription publication for the “technical education of the working printer” that ran from 1880 to 1898. In the initial proposal letter dated 1879, printers were invited to send in examples of their work in the number of anticipated subscribers for each year. In return, they received a bound, collated set of all specimens accepted. Response to the first call for specimens exceeded all expectations, and publication, originally announced as a biennial, was quickly changed to annual. Initially, most of the contributions came from Great Britain and the United States, but by the mid-1880s the Exchange included as many as 400 specimens from around the world, recording, on an annual basis, the “best of the best” in a rapidly-changing technological and aesthetic environment. It inspired similar ventures in Germany, France, and the United States.
Volumes 1-15 (of 16) purchased 2013-2014 with Grolier Club Library Harper Funds.
Specimens of Machine Cut Wood Type!
Wm. H. Page Wood Type Co. Norwich, CT: Wm. H. Page Wood Type Co., .
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.
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.