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Grolier Club Exhibitions

Patrick Coleman

Books have always played a most important part in my life.

From early childhood when I built a reading hideout in the knee wall behind my bed, to being hired as the Head of Library Acquisitions at the Minnesota Historical Society, books and collecting have enriched my life.

By the time I was in high school, I began collecting Minnesota history with an emphasis on the radical political tradition of the state. I gave that up so as not to be in competition with my job where my primary duty was to collect Minnesota material for the State.

I easily made the transition to collecting my second love, Irish history, and literature. In November of 1979 there was a sale of Irish literature at Julia’s Auction Service in Fairfield, Maine, where I was able to purchase several Cuala Press imprints. I was hooked by their simple beauty, the romance of the Irish Literary Renaissance, and the story of this all-female run arts and crafts publisher, headed by the sisters of W. B. Yeats.

I have since acquired all the regularly published works of that press and I am now looking for their occasional printings, private publications, and ephemera.



Lionel Johnson. Dundrum, Ireland: Dun Emer Press, 1904.

The Press began life as the Dun Emer Pres before becoming the Cuala Press. This copy is a publisher’s proof owned by Lady Gregory, the great patron of the Irish Literary Renaissance, sent to her, no doubt, for her approval. The title would be changed to Twenty One Poems when it was officially published. 220 copies were printed.

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Jack B. Yeats to Charles Elkin Mathews, December 30, 1901.

Personal collection of Patrick Coleman.

Jack Yeats, one of the foremost Irish painters, writing here to English publisher, Elkin Mathews, asking for assistance registering his illustrated publication, A Broadsheet, which was an antecedent of the Cuala Press’s series of A Broadside. The publication was a partnership with Pamela Colman Smith and was published by Mathews.