Archive for December, 2011

Treasures from the archives of the Imprimerie Nationale

December 28, 2011 Leave a comment

The New York Times posted a great article about the current exhibition being held at the Grolier Club “Printing for Kingdom, Empire & Republic: Treasures From the Archives of the Imprimerie Nationale.” The exhibition contains hundreds of historical punches, matrcies of various typefaces, dozens of books to view, and reveals exquisite artifacts that have never before been shown outside of France.

In addition, a publication Printing for Kingdom, Empire, and Republic: Treasures from the Archives of the Imprimerie Nationale edited by George H. Fletcher was created to accompany the exhibition and is available from Oak Knoll. It tells the story of the Imprimerie Nationale from the royal printers established by François I in 1538 to its triumphant survival in the present day. The book surveys a wealth of objects, all classified as French monuments historiques, and includes artifacts of various printing processes from the days of François I to today. This new publication is beautifully illustrated containing five pages of color plates, four plates in collotypes, illustrations of typefaces, and more.

Click here to read more about the new book, and click here to read the article in The New York Times.

An article from the Winterthur Library News

December 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Oak Knoll was featured in the Fall 2011 issue of Winterthur Library News. As part of Winterthur’s book connoisseurship course for the first-year fellows in the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture, the class visited Oak Knoll to present reports they had written about books as objects. With brief talks from Bob, Rob, Laura, and Danielle, we hoped they had a great experience at our bookshop.

From the article in Winterthur Library News Fall 2011

WPAMC Book Connoisseurship and Oak Knoll Books

Last semester library staff members Emily Guthrie and Richard McKinstry, together with library conservator Chela Metzger, taught a book connoisseurship course to the first-year fellows in the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture. The course was designed to encourage an appreciation and understanding of books and bound structures as cultural artifacts.

Over a period of three days, the students became familiar with the history and structure of bound books, whether printed or manuscript, and viewed dozens of different bindings from the library’s rare book and manuscript holdings. Honorary Winterthur trustee, bibliophile, and generous library donor Edmond L. Lincoln joined the students and staff to add his comments, especially about the earliest of the library’s holdings.

On day three, Bob Fleck, owner of Oak Knoll Books and proprietor of Oak Knoll Press in New Castle, Delaware, kindly welcomed the group to his bookstore, located in New Castle’s former Masonic building, Odd Fellows Hall, and opera house. Oak Knoll Books was established in 1976 and today has the world’s largest inventory of books about books and bibliography. Oak Knoll Press publishes approximately 25 books per year on bibliographic themes. After giving a tour of his business, Bob and co-workers Rob Fleck (his youngest son), in charge of antiquarian and library sales; Laura R. Williams, publishing director; and Danielle Burcham, publishing assistant, spoke about the current state of the antiquarian book trade and Oak Knoll’s publishing program.

Each student had been given an assignment to study a book as an object, selecting a volume from the library’s unprocessed shelves. They presented their reports at Oak Knoll on the old opera house stage that once hosted the likes of Enrico Caruso, Annie Oakley, and other well-known public figures of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

We very much appreciate Bob Fleck’s willingness to host the students and look forward to a return visit.

Click here to learn more about Winterthur and its library, and click here to sign up to receive Winterthur Library News, a quarterly e-mail on the activities of the library staff and acquisitions.

An article about dust jackets

December 22, 2011 Leave a comment

With the new publication Book-Jackets: Their History, Forms, and Use by G. Thomas Tanselle almost available from Oak Knoll, we thought you might like to read an interesting blog article related to dust jackets. Posted by Stephen J. Gertz on the Booktryst blog, he talks about dust jacket repair and whether repaired dust jackets are something a book collector likes or dislikes. It’s a neat article that presents some interesting points to consider. Click here to read the entire article.

To learn more, or to pre-order Books-Jackets: Their History, Forms, and Use, click here.


The Oak Knoll 2011 Christmas Party

December 21, 2011 1 comment

Last night, Bob and Millie Fleck were gracious enough to have the entire staff of Oak Knoll Books and Press to their home for the annual Oak Knoll Christmas Party. The evening began with plenty of wine of course, and many good appetizers including dill dip and bread made by Danielle, beef and cheese dip made by Jeanette, a buffalo chicken dip made by Rob, and a cauliflower dip also made by Rob. For the main course, Millie baked meatballs, Bruce brought pasta salad, and Laura prepared a Caesar salad.

After we were all stuffed from the many tasty snacks, we headed into the living room to sing Christmas carols and exchange presents. Jeanette’s husband Ken added a really special treat to the night by bringing his keyboard and playing some beautiful Christmas songs. While some were too shy to sing, we all had a great time listening to our favorite carols so wonderfully played. We even got truly into the Christmas spirit by taking turns reading pages from the classic poem by Clement Moore The Night Before Christmas.

A fun and entertaining night, we are all thankful to Bob and Millie for opening their home to us. It was a great opportunity to spend time with each other outside of work and celebrate this beautiful season!

How the people of 1912 envisioned 2012

December 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Check out this neat article published in the Paleofuture blog of the Smithsonian website. The article takes a look at future-themed illustrated cards that were produced by the Norgeu family of printers. The cards were printed for the French chocolate company Lombart and were titled “En l’an 2012″ which translates to “in the year 2012.” They were intended to illustrate how the technology of 2012 would improve the sales of Lombart chocolate. It’s neat to see illustrations of the cards and also see what earlier generations thought 2012 might be like!

Click here to read the article.

An overwhelming turnout for the book signing of New Castle, Delaware

December 15, 2011 Leave a comment

“Wow!” That’s about all I can say about the turnout of last night’s book signing of New Castle, Delaware: A Walk Through Time. Held at the New Castle Public Library from 6pm to 8pm, the doors barely had time to close as people continued to file in to have their new books signed. Written by Delaware authors Barbara E. Benson and Carol E. Hoffecker, the book covered the entire history of the town of New Castle, revealing much about its neighborhoods and rich architecture. As New Castle is home to many, local residents were thrilled to be able to have a signed copy. The authors’ passion for New Castle and for their new book was especially evident last night as they both took time to personally inscribe copies and briefly chat with each person in line.

While the room was filled with excitement and chatter over the new book, Laura and I were in charge of selling copies of the book near the entrance to the library. We were so busy selling books that we didn’t have time to take too many pictures, but we were still very excited to see the enthusiasm reflecting in people’s faces as they entered in line to have the book signed. Many positive comments were made about the book, and some people even bought multiple copies to give to their friends, neighbors, and relatives. From someone on the production and marketing side of the business, it’s always a joy to know that the books you produce are important to people and are something they will cherish for a long time. With cookies, chips, fruit, cheese and crackers, and sparkling cider as light snacks topping off the evening, I think a good time was had by everyone there. If you didn’t get a chance to make it out last night, but are still interested in learning more about the book, visit our website at, and thank you to all those who came out to support such a great book!


Intern Julie says goodbye

December 14, 2011 1 comment

I can’t believe this semester has flown by so quickly. It feels like just yesterday that I was frantically looking up the directions from the University of Delaware to Oak Knoll for my interview, and now I have done that drive twice a week for about three months.

I have become used to my routine of coming to Oak Knoll on Mondays and Wednesdays and being greeted by Laura with a list of tasks.  I have become used to Danielle approaching me with flyers to edit, to James leaving me a stack of books to photograph, and to everybody else who has given me advice and support.

What once seemed scary to me, like editing a picture in Photoshop or creating a flyer in InDesign, is now simple, easy, and fun. A long manuscript may still be daunting, but I can now approach it with confidence because I know that I am capable of completing the assignment. I have even completed the most frightening task of all: creating a page of a website. I’ve learned about Adobe Dreamweaver at UD and never felt comfortable with the coding. When I was asked to make a website for St. Paul’s Bibliographies, I was eager to use the skills I learned in class to accomplish a task on the job.

While learning the ins and outs of book publishing, I learned as much about myself as I did about Oak Knoll. I have always recognized my passion for writing, so working in editorial seemed like the obvious choice. However, after creating a flyer and completing some marketing research, I realized that I also enjoy the sales and marketing aspect. I will certainly not close the door on editorial, but I now realize that I have more than one door open for me.

I want to thank everybody at Oak Knoll who has made this internship valuable and fun by assisting me with my assignments, being friendly, and trusting me with tasks other than fetching coffee and filing papers. I am sad to leave Oak Knoll , but happy to have had this fulfilling experience. My ultimate goal is to work in book publishing at home in New York, and I will always credit Oak Knoll for starting my career.