Archive for August, 2012

Meet the Presses, Part 7

August 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Oak Knoll Fest XVII is just a little over a month away. We continue our look at the exhibitors today.

Part 1. Part 2. Part3. Part 4. Part 5. Part 6.

St. Armand Paper Mill

David Carruthers opened the Saint-Armand paper-mill in January 1979. He had difficult first years, but started selling and exporting his paper and pushed sales as far and fast as he could. He came from a family associated with paper. His grandfather was the owner the Interlake Paper Mill and his father was a paper salesman with the family firm. The expected diminution of handmade production didn’t happen and the paper mill continues to expand its handmade operation. The Saint-Armand paper-mill is located in Montréal, Canada.

Thomas Parker Williams

Thomas Parker Williams started to make artist books in 1998. Though his primary body of work is painting, he continues to return to the unique book as another form of expression to try out new concepts and structures. Music informs his work as well and he has used his own original music as a source for paintings and several artist book editions that include music CD’s. Since 1990 he has been exhibiting in Philadelphia, New York, and elsewhere around the United States. Thomas Parker Williams lives and works in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Solmentes Press

David Esslemont studied Fine Art at the Central School of Art and Design in London. From 1985 to 1997 he was managing and artistic director of the Gregynog Press in Wales. At Gregynog he designed and printed several prize-winning books. He has lectured widely in the U.K. and U.S.A., and his work can be found in both private and public collections worldwide. His archive to 2005 is held at the University of Iowa. He has been artist-in-residence with the Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere, England, and Minnesota Center for Book Arts in Minneapolis. The Solmentes Press is located in Decorah, Iowa.

Meet the Presses, Part 6

August 22, 2012 1 comment

We continue our look at the exhibitors of Oak Knoll Fest XVII.

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5.

Cary Graphic Arts Press, RIT

RIT Cary Graphic Arts Press and its co-imprint, RIT Press, are scholarly publishing enterprises at Rochester Institute of Technology. The Press is associated with the Melbert B. Cary, Jr. Graphic Arts Collection, one of the country’s premier libraries on the history and practice of printing. Originally focusing on publishing works in the graphic arts field, the Press has expanded into subjects such as RIT institutional history, deaf studies, business, engineering, and science. The Press issues trade editions for mass-market audiences, limited editions with unique aesthetic standards, as well as gift items. Cary Graphic Arts Press is located in Rochester, New York.

Hand Papermaking, Inc.

Hand Papermaking magazine was founded in 1986 by Amanda Degener and Michael Durgin. Two issues of the magazine have been published every year since, resulting in a unique repository of information and inspiration on the art and craft of hand papermaking. Articles are written by experts in the field, many of them practitioners, and each magazine includes at least one unique sample of handmade paper. In addition to its award-winning journal and newsletter, Hand Papermaking is known for its distinctive series of portfolios. These exceptional collections of paper art promote the use and enjoyment of handmade paper, by inspiring an appreciation for the art and encouraging an appetite for the aesthetic appeal unique to handmade paper. Hand Papermaking, Inc. is located in Beltsville, Maryland.

Hesterberg Press

The Hesterberg Press was established in 1984 with a move to Evanston, Illinois, after many years spent with R. Hunter Middleton at his Cherryburn Press in Chicago. The work from the Hesterberg Press includes miscellaneous ephemera, keepsakes on Bewick, Hammer and Middleton for the Typocrafters, three books and a film on Bewick, all sharing time with a busy professional life as an Art & Creative Director in Chicago. Hesterberg Press is located in Evanston, Illinois.

Warwick Press

In 1973, Warwick Press began as a way to bring words into print that delighted and pleased its proprietor, Carol J. Blinn. What began as a small venture blossomed into a thirty-plus year career. She has issued over fifty books, broadsides and pamphlets covering a wide range of subjects from serious world-class poets to homey ducks having adventures. Her books are widely collected and are in many rare book college and university libraries. Warwick Press is located in Easthampton, Massachusetts.

Jeanette Sikes

August 17, 2012 Leave a comment

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our long time Oak Knoll employee, Jeanette Sikes. Attached is the obituary that appeared in the Wilmington News Journal.

Jeanette was intelligent, hardworking, and managed to keep me in line with her humor and charm on those occasions when I needed it. Many of you either spoke to her or received her emails as she was our first line of contact here at Oak Knoll so you probably can second my feelings. We will miss her.


Ladies of Letterpress Conference

August 13, 2012 1 comment

Bailey and I had a great time representing Oak Knoll at the Ladies of Letterpress Conference last weekend. We learned a lot, admired beautiful examples of printing (and even bought a few!), met some nice people, and ate some great food. It was our first time in Asheville, and we loved the city. We will have to go back when we have more time!

Here are some of the pictures we took at the conference:

Some of the broadsides we liked

Letterpress ladies browsing at our booth

Abby Rorer of The Lone Oak Press demonstrating her engraving technique

A marbling demonstration

Bailey tries her hand at marbling

The drive home was beautiful

Thank you to the Ladies of Letterpress for putting on such a great event. We look forward to seeing you again in October for Oak Knoll Fest!

~ Laura Williams

Meet the Presses, Part 5

August 10, 2012 2 comments

Our look at the exhibitors of Oak Knoll Fest XVII continues.

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4.

Press of Robert LoMascolo

The Press of Robert LoMascolo was established by Robert LoMascolo in 2005 while at Wells College in Aurora, New York, majoring in fine art and minoring in the book arts. Currently, Robert is working full time printing, designing, and binding for a varied array of clients. Works from the Press of Robert LoMascolo have been purchased and collected by many individuals, including other book artists. The Press of Robert LoMascolo is located in Union Springs, New York.

Pied Oxen Printers

Pied Oxen Printers was established by David Sellers in 1981 under the precursor imprint Eleutherian Printers. Their work is primarily focused on contemporary poetry. They design, hand-set, print, and bind each book, while collaborating with an artist in the production of original graphic art. Each book is signed by the poet, artist and printer/binder. Pied Oxen’s titles are in the special collections of a number of institutional and university libraries. Pied Oxen Printers is located in Hopewell, New Jersey.

Turkey Press

Harry Reese founded Turkey Press in 1974 when he was a graduate student at Brown University. Turkey Press books are primarily contemporary poetry in a variety of formats and edition sizes, and feature traditional letterpress printing as well as digital imaging techniques. In 1990, they established a second imprint, Edition Reese, to produce artist books in collaboration with other artists, writers and thinkers. The Turkey Press is located in Isla Vista, California.

Sherwin Beach Press

Established in 1984 by Bob McCamant, Sherwin Beach Press is a small fine press specializing in nonfiction prose. Thus far they have completed seven books. Sherwin Beach Press books have been widely exhibited and are held in libraries all over the world. The Sherwin Beach Press in located in Chicago, Illinois.

“The Joy of Catalogs”

August 9, 2012 Leave a comment

Today we welcome guest blogger Oliver B. Pollak.

The Joy of Catalogs

Around 1999 I discovered Oak Knoll Books and my interest in books on books. About the same time Neil Shaver of Yellow Barn Press in Council Bluffs, Iowa, introduced me to the black arts.

I acquired 206 Oak Knoll catalogs in May 1999, subsequently received printed editions by mail to number 292, and more recently online versions. During the summer of 1999 I went through the catalogs containing about 150,000 titles and with pencil and post it and prepared my bucket list. The exercise reminded me of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory which I endured in 1963. The catalogs refined my bookish interests. I started an essay, “A Year of Reading Oak Knoll Catalogs,” (not Provence, Tuscany or Proust), which reached 3,000 words. The essay languished. Four computers later, a transition from WordStar to Word, and an overburdened, imperfectly organized, 120 linear feet filing system, the essay is lost.

My interest in catalogs starts with my uncle in London who sold books out of his London flat from the early 1950s to 1970. Supplementing the copies he gave me with those held by the British Library, I wrote “Eric M. Bonner, Africana Bookseller,” African Research & Documentation (1999). I studied rising prices as the same book appeared again, and the purchase and dispersal of collections.

A July 2, 2012 email from Oak Knoll, “Bookselling is 20% off!,” reminded me of Out of Print & Into Profit: A History of the Rare and Secondhand Book Trade in Britain in the Twentieth Century edited by Giles Mandelbrote (The British Library and Oak Knoll Press, 2006). I retired from teaching this year and have more time to read. I requested it on interlibrary loan from Truman State University Pickler Library in Missouri. I also requested Ernest Fischer, Verleger Buchhândler & Antiquare aus Deutschland under Ősterreich in der Emigration nach 1933 (2011) from the University of California at Santa Cruz on account of my interest in Hans Roger Madol, a peripatetic rare book and manuscript dealer who left Berlin in 1933 and published several books on European royalty, which led to my “The Biography of a Biographer: Hans Roger Madol (1903-1956),” The Germanic Review (2003).

Several essays in Mandelbrote intrigued me. Chris Kohler helped sell my uncle Eric’s British Empire collection in the early 1970s contributed “Making Collections.” Michael Harris, “The London Street Trade” reminded me of the 1885 map of Burma I purchased on Farringdon Road that is currently in a library exhibit, “The Politics of Cookbooks in Burma and Myanmar, 1903-2009,” and more recently my visit to the Camden Market. Finally, and most pertinent here, H.R. Woudhuysen’s essay, “Catalogues.”

A June 2012 Oak Knoll flyer led me to order With Food in Mind by Nicole J. Caruth, a book I thought my spouse and I would enjoy. We were delighted to see A Practical Guide to Light Refreshment (1996) by John DePol and Barbara Henry featured. Neil Shaver and John DePol collaborated on several books.

The Oak Knoll website contains 21 categories in alphabetical order. Bibliography, Book collecting, Book selling, Libraries, Printing History, and Publishing rang my bell. I am intrigued by fore-edge painting, incunabula, signs of ownership (association copies and book plates), use and readership (marginalia), and the organization of knowledge (catalogs), which can be found searching those terms.

Catalogs provide pathways to the structure of knowledge and the keys and ladder to open and ascend it.

-Oliver B. Pollak

Meet the Presses, Part 4

August 3, 2012 3 comments

Our look at the Oak Knoll Fest exhibitors continues this week with Part 4 naturally following Part 1, Part 2, and Part3.

Lead Graffiti

The idea that became Lead Graffiti was born while exploring design in London. Over the years, they have acquired a healthy dose of experience and a great collection of presses. The range of Lead Graffiti equipment is ideal for working on projects both large and small, and they have certainly done both, printing books, posters, and various pieces of ephemera. They also maintain an on-site library with books for inspiration and information on letterpress and bookbinding, as well as an active collection of printing samples. Lead Graffiti is located in Newark, Delaware.

The Lone Oak Press

Abigail Rorer graduated with a BFA in Printmaking from Rhode Island School of Design in 1971. She established The Lone Oak Press in 1989. Over two decades and two-dozen publications later (not to mention the many commissions), she and the press have received numerous awards. Her works can be found in libraries throughout the world. The Lone Oak Press is located in Petersham, Massachusetts.

Ninja Press

Named in honor of its first black cat, Ninja Press was inaugurated in 1984 by Carolee Campbell. Turning her photographic sequences into bound books ushered the way into bookbinding, followed by experimental book structures. Eventually, she expanded her work into letterpress printing. The press’s abiding interest has mainly been contemporary poetry. Ninja Press’s works have been exhibited at numerous libraries and universities, and are collected by many of the world’s great libraries. Ninja Press is located in Sherman Oaks, California.

Some more great reviews

August 2, 2012 Leave a comment

Yesterday, we looked at some of the good reviews our books have recently received. Today we look at the rest!

 The History of the Library in Western Civilization IV: The Medieval World in the West – From Cassiodorus to Furnival by Konstantinos Staikos

Covering the period from about 330AD to the mid-14th century in only 500 pages, one understands that this in not a full-scale history of libraries over 1000 years in the West. Rather it is an overview, focusing on particular themes and vignettes that illustrate the evolution of library collections, management, architecture and users during this period. This is not to say that this work lacks scholarship; like the preceding volumes in the series, it is indeed a work of scholarship, with copious notes, in one instance nine pages of notes for 34 pages (and with copious illustrations), showing how deeply the author has read, synthesized and interpreted his knowledge of the facts.

Overall this work, like others in the series, offers a good overview and in this sense will stand the test of time.

-G. E. Gorman, Australian Library Journal

Dr. Rosenbach and Mr. Lilly: Book Collecting in a Golden Age by Joel Silver

Silver’s story is interestingly told, and he relies heavily on the letters exchanged by the two principal characters in it.

We do get an inside look at the back and forth negotiations between a major antiquarian bookseller and entertainer, and a major collector, and that is useful information to have. The book is generously illustrated, and since it reproduces the typography of the letterpress edition printed by the Bird & Bull Press in 2010, it is a more than usually handsome book for a trade edition.

-Bruce Whiteman, SHARP News

 Arthur Miller: A Descriptive Bibliography by George W. Crandell

Well bound and printed, there is an attractive dust jacket designed by Laura R. Williams.

It should be purchased by all libraries collecting twentieth century American literature and cultural achievements.

-William Baker, Emerald Journal, Reference Reviews

Historical Types from Gutenberg to Ashendene by Stan Knight 

Like its predecessor Historical Types a modest book in scale and appearance that deceptively hides a wealth of information, all of it solidly researched.

Promises to become an essential resource for anyone studying or teaching typography

-Paul Shaw, Codex Magazine

 Christina Rossetti: A Descriptive Bibliography by Maura Ives

Nobody will doubt that Maura Ives’s meticulous bibliography is a much-needed contribution to the study of English literature.

Even scholars who have worked on Rossetti’s publishing history will find much that is new here, especially in the three central sections which detail many previously unrecorded appearances in print.

Ives’s documenting of the printings of Rossetti’s work by Robert Brothers of Boston, beginning with Poems (1866), is, by itseld, a notable contribution to understanding Rossetti’s publishing history and one which should encourage further research.

Maura Ives’s bibliography, evidently based on years of determined and careful research, should prove both an incitement to further scholarly work an and important resource for those undertaking that work.

It should be put beside Rebecca Crump’s edition of the poems in every university library.

-Simon Humphries, Victorian Poetry

Books as History: The Importance of Books beyond Their Texts by David Pearson

Chapter 1 (Books as History) raises questions regarding books in the suture, where the bookworld is going and how we will manage the book if we see it only as content and not as artifact. But does this diminish the content that matters most to the hoi polloi? Pearson challenges in a gentle, oblique way.

The other chapters, dealing with provenance, binding, ownership marking, marginalia, etc. are interesting and not overly precious. They convey the author’s message clearly and with excellent illustrations, as well as humour.

-G. E. Gorman, Australian Library Journal

 Rudyard Kipling: A Bibliography by David Alan Richards

Richards describes Livingston’s bibliography as “monumental” and Stewart’s as “magisterial”, and both adjectives can be applied to his own, which now replaces them.

The entries are by no means dry bibliographical details, but often contain lengthy notes of biographical interest

Unlike many bibliographies, this is therefore often a readable and interesting text, even for a non-specialist.

-David Geall, Emerald Journal, Reference Reviews

David Alan Richards has produced a masterful example of modern bibliographical research.

Rudyard Kipling: A Bibliography is an incredible resource to collectors of Kipling’s works and to bookbinders who are looking to identify binding copies of his first editions.

-Frank Lehmann, Guild of Book Workers

Greek Library: The Konstantinos Sp. Staikos Book Collection Henceforth the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation Library by Konstantinos Sp. Staikos

The book is an aesthetic treasure and a fine resource. It reveals the long, rich history of Greek writing and its role in the formation of the modern Greek nation.

-Carol G. Thomas, SHARP News

 Small Books for the Common Man: A Descriptive Bibliography edited by John Meriton

Perhaps the first ironic detail to note about Small Books for the Common Man is the sheer bulk of this bibliography, containing as it does over 800 individual entries of nineteenth century chapbooks from the National Art Library’s collection. However, the book itself is a delight to behold and vastly informative on many levels.

Students, librarians, and archivists will all find something of interest

-Sarah Powell, Emerald Journal, Reference Reviews

Book-Jackets: Their History, Forms, and Use by G. Thomas Tanselle

Tanselle (Columbia Univ.) offers one of the very few books devoted to the study of the book jacket or dust jacket.

The text features 24 color plates and is superbly printed and bound.

Highly recommended. A general audience of book lovers, interested undergraduates, and researchers/faculty.

-W. Baker, CHOICE

Some great reviews

August 1, 2012 1 comment

It’s been a while since we’ve showed off the great reviews our books continue to get, and we have quite a stack for you to read. We’ll post half today and half tomorrow. These reviews have been featured in some of the leading journals in the field of books.

Ernest Hemingway: A Descriptive Bibliography by C. Edgar Grissom

One of the most significant decisions on the part of Grissom and the publishers was to take advantage of the benefits of modern technology and include a DVD-ROM with over 2,000 color images of various details such as dust jackets, covers, dummy copies, copyright pages, pages of text, slipcases, spines, and frontispieces. These high quality JPEG images allow one to make in-depth comparisons between different copies and in so doing offer an interesting glimpse into publishing practices at the time.

A writer of such stature deserves a comprehensive bibliography of his literary efforts, and this is exactly what Grissom has compiled. It is a masterful work of careful scholarship that will from time to time need to be updates, yet as a basic bibliography of Hemingway’s canon, it may never be surpassed.

-John Roger Paas, Wolfenbutteler Notizen zur Buchgeschichte

If your pulse quickens upon hearing that a new edition or printing or state has been discovered, then you should stop reading this review and lay hands on this new bibliography. You will find C. Edgar Grissom’s Ernest Hemingway: A Descriptive Bibliography to be the welcome product of a persistent and inquiring mind. One gets the sense that he has chased the sometimes confounding details of his tome to their source—or else pursued them as far as we could have possibly followed ourselves, leaving us with a trustworthy reference tool that answers, but also asks, questions.

The details and depth of this volume delight. Hanneman’s work may have been foundational for two generations of Hemingway scholars, but the foundation of Grissom’s work is Grissom’s work. He began over again, as it were, and concentrated. A self-taught bibliophile, he spent a dozen years at this task. What has resulted is not merely a description of historical artifacts, although it is precise and painstaking in its description. Grissom has produced the narrative of Hemingway’s primary bibliography by first describing, then annotating, and finally supplementing his text with appendices and illustrations. He observes in his introduction “a properly conceived and executed single-author bibliography chronicles the author’s writing career.”

Judged only by the virtues of the comprehensiveness and thoroughness of Grissom’s bibliographical descriptions, his work is without question the new standard for Hemingway scholars.

-Albert J. DeFazio III, The Hemingway Review

 The American Antiquarian Society, 1812-2012: A Bicentennial History by Philip F. Gura

Philip F. Gura’s splendidly written bicentennial history is focused on an institution that has evaded fossilization. He describes the Society’s “evolution from a small library and cabinet museum started by local businessmen and scholars to an internationally renowned library and scholarly center”.

Gura’s chapters are full of such fascinating detail. They tell the tale of how, step by step, a provincial library became a mecca for scholars from all over the world.

William Baker, Times Literary Supplement

Beautiful Bookbindings: A Thousand Years of the Bookbinder’s Art by P. J. M. Marks

The eclectic, sensitive choice of materials makes this collection more interesting than similar works. The chapter content consists largely of illustrations of the bindings in full, and close-up. By Elizabeth Hunter, these photographs are stunning and evocative, encouraging the reader to pore over them for hours.

The work is beautifully printed on quality paper and solidly bound with a lovely dust jacket.

This is a worthy volume for study by scholars and students, and for the coffee tables of discerning laymen.

-G. E. Gorman, Australian Library Journal

This is the kind of book that even non-bibliophiles will look at and go: Wow. You can imagine then how much more of a delight it is to the connoisseur of the printed book, the lover of fine bindings.

This sumptuously illustrated book on bookbinding is also informed by fine scholarship. Most books on the subject of bookbinding tend to be either pretty pictures without the scholarship or scholarship (usually technical) without the nice pictures. By intelligently and deeply drawing from both, Beautiful Bookbindings becomes not just the most exciting, but also the most illuminating, introduction to the art and craft of fine bindings.

-Pradeep Sebastian, The Hindu

 I Classici che hanno Fatto L’italia: Per un Nuovo Canone Bio-Bibliografico degli Autori Italiani by Fabrizio Govi

I Classici is a superb reference to be consulted repeatedly for its pithy insights.

Bibliophiles with knowledge of Italian undoubtedly will take delight in perusing this colossal accomplishment and identifying their own favorites.

-Madison U. Sowell, SHARP News

The Kelmscott Chaucer: A Census by William S. Peterson and Sylvia Holton Peterson

This meticulously documented and handsomely designed volume obviously belongs in most of the research libraries of the world concerned with fine printing, but it should be held more broadly than just in institutions whose acquisitions are guided by that subject interest.

They have created a fascinating survey of the major collectors of the period and the extended provenance of these volumes.

-Printing History

 A History of Longmans and Their Books, 1724-1990: Longevity in Publishing by Asa Briggs

This is a social history, anecdotal and familiar, of seven generations of a grand publishing house.

There are good reasons for adding the volume to a personal or institutional library, beginning with the fact that a well-designed and well-made book is always worth holding in one’s hands.

-Melvyn New, The Scriblerian

Dr. Rosenbach and Mr. Lilly: Book Collecting in a Golden Age by Joel Silver

It is another example of the fine printing and book design for which the Oak Knoll Press has a now well-established reputation. A word of praise for the outstanding dustcover with its excellent photos of Rosenbach and Lilly is appropriate.

Joel Silver writes in an engaging, readable style addressed to the ordinary reader. The result is pleasing in all respects and makes a gift to delight any booklover.

-R. L. Cope, Australian Library Journal

 Historical Scripts from Classical Times to the Renaissance by Stan Knight

Historical Scripts is an essential reference book for anyone sincerely fascinated by the history of Western letters.

-Paul Shaw, Codex