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Robert D. Fleck, RIP


From the Exlibris Listserv: 

We at Oak Knoll are very sad to announce the death of Bob Fleck on September 22 after a brief illness. Bob abandoned his job as a chemical engineer in 1976 to start Oak Knoll Books, focusing on books about books, book collecting, book arts, the history of printing, and bibliography. Two years later, he started publishing in the same field, beginning with a reprint of Bigmore and Wyman’s A Bibliography of Printing. 2016 marks the fortieth anniversary year of a company that has made an immeasurable contribution to the history of the book. It is also the nineteenth edition of the bi-annual Oak Knoll Fest, which will take place as scheduled September 30-October 2, as Bob wished. Bob was a past president of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA) as well as the past president of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB/LILA). He will be sorely missed.

Matthew Young
Managing Editor
Oak Knoll Press


ISO: Info for a Calendar

Site Visitor

Via the contact form:

I am a teacher of Digital Printing at Chandler High in Chandler Arizona. Can you help me with information to create a calendar that could help promote printing awareness in school. Important days in history, national printing or other graphic art and communication or any reason we could bring some attention to the printing industries and their importance to society. Anything would be of help.

Thanks, Bernard Clark


GPO’s Star Linotype

George Barnum


The Government Publishing Office in Washington D.C. recently acquired two original news photographs of its most famous and beloved Linotype.

The machine, a Model 5, serial no. 14168R, shipped in June, 1910, to Pierre Lafitte & Co., a Paris agent, and was purchased by a French printing firm. Had it not been one of two requisitioned for the American Expeditionary Force by Major W.W. Kirby seven years later, the machine might well have ended its life in the same obscurity shared by many of its Brooklyn-built brethren.  [Read more]

Call for Submissions: Printing History

Brooke S. Palmieri

Printing History is a peer-reviewed journal published by the American Printing History Association (APHA) since 1979. APHA is a membership organization that encourages the study of the history of printing and related arts and crafts, including calligraphy, typefounding, typography, papermaking, bookbinding, illustration, and publishing. The main objective of Printing History is to promote interdisciplinary studies in these fields, drawing together those concerned with the production of printed materials: scholars, librarians, printers, publishers, papermakers, bookbinders, booksellers, and others.  [Read more]

ISO: Cause of Postage Stamp Plate Alteration

Site Visitor


British stamp, ca. 1860, bio-imagery detail showing the numerals 77, x-ray revealing an addition numeral 1.

Via the contact form:

I have a British 1d Penny Red stamp from the 1860s in my collection with the numerals 77 in the left and right margins. Only nine stamps bearing the numerals 77 have been authenticated to date.  I am trying to determine how, or if, the original steel engraving plate was altered. I would like to know what would one be looking in terms of impression, chemical composition etc.

[Read more]

The Toy Press with a Journal that Means Business

Paul Moxon


Three issues of Swiftset Rotary Printers Journal from 1939, its inaugural year.

In the mid-twentieth century, manufacturers of tabletop printing presses for hobbyists, such as Kelsey in America and Adana in Great Britain, published substantive newsletters to educate and upsell their fledging printer/customers. Kelsey’s The Printer’s Helper ran for a remarkable 55 years from 1929 to 1984 while Adana’s Printcraft ran for a respectable eight years from 1948 to 1956. On par with these titles is the lesser known Swiftset Rotary Printers’ Journal, the official publication for Swiftset Rotary Presses, which ran from 1939 through 1950.  [Read more]

Recap of Paul Shaw’s San Francisco Lettering Walk

Jonathan Wong


Paul Shaw at the entrance to 956 Post St. (Deanna Alcorn)

For anyone interested in the history of printing and lettering and San Francisco, noted lettering artist and educator Paul Shaw’s August 14 tour of the Tenderloin District’s architecture and signage was a wonderful excursion to some of  the city’s graphic delights. [Read more]

New Editor and Designer for Printing History Appointed

Katherine M. Ruffin


I am pleased to announce that the board of the American Printing History Association has appointed both a new editor and a new designer for Printing History, the organization’s flagship publication. Brooke Palmieri is the new editor and Michael Russem of Kat Ran Press is the new designer. Brooke and Michael are hard at work on Printing History 21, which will be published in January 2017.  [Read more]

ISO: San Luis Obispo Editors

Site Visitor

Via the contact form:

I am working on a history of San Luis Obispo editors and am looking for resources for photographs. Many spent time as printers in San Francisco, Oakland and Sacramento circa 1860-1890. Any suggestions for NOCAL institutions that may have photo archives?

Best wishes,
David Middlecamp


ISO: Book Recommendations

Site Visitor

Via the contact form:

Hello! Can you recommend any particularly good books on the history of printing, the printing press, printing techniques, and the like? I’m specifically interested in printing in the 19th and 20th centuries. Levi Sweeney