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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


Bringhurst Zapfs California

Nina Schneider


(Nina Schneider)

The Book Club of California celebrated its 235th publication with a lecture tour, of sorts, for members and friends up and down the Golden State during the month of May. Robert Bringhurst’s Palatino: The Natural History of a Typeface is an important and elegantly produced book that is as much about the typographer as it is about the typeface. Hosted at the new Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography at Pasadena’s ArtCenter College of Design, Bringhurst gave an illustrated talk about his book, Hermann Zapf and the typographer’s sixty-year devotion to the Palatino typeface. Spanning the major eras in printing history, Zapf’s compulsion, dictated by his uncompromising attention to detail, resulted in Palatino being designed for foundry type, redesigned for film, and redesigned again for digital typography. Bringhurst’s exploration of these modifications was the impetus for the book and he shared some of the highlights during his lecture. As he explained, he wrote a natural history of a typeface through the life of Hermann Zapf.  [Read more]

Conference Registration is Open

Sara T. Sauers

Depicting Alchemical Process Claudio de Domenico Celentano (Neapolitan, fl. early 17th cen) Gouache on paper  [Book of alchemical formulas] (Naples, 1606), pp. 6-7 950053.123

APHA’s 41st Annual Conference, The Black Art and Printers’ Devils: The Magic, Mysticism, and Wonders of Printing History is now open for registration. The Huntington Library’s new Steven S. Koblik Education and Visitor Center in San Marino, California, will be the main venue. Our Southern California wizards have put together what promises to be a spellbinding program: a keynote featuring the book-collecting sleight-of-hand artist Ricky Jay, enchanting tours, a wonder-full book fair, and captivating presentations that explore printing history through the lens of magic, mysticism, secrecy, spiritualism, animism and alchemy Please join us!

ISO: Morris Arthur Gelfand

Site Visitor

Via the contact form:

Does anyone have a good obituary of Morris Arthur Gelfand (1908-1998) that would give me a sketch of his career? 

Richard M. Candee  

[Read more]

Rare Traditional Chinese Types Rescued

Paul Moxon

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 7.47.28 AM

Screen capture of television news report. Link and translation in post below.

Recent Taiwanese media stories about a letterpress shop for sale on the island have helped preserve an estimated 80,000 traditional Chinese letterpress lead type characters from possible destruction. These particular types are rare due not only to the transition to modern printing technologies but have been since the adoption of simplified Chinese characters following the Communist victory in mainland China.  [Read more]

MIT Students Build a Common Press

Harold Kyle

Printing on the MIT Common Press

An MIT student prints on a press she helped construct at the MIT Open House, April 23, 2016.

A school better known for its high-tech achievements has recently focused its students on building a low-tech wooden common press. Ten Massachusetts Institute of Technology students had the chance in Fall 2016 to participate in 21H.343 “Making Books: The Renaissance and Today,” an interdisciplinary class that integrated studies of history, rare books, and printing press construction.  [Read more]

ISO: De Vinne bindings

Site Visitor

Via the contact form:

I am researching a series of books written by George Sand that were produced as limited editions by The De Vinne Press for George H. Richmond Co. between 1893 and 1897. Contemporary advertising indicates that the books in the set were limited to 750 copies each on Windsor paper. The copy I have of Fadette has a beautiful pictorial cover of a group of iris in gold on black cloth — it is very unusual — as it looks engraved and definitely has raised and sunken portions to it — almost as if the cloth had been carved. I would like to try to find out the method by which this dimensionality in the binding design was achieved as well as who designed the binding. For this, I assume I would have to have access to the De Vinne production records if they still exist.

[Read more]