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Call for Proposals 2018

Sara T. Sauers

The Friends of Dard Hunter (FDH) and the American Printing History Association (APHA) welcome proposals for their joint conference “Matrices: The Social Life of Paper, Print, and Art,” at the University of Iowa Center for the Book Iowa City, Iowa, October 25–27, 2018. Proposals are due March 31, 2018. FDH and APHA invite proposals for presentations, demonstrations, and workshops that explore the technological and cultural matrices of art printed on or made from handmade paper. PDF. [Read more]

ISO: thumb indents?

From the contact form:

Please, I would like to know the term used for the “thumb indents” found in older hardbound dictionaries, one at the start of each new letter. Also, was making these indents considered part of the binding process, and how was it accomplished?

Robin Atkins


ISO: Printing History article about Jonas Winchester

From APHA’s Facebook page:

I’m writing a piece on the reception of Swedish novelist Fredrika Bremer in the US in the 1840s, and have come across the printer and publisher Jonas Winchester. Is this a photograph of him, from Printing History 9 Number 1 1983? Is it possible to get hold of the article by James J. Barnes, “Jonas Winchester: Speculator, Medicine Man”, or can you tell me more about the photo?

Good, But Not So Fast or Cheap

Michael Winship

Homes of American Authors (New York: G. P. Putnam & Co., 1853). (From the collection of the author)

The following paper was intended to be the keynote address at the APHA/CHAViC Conference. While Dr. Winship was unable to  deliver it, the American Printing History Association is pleased that he has allowed us to present it here.

It has become a commonplace to associate the industrial revolution in the United States with the emergence of a mass culture aimed at a popular and commercial marketplace and to characterize the output of American printers and publishers of the industrial era with such adjectives as “good, fast, and cheap.” Many accounts echo this assessment, pointing to a supposed “century-long quest to make books more quickly, more cheaply, and in greater numbers than ever before.” If not exactly pejorative, such assessments do not hold much promise for the connoisseur of high-quality fine printing.  [Read more]

ISO: Los Angeles Litho Co. ca 1891

Via the contact form:

I have a rare booklet ca. 1891 titled Southern California a Few Facts About a Fortunate Country. The printer was Los Angeles Litho Co. Anybody know anything about this firm?

Regards, Jan Hanna

Mind Your Thorns & Eths: A Letterpress Travelogue

Amelia Hugill-Fontanel

Used books adorning a printing press at Bókakjallarinn in Reykjavík. (A. Fontanel)

A winter vacation to Reykjavík, Iceland is a must if you want to trade cold Northern cityscapes for colder, but breathtaking, geothermal hot springs, ancient geysers, and a chance to view the Aurora Borealis. Those attractions were so alluring, but this printing historian was inevitably drawn to used bookshops and thrift stores for the true flavor of this capital city. My busman’s holiday led to a mini-tour of the letterpress establishments in town.  [Read more]

Printerly Identity, Subversion, and Nation-Building

Katherine M. Ruffin

Jonathan Wells presenting (Robert McCamant)

Friday, October 6, 1:10-2:50 pm ★ Jennifer Chuong, “Fast and Slow Printing: Paper Marbling and Letterpress in Early America” ★ Jeffrey Croteau, “‘The Cheapest and Most Eligible Mode of Shedding Light on Masonry’: Anti-Masonic Almanacs, 1827–1837” ★ Kathleen Walkup, “Work Through a Gendered Lens: Image of Women in the Printing Trades” ★  Jonathan Wells, “Amateur Print Culture and the Origins of Desktop Publishing in America”  [Read more]

Transatlantic Connections

Sara T. Sauers

Michael Knies presenting (Robert McCamant)

Saturday, October 7, 3:30-5:15 pm ★ Baird Jarman, “Beaten to the Punch: Fake News Illustrations of the 1860 Boxing Championship” ★ Michael Knies, “‘American Novelties are Foolishness!’: British Judgements on the American Typeface and Printing Invasion, 1878–1890″ ★ Mathieu Lommen, “Lettering From Neo-Gothic to Art Nouveau: 19th Century American and European Lettering Manuals” ★ Rose Roberto, “(Re)Assembling Reference Books & Recycling Images: The Wood Engravings of the W. & R. Chambers Firm” [Read more]

A Visit to the Museum of Printing

Elizabeth Haven Hawley

Restored Columbian hand press, volunteer Tim Dunn at typewriter (Elizabeth Haven Hawley)

Museum of Printing ★ Haverhill, Massachusetts

 Frank Romano and a full staff at the Museum of Printing welcomed more than 40 people associated with “Good, Fast, Cheap: Printed Words & Images in America before 1900” for a post-conference tour on Sunday, October 8. Near the museum’s entry, an eagle-crested Columbian, resplendent with gold details and the lever-and-weight system that maximized the machine’s impression force, hinted at the equipment in the galleries. The contents did not disappoint!  [Read more]

RIP: Betsy Raymond

Betsy Raymond was a notable Northern California calligrapher and book artist. [Read more]