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A Tour of University of Maryland Special Collections

Katherine M. Ruffin

Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave. Boston : Pub. at the Anti-slavery office, 1845

Fri., Oct. 25 | Conference participants toured the Special Collections and University Archives in Hornbake Library at the University of Maryland, College Park. Visitors were greeted by Douglas McElrath, Director, and Amber Kohl, Curator of Literature and Rare Books. In the entry to the reading room, an exhibition case full of bindings by Margaret Armstrong provided an opportunity to see a range of work by a female American binder. Another case was filled with striking artist’s books featuring the alphabet. One book had been made by Lauren Emeritz of Abstract Orange. Coincidentally, Lauren was part of the APHA group and she was delighted to see her work on display. [Read more]

Keynote: Printing the Renaissance Pop-Up Book

Katherine M. Ruffin

Johannes Regiomontanus, Calendarium, (Venice:  Erhard Ratdolt, 1476), showing built-in paper instruments:  a lunar volvelle and a quadrant, and a sundial. (Art Institute of Chicago.  Gift of Emil Eitel in memory of Mrs. Emil Eitel, 1948.343.)

Saturday, October 27. Suzanne Karr Schmidt

Suzanne Karr Schmidt has conducted extensive research on the topic of Renaissance prints and the ways in which prints on handmade paper move from two dimensions to three dimensions. Due to this focus, Schmidt’s research and curatorial work address many topics that interest members of APHA and the FDH. [Read more]

New Definitions for “Watermark” and “Paper”?

Katherine M. Ruffin

National Printing Bureau of Japan. (T. Barrett)

Friday, October 26  Timothy Barrett (moderator), Cathleen A. Baker, Lisa Miles

This interactive conference session, which was facilitated by Timothy Barrett, professor and director of the University of Iowa Center for the Book, focused on reconsidering the definitions of watermark and paper. After brief presentations by Cathleen A. Baker, paper historian and proprietor of the Legacy Press, Lisa Miles, graduate of the University of Iowa and Fulbright scholar, about examples that might serve to challenge the traditional definitions of watermark and paper, attendees engaged in a wide-ranging discussion about the nature of paper. Baker presented the examples of papyrus, pith paper, and tapa. Miles shared examples of daluang bark paper made in Indonesia, and amate bark paper made in Mexico. [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]

Recap of Matthew Carter’s 2016 Lieberman Lecture

Katherine M. Ruffin

Matthew Carter (Kim Pickard)

Matthew Carter discussing serifs. (Kim Pickard)

Matthew Carter delivered APHA’s annual Lieberman Lecture on Saturday, December 3, 2016, at the Museum of Printing in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Over sixty people gathered to hear Carter present a lecture titled “Genuine Imitations, a Type Designer’s View of Revivals.” The lecture was followed by a lively question and answer period and a convivial reception. Attendees enjoyed exploring the new home of the Museum of Printing, which recently relocated to Haverhill from North Andover, Massachusetts. [Read more]

APHA Conference Undergraduate Presentations

Katherine M. Ruffin

L: Blake's "The Temptation and Fall of Eve," 1808. One of the illustrations in Milton's "Paradise Lost," The Butts Set. (William Blake Archive). R: A composite of three common presses from the early, middle, and late eighteenth century. (Seth Gottlieb)

L: Blake’s “The Temptation and Fall of Eve,” 1808. One of the illustrations in Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” The Butts Set. (William Blake Archive). R: A composite of three common presses from the early, middle, and late eighteenth century. (Seth Gottlieb)


4:30-5:30 pm friday, october 7

Illusory Painting: The History of Hidden Fore-Edge Pictures, Isabel Einaudi Cardiff (Mills College, Oakland CA)

False Imprints, New Ways of Reading Work, Emma Studebaker (Mills College, Oakland CA)

The Design Evolution of the Eighteenth-Century English Wooden Common Press, Seth Gottlieb & Veronica Hebbard (Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester NY)

Satanic Knowledge: Milton and the Argument for Unlicensed Printing, Kalie McGuirl (Bard College at Simon’s Rock, Great Barrington MA)

Moderated by Sara Sauers, APHA’s Vice President for Programs, this is the first APHA conference to feature undergraduate paper presentations.  [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]

Editor of Printing History Call for Applications

Katherine M. Ruffin


The American Printing History Association is currently accepting applications for the position of editor of its flagship publication, Printing History. The journal is published in print twice a year. This is a part-time position which pays the editor a stipend of $2500 per issue and has a term limit of five years.  [Read more]

Design Students Get Interactive

Katherine M. Ruffin


RIT students clean, identify and print a wood typeface for the Cary Collections Adopt-a-Font Program (Nancy Bernardo).


Nancy Bernardo & Kelly Murdoch-Kitt: “Adopt-a-Font Condensed” ¶ Art Seto: “Bootstrapping a New Student-Initiated Letterpress Club: A Case Study” ¶ Rob Saunders: “Inspiring Young Designers with Letterpress Artifacts”

1:30 pm saturday, october 24 ⋅ track 3

These three presentations focused on the theme of making impressions through teaching. In each case, the speakers presented examples of ways in which they have engaged students and designers directly with materials and processes related to printing history. The speakers illustrated APHA’s mission in action; it is an organization that “encourages the study of the history of printing and related arts and crafts.”  [Read more]