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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]