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Oak Knoll Books and Oak Knoll Publishing

Oak Knoll Books and Oak Knoll Publishing

Proprietor, Robert D. Fleck
Introductory remarks by Jane Rodgers Siegel

The awards criteria read, in part: “The APHA Institutional Award will be bestowed upon institutions that have sponsored, supported, or themselves made distinguished contributions to the study, recording, preservation, or dissemination of printing history.” Oak Knoll Books & Oak Knoll Press, a bookseller and publisher of books about books, bibliography, book collecting, book design, book illustration, book selling, bookbinding, bookplates, children’s books, fine press books, forgery, graphic arts, libraries, literary criticism, marbling, papermaking, printing history, publishing, typography & type specimens, and writing & calligraphy, has quite possibly disseminated more printing history than anyone else, including (and I do mean that their list includes) Henry Morris.

Founded in 1976 by Robert D. Fleck, Jr., a reformed chemical engineer, Oak Knoll Books maintains a stock of 20,000 items and has published over 280 catalogues, thus making available a tremendous amount of out-of-print material to institutions, historians, and collectors. As a publisher, Oak Knoll Press has published and distributed over 1000 titles, both original work and reprints of important hard-to-find works, making available the research of such authors as: Nicolas Barker, Sidney E. Berger, John Carter, Roderick Cave, Mirjam Foot, Colin Franklin, John Lane, Bernard C. Middleton, Richard-Gabriel Rummonds, Stephen O. Saxe, Marianne Tidcombe, and Michael Twyman. Topics covered by Oak Knoll Press books include everything from the work of Harold Pinter to bookbinders’ finishing tool makers and the papers used by J. M. W. Turner, and their list is impressively long. Publishing partners include The British Library, the Library of Congress, and the Private Libraries Association. In addition, Oak Knoll Press distributes books for the American Antiquarian Society, the Bibliographical Society of America, the Caxton Club, the John Carter Brown Library, and the Typophiles.

They have made a valuable contribution to printing history simply by making such a quantity of new and old books about books available, providing fodder to historians, and useful manuals to novice letterpress printers, binders and other practitioners of the arts of the book.

In addition to its bookselling and publishing activities, each October Oak Knoll hosts a fine press book fair, with lectures and panel discussions, the topics of which have included the history of papermaking, book illustration, book selling, institutional collecting, fine press printing and publishing. The Fine Press Book Association had its start at the Oak Knoll Fest in 1997. The Fest provides a delightful opportunity for book-makers and book-buyers to congregate and socialize, and for neophytes to be drawn into the world of well-made books.

It is an honor to present the 2007 [sic] American Printing History Association Institutional Award for Distinguished Achievement in Printing History to Oak Knoll, in the person of Bob Fleck.

The awards were presented during the Annual Meeting of the American Printing History Association, on Saturday, January 28, 2008, New York Public Library, Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, New York City. A reception followed.