Skip to the good stuff!


ISO: Book Recommendations

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



  1. Paul Moxon, Website Editor 3 August, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    Here are a few exemplars to get you started.

    General Printing by Glen U. Cleeton, Charles W. Pitkin and Raymond L. Cornwell. Reprint of the 1963 edition. Liber Apertus Press, 2006.

    Printing on the Iron Handpress by Richard-Gabriel Rummonds, 1997.

    Nineteenth-Century Printing Practices and the Iron Handpress by Richard-Gabriel Rummonds, June 2004.

    A Short History of the Printed Word by Warren Chappell, 1970 and updated by Robert Bringhurst, 2000.

  2. You might want to narrow your enquiry down a little to get started. That’s a pretty big topic, as you’ve set it out.
    For presses, James Moran’s Printing Presses, and Harold Sterne’s Catalogue of 19th-century Printing Presses (mostly pictures) are good places to start.
    During the 19th century, Book Printing, Newspaper Printing, Job Printing and Specialty Printing become quite distinct and each have their own histories to pursue. Lithography also enters the scene as a new specialty area.
    There are a number of period printing manuals that have been reprinted, and they often include histories of the trade. MacKellar’s American Printer is the best known and most easily found.
    Happy reading.

  3. Katherine M. Ruffin 5 August, 2016 at 11:29 am

    I recommend the Advance Reading List for the course on the topic of 19th and 20th Century Typography and printing I co-teach at Rare Book School with John Kristensen of Firefly Press:

    I often refer to RBS Advance Reading Lists when I am researching a topic related to books and printing. They are wonderful resources!

  4. Thanks for all the help! I’ll be sure to give these a look!

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

APHA encourages comments to be short and to the point; as a general rule, they should not run longer than the original post. Comments should show a courteous regard for the presence of other voices in the discussion. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments that do not adhere to this standard.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.