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[Book History] [Book Arts] [Printing and Publishing History] [Printing Museums] [Allied Organizations] [Type, Typography and Calligraphy] [Papermaking] [Prints and Printmaking] [Allied Fields and Professions] [Centers for the Book] [Listservs]

Book History

See also Printing and Publishing History

Resources for the History of Books and Printing (Maintained by Daniel Traister.)

History of Books and Printing: A Research Guide. An excellent bibliography of printed books. (Maintained by the New York Public Library.)

Book History Online (BHO), an international bibliographical database of the history of the printed book and libraries. (Sponsored by the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, the National Library of the Netherlands.)

Bibliopolis: A History of the Printed Book in the Netherlands (in Dutch), with English Translation. Important site with a "handbook" summary and scholarly essays on particular topics in Dutch book history. (Sponsored by the Koninklijke Bibliotheek and the National Library of the Netherlands.)

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Printing and Publishing History

Bibliographies of printing history:

Other general resources on printing, printing history and letterpress printing:

Selected libraries (other than printing museums) with important resources on printing, printing history and letterpress printing. Emphasis tends to be on English language resources.

  • Columbia University, Rare Books and Special Collections. Includes the American Typefounders Company library and museum, Arthur Rackham and Rockwell Kent, archives of Vincent FitzGerald & Company, Harper & Brothers, Harper & Row, Random House, W. W. Norton, Kulchur Press, and Vanguard Press, and archives of many literary agents. (New York)

  • Harvard's Department of Printing and Graphic Arts, at Harvard University's Houghton Library (includes the Hofer Collection) (Cambridge, MA)

  • Melbert B. Cary, Jr. Graphic Arts Collection, at the Rochester Institute of Technology. (The Cary Collection also has a list of useful links.) (Rochester, NY)

  • Princeton's Graphic Arts Collection, at Princeton University's Firestone Library includes materials donated by Elmer Adler (Pynson Printers, and former curator), reference collections on calligraphy, illustration, printing and binding, and examples of book arts from all countries. (Princeton, NJ)

  • Amsterdam University Library (Netherlands). "Has the largest and most important special collections department in the Netherlands... [and] one of the largest collections on book history (from printing to publishing) in the world."(In Dutch)

  • The St. Bride Printing Library (London, UK). (Site of its Friends group)


Letterpress Alive in UK. Collects information about letterpress activities in the United Kingdom, including suppliers, hobbyists, professionals, museums and preservation activities. Maintained by the Alembic Press.

Incunabula: Dawn of Western Printing an online exhibition of leaves and typefaces from European printers. Based on the book Inkyunabura no Sekai (The World of Incunabula) / written by Hiroharu Orita (Tokyo: Japan Library Association, 2000). Maintained by the National Diet Library, Japan. English and Japanese.

Linotype.org, "devoted to the preservation and dissemination of knowledge about the maintenance and operation of Linotype machines," maintained by William Spurling (Yamhill, Oregon). Interesting links, oriented to hobbyist.

Linotype & Linotipisti. History, technology and biography on a site dedicated to Linotype. Maintained by Giorgio Coraglia. (Coverage is American, English, Italian and German.)

The Printer, a monthly publication, a "source for letterpress news and ads for fine press, book arts, hobby, collectors, and commercial printers."

Printing: Renaissance & Reformation, subtitled "An Exhibit for History 101: European Civilization I," was originally exhibited fall 1995 at the Thomas Cooper Library, University of South Carolina.

Pressed For Time, dedicated to America's newspaper printers.

Stop the Presses, from the New York Times. How the Times was printed in hotmetal (to 1978) and digital (after 1978), and what the future holds. 

Printing in Otago: An Oral History, 1950-2000 Oral history interviews with New Zealand printers. (Flash Player 6 or higher required.) (Maintained by John Weare, University of Otago, Dunedin, NZ)

The Virtual Museum of Printing-Press (in English) Portuguese site concerning writing, printing techniques and persons, sponsored by the AMI-Associa��o Museu da Imprensa (Press Museum Association) project. Interesting museums links.

Back to the future (article by Megan Lane, at HowDesign.com), concerning a graphic designer's first class in letterpress printing.

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Printing Museums in the United States

Printing Museums is an excellent list of museums throughout the world, maintained by the American Amateur Press Association.

Museum and Workshop Links is an excellent with worldwide coverage in French and English, maintained by the Association Lettres et Images (Geneva). Requires Shockwave.

The following are selected institutions in the USA.

National or Large Regional Printing Museums (USA)

  • The National Museum of American History's Division of Information Technology and Communications which includes the Graphic Arts Collections, part of the Smithsonian Institution. The division "holds comprehensive collections of type and printing presses, prints and printmaking tools and equipment, and representative collections for related trades such as bookbinding, papermaking, and printing for the blind. The former Hall of Printing and Graphic Arts closed in December 2003, but the Graphic Arts Collections are available for study by appointment." The press collection is described in two linked PDF files (Washington, DC). (APHA's statement on the closure of the Hall of Printing and Graphic Arts is here.)

  • The International Printing Museum, independent museum in Southern California dedicated to promoting history of printing, especially to schools (Carson, CA).

  • The Museum of Printing, independent museum, includes recent innovations in printing and important library and archival holdings (North Andover, MA).

  • The Museum of Printing History, independent museum (Houston, TX).

  • The Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum, with a short history of wood type. Operated by Two Rivers Historical Society (Two Rivers, WI).

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Selected Regional Printing Museums (USA)

Any selection of printing museums is problematic and this selection includes private museums (at the end). Some of these institutions might, with more funding, qualify as a major institution. Teaching collections are omitted.

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Selected Academic Institutions with Printing Artifacts (USA):

These are organizations, including libraries, housed at teaching institutions that also own printing artifacts (other printed materials). These institutions tend to have significant collections. See also some of the programs listed under Books Arts, below.

  • Harvard's Department of Printing and Graphic Arts, at Harvard University's Houghton Library (includes the Hofer Collection) (Cambridge, MA)

  • Melbert B. Cary, Jr. Graphic Arts Collection, at the Rochester Institute of Technology. (The Cary Collection also has a list of useful links.) (Rochester, NY)

  • Princeton's Graphic Arts Collection, at Princeton University's Firestone Library includes materials donated by Elmer Adler (Pynson Printers, and former curator), reference collections on calligraphy, illustration, printing and binding, and examples of book arts from all countries. (Princeton, NJ)

  • Rare Book School (formerly Book Arts Press, formerly at Columbia University) has classes on books and printing as well as an iron handpress and type (Charlottesville, VA)

Selected Newspaper Printing Museums (USA):

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Printing Museums throughout the World

This list, while far from complete, gives priority to English language websites for museums that can be visited, rather than "virtual museums."

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Printing and Publishing History -- Allied Organizations

Letterpress Discussion List is for  letterpress printers and fans. Often includes historical discussions. See the List's Frequently Asked Questions, maintained by Green Dolphin Press. 

Information about the Book and Book Arts Community online lists  many organizations, including many having only postal addresses (Maintained by Oak Knoll Books.)

The Bibliographical Society (United Kingdom.)

The Bibliographical Society of America (See also its Bibliography on the Web.)

The Bibliographical Society of Canada

The Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia

The Caxton Club of Chicago

The Grolier Club of New York

The Oxford Bibliographical Society (United Kingdom)

The Printing Historical Society (United Kingdom)

Rare Book School at the University of Virginia (formerly known as the Book Arts Press of Columbia University, New York)

Research Society for American Periodicals (RSAP)

The Society for Textual Scholarship

The Society for the History of Authorship, Reading & Publishing (SHARP)

The Typophiles of New York

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Type, Typography and Calligraphy

Search Yahoo for Typography

Typography Miscellaneous Font Links and Type Musea (Excellent lists maintained by Luc Devroye, McGill University, Montreal, Canada)

List of Typographical Musea and Printers. (in French) List of typography-related museums and repositories. (List maintained by Jacques Andr�.)

American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA). Professional designers' organization.

Offline: American Typefounders Fellowship (ATF). Interested in preserving hot-metal typecasting and letterpress printing. (Formerly at www.printerstradingpost.com)

Association for the Calligraphic Arts, founded in 1997 for increasing awareness and appreciation of calligraphy and the lettering arts through exhibitions, publications, educational programs and related activities.

Blackletter: Type and National Identity (online exhibition) The exhibition text was published as the special double issue nos. 38-39 of APHA's journal Printing History. (Curated by Peter Bain and Paul Shaw in 1998; maintained by Cooper Union.)

A Brief History of Type, by Thomas Phinney, maintained by K Woodward, Redsun.com

Calligraphy Links maintained by Cecilia, mostly Australian.

Calligraphy Guild of Pittsburgh

Calligraphy Web Ring, lots of sites.

Counterspace, dedicated to type and typography. Sections on classification, anatomy and timeline.

CyberScribes, including information on CALLIG, the Calligraphy Mailing list (hosted by Teri Martin Designs).

International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers and Teachers of Handwriting (IAMPETH)

John Ryder: An Appreciation (maintained by Paul Moxon)

Lettering Today and Tomorrow (UK) a program of exhibitions, talks, practical sessions, publications and work with schools, supported by the Edward Johnston Foundation and the Ditchling Museum. The program's long term purpose is to establish a centre for the lettering arts in Ditchling. Includes information on the new Edward Johnston Foundation.

Letterspace Nexus. Site maintained by Letterspace, relating to type, typography, and letter design. Useful links.

New Series. Fascinating commentary by Andrew Crewdon who has a good sense of the history of type and type design.

Planet Typography. Journal and portal edited by Jean-Christophe Loubet del Bayle. (English language version of the original site Planete Typographie (in French). See also his Typographie & Civilisation (in French), described below.

Serif: The Magazine of Type and Typography (See also "Sans Serif: Online Companion to Serif," which has links to many events and announcements.)

Society of Scribes (SOS). Dedicated to calligraphy and fine writing.

Society of Scribes and Illuminators (United Kingdom), founded in 1921 in the UK by early students of Edward Johnston with the aim of advancing the crafts of writing and illumination.

Society of Typographic Aficionados (SoTA). Dedicated to the promotion, study, and support of type, its history and development.

Society for Calligraphy (Southern California), promotes the study, teaching and practice of calligraphy and related disciplines.

Spencerian.com, commercial site of Michael and Deb Sull relating to Spencerian script.

Type Directors Club (TDC). Devoted to excellence in typography, both in print and on screen.

TYPO-L site for the mailing list; includes archives, articles by subscribers, etc.

Typographie & Civilisation. French site edited by Jean-Christophe Loubet del Bayle dedicating to the history of writing, printing and typefaces (in French). Includes Typographia Historia with essays on typefaces and type designers (in French).

Typographer.com provides weekly digest of news and commentary on digital typography and design, by David Earls.

Washington Calligraphers Guild, nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C. See Julian Waters' brief History of calligraphy, lettering and typeface design and the site's useful Links.

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Robert C. Williams American Museum of Papermaking, features paper, tools, and archives. Based, in part, on the collection of Dard Hunter (Atlanta, GA)

RittenhouseTown, site of America's first papermill, with museum and working mill. (Philadelphia, PA)

Hand Papermarking. Dedicated to advancing traditional and contemporary ideas in the art of hand papermaking.

Friends of Dard Hunter

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Book Arts

Book Arts Resources links and resources maintained by Washington University Libraries. A good starting point.

Guide to the Book Arts and Book History, maintained by Catholic University. Good links, but now quite dated.

Amalgamated Printers' Association. Letterpress printing enthusiasts -- printers, typecasters and collectors. With articles from the publication Type & Press.

American Academy of Bookbinding

Bosshard's Printing Primer: The Letterpress Pages. An interesting, if dated, page on How-to.

Book Arts at the University of Alabama. Includes a useful page of links.

Center for Book Arts (New York, NY)

Fine Press Book Association (US and UK), founded in 1996 for people "interested in the art of fine printing to promote printing skills and the appreciation of beautiful books." The FPBA also runs a Yahoo mailing list FinePressBook.

Philobiblion- Book Arts Web. See its nearly comprehensive links on the book arts. (Maintained by Peter D. Verheyen.)

Graphion's Online Type Museum (Graphion is a typesetting company)

Resources on Handmade, Small Press & Unusual Books of Distinction (maintained by Superlative Books)

Book Arts MFA Program at the University for the Arts (Philadelphia, PA)

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Prints and Print-making

American Historical Print Collectors Society (AHPCS) fosters the collection, preservation, study and exhibition of original American historical prints from the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries. Very useful links page.

Color Printing in the Nineteenth Century, from the University of Delaware, is an informative exhibition.

History of Wood Engraving, from the University of North Texas, is a very fine exhibition drawing on their collection.

Wood Engravers' Network."Pursues communication, encouragement, and education in this historic, yet contemporary relief medium." Useful links.

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Allied Professions, including Rare Books Librarianship and Conservation

Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the American Library Association

Library History Round Table of the American Library Association

Conservation Online at Stanford

American Institute of Conservation (AIC)

Guild of Book Workers

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Centers for the Book (US)

A long list of Centers for the Book is available at www.philobiblon.com. In addition, many college and university art departments also teach letterpress as an integral part of their printmaking programs.

Center for the Book (Library of Congress)

California Center for the Book

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Listservs (Internet e-mail lists)

Listservs are automated e-mail lists that distribute messages to a group of subscribers. Many of these listservs are archived, so they may be searched without becoming a subscriber. Lists hosted at Yahoo normally require free registration to access the archives.

BookArts-L (archives). Book Arts, with emphasis on artist books, images and binding.

Conservation Distribution List (Cons Dist) (archives). Conservation of library and art.

Exlibris (archives). Rare books and special collections, mostly librarians, collectors and dealers.

Guild of Bookworkers (archives). Book binding.

Letpress (archives). Letterpress printers, mostly metal, many hobbyist.

PPLetterpress (archive). (Hosted at Yahoo) Experimental Studio and photopolymer letterpress. Useful links (requires registration).

ProDesign (archive) (Hosted at Yahoo) Print media graphic design, business issues and software.

SHARP-L (archive). Society for the History of Authorship, Reading & Publishing, mostly academic and librarians.

TYPO-L (archive). Type and typographic design.

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