Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - September - 2005 Issue

Private Press and Fine Printing from Oak Knoll Books

Fine260

Fine Printing and Private Press in Great Britain.


By Michael Stillman

Oak Knoll Books
, of New Castle, Delaware, issued two new catalogues this summer. Oak Knoll is a specialist in "books about books." They are one of the premier resources for such items as bibliographies, books about collecting, bookselling, printing and binding, typography, and similar topics. They are also an excellent resource for limited editions, particularly from private and limited run presses, and for books with exceptional bindings, handmade paper, and similar outstanding features. We are not aware of anyone else with such a large inventory of books within this category.

Oak Knoll's catalogue 260 is titled Fine Printing and Private Press in 20th Century Great Britain. A second section within the catalogue is headed, "Books about private press, fine printing, and their creators." This is a surprisingly large collection of British private press works for an American bookseller, with 711 items listed. Normally in these reviews, we select a few examples of the works offered, but mentioning titles misses the point with these works. It's the press, or the printing and binding that is notable more than the particular title. Sadly, this reviewer must admit to a lack of familiarity with British private presses, so it is hard to select which to describe. However, here are a few names whose work even I have heard about: Golden Cockerel Press and Nonesuch Press. There are 29 items offered from Golden Cockerel, and 37 from Nonesuch. However, there are dozens of other, less well-known presses represented, and print runs generally range from a few dozens to a few hundred.

Here is just one example: Beer Will Help Your Shake, the Recollections of a Ninety-Two Year Old Papermaker. Shaking has to do with aligning fibers in the paper, but one suspects the old gentleman was just looking for an excuse to have a drink on the job. This 1990 Alembic Press item records an interview with Harry Glanville, a retired papermaker, conducted by Peter Thomas. It is unlikely you will find anything else written about Glanville's career, and you won't find many copies of this one either, as only 114 were printed. Priced at $125.

The second catalogue, number 261, is not for antiquarian collectors. Its title is Private Press and Fine Printing - 2000 to 2005. This catalogue offers works from both British and American private presses, adding names such as Bird and Bull to the list. Another 144 items are included, all published within the past five years.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Abraham Lincoln, <i>Emancipation Proclamation by the President of the United States,</i> pamphlet, 1862. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the distinguished Ruby-Jackson family, Portland, Maine, 1853-1961. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens & the persons who served him, 1866-1907. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Autograph book with inscriptions by orators Moses Roper & Peter Williams, 1821-54. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Archive of letters, postcards, and greeting cards sent by Romare Bearden, 1949-87. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b><br>E. Simms Campbell, <i>A Night-Club Map of Harlem,</i> in inaugural issue of Manhattan, 1933. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Papers of the comedian Nipsey Russell, including a letter from MLK, 1929-2000. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Early German-American anti-slavery broadside, <i>Sclaven-Handel,</i> Philadelphia, 1794. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Edmonia Lewis, prominent sculptor, carte-de-visite by Henry Rocher, c. 1866-71. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b><br><i>The Black Panther: Black Community News Service,</i> 44 issues, San Francisco, 1967-1971. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Withers, <i>I Am A Man, Sanitation Workers Strike,</i> silver print, 1968. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> <i>March For Freedom Now!,</i> poster for the 1960 Republican Convention. $4,000 to $6,000.

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