Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2004 Issue

20th Century Private Presses and<br>Printing from Oak Knoll Books

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20th Century Fine Printing and Private Press from Oak Knoll Books


By Michael Stillman

Oak Knoll Books
has issued its 255th catalogue and the title is “Fine Printing & Private Press in 20th Century North America.” What’s amazing about Oak Knoll is that they issue catalogues in very specific niches, and then somehow manage to fill them with huge numbers of titles. In this case, Oak Knoll is offering 969 items for sale.

Much of the material comes from smaller, often short-run presses. Those who collect the work of these fine presses will want to look through this catalogue for their favorites. Names such as Grabhorn, Overbrook, Bird and Bull, and Castle are just a few of the names represented. There’s even one from the obscure Toothpaste Press out of West Branch, Iowa. Additionally, many of the books here offered are specifically about printing, paper, type, illustration, bibliography, and book collecting. Here are just a few, not particularly typical examples from this catalogue.

On January 9, 1961, a young Massachusetts senator spoke before his home state’s legislature. This brief address was captured and printed by the Overbrook Press. Less than two weeks later, that senator would become the nation’s 35th president and a legend would be born. Item 594 is An Address by John F. Kennedy Delivered Before the Massachusetts Legislature, January 9, 1961. Priced at $30. If, on the other hand, you collect unsuccessful presidential candidates, back in 1940 the Overbrook Press published Occasional Addresses and Articles, to which are Prefixed Biographical Sketches by Wendell Willkie. Willkie was the Republicans’ sacrificial lamb to FDR in the 1940 election. Item 608. $35.

Item 133 is a recent printing of Henry Morris’ Nicolas Louis Robert and his Endless Wire Papermaking Machine from Bird and Bull Press. Robert was the inventor of the papermaking machine, an advance Oak Knoll says “had almost as much impact as Gutenberg’s printing press.” The reason is that it allowed for the mass production of cheap paper, enabling large runs of inexpensive books to bring knowledge to everyone. This book includes copies of five of Robert’s original patent drawings. $400. For papermaking on a smaller scale, there’s Peter Thomas’ Start Making Paper. The book is actually printed on paper hand-made by Thomas and his children. Evidently, Thomas never expected this to become a bestseller, as he printed only 18 copies. It may not be old (printed in 1986), but it surely is rare. Item 880. $75.

If you’re looking for guaranteed rare books, items 11-15 are five titles by Marvin Albert printed by the Alexandria Press in the 1960s: The Magic Clown; Sifting of Infinity; Somewhere Coming Somewhere Going; The Tempest Myth; and This Fact of Man. All were limited to 24 numbered copies, except the last, of which there were but 15. Prices range from $25-$55.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> Frederick Douglass, ALS recruiting help for his paper after schism with Garrison, Rochester, 1851. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> James Dean, photograph by Sanford H. Roth, signed & inscribed by Dean. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> Richard Wagner, ALS requesting confirmation that the Grand Duke received his letter, 1863. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> Benjamin Rush, ALS, doctor’s note for a Revolutionary soldier, 1780. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> Lord Byron, ALS to Cambridge classmate, “your friendship is of more account to me than all these absurd vanities,” c. 1812. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> Ernest Hemingway, <i>Three Stories & Ten Poems,</i> first edition of the author’s first book, Paris, 1923. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> Ralph Ellison, <i>Invisible Man,</i> first English edition of the author’s first novel, signed, London, 1953. $1,800 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> Margery Lawrence, <i>The Madonna of Seven Moons,</i> first edition in unrestored dust jacket, Indianapolis, 1933. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> Joseph Albers, <i>Interaction of Color,</i> 80 color screenprints, Yale University Press, New Haven & London, 1963. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> Albert Einstein, autograph manuscript, unsigned, likely a draft discarded while working toward a unified field theory. $10,000 to $20,000.
  • <center><b>The Collectors’ Sale<br>March 3, 2021</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Mar. 3:</b> Verlag, Luzern, Publishers: <i>The Book of Kells,</i> the most precious illuminated manuscript of the early Middle Ages, now reproduced, the FIRST AND ONLY COMPLETE FINE ART FACSIMILE EDITION. €5,000 to €6,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Mar. 3:</b> Rowling (J.K.) <i>Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone,</i> 8vo, L. (Bloomsbury) 1997, First Deluxe Edn., Signed by the Author on title page. €4,000 to €5,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Mar. 3:</b> Gilbert (John T.) Account of Facsimiles of National Manuscripts of Ireland, from the earliest extant specimens to A.D. 719. €2,000 to €3,000.
    <center><b>The Collectors’ Sale<br>March 3, 2021</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Mar. 3:</b> <i>The Georgian Society Records of Eighteenth-Century Domestic Architecture in Dublin [-Ireland],</i> 5 vols. lg. 4to D. 1909 - 1913. Limited Editions. €1,500 to €2,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Mar. 3:</b> Yeats (W.B.) <i>The Poems of W.B. Yeats,</i> 2 vols., roy 8vo, L. (MacMillan & Co.) 1949, Limited Edn., No. 185 (of 375 copies). Signed. €1,500 to €2,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Mar. 3:</b> Crone (John S.)ed. <i>The Irish Book Lover, A Monthly Review of Irish Literature and Bibliography.</i> Vol. I No 1 August 1909 - Vol. XXXII No. 6, September 1957. €1,250 to €2,000.
    <center><b>The Collectors’ Sale<br>March 3, 2021</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Mar. 3:</b> Yeats (John Butler) <i>An original self-portrait Sketch,</i> Signed and dated April 1919, N[ew] York. €1,200 to €1,500.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Mar. 3:</b> Photograph Album. Entitled ''A Souvenir of the Visit to Jeypore Samasthanam of His Excellency the Right Hon'ble Viscount Goschen of Hawkhurst… 14th December 1927''. €1,000 to €1,500.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Mar. 3:</b> Pistolesi (Erasmo) <i>Il Vaticano,</i> 8vols. large atlas, folio Rome (Tipografia della Societa..) 1829. €500 to €600.
    <center><b>The Collectors’ Sale<br>March 3, 2021</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Mar. 3:</b> Chagall (Marc)illus., Legmarie (Jean) comp., <i>The Jerusalem Windows,</i> folio N.Y. (George Braziller) 1962. €400 to €500.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Mar. 3:</b> Bullitt (Thos. W.) <i>My Life at Oxmoor,</i> Life on a Farm in Kentucky before the War. Roy 8vo Louisville, Kentucky, 1911. Privately Printed No. 86 of 100 Copies Only. €300 to €400.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, Mar. 3:</b> Popish Plot: Oates (Titus) <i>The Popes Whore House or The Merchandise of The Whore of Rome,</i> folio L. 1679. First Edn. €100 to €150.

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