Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2004 Issue

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

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

  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD
  • Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [RUTH, George Herman “Babe” (1895-1948)]. Signed photograph. Circa 1930s. 191 x 248 mm. $1,500 to $2,500.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: HARRISON, Benjamin. Document signed (“Benj Harrison”) as governor of Virginia, certifying the service of Daniel Cumbo, a Black Revolutionary soldier. $6,000 to $9,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: ONE OF THE FIRST PRINTED ANNOUNCEMENTS OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. $4,000 to $6,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: FIRST PRINTING OF LINCOLN’S IMMORTAL GETTYSBURG ADDRESS. $4,000 to $6,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: HIGHLY IMPORTANT MORMON ARCHIVE. ALLEY, George. Archive of 23 Autograph Letters Signed by Mormon Convert George Alley to His Brother Joseph Alley. $10,000 to $20,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [AVIATION]. [ARMSTRONG, Neil A.] Aviation Hall of Fame Gold Medal MS64 NGC, Awarded to Neil Armstrong in 1979. $2,000 to $3,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: NEWLY DISCOVERED FIRST PRINTING OF "WITH MALICE TOWARDS NONE... " FROM THE ONLY NEWSPAPER ACTUALLY ALLOWED TO PARTICIPATE IN LINCOLN’S SECOND INAUGURAL PROCESSION. $4,000 to $8,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: THE MOST IMPORTANT GEORGE WASHINGTON DOCUMENT IN PRIVATE HANDS; GEORGE WASHINGTON’S COMMISSION AS COMMANDER IN CHIEF, 1775, ONE OF ONLY TWO ORIGINALS. $150,000 to $250,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: A VERY RARE ACCOUNT OF BLACKBEARD’S DEATH AND ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PIRATE ITEMS EXTANT. $3,000 to $5,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: EDISON, Thomas. Patent for Edison’s Improvements on the Electric-Light, No. 219,628. [Washington, D.C.: U.S. Patent Office], 16 September 1879. $2,000 to $3,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [VIETNAM WAR]. The original pen used by Secretary of State William P. Rogers to sign the Vietnam Peace Agreement, Paris, 27 January 1973. $10,000 to $15,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: SONS OF LIBERTY FOUNDER COLONEL BARRÉ ANNOTATED TITLE-PAGE, “WHICH OUGHT TO ROUSE UP BRITISH ATTENTION”. $4,000 to $6,000.

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