Books that got me started

Typeface collection


Miscellaneous equipment


Printed Pieces

My oldest book

For the Prospective Printer

Other letterpress sites

Printing as a Hobby, J. Ben Lieberman, Oak Tree Press, Ltd., London, 1963. This was the only book I could find at the time. It proved to be slight for my voracious appetite for information. However, in the tradition of "how to" books, this is one of few by an American author that excels; it proved a clear introduction to the most basic tasks. I followed the instructions for making the little flatbed press (then in commercial production) called the Liberty press. For a "cylinder" I used a long, fat candle someone had given me as a present. (At the time, even the cost of a rolling pin was beyond me!). This is a book which assumes no prior knowledge of anything to do with printing. The index is excellent.

An Atlas of Typeforms, James Sutton and Alan Bartram, Hastings House, New York, , 1968. Copyright 1968 by Percy Lund, Humphries & Co., Ltd. This was the second book in my printing library. And, what a marvelous acquisition it was! It is still one of the most remarkable books I own. It turned me into a budding typographer and instilled a fascination with the alphabet that has never diminished. It is 10¼ x 16¼ and profusely illustrated with specimen alphabets and pictures of typesetting, book pages, and broadsides from Gutenberg to the Kelmscott Chaucer. At the back is a three-page fold-out with book face paragraphs for comparison. I studied this until I was blind, trying to decide on a book face for Fairfax Press. In my innocence I decided on Bembo, and then discovered that, as it was a British face, I could not get it in this country. (I had yet to learn about U.S. use of the Monotype machines!) One of the very unusual things about this book is that for many specimens, the letters "RQENbaegn" are blown up until a 12pt "R" is one inch high. For example, on one page are these letters for 30pt Monotype Baskerville, 12pt Linotype Baskerville, and 30D Deberny & Peignot Baskerville. This enables one to observe the subtle differences among the versions.

The Art of Written Forms, Donald M. Anderson, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc, New York, 1969. This book was given to me by a very dear friend who clearly saw in my future a constant devotion to letters. I strongly recommend this book as a foundational book in the library of any calligrapher, typographer, printer, or typecaster. It is beautifully written and illustrated, and makes judicious use of a second color. It begins with the origins of writing, goes on to the grand age of manuscripts, the origin of modern letter forms, the development and use of metal types, the fine printing revival in England and its spread. It covers the Bauhaus, Morris, Johnston, and graphic design. It goes into detail about the structure of lowercase and capitals, the use of tools in calligraphy, and moves on to the last section entitled, "Writing: A World Art" wherein it treats Greek, Aramaic, and Chinese calligraphy. This book is still in print, although I think only in soft cover form.

Printing for School and Shop, Frank S. Henry, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 1917. This book sent my practical knowledge up many levels. I have since acquired two different editions of the similar book by Polk, but prefer the Henry book. A book of this type is a must for the beginning printer. The older the copyright the better. This book gets down to the real stuff--how to tie up a form, clean type, take a galley proof, mitre rule, correct type in a forme, etc. The stuff of this book is the stuff you will do every day in the shop.
© 2001-2008, Clair Dunn.