Guide to the Research Collections
Presses and Book Clubs (Billings *KP)
This collection contains the work of private and special presses, ranging in date from Horace Walpole's eighteenth-century Strawberry Hill Press and famous nineteenth-century presses such as William Morris's Kelmscott Press and the Doves Press of T. J. Cobden-Sanderson, to modern presses such as Allen, Grabhorn and Officina
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Bodoni. Some 1,000 special presses, book clubs, and book designers are represented, in a collection numbering about 12,500 volumes. The collecting policy is comprehensive in the range of presses included, but only representative in the individual publications of most of the presses. There are particularly good collections of the work of Bruce Rogers and Frederic W. Goudy; a gift made by Ivan Somerville in 1954 added much valuable Goudy material. Additions to the special press collection are often purchased with income from a fund established under the bequest of Alfred E. Ommen as a memorial to Theodore Low De Vinne. The division maintains a Special Press Catalog and a printed list of the names of the special presses, book clubs, and book designers represented in the collection is issued in revised form at irregular intervals.
A special collection in this class is *KPC, Christmas books, issued as gifts of individuals, publishers, and presses. It includes mainly privately printed material. There are about 500 books and pamphlets in addition to boxes of greeting cards. The division maintains as a card index the Christmas Books File, arranged by the name of the sender. Christmas cards are collected as examples of graphic art by the Art and Architecture and the Prints Divisions.