Chicago’s Newberry announces more liberal
rights policy for online collections

March 20th, 2018

Chicago’s Newberry Library has moved a long way from when I first started looking for historic graphic arts images to reproduce in 2004. Of course they had a lot of wonderful material, but to use something–even something you could tell from their online catalog they possessed–you had to go in in person, request the item, examine it, and fill out an order form requesting a photograph. If you were going to publish it, you also had to fill out another request for publication form. Fees were required, certainly for taking the photograph (which could only be taken by the library’s photographer), and maybe for the reproduction, depending upon where it was to be used. This is their new policy:

The Newberry Library announced this week a major update to our policy regarding the use of collection
images for new scholarly and creative work. All images derived from collection items are now available to
anyone for any lawful purpose, whether commercial or non-commercial, without licensing or permission
fees to the library. This policy applies to everything from pictures researchers take in the library’s reading
rooms to the 1.7 million high-resolution Newberry images currently available online. The policy is intended
to encourage users, wherever they may be, to interact more freely with items in our collections.

This is similar to the policies in effect for many European libraries.

–Bob McCamant

Valley Book Fest announced

February 21st, 2018

The Pioneer Valley in western Massachusetts is, in the words of the NY Times, “arguably the most author-saturated, book-cherishing, literature-celebrating place in the nation.” Writers and bookstores are only part of the riches of the Valley; it is also home to one of the country’s greatest concentrations of masters of the book arts, including binders, printers, and illustrators. The goal of the Valley Book Fest is to celebrate the heritage of the Valley, to recognize the makers for their contribution to the culture of the book, and to consider the future of the book arts in this special place.

The Festival will be a four-day immersion into the book culture of the Valley. There will be expert panels of makers, curators and collectors, master-level workshops, studio open houses, and visits to the archives of the Eric Carle Museum, The National Yiddish Book Center, the Mortimer Rare Book Collection at Smith, and University of Massachusetts Libraries.

It’s June 10-13, and will take place in several of the valley’s charming towns.

The current schedule, subject to revision.

–Bob McCamant

Decorated paper workshops this October in Italy!

February 14th, 2018

The workshop is divided in to two parts. In the first part of the workshop you will learn about making decorated paper and in the second part of the workshop they will teach the skills of bookbinding. Good enough.

What makes it sound really nice is the rest: 6 days of workshop taught in English. Materials are included (recipe instructions, diagrams on [executive] techniques, bibliographical references). Not to mention: 7 night accommodation with breakfast in the picturesque village of Cisterna d’Asti, (double occupancy rooms, walking distance to the studio); 5 dinners; 7 lunches. Wine-tasting and wine story telling in a historical winery, and 2 sightseeing afternoons around the beautiful UNESCO heritage area.

For more details.

–Bob McCamant

Oak Knoll is a go for fall 2018!

January 26th, 2018

This just in from Rob Fleck, to FPBA membership: “I hope you had a lovely holiday and cheers to a prosperous new year!
I’m just letting you know that we have officially dated Oak Knoll Fest for October 5-7, 2018.”
–Bob McCamant

New interview with David Esslemont

January 17th, 2018

Nigel Beale’s wide range of interviews with various book people has recently added one with David Esslemont on his history with the Gregynog and Solmentes Presses. It’s here. Interesting older conversations with others, too, if you poke around.

–Bob McCamant

Verso is Back! Long Live Verso!

December 8th, 2017

A friend told me it was coming back, but I guess I didn’t believe it. Well, it exists. The announcement this summer read “Due to an unexpected windfall, Verso magazine is able to continue! There will be no July issue, so the first of the new series will appear in November.”

And there it was in today’s mail, only 8 days into December! The new issue is all book reviews: more detailed and beautifully illustrated than any other publication I know. (Reviews by Marian Crawford, Derek Lamb, Loney himself, Noel Waite, Des Cowley, and Ian Morrison, of books from Down Under, the US, and the UK. ‘Taint cheap, though: $75AU per year, for three issues. Subscribe here.

–Bob McCamant

Seminar on Baskerville in France, Oct. 2018

November 24th, 2017

Closing date for proposals: 31 January 2018

In conjunction with L’École supérieure d’art et de design d’Amiens (ESAD), the Centre for Printing History & Culture (CPHC) is organising a two-day international conference which aims to review and reassess the relationship between Baskerville—the man and the typeface—and France and the French.

John Baskerville (1707–75) was an English typographer, printer, industrialist and Enlightenment figure with a worldwide reputation. He not only designed one of the world’s most popular and important typefaces, he also experimented with casting type, improved the construction of the printing press, trialed a new kind of paper and refined the quality of printing inks. His typographic experiments put him ahead of his time, had an international impact and did much to enhance the printing and publishing industries of his day.

Baskerville, however, was a prophet without honour in his own land and ‘only in France did he meet with the encouragement he undoubtedly deserved.’

During his lifetime, Baskerville allied himself with France both through print and politics. His books were purchased, read and collected by an admiring French public; his magnificent Orlando Furioso, printed in 1773, carried the work of the Paris-based Molini brothers and their French artists. The French State was appreciative of Baskerville’s work and wished to purchase his typographic material, and he enjoyed the hospitality of the King. Aptly known as ‘Birmingham’s little Voltaire’ Baskerville was an admirer and correspondent of the French author with whom he shared political, religious and freethinking values.

After his death the Franco-Baskerville relationship persisted. Caron de Beaumarchais, French author and polymath, purchased his types and presses to print the complete works of Voltaire and the link between Baskerville and French politics was strengthened when his type was deployed on a succession of Revolutionary material, including Le Moniteur, the official journal of the Republic. Baskerville’s influence on French typography is also significant, from the Didot family to the Deberny & Peignot foundry, who purchased and restored his materials before giving them to the university of Cambridge in 1953. Today, Baskerville’s typographic impact continues and his typeface is still widely used in the publishing trade.

This conference welcomes papers that consider the impact of Baskerville in France from the eighteenth century to the present day. Papers may consider the technical, aesthetic, literary, political or philosophical influences of Baskerville on France and France on Baskerville.

Look here for details.

–Bob McCamant

Deadline for Oxford book fair applications

November 21st, 2017

Brief applications are needed to be considered for exhibition at the Oxford Fine Press Book Fair, administered by Henry Gott of the Provincial Booksellers. See this page for his contact information. They will need to be received by November 30, but can be filled out and sent electronically on a form Mr. Gott will send you.

–Bob McCamant

Paper proposal deadlines for Birmingham shortly!

November 13th, 2017

1. Script, print and letterforms in global contexts: the visual and the material 28-29 June 2018, Birmingham City University, UK

Keynote speakers: Professor Ulrike Stark (University of Chicago)
Deadline for submissions: 1 December 2017

In this conference, we seek to explore the plurality of engagements with, and interpretations of the printed and written word in various writing systems and artefacts; whether handwritten, lithographed, typographically printed, or digitally conjured.
More information


2. Women in Print: production, distribution and consumption
13-14 September 2018, Winterbourne House, University of Birmingham UK

Keynote speakers: Dr Nadine Chahine (Monotype UK), Ann Field (Marx Memorial Library); Professor Helen Smith (University of York)
Deadline for submissions: 1 December 2017

This interdisciplinary conference seeks to recover the lives, work and impact of women who have been active in all aspects of printing and print culture, and to assess those contributions that may have been neglected or undervalued.
More information


3. Printing for the workplace: industrial and business publishing
12 July 2018, Gladstone Library, Hawarden, Flintshire, Wales, UK

Deadline for submissions: 30 January 2018

This conference considers ‘industrial and business publishing’ that is, the production and issuing of commercial literature that not only utilizes the skills of traditional publishing (authorship, editorial direction, the commissioning of artists, designers and photographers) but also necessitates the supervision of printing and distribution. These customary activities are, however, executed by—or for—an industry for which publishing is not the primary business.
More information

–Bob McCamant

“Pressing On” at the Grolier Club November 14

October 28th, 2017

New York premiere of film exploring the question “Why has letterpress survived in a digital age?” Co-director Andrew Quinn will be in attendance. Tuesday, November 14, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. – “Pressing On: The Letterpress Film.” Presented by Grolier Club’s Committee on Modern Fine Printing, and co-sponsored by the Center for Book Arts, the Fine Press Book Association, the NY Chapter of the American Printing History Association, and the Typophiles. RESERVATIONS REQUIRED BY E-MAILING Modern Fine Printing Committee chair Mark Samuels Lasner at

–Bob McCamant