Call for Paper Proposals: “The Song of the Sans Serif”

February 11th, 2016

The Birmingham folks have another conference planned for this September (Specifically, September 30) and they’d like to hear from you if you have research or knowledge to report on the topic of sans serif typography. Deadline for proposals is February 29, leap day.

The Conference organizers, Professor Caroline Archer and David Osbaldestin, invite contributions from academics, research students, independent scholars and practitioners working in the realms of printing history and culture, typography and type design, social and industrial history and other related topics. Please send a suggested title, synopsis (200 words) and biography (100 words) via a Word attachment to both: and by 29 February 2016.

This is how they conceive of the subject: “From printing types to digital typography the sans serif resonates across both page and screen; and from the advent of Caslon IV’s Two Lines English Egyptian in 1816* to the present day the voice of the sans serif has greatly influenced communication. In the nineteenth-century the sans serif sang out from billboards competing for attention through the smog of industrialised cities; with the advent of the railways it forged an unique relationship with transport and it became the face of the information age the indispensable choice for tabular matter. In the twenty-first century, with the emergence of new vernacular types, the sans serif continues to speak within contemporary advertising and user-experience design. In October 2016, the Centre for Printing History and Culture is celebrating 200 years of the sans serif through a one-day symposium and accompanying exhibition. Speakers are invited to address aspects of the world-wide development, use and impact of the sans serif from the nineteenth century and beyond.”

Keynote speakers have already be engaged for the conference. They are:

John A. Lane is a historian of printing types, typefounding and type specimens, also specialising in analytical bibliography, paper and watermarks. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for his typographic research in 2006 and his many books and articles discuss the history of printing types from the fifteenth to the twenty-first century. His most recent book, The Diaspora of Armenian Printing 1512-2012 was published by the University of Amsterdam in 2012.

Professor James Mosley teaches the history of letterforms and typography at the University of Reading. He was librarian of the St Bride Library from 1958 until his retirement in 2000. He has written and lectured in several countries on the history of letter forms and printing types, and the technical and cultural influences that have shaped them.

–Bob McCamant

Book Club of California announces award recipients and ceremony

February 9th, 2016

WagenerHeadshotThe Book Club of California has named the recipients of the 2016 Oscar Lewis Awards: our own wood engraver Richard Wagener, for his “contributions to the Book Arts,” and scholar James Karman, for his contributions to Western History. Past Book Arts winners include Harry and Sandra Reese, Carolee Campbell, Clifford Burke, Johanna Drucker, and many others.

The 2016 Oscar Lewis Awards Ceremony will be held at the Book Club of California, 312 Sutter Street, Suite 500, San Francisco, CA from 5-7 p.m. on Monday, March 28. Admission is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. RSVP to

–Bob McCamant

Hertzog Award winners announced

February 3rd, 2016

The Friends of the University Library of The University of Texas at El Paso have selected the winners of the 15th Carl Hertzog Award for excellence in book design.

Taking the top honor was Loom, a book designed by Richard Wagener and David Pascoe of California. Judges also selected On Physical Lines, designed by Sara Langworthy of Iowa City, Iowa as first runner-up.

Second runner-up was Two Lives, designed by Kimberly Maher of Coralville, Iowa. Honorable mention went to “An Alphabet of Sorts” designed by Jennifer Farrell, and “Anatomia Botanica” (in its deluxe edition) designed by Radha Pandey.

The announcement ran in the El Passo Herald Post.

This is the page for Loom, but it is sold out.

This is the page for On Physical Lines, which will be reviewed in Parenthesis 31, out in the fall.

–Bob McCamant

Penn Conference on Fine and Private Press Books

January 22nd, 2016

spectrum_500“The Art of the Book: Fine Printing in North America in the 21st Century” is the extremely promising title of a conference at the University of Pennsylvania about a month away, Friday and Saturday, February 26 and 27. The cast of speakers includes many members of our organization: Mark Dimunation, Chief of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress, will be the keynote speaker on Friday. Then on Saturday, Carol Blinn, Abigail Rorer, Robin Price, Mark Tomlinson, Dan De Simone, Russell Maret, Mindy Belloff, Carolee Campbell, Michael Thompson, Matt Neff, Sharka Hyland,
Barbara Henry, Jean-François Vilain, Lynne Farrington, and Mark Samuels Lasner will be speaking in panels. Symposium information is available here.

The conference is in part to go with an exhibit at the University of Pennsylvania Library, Across the Spectrum: Color in American Fine & Private Press Books, 1890-2015, which in turn celebrates the recent acquisition by the Penn Libraries of The Jean-François Vilain and Roger S. Wieck Collection of Private Presses, Ephemera, & Related References.

–Bob McCamant

Fundraising for Mark Olson of Innerer Klang Press

January 17th, 2016

Olson has been living with MS for awhile now. He moved his press to Asheville in 2004 and soon after was flooded out by a hurricane. He has endured some rough luck in his life which he has met with his understated Midwestern attitude. He needs to get his van adapted with new controls for driving. He is collecting funds here, and is nearly halfway to his goal. Few of his books are available because the flood destroyed much of his inventory, but he does have ephemera for sale on his website.

–Bob McCamant

Birmingham does it again

December 7th, 2015

Excuse my harping on it, but Birmingham (UK) seems intent to make itself a world capital in the graphic design world. Latest: they’ve set up a “Centre for Printing History and Culture” which is a joint initiative between Birmingham City University and the University of Birmingham and consists of researchers, heritage professionals and librarians. In their words, “it seeks to encourage research into all aspects and periods of printing history and culture, as well as education and training into the art and practice of printing.”

They have already announced seven research subjects, which range from Industrial Publishing to Solidarities in Print. They’re calling their first meeting a Wayzgoose, but it isn’t what you think it is…instead, it’s two hours of discussion about research topics.

Stay tuned.

–Bob McCamant

Deadline nears for Type@Cooper West; scholarship announced

November 19th, 2015

cooperTypeLogo_westYou have only until midnight Monday, November 23, to post your application for the three-term Type@Cooper West program. This is an intensive program with in three chunks: a Spring term, from Monday, January 25th to Tuesday, March 29th; Summer term, from Monday, May 16th to Tuesday, August 2nd (skipping the weeks of Memorial Day & Independence Day); and Fall term from Monday, September 12th to Tuesday, November 14th. Classes are scheduled for evenings and weekends so that participants can continue with full-time jobs, should they hold them.

Tuition is $2340 per term, but an Erik Spiekermann & Friends Scholarship has just been announced. The recipient will be selected based on merit to receive a full tuition scholarship for all three terms, contingent on remaining in good standing.

Type@Cooper in New York has earned an excellent reputation. The new San Francisco offering will piggy-back upon the rapidly developing collection of the Typographic Archive, allowing excellent access to a remarkable collection of typographic specimens and artifacts.


–Bob McCamant

Tell us about Turn the Page, Norwich, UK

November 12th, 2015

Just heard about this book event that’s been going for several years now. They describe it as being for “Sculptural books, Altered Books, Limited Editions, Zines & Installations.” Are we talking Printed Matter here, or Codex, or something else entirely? Please add a comment to this post, or if you prefer, send an email to NAEditor [at]

–Bob McCamant

Robin Price to talk at Yale

November 9th, 2015

Robin Price sent along this news this morning:

“In conjunction with the current Song of Songs exhibition at the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library at Yale University — on Tuesday, November 10th, at 3pm, I will be talking about the forthcoming Song of Songs press publication along with my primary collaborator, artist Barbara Benish.

“The event, beginning at the Sterling Memorial Library lecture hall, is sponsored by Yale University Library Bibliographical Press, and hosted by Jae Rossman, who curated “How right they are to adore you!”: The Song of Songs Interpreted Through Fine Printing, on view at the Arts Library through February 19, 2016. After the talk, please join us to print your own keepsake on the Albion hand press.

“Amazingly enough, the event will be available via live stream at”

Sounds like fun if you’re nearby.

–Bob McCamant

Prize Winners at the Oxford Fine Press Fair

November 3rd, 2015

Group1Five books and one pamphlet got prizes on Saturday at the Oxford fine press fair. The first prize to be announced (which included a £400 cash prize) was a one-time one in honor of the late Toby English, whose untimely death not long before the fair was a shock to everyone. Toby had chaired the fair, on behalf of the Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association, for ten years. It went to Paul Kershaw of Grapho Editions in North Yorkshire, for his Amphibious Place.

Group2Then the team of Colin Martin, Sandy Malcom, and James Freemantle named the maximum number of items they were permitted (five) as arbitrary “Judges’ Choice Awards.” First to be named was Parvenu Press’s Alchemical Garden. Next to be named was the very same Amphibious Place that received the Toby English prize. The Salvage Press portfolio Imagination Dead Image came next. Russell Maret’s bibliography, Pressed for Time came next. Gaylord Shanilec’s Lac Des Pleurs got the final Judges’ Choice.

Last to be presented were the two awards for affordable items, given by the Oxford Guild of Printers and announced by Paul Shaw. Pamphlet winner was the Bonnefanten Press, of Maastricht, Germany for da du duden and Soundings, by the St. Brigid Press, won for book.

–Bob McCamant