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

Hertzog Book Design Award Competition Deadline November 1

October 9th, 2017

This instruction page contains a link to the entry form.

–Bob McCamant

Call for Papers: Women in Print

September 5th, 2017

The Centre for Printing History & Culture in Birmingham, England has announced a conference for September 13 and 14 of 2018. The full topic is “Women in Print: production distribution, consumption,” and paper proposals are due on November 15, 2017. (Send 200 word abstracts for 20-minute papers and brief biographical details [200 words] to, by 12-noon GMT.)

Here’s more of what they have to say:

Women have always played a pivotal role in the production, distribution and consumption of print. In 1998 Leslie Howsam observed: ‘… women can be identified at every node of the [book production] cycle and at all periods in history, from the printers’ widows operating independently in the craft guilds of early modern Europe to the avid readership of romance novels, not to mention a strong tradition of women’s writing.’ Women worked in printing houses, in the book trades, and they designed and consumed print in a male-dominated world.

However, the social and economic conditions under which their activity took place requires further investigation. Women have used print to question their role and status, challenge male privilege and subvert representations of women that were used to justify the political, social and economic status quo.

This conference coincides with the centenary of the passing of the Representation of the People Act, which granted the right to vote to British women over the age of 30. Central to the campaign for female suffrage was printed material: pamphlets, posters, plays, fiction, poetry, flyers, banners and newspapers were all utilised in support of the suffragettes’ cause. This use of printing technology is indicative of the wider engagement of women with print culture throughout world history.

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. We welcome proposals from academics, students, independent researchers and practitioners who are engaged in any research or practice in this area.

Possible themes include, but are not limited to:
•Women in the printing and book trades
•Women as printers and publishers
•Printing and education
•Printing applications and innovations
•The printing industry and processes
•Print and politics
•Print and feminism
•Type and typographic design
•Book and jobbing design

–Bob McCamant

Oxford Fair reconfirmed for March 24-25

August 10th, 2017

The previously-announced dates of March 24 and 25 have been reconfirmed for a new site in Oxford. However, applications to exhibit have not yet been opened (this at 10 August 2017). Your best bet is to continue to check this page for the latest information.

–Bob McCamant

For the Love of Letterpress, Second Edition: Global Call for Submissions

July 15th, 2017

Announcing the second edition of For the Love of Letterpress: A Printing Handbook for Instructors & Students.

The revised and expanded book, written by Cathie Ruggie Saunders and Martha Chiplis, and published by Bloomsbury LLC (London), is expected in late 2018. In response to comments and suggestions from the letterpress community, the co-authors are planning to include a selection of hands-on letterpress assignments given by instructors across the globe.

The intent is to make the second edition even more useful for letterpress practitioners, stimulate inspiration within the letterpress media, and provide a window into the spectrum of teaching/learning approaches occurring within studios internationally. We invite you to submit your letterpress project briefs and student solutions for possible inclusion by September 10.

If you are not familiar with For the Love of Letterpress, please check out– You can submit your letterpress assignments here–

–Bob McCamant