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History and Art of the Book: Fine Printing

Fine Printing

The Library has extensive holdings in fine printing. The collection provides support to BYU programs in history, graphic arts, English, and other areas, as well as to researchers, faculty and visiting scholars. It also complements other portions of the History of Printing Collection by showing the modern application of earlier printing and publishing techniques. Our collection emphasizes Utah and regional printing (Rocky Mountain and Pacific Coast regions), but it also contains examples of fine printing from around the world, including a selection of the output of the English fine presses.

Modern fine printing stands within the tradition of the the best printing since earliest times, emphasizing high quality materials (often including handmade papers) and workmanship (often including hand binding and usually including hand presswork) and often including original artwork, in contrast to machine produced books. Fine press books and ephemera are usually issued in limited editions of 100-400 or less. The period covered by the modern fine press movement includes the late nineteenth century revival of fine printing (including William Morris and the Kelmscott Press, the Doves Press, and the Ashendene Press) and continues into the twenty-first century.

A complete list of presses that have been collected will be found here.To find the work of an individual press from this list, do an author search in the catalog:

  1. Go to the Library's catalog
  2. Click on "Alphabetic Search"
  3. Enter the name of the press or printer (e.g., "Arion Press," "Ritchie, Ward")
  4. Click on "author"

Journals that cover the fine printing scene

The Dolphin. New York : Limited Editions Club, 1933-1941. RARE QUARTO Z 119 .D66

Fine Print. San Francisco : S. Kirshenbaum, 1975-1998. CONSERVATION LAB Z 119 .F55

The Fleuron : A Journal of Typography. London : Fleuron, 1923-1930. RARE Z 119 .F62

Matrix: A Review for Printers and Bibliophiles. Risbury, Herefordshire : Whittington Press, 1981- RARE Z 4 .M37x

Parenthesis: The Newsletter of the Fine Press Book Association. Witney, England: Fine Press Book Association, 1998- RARE Z 231.5 .P7 P37

Printing History. New York : American Printing History Association, 1979- RARE Z 124 .A2 P74

Useful websites

I. General sites

Fine Press Book Association

Organization formed by individuals interested in the art of fine printing; publishes journal Parenthesis. The FPBA is open to both British and Americans interested in fine printing, and the journal is published alternately by American and British fine printers.

American Printing History Association 

Organization dedicated to the study of the history of printing and related arts and crafts.

The Book Arts Web

Includes links to dealers and printers.

The Invention and History of the Printing Press

Links to numerous websites with information on the history of printing.


II. Sites for particular fine printers

American Presses

Arion Press (San Francisco, Calif.)

Owned by Andrew Hoyem; successor to Grabhorn Press

Midnight Paper Sales (Stockholm, Wis.)

Imprint of wood engraver and fine printer Gaylord Schanilec

The Mosher Press

Site dedicated to the work of Thomas Bird Mosher (1852-1923)

Scripps College Press (Claremont, Calif.)

A learning press for students in the book arts program at Scripps College.

Tryst Press (Provo, Utah)

Owned by Provo, Utah fine printers Rob & Georgia Buchert

University of Iowa Center for the Book

Yolla Bolly Press (Covelo, California)

British Presses

Private Presses of the UK

Website maintained by Martyn Ould, proprietor of the Old School Press. Features in-print books from 20 British fine presses and links to their websites.


III. Dealers’ pages

Vamp & Tramp

Specializes in fine printing

Oak Knoll

In addition to dealing in fine press books, Oak Knoll Press publishes books about book arts, including fine printing and the history of printing.

Advanced Book Exchange

Metasite for finding dealers that have specific out of print fine press publications.