Printing History and Book Arts

Eugène Delâtre. Imprimerie (Woman with Press). c.1900. Case Wing ZX 839 .D375.
Eugène Delâtre. Imprimerie (Woman with Press). c.1900. Case Wing ZX 839 .D375.

The Newberry’s John M. Wing Foundation has collected manuscript materials relating to the history of printing since its establishment in 1919. These items range in date from the sixteenth century to the present. The subjects and personalities represented are roughly the same as those represented in the printed books in the Wing collection. There are single letters (by Bodoni, Bulmer, Goudy, Van Krimpen, Tschichold, Vox, and others), groups of letters (by Didot, Bewick, Bullen, Cleland, Gill, Dwiggins), ledgers and other business records of printers (Pierres of Paris, Armor Printing Works, Blue Sky Press, Parkhurst Press), and scrapbooks (from William Morris’s Kelmscott Press).

There are also some more complete archives of individual twentieth-century presses, publishers, and printing folk, over thirty collections in all. Most notable in this latter category are the correspondence of Count Harry Kessler, founder of Cranach Press, working papers of William Kittredge and George Salter, and very full sets of the personal papers of Will Ransom, Douglas McMurtrie, and Robert Hunter Middleton. Of particular interest for Chicago publishing history are archival materials relating to Stone & Kimball, Way & Williams, A.C. McClurg, Charles H. Kerr Co., and Rand McNally.

Original drawings for types, bindings and bookplates include work by Ransom and Middleton, and by T.J. Cobden-Sanderson, Oswald Cooper, Frederic Goudy, Bruce Rogers, and Ernst Detterer. Illustrators represented by original drawings include Laura Bannon and Rockwell Kent. Also important are seventeenth- to nineteenth-century manuscripts of unpublished works on paper making, type design, printing technology, bookbinding, bookselling, publishing law, and censorship.

Abstracts for modern manuscripts collections on printing history and book arts are available online.  Some collections also have online inventories; see the Abstracts page for more information.