The Legacy Press, established in 1997 and located in Ann Arbor (Michigan), publishes finely designed and crafted letterpress and offset printed books concerning all aspects of printing, paper, and bookbinding. Two recent publications cover the inside and the outside of The Book:
Cathleen A. Baker: From the Hand to the Machine. Nineteenth-Century American Paper and Mediums: Technologies, Materials, and Conservation
"The nineteenth century saw incredible changes that impacted everyday life. Most products gradually ceased being made by hand in local shops and mills to be replaced and augmented by those manufactured in faraway factories by bigger and faster machines. Nowhere in the world did that industrial revolution occur faster and to such a degree than in the United States. The American pulp-and-paper and printing industries not only grew exponentially, but also enabled a national publishing industry. Books published en masse allowed the dissemination of information and knowledge to great numbers of people, and new businesses specialized in art reproductions for the homes of a burgeoning middle class, employing nineteenth century inventions, lithography and photography."
Cathleen A. Baker’s book gives detailed information about the various papers made by hand and then by machine, and the mediums imprinted or drawn upon them for books, writing, and works of art. Information is presented in easily understood language for professional conservators, librarians, antiquarian book dealers and book collectors alike. Contents include: history of the American pulp-and-paper industry, papermaking (ranging from the materials, processes, and technologies in use in 1800 to 1900), common mediums such as letterpress printing, fine printmaking (intaglio, lithography), photomechanical reproductions, drawing, and painting mediums. Decorated papers are also discussed. The book features hundreds of images, as well as appendices including analytical testing procedures, cellulose degradation processes, and preservation recommendations, a glossary, and a bibliography.
Julia Miller: Books Will Speak Plain: A Handbook for Identifying and Describing Historical Bindings
Julia Miller is Senior Conservator of Paper and Books at the University of Michigan Library. Her book traces the history of Western bookbinding traditions from the earliest days of the codex to the end of the 19th century. Published at a time when the historical book is at risk of being ignored, put away, and forgotten, “Books Will Speak Plain” provides incredible detail, based on a deep understanding of the techniques and materials used in a wide variety of bindings. Often, “well used” books found their way into dark corners, basements, or dumpsters because their value had not been recognized. Rather than describing only examples of “splendid” bindings, Julia Miller examines a variety of those non-luxury bindings, many in a damaged state, and with this she adds depth to an often-neglected segment of the history of bookbinding.
Preservation is at the heart of Miller’s work. Too many historical bindings have been lost, because their importance was not appreciated. Her book is a call to action to urge custodians of historical book collections, either public or private, to assess the physical character of the historical bindings in their care. “Books Will Speak Plain” can be used to recognize binding variations that have long been overlooked and to document such bindings for future scholars. All bibliophiles, including bookbinders, curators, librarians, antiquarian booksellers, scholars, and conservators will find it an invaluable reference.
Cathleen A. Baker: From the Hand to the Machine. Nineteenth-Century American Paper and Mediums: Technologies, Materials, and Conservation. 432 pages, 500 illustrations
Julia Miller: Books Will Speak Plain: A Handbook for Identifying and Describing Historical Bindings. 592 pages, 374 illustrations, and a DVD
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