Guild of Book Workers Newsletter
Number 113
August 1997


Frank Lomelis Dies

Bonita Macaro has informed us of the death of her father, Frank Lomelis, founder and president of Lomelis Bros. Splitting Co., Inc., of Peabody, Mass., on June 11, 1997.

Mr. Lomelis is survived by his wife, Shirley Lomelis, and his daughter, Bonita Macaro, who is now Acting President. They are both involved in the business and intend to continue the operation. To our knowledge, Lomelis Bros. is the only leather splitting company in the United States that still splits small quantities of leathers for bookbinders and it is known to many GBW members.

DB Award For Marianne Tidcombe

At the Designer Bookbinders' annual Meeting in London in April, Jenni Grey, President of DB, announced the election of a new Honorary Fellow and called on Bernard Middleton to present an Honorary Fellow certificate to Marianne Tidcombe. In his short speech Mr. Middleton noted her well regarded major works: her study of Cobden-Sanderson and the Doves Bindery, and her recent Women Bookbinders 1880 - 1920. He said, "Marianne started off as an academic, teaching philosophy, but then wisely turned to librarianship, and subsequently, thank goodness, to bookbinding, of which she has hands-on experience. Just imagine, if she had turned her attention to quilt-making and its history, an American preoccupation, we would now be lacking so much fascinating information about the craft and its exponents during the past one hundred and fifty years or so".

Bay Area News

There have been a series of interesting visitors to the Bay Area: Dan Carr, of Golgonooza Typefoundry in Ashuelot, NH, gave a talk at the San Francisco Public Library and a workshop at the S.F. Center for the Book in April; John Newland, Editor of Morocco Bound, in New South Wales, spoke to a small gathering in late April; Carol Barton gave a slide talk to the Colophon Club in June, followed by a two-day workshop at the San Francisco Center for the Book. The Pacific Center for Book Arts Biennial members' exhibition was shown at the SFPL in May and June. A beautiful exhibit of almost 100 books, artists' books, broadsides and other forms of printing showing a wide range of interesting and well made work. In the Special Collections Library on the same floor, at the same time, the Twenty-five Gold-Tooled Bookbindings: an International Tribute to Bernard C. Middleton was on view. A stunning show of bindings by 25 internationally known binders of Mr. Middleton's book, Recollections. The collection will not be exhibited again but is for sale. If you don't have the $70,000 needed to buy the collection, you might wish to have a copy of the catalogue, which shows all the books, in color. It is available from Oak Knoll Books and The Bookbinder's Warehouse in hardcover ($95), paperback ($45), or in sheets ($30) all plus s&h.

Book Thief Caught In Sting

A bookbinder for the San Francisco city law library, Steven Fotinos, has been found guilty of stealing and trying to sell more than 100 law books, including a very rare incunabulum. He was caught in a sting at a prominent local book dealer's business.

In January 1996, Fotinos sold "Stratham's Abridgment", a legal handbook printed in 1490, to Jordan Luttrell, owner of Meyer Boswell Books in the Mission District. "It's a lovely piece of typography," Luttrell said. "It is set in an extremely elegant italic typeface. When Fotinos first called and said he had the 'Stratham', I was skeptical. I supposed it was a 20th century reprint, but he insisted he had the original. Then he brought it in."

Luttrell paid $8,500 for the "Stratham" text. Six months later, Fotinos brought seven more volumes to Luttrell, who told him to bring six of them back after he developed a price offer. However, one of them bore an ink stamp from the San Francisco Law Library, so Luttrell reported the apparent theft to the librarian, who "gasped audibly over the phone," Luttrell said. A San Francisco police investigator set up a sting operation, with a camera hidden in the ceiling of the shop. Fotinos returned with the six books and accepted $4,500 for them. He was arrested and confessed. A search of his home turned up more than 100 more books presumably stolen from the law library. ( From the San Francisco Chronicle, May 15, 1997.)

NEH Awards

The National Endowment for the Humanities has announced the awarding of 270 grants totaling $26 million. The grants support preservation and conservation of cultural resources - everything from creating digital computer images of disintegrating photographs to preserving flaking newspaper archives on microfilm. Included in the grants announced was $203,000 for the Conservation Center for Art and Historical Artifacts in Philadelphia; $175,000 to the University of Pennsylvania for creation of an interactive edition of Virgil's works and summer sessions for educators on use of the resource; and $1million to Harvard University for preservation and documentation of 8,440 brittle books published between 1800 and 1950 on medicine, anthropology, astronomy and American History.

The endowment's budget was cut by Congress from $172 million last year to $110 million this year. President Clinton has requested $136 million for next year.

WSW Offers Book Arts Grants

Women's Studio Workshop accepts proposals for two types of book arts grants. Artists-in-Residence Grants provide for book artists to come to WSW for six weeks to produce a limited edition artists' book. Production Grants provide the means for artists to produce a limited edition bookwork in their home studio. Book arts grant applications must be postmarked by November 15. For complete information, contact Women's Studio Workshop at 914-658-9133, write WSW at PO Box 489, Rosendale, NY 12472 (sending a stamp helps), or download the application from the Internet site, <>

Getty Research Institute And Museum Changes

The Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities is relocating their Santa Monica offices. As of August 18, their new mailing address, for serial shipments and their invoices, along with telephone andf ax numbers are: Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities, Serials Section, 1200 Getty Center Drive, suite 1100, Los Angeles, CA 90049-1688; Tel: 310-440-7335; fax: 310-440-7778

The upper floor of the J. Paul Getty Museum closed July 7, 1997. The display of antiquities, the gardens, the bookstore and tea-room remain open. The new Museum at the Getty Center will open in December. The Villa in Malibu will re-open in 2001 as a center for archaeology and ancient art. Reservations are still needed for the Museum and bookstore. For information, call 310-440-7300.

Reading Room At The NYPL Closes

On Monday, July 14, Room 315, the Main Reading Room of the New York Public Library was shut for the first time in its 86-year history. It will be closed for much needed renovations until February 1999. The Gottesman Exhibition Hall will be the temporary reading room until then. Because of the smaller space, the seating will be cut from 499 to 208, but extra staff will be added to aid in book retrieval. The renovations will restore the grandeur of the Main Reading Room, enlarge the seating to 600, add 80 computer stations, connections for laptops at most seats and modernize the book retrieval system. William D. Walker, director of all the institution's research libraries, said, "It represents a renewed commitment to the book. We'll be restoring space with proper lighting and air-conditioning, so you can go up there anonymously and work with these brilliant collections. People need to sit at big tables with lots of volumes around them, feeling the original material."

Libraries In Trouble

Flash floods in Fort Collins, Colorado have hit the Colorado State University hardest of all. Two days after Spring Creek overflowed its banks pumps were still emptying the basement of Morgan Library. A six-foot hole punched into one wall showed twisted metal shelves, collapsed panels and floating books. Earlier this year the library embarked on a $20 million renovation and temporarily stored old newspapers and half of its book collection- about 600,000 volumes - in the basement. The library hopes to save 80% of the books and monographs by freeze-drying, but the newspapers are gone. The waters rushed through so strongly that books were found in trees 300 yards away. It is hoped that the Federal Government will offer assistance, since one-third of the University's budget comes from Federal funds.