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Guild of Book Workers Newsletter 126

October 1999

Special Issue: Focus on Study Opportunities in New England













  • The Society of Bookbinders 1999 Silver Jubilee Conference



  • The North Bennet Street School (Boston, MA)
  • The Garage Annex School (Easthampton, MA)
  • Saltwinds Yankee Barn (Kingston, MA)
  • The Silver Maple Bindery (Northampton, MA)


Newsletter editor Margaret Johnson has hit upon a brilliant way to get a break from the editor's chores, which she has shouldered for years on end. Once per year, a Chapter President will be asked to guest-edit an issue of the Newsletter. In addition to giving Margaret a well-deserved break, this will provide each Chapter with an opportunity to enlighten the rest of us about Chapter activities and the interests of the Chapter's members.

When Margaret suggested to me that I guest-edit the Newsletter, I immediately thought that I could easily dragoon a few New England Chapter members into contributing articles. But what to ask them to write about?

I have always felt lucky to live in New England, where there is such a wide array of study opportunities in bookbinding and the book arts. I decided that this issue of the Newsletter would focus on the varity of training available in the New England area. This issue of the Newsletter will showcase the unique offerings of The North Bennet Street School, the Garage Annex School, Saltwinds Yankee Barn, and Bill Streeter's Silver Maple Bindery, to better acquaint Guild members nationwide with all this quiet corner of the country has to offer. Study Opportunities in New England begins on page 10

As an added treat, this issue also contains a review of Bill Streeter's splendid new book on copy presses, Before Photocopying: The Art and History of Mechanical Copying 1780-1938, complete with a few illustrations to give you an idea of the richness of his book. Bill is one of the great characters of the New England Chapter, having trained many of our members during his long career. You will find the review of this splendid new book beginning on page 7.

I hope you enjoy this quick look at New England.

Jim Reid-Cunningham, Guest Editor

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The Search Is Over And Our Plea Answered!

Alicia Bailey, in Lake City, Colorado, member of the Rocky Mountain Chapter, has accepted nomination for Treasurer in the October election. Alicia is a Book Artist, a Design and Edition Binder and a Collector. Her Artist Book, Fat Days: A Story, was on view at the San Francisco Public Library in September as part of the Rocky Mountain chapter-sponsored exhibition Westward Bound. We look forward to meeting her and working with her.

We are grateful to all those who offered their services and thank them for the offer. We will, undoubtedly, find other useful services in need of a volunteer.

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The Lone Star Chapter's Second Members' Exhibition of John Muir's Heaven on Earth Opening on July 17th.

The director of the BRIT (Botanical Research Institute of Texas), Dr. S.H. Sohmer, welcomed the crowd of about 100 guests attending the exhibit opening reception and made a brief presentation of the mission of the institute and its holdings: countless botanical specimens from around the world.

The Lone Star Chapter members exhibiting bindings include members from Texas and other states, as well as members residing in France and the Czech Republic. Elements of nature have been worked into many of the bindings, though there was a wide variety of techniques used, from historic wooden board binding structures to contemporary design bindings. A number of different materials were incorporated into the bindings including paper, wood, vellum, precious stones and fossils. The exhibit can be accessed online through the Exhibit link on the GBW homepage.

The 140+ page text was letterpress printed in Austin by LSC Co-President, Randolph Bertin, proprietor of Press Intermezzo, and features wood-engraved illustrations by Charles Jones, artist and art professor at Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, Texas. A lettered edition of the book was created at an intensive four-day edition workshop led by LSC treasurer-secretary, Priscilla Spitler at her Hands on Bookbinding studio in Smithville, Texas. The quarter-leather, case-bound books were completed in Harmatan 'British Museum' brown goatskin and a warm red Japanese cloth and Bughra endpapers, housed in a slipcase covered in an earthy green Japanese cloth. The limited edition books are available for sale for $175 each. A hand-sewn pamphlet style color catalog is also available for $10. Contact Priscilla Spitler, Hands on Bookbinding, P.O. Box 578, Smithville, TX 78957, (512)231-5960,, for both the catalog and the limited edition book. Proceeds fund the traveling exhibit.

The exhibit closed at the BRIT on August 27 and moved to Houston's Museum of Printing History where it was displayed September 11-October 11. It then moves to Austin's University of Texas campus where it will be housed in the Perry-Casteñeda Library from November 22 - December 19.

All in all it was a very good opening and is a wonderful show! (Heaven on Earth can also be accessed at:

The Delaware Valley Chapter has revived itself. Chairperson Denise Carbone says, in their newsletter Pressing Matter, 'one last plea for officers proved successful' and they are looking forward to fall activities. The new officers: Alice Austin and Patty Hammarstadt, Programs; Paula Zyats, Reporter at Large; Maria G. Pisano and Erin Vigneau Dimick, Editors; Nancy Brandt, Secretary. Jennifer Woods continues as Treasurer.

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Jack Fitterer, bookbinder and, according to a local Hudson Valley newspaper, 'book alchemist, who works magic on damaged books', has also worked wonders for the Guild. He has been finding services and suppliers to advertise in the Newsletter for several years now, which has helped immensely with Newsletter expenses and getting word to members of services and suppliers. Jack lives in Hillsdale, N.Y., along a country road, with a cat, two goats, two roosters and several hens. He worked in the university print shop while majoring in psychology at Rutgers, tried lettering and calligraphy before studying with a printer where he began moving into bookbinding He subsequently studied bookbinding with Peter Geraty in Easthampton, Mass. He now restores and repairs books for collectors and book dealers and some institutions.

Gary Frost has accepted the position of Conservator for the University of Iowa Libraries in Iowa City recently vacated by Pamela Spitzmueller.

A reception was held October 8 for Annie Tremmel Wilcox, author of the recently published A Degree of Mastery: A Journey Through Book Arts Apprenticeship, a book about her experience as an apprentice to William Anthony. It was held at Tim Barrett and Jodie Plummert's home in Iowa city.

Sherelyn Ogden is the new Head of Conservation at the Minnesota Historical Society. She has twenty-five years experience as a practicing conservator, having received her M.A. from the Graduate Library School of the University of Chicago and training in library and archives conservation at the Newberry Library. Sherelyn was Director of Book Conservation at the Northeast Document Conservation Center for seventeen years and was, most recently, Director of Field Services at the Upper Midwest Conservation Association. 'Preservation of Library and Archival Materials', edited by Sherelyn Ogden, is now available in a new third edition and is online at NEDCC ( The paper copy will be ready sometime during the summer.

Jean Buescher is one of six people in the 'Handmade Paper' category invited to exhibit at this year's Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show. She will be showing and selling limited edition letterpress printed books published under her Bloodroot Press imprint, as well as blank journals and albums. The show will be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 'D', 12th & Arch Sts., November 11 - 14, 1999.

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Marilyn J. Skinner, 1926-1999

Metalsmith and bookbinder Marilyn Jenkins Skinner, a longtime member of the Guild died Sunday, June 27, 1999 in her home in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

A native of Big Rapids, Michigan, Marilyn hand-bound the Quayle Family Bible used by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor for the inauguration of V.P. Dan Quayle in 1989. She also made a silver communion chalice that sits in the Washington Cathedral in Washington, DC. She taught English literature in the Dearborn, Mich. schools. She was active in the Junior League, the Women's Committee of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and the United Way.

She is survived by her husband, Harry W., three sons, a sister, 11 grandchildren and two step-grandchildren.

Jean Stephenson, who met Marilyn at the Iowa Standards Seminar in 1986 writes: 'Debilitated by several strokes, she dropped her membership in recent years - But in her heyday was great fun to be with. Very bright and funny - she had studied with Bill Anthony in his Chicago teaching days and had commissioned work from him.'

A memorial service was held for her in Fort Wayne in June. Preferred memorials are to:

Community Harvest Food Bank
999 East Tillman Rd.
Fort Wayne, IN 46816 (219)447-3696
Parkview Home Health & Hospice
2270 Lake Avenue, Suite 200
Fort Wayne, IN 46805 (219)447-9911
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The Society of Bookbinders 1999 Silver Jubilee Conference

Margaret Johnson and I recently attended The Society of Bookbinders' Silver Jubilee Conference in England. It was held July 1-4, 1999, in a rural setting at the University of Wolverhampton, Priorslee Campus, Telford, Shropshire.

Most participants arrived in time on Thursday, the 1st, to take one of several tours to nearby libraries. We chose the Ironbridge Museum Library, wishing to see something of the interesting Ironbridge Gorge and Bridge while we were there. It is the first cast iron bridge in the world, built over the Severn in 1779 by John Wilkinson and Abraham Darby. The library, however, has only existed for the past 30 years, after a trust established the preservation of many sites and monuments in and around the Ironbridge Gorge. Many museums, all of which grew out of the vast coal and iron industries formerly there, now surround the Ironbridge.

The large trade fair was open by the time we returned to the campus, involving some 23 vendors, as well as the Society of Bookbinders 25th Anniversary Year Bookbinding Competition. The catalog of this judged competition gives descriptions (no illustrations) of forty bindings bound in four different categories: Fine Binding, Restored/Conserved Binding, The Complete Book, and Cased Binding. In addition, everyone attending the conference received a copy in sheets of A Shropshire Lad, a limited edition of 300 copies, designed and set by David Wishart at The Hayloft Press and printed by The Heron Press. We were encouraged to bring our bindings of this book to the conference to be exhibited there and many of us did so.

After our communal dinner, Gavin Rookledge gave a slide/lecture on "One Pair of Hands: Gavin's Approach to Bookbinding." Rookledge seems a somewhat unorthodox practioner of the book arts, who has been making ever larger blank books, and extending his sculptural leather work to yacht interiors, but who has nevertheless been quite successful in his bookmaking endeavors.

The next two days were arranged with two speakers in the mornings followed by a wide choice of talks/ demonstrations in the afternoons. Friday morning David Pearson, Librarian of The Wellcome Institute, led off with a scholarly paper on "The Development of English Bookbinding Styles: 1450-1800." Having studied and published extensively on the history of books with particular reference to bookbinding, his talk focused on the practical application of identification of bookbindings. His handout on the progression of decorative styles for English leather-covered bindings, intended merely as a rough guide to the plainer styles of bindings, will nevertheless prove extremely useful for anyone interested in pursuing this topic, as will his guide to the literature. After an hour coffee/tea break, with plenty of time to visit the trade fair, Susan Bradbury, Editorial Director and Deputy Managing Director of The Folio Society, gave us an interesting capsule slide summary of the past 50 years of The Folio Society, an institution which has provided steady work for so many talented artists and illustrators.

Friday afternoon I heard Barbara Luff, Senior Conservator at the Wellcome Institute, talk on the "Preservation and Conservation of Special Collections on the History of Medicine." The Wellcome Institute houses well over a half-million 15th - 20th c. Western and Oriental books and mss. and over 600 incunabula. She took us through entire treatments of several different types of damaged books, including a William Morris Kelmscott with paper damage, an Italian ms. with insect damage, a Persian illustrated ms. with water damage to the brittle, hand polished paper, and talked of various techniques they used to deal with these problems.

I then attended three demonstrations: Michael Gibbs from Griffen Mill on "Tissue making and Paper Infil Techniques," who showed us how to easily (and inexpensively) make our own tissue paper for book repairs; Victoria Hall, who showed us how she makes her 3-dimensional paste papers; and Anne Muir, who demonstrated different marbling techniques and then encouraged everyone present to have a go at it.

Buses were lined up to transport us to an outdoor reception at The Museum of Iron, and to return us in time for dinner before the evening talk by Rob Shepherd on "The Great Omar." Although it long had been thought that most of the archives belonging to the Sangorski &

Sutcliffe firm had been lost, Shepherd (whose firm, Shepherds, now owns Sangorski & Sutcliffe) has discovered some that are intact, including letters, glass negatives, pattern books, and photographs from the early days. John Stonehouse gave the commission to create the first great

Omar and told the firm that the greater the price, the better he would be pleased! In addition to all the semi-precious stones adorning this Omar, it's been estimated that it took 100 sq. mi. of gold leaf! Rob Shepherd has much more of this fascinating tale to tell, and perhaps soon will be writing it up himself to share with all of us.

Philip Smith led off Saturday morning with "The Complete Bookbinding," a philosophical discourse covering bookbinding as a reflection of man's universal condition, but Smith fears few bookbinders have the skills to design, forward, and finish, the necessary components of making a "complete" book. He believes it takes the combination of the Designer (intellect), the Artist (imagination, intuition, emotion), and the Craftsman (motor functions) to produce a Creative Maker of books. Marianne Tidcombe was the second speaker, adding new information to her book on "Women Bookbinders" from the period between the 1880's and the first World War, stressing that many of the styles employed by some of the women from this period were innovative and less conservative than what the men of the period were producing.

In the afternoon I watched first Simon Haigh demonstrate leather paring and then Stuart Brockman demonstrate (in one hr.) the complete covering of a forwarded book in full leather. Both were very skilful practioners. These two had detailed handouts on leather paring, tools, knife sharpening, the Brockman paring machine, preparation for covering, boards, leather, adhesives, and the covering procedure, something I wish all demonstrators would provide. Gabrielle Fox, co-chair of our GBW Mid-West chapter, gave a slide lecture on her miniature books and afterwards invited the audience up to handle them.

There were, in addition, several other lectures/ demonstrations that I couldn't attend: Barry McKay talking about the Literature of Marbling to 1870, Howard Milrose on Blocking with Foil, Christopher Rowlatt on Acrylic Marbling and Edge Marbling, Terry Buckley on Marbling a Calf Skin, Maureen Duke on Cased Bindings, and Donna Santorini on The Soho Papers. After the Society's business meeting, and a final trip to the vendors' tables, it was time for the banquet. Instead of our usual auction, prizes were handed out. The judges awarded silver trophies and checks to the exhibition winners, and the vendors also contributed prizes. I'm happy to say that Margaret Johnson won £50 of cloth/paper of her choice from F. J. Ratchford Limited! (Margaret has encouraged several of these vendors to attend our Guild meetings in the future.)

Gabrielle Fox and Dale Dippre, from Colonial Williamsburg, brought the total of Americans attending this Shropshire conference to four. The British binders were most hospitable and welcoming hosts and would like to see even more participation from their US neighbors at future conferences. One of theirs, Maureen Duke, will be demonstrating at our next Guild meeting in Chicago, so the collaboration between our two societies is already well underway.

Barbara E. Kretzmann,
July 1999
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The North Bennet Street School

Mark Andersson

The North Bennet Street School established a full-time bookbinding program in 1986. Since then the course has been the only full-time bench bookbinding program in North America. Classes meet in Boston‚s North End 30 hours a week from September through the end of June. Six students are admitted each year.

The North Bennet Street School was established in 1885, and currently has programs in bookbinding, furniture making, piano technology, jewelry making, carpentry and preservation carpentry, locksmithing and violin making. There are approximately150 students at the school, and the average age of the students is around 31 years old. Financial aid is available to qualified students.

The students receive a certificate in bookbinding. The aim of the program is to provide a foundation upon which the graduates can pursue book repair and conservation, fine binding, edition work or books as works of art. Over a third of class time is open for students to pursue their own interests. However, since the majority of graduates choose to work in book repair and conservation the curriculum is a bit slanted towards that direction and all students are expected to finish several cloth and leather repairs, including paper repair, before they graduate.

The first year students learn basic bookbinding techniques which include: tool use and modification; non-adhesive bindings; cloth and leather bindings of various styles; the production of limited editions, and an introduction to book repair and conservation. First year students will make approximately 20 different binding structures. These projects enable the students to develop the skills, techniques and philosophy necessary to excel in this field. Conservation and repair projects include repair of cloth and paper bindings, paper repair, making boxes and enclosures, and documentation. Towards the end of the first year leather bindings are introduced.

The second year curriculum provides a comprehensive overview of 18th, 19th and 20th century leather bindings, decorative tooling and finishing, and rebacking and repair of leather bindings. Second year students will make approximately 15 full or half-leather bindings from the English, German and Northern European bookbinding traditions. They will conserve at least three leather bindings and will have the opportunity to repair several more if they wish to emphasize repair and conservation.

Being in New England provides the opportunity for numerous field trips to conservation labs and binderies. On average the class will take twelve trips over the two years of the course. The visits include the North East Document Conservation Center, Harcourt Bindery, Boston Athanaeum, several Harvard University conservation facilities, Acme Bindery and Boston College.

In addition the class has several guest lecturers during the year. Last year we had Adam Larsson, a binder and book conservator from Sweden, speak on crossed structure bindings; Mark Esser, the former insructor of the bookbinding program, demonstrated edge gilding; and Gregor Trinkaus-Randall spoke on developing a disaster recovery plan. All three will return next year to speak on different topics.

Current graduates work at several Harvard Libraries, the Boston Athenaeum, the Pierpont Morgan Library,The Huntington Library, Library of Congress, as well as at other institutions across the United States.

Mark Andersson heads the Bookbinding program and is an alumnus of the school. After completing the program in 1992 he worked at the University of Washington and built private conservation practice with institutional and private clients across the United States. In 1996 he received a Fulbright Grant for the study of Scandinavian bookbinding and European conservation practices at the Carolina Rediviva Library in Uppsala, Sweden. He has been teaching at the school since 1998.

In addition to the full time bookbinding course, the school also offers five day workshops. These courses include non-adhesive binding, case binding, introduction to leather bookbinding, book repair as well as other aspects of bookbinding. The workshops are offered on Saturdays during the school year, and on weekdays during the summer.

For more information, including a list of assigned class projects in the full-time program, please contact the admissions officer at the school at or write Mark Andersson at: North Bennet Street School, 39 N. Bennet Street, Boston, MA 02113. He can be emailed at

The Garage Annex School

Daniel E. Kelm

The name that I've chosen for my studio, the Wide Awake Garage, reveals quite a bit about me and the work that I do. As a young boy, the garage was my playhouse. There I found the tools and material to create the stuff of my fantasies: rocket ships and hovercraft from recycled two-by-fours, interplanetary fuel and fireworks from household chemicals. The sense of being wide awake also came to me when I was young. A casual glance at the sunlight reflecting off the garage's powdery blue paint one summery Sunday afternoon struck deep to my heart the feeling of being truly alive and connected within the world.

These seminal experiences came together when my mother gave me two photographs of my grandfather taken in the early 1920s. On the back Mom had written in a young girl's hand the name of Grandpa's business: the Wide-A-Wake Garage. I loved my grandfather, and decided to name the studio in his honor. This I did out of respect, admiration, and gratitude to one who had gone before me.

Historical connection has always been important to me - it tempts and teases our minds with a kind of speculation that our bodies know not to doubt.

The Garage Annex School was founded in 1991 as a direct result of these same principles operating in my studio. The Wide Awake Garage and Garage Annex School are places where playfulness, invention, creativity, exploration, awareness, and connection are nurtured. Classes combine conceptualization with hand skills. Development of problem-solving skills is often the focus. Class descriptions clearly indicate whether students should expect to produce models or finished books during the course of a workshop. For example, next summer I will offer a five-day leather intensive in which each participant will finish a full-leather binding with hand sewn endbands and leather joints. In a folder technique workshop that I taught recently, however, we made models with exposed parts showing the progression of layering used to build up a cloth covered folder with magnetic closure.

Our faculty presents workshops covering a wide range of styles and structures. I teach traditional techniques such as gold tooling and leather onlay as well as offering workshops on innovative structures of my own invention, e.g. wire-edge hinging and metal binding. I've been asked to teach an ongoing class on chemistry for book artists, which will of course be informed by the sensibility of my newly-founded branch of chemistry: Poetic Chemistry. Our instructors, who are themselves expert at their chosen specialties, include Peter Geraty, Suzanne Moore, Linda Lembke, and Mark Tomlinson. Recently Peter taught classes in restoration as well as vellum binding. Suzanne taught a workshop on layering color. This fall she will teach an in-depth exploration of book design. Linda designs her classes so that students leave with a beautifully packaged set of models of cut, folded and, sometimes, sewn structures. Her workshops are particularly popular with school teachers. Mark taught students how to dye vellum, and use that material for limp binding. Next spring he will offer a new workshop called, World Beat Bookbinding. Peter will teach edge gilding next season. Other plans include workshops exploring (1) metal binding, (2) coloring metal with various methods such as patination, and (3) thin metal over boards.

The 1000-square-foot production studio for the Wide Awake Garage serves as classroom for the Garage Annex School. This facility includes a central bench for instructor demonstration, ample bench space for each participant (usually limited to twelve students), well-maintained equipment, a small kitchen area, a beautiful view of the Holyoke Range, and air conditioning when needed.

The Garage Annex School provides a wide range of educational opportunities in the book arts. Internships, weekend workshops, and longer intensives are offered year round. In addition, artists and publishers come to the Garage for a negotiated period of time in order to gain the support of our personnel and access to our facilities. A popular arrangement is to have two or three hours of consultation and instruction in the morning, then use the Garage facilities for the remainder of the day to work on production of your project. You may wish to do the entire production yourself, or if your time is limited you may want the help of our crew.

Individuals or groups are invited to request instruction on general techniques, or techniques specific to the requirements of proposed projects.

Daniel E. Kelm The Wide Awake Garage Garage Annex School One Cottage Street #5 Room 5-4 Easthampton, MA 01027. tel: 413-527-8044; fax: 413-529-0071;


Saltwinds Yankee Barn

Lilias Cingolani

In the beginning, there was just my old barn, built in 1809: Hay in loft; hoof-worn floors; trap doors; cellar piggery. Then transition: Copper wiring; plastic plumbing; fibergalss insulation; fire-proof sheetrock; an artist's haven dream tiptoeing true; artists‚ exhibits; group meetings, art shows.

In the midst papermakers Nancy and Alan Young fly in from Albuquerque to conduct the first Saltwinds Yankee Barn Workshop in sheet forming, pulp painting, 3-D paper casting. Then many other small group workshops of 2 and 4 days centering, mostly, on the book arts. Things happen!

In thank you letters to me people mention the quiet ambiance of the barn structure, the cama-raderie, good fellowship and encouragement they feel. Each person giving their best, sharing, delighting in the accomplishments of all. Often I am thanked (you guessed it) for the hearty lunch provided as well as the a.m. coffee and muffin - source of traditional bonding in all tribes - and, actually, a real time saver. Rest time is often taken on the shaded upstairs balcony, on the sunnyside deck, or under the maple trees. There's a delightful town park, waterfall, and an ancient mossy cemetary to meander through (great sources of imagery) as well as short walks to coffee shop, town library, historic churches and, downhill, Kingston village, once part of Plymouth.

Time passes. A bath and kitchen are installed. Small-book officianado Ed Hutchins gives his popular editioning workshop. Then writing sessions, book bindings, book structures, monotypes.

1998: Pat Baldwin of Bisbee, AZ carries editioning to the commercial level. Central heating is added. Then comes surface embellishment, imaging and sequence, non-adhesive binding, image transfer, and other art related challenges.

1999: Marilyn Hatch's paste paper: Jody Alexander's copper/wood/tile book covers; copier imaging with Kitty Winslow; paste paper accordions and calligraphy with Jan Owen; beaded bindings with Mimi Schaer; marbling on paper/cloth with Galen Berry (Galen will return June, 2000.)

Along the way a group of local artists help me found The New Art Forum which continues to meet, hold special exhibits and classes in the Yankee Barn. For example,in July the group travels to the lighthouse on the barrier beach cliff to paint and sketch. They also enthusiastically sponsor and enjoy lectures, critiques, museum trips, visits to artist‚s studios and demos.

Book Explorations, an annual juried artist's book exhibit is also held each spring in the Yankee Barn gallery. Exquisite hand made books are sent in from all over the U.S. and several foreign countries. (Next deadline: February 29, 2000 for the third annual exhibit, "The Story: Telling It My Way".)

This year The New Art Forum member art teachers and their student exhibit both 2-D and 3-D art in a theme exhibit "Variations",which is well received by their peers, the press, and the surroundijng communities. An art haven indeed!

But there are questions for you: What kind of workshop attract ? What collaboration intrigues? Which expert would you like to learn from? Saltwinds Yankee Barn Workshop is here to facilitate transitions from present creative levels to those special to fulfilling goals/dreams. What type of workshop would help YOU ? At present the following are tentative future workshops: Life Drawing (both male and female models); Tools For Writing Your Own Book; Exploring The Medieval Book; The Arts and Hand Papermaking; Exotic Paste Papers; Your Artist's Book - Idea to Edition; Water Color for Beginners; Printmaking for Beginners. The workshops are 2 or 4 concurrent days or, for local area people, held on a weekly basis.

You are invited to send your comments, name and various addresses (snail, e, fax, phone) for further information to one of the addresses below. Send your resume and workshop outline if you are interested in presenting. Thank you !

Lilias Cingolani Saltwinds Yankee Barn Workshop P. O. Box 52 Kingston, MA 02364; or recorder: 1-781-585-5622

Bill Streeter and the Silver Maple Bindery

Allen Berrien

W.W. (Bill) Streeter runs the Silver Maple Bindery in Northampton, Mass.

He also teaches a three-month, full time, one on one course of instruction in hand bookbinding. An eight-part syllabus is followed. The units include case binding, binding in boards, sewn album, post bound album, clamshell boxes, leather rebacking, cloth rebacking, and single sheet sewn (dissertation) bindings.

Bill considers his three month program to be somewhat akin to first grade in bookbinding. Bill counsels his students to continue their life's training by taking advantage of workshops and other training opportunities.

When interviewing prospective students - he's usually booked two years in advance - Bill looks for candidates who want to make a ninety degree turn in their lives. Someone who wants to chuck what they're doing. Those who don't have the fire in the belly for bookbinding should probably give Bill a pass. Their loss though.

If you are lucky enough to become one of his students, you'll almost certainly have a friend and a mentor for life. Bill's a great and generous teacher. As an example of this he usually manages to juggle his client's work so that when - for example - the student is learning how to make a clamshell box, Bill can build one right alongside. Besides the projects, Bill teaches with many models and mockups. The student learns about specific endpapers for example by building several different types. These examples go into the student's notebook for future reference.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Lest it sound like the course is all nuts and bolts, with no opportunities for flights of creativity, fear not. With all of the projects to be made, Bill's program also includes sidebars on handsewn endbands, leather inner hinges, decorative onlays, and other gewgaws. Throughout the course of instruction, the student is exposed to Bill's business philosophy and gets to participate in the daily pulse of a busy hand bindery and restoration shop. Listening to Bill propose a solution to a client's problem is invaluable to a student who plans to start her own bindery.

Bill has a lot to offer the student with such plans (and some ready cash). He has all sorts of worthwhile connections and can help a student separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, when considering tools, equipment, materials, and supplies. Most bookbinding training programs don't consider bookbinding as a prospective business. That shortcoming can make for rough sledding when the newly-minted binder decides to hang out a shingle.

Bill's former students populate all walks of the bookbinding world: some are world-class conservators; some do edition binding, artist's books and boxes; while others have settled into niches as general practitioners or restoration specialists. Bill is one of the few binders who are willing to restore old, hulking family bibles. In fact, some area binders call him Bible Bill. Another one of his specialties is old children's picture books with moving parts, such as the famed Megendorfers. If you have a particular interest you should let Bill know when you interview with him. For more information give Bill a call at (413) 584-2544 or drop him a note. He will send out a copy of the syllabus and you can contact him to arrange an interview at the bindery.

W.W. Streeter Silver Maple Bindery 78 Masonic St. Northampton, MA 01060

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Nancy Ruth Leavitt

After 15 years as publisher and editor of Letter Arts Review, Karyn Lynn Gilman is selling the publication. Under Gilman the magazine has evolved from Calligraphy Idea Exchange to Calligraphy Review and finally to Letter Arts Review (LAR). Gilman, with art director Rick Cusick, have upheld the highest professional standards in producing the magazine. It has been a voice of and showcase for work of the lettering arts community. With its full color printing and elegant format, today, LAR rivals any national art publication. Devoting ones life to such a lofty ideal has its price, and Gilman, along with husband Richard, decided they could no longer bear the financial burden of publishing this quarterly edition.

It is fortunate that the publication has a new owner. John Neal, Bookseller, of Greensboro, NC is known as a supplier of calligraphic books and supplies. LAR will continue with Gilman as editor and Cusick as art director. The lettering arts community is grateful to have LAR review continue. It has dazzled us with the best of work, educated us with the history of our craft, shared technical information, and provided us with a format to show and share our work. We owe a great debt to Gilman and her staff for making LAR such a stellar publication and to John Neal for supporting its continuation. We wish them the best in this transition.

New addresses:
Letter Arts Review
P.O. Box 9986
Greensboro, NC 27429

Karyn Lynn Gilman, editor
1302 Greenbriar Drive
Norman, OK 73072
405 321.8089; fax: 405 634.8914

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Iris Nevins

Aluming is the part of the marbling process that most marblers hate. It must be done, however, if the marbling colors are to adhere to the paper. The only thing short of hiring someone to do it for you, is to try and make the process as simple as possible. Over the years I have streamlined and fine tuned my aluming methods, and several people have asked me to share them here.

From my start as a marbler over 21 years ago, I always thought it a drag to have to stop and alum before I could proceed with the "real" part of the work...the pattern making and printing. It was always something to "get out of the way", and I still look at it in the same way, so my solution was to truly get it out of the least while doing the marbling.

When I first was trying to figure out the marbling process, I read somewhere that it was impossible to marble an alumed paper after it had sat for an hour or so. I decided to find out for myself whether this was true or not. What I found after many experiments was that it was indeed true that a damp alumed paper could not be kept usable for very long. Sometimes they only were effective for a half hour (mainly in hot weather) and other times they were still effective the next morning. Never much longer than that if they were kept stacked and dampened.

My next round of experiments were with aluming a quantity of papers and hanging them to dry before stacking. This caused quite a bit of buckling, so I found I had to alum several days ahead of my planned marbling session and stack the papers under heavy weights to remove the buckling. I did find, though, that these papers could be kept indefinitely and would still be effective as long as the room they were in was not excessively damp. The papers always marbled well as long as the humidity stayed around 55% or less. Some marblers feel they need high humidity to marble well (I am not one of them, and actually fear too much humidity lest my hard work aluming becomes innefective again!), and they can just store the papers in another dryer room until ready to use.

I dated and set aside several small stack of alumed paper....some even for several years, and if they were kept dry they always worked well. Still, the buckling was an annoying problem, so that was tackled next. Space does not allow me to describe all the intermediate phases in trying to conquer the buckling, so I will skip to what I am currently doing.

My studio is equipped with drying lines, enough to hold 128 marbled sheets, or 256 alumed sheets. The lines are strung across the room about 6 inches apart. These lines can be held by nails or hooks in the walls. I prefer thin nylon seems to never need replacing, though it does stretch a bit at first and may need a few tightenings. For the actual aluming (and I now use 1 tbs. aluminum sulphate to 2 cups of hot water), I lay two boards next to each other on the marbling/aluming table. Place a check mark on what is to be the backs of the papers and alum only the front side (the check mark helps later when you marble). A paper is placed on each board and they are both alumed before hanging. I then pick them up together, back sides facing and alumed sides facing outward (just to prevent any blotting of the alum onto the dry back of the other sheet and reducing effectiveness) and hang them from the top corners together with spring type clothes pins. Having the two papers hang together creates a resistance and they buckle a lot least at the top! To prevent the lower edges from curling, once there are four sets of two hanging (and they should be placed one in front of the other, rather than side by side on the line) I gather the bottoms together and clip on two more clothes pins one on each bottom corner. This eliminates nearly all buckling. What little remains flattens out almost entirely in a few days under heavy boards, and the papers are very easy to lay down when you marble.

This sounds like a lot of work, but once you get used to the routine it should only take about an hour to alum 100 papers this way. Best of all, once you start your marbling session you can focus solely on the creative aspects and forget about the drudge work of aluming. This is a system that really works well, and if you are too busy, it is a task that can be given to someone else with minimal training.

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For Sale

Parchment & Leather

Exotica S/A carries goat and calfskin parchment and bookbinding leather. Carlos Roberto Augusto, e-mail:, or Mr. J. Harari: US phone: Mr. Stoffel, 732-583-5913, or fax: 732-566-0120.

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Barbara J. Rhodes and William W. Streeter. Before Photocopying: The Art and History of Mechanical Copying 1780-1938. Oak Knoll Press, 310 Delaware Street, New Castle, Delaware 19720 and Heraldry Bindery, 78 Masonic Street, Northampton, Massachusetts 01060. 1999. 498 pp. $75.00. ISBN 1-884718-61-2.

Reviewed by Liz Dube, Conservator, University of Notre Dame Libraries.

Book workers everywhere have adopted these cast-iron relics of a rarely known, yet widely successful, historic copying process. Many bookbinders, book artists and conservators mistakenly refer to these presses as "book presses" or "nipping presses", since they have become a staple piece of equipment in their workshops. With this book, Barbara Rhodes and William Streeter displace all myths regarding copying presses, at last uncovering their long and rich history.

This book brings to life the array of mechanical copying processes employed from 1780 to 1938. From the polygraph, a 17th century innovation in which multiple pens move in tandem with the author's pen, creating multiple "copies", the story works its way through numerous duplicating methods that successively produced copies of higher quality and in greater numbers, up to the development of electrostatic photocopying in 1938. Each invention, building upon the weaknesses of its predecessors, has its own unique and engaging history that reveals the pressures of business life and highlights the ingenuity of individuals. Rhodes's and Streeter's investigation of patents, company literature, and stationery journals, combined with a skillful examination of the artifacts which remain - from the paper and ink of the copies themselves to the copying presses we now use to bind books - has illuminated a history that was much in danger of being lost due to its workaday nature.

Much of the book focuses on the history of one specific copying process - the letterpress copying process. With this method, copies of documents are generated by pressing a dampened sheet of thin tissue paper onto an original document written in ink. The dye component of the ink is solubilized and transferred to the moist tissue paper under pressure delivered by a copying press, yielding a mirror-image copy. The use of transparent tissue paper allows the copy to be read through the back of the page.

The book is in two parts. The first section, Methods and Materials, is written by Barbara Rhodes, Library Conservator for the American Museum of National History in New York City. Rhodes combines her expertise as a historian with her sensitivities as a book and paper conservator in this meticulous documentation of the complicated history of mechanical copying processes. Several chapters are allocated solely to letterpress copying methods and materials - including inks, papers, bindings and equipment. Rhodes' section ends, appropriately, with a chapter on the preservation of letterpress copying materials.

The second section, History of the Letter Copying Press, is written by William Streeter, a historian and bookbinder from Northampton, Massachusetts. Upon discovering many years ago that his new "nipping press" was in fact a copying device that few knew anything about, Streeter heartily embraced the research challenge it posed. Streeter's section of the book thoroughly details all aspects of the copying presses themselves, including their early development, innovations and design changes over the years, and their manufacturers. Hundreds of presses are documented and illustrated - from the familiar styles (as in fig. 1), to the less common innovations, such as the wringer and press combination.

With its 498 pages of heavy calendared paper, I am pleased that this book sports a hard cover and a sewn text block. Despite its heft, the book remains accessible for both reading and reference as it is extremely well written and illustrated. Any confusion over a technical description is quickly resolved by consulting the extensive glossary of terms, or by referring to one of the over 1,200 accompanying illustrations which include patents, advertisements, and photographs of equipment.

This book appeals to a variety of book workers including bookbinders, conservators, book historians and printers. Bookbinders curious about the history of presses they own can now learn how they were originally used and attempt to isolate the date and place of their manufacture. Conservators of archival collections, often faced with caring for a confounding variety of documents produced by copying processes, now have a tool to help them begin to understand and identify these processes and materials - useful information for generating more fully informed treatment decisions.

Marianne Tidcombe, ed. Twenty Five Gold-tooled Bookbindings. Oak Knoll Books, 310 Delaware Street, New Castle, DE 19720. 1997. 74pp. ISBN: 1-884718-35-3.

Reviewed by Eric Alstrom, Collections Conservator, Dartmouth College.

First, let me say that I am not going to review the 25 outstanding bindings in this catalog. That would be presumptuous of me and similar to the student judging his master while the student still has much to learn. Yes, I admit it, I am by no means a finisher. But I do believe you can judge a finely bound book by its cover, and these certainly fall into the highest rankings. Represented are some of the big names in binding, such as Don Etherington, Louise Genest, Tini Miura, and Frank Mowery (just to mention the GBW members) as well as Bernard Middleton himself. For, if you have not heard, these 25 bindings celebrate the publication of Middleton's memoirs entitled Recollections. If you haven't seen the catalog, it is well worth it to do so and to marvel at how contemporary stuffy old full leather, gold-tooled books can look.

Before you reach the bindings, though, there is an Introduction and Preface by Marianne Tidcombe, who co-curated the exhibition. This is followed by an article by Mr. Middleton, Use of Gold In Bookbinding, in which he talks about the history, methods, techniques and materials used in traditional gold-tooling and edge gilding and includes footnotes for those who wish to read further on the subject.

In Ms. Tidcombe's essay, she says that a "book is a traditional object, and the traditional covering materials, leather and vellum, lend themselves perfectly to gold-tooling." Then she goes on to state that "the use of traditional techniques and materials does not mean that the design must be traditional." This is quite true of the bindings illustrated in this catalog.

Most of the designs are geometric in nature and are very modern in the sense that they do not form traditional patterns. Several use gold and leather onlays as a means to create an illustration, such as books on a shelf, a binder performing his ancient craft, or in Michael O'Brien's (from New Zealand), "gold-tooled with dots" and a "raised design [which] extends across both covers" is a portrait of Mr. Middleton. The effect is a halftone newspaper illustration blown up so that each point can be seen and is truly amazing when you think of the time and planning which went into it.

The full color illustrations of the bindings are clearly reproduced on the heavy coated paper and each binder has a short biography and a detailed description of his or her work. For anyone who is interested in the current state of leather gold-tooled and those who still practice this ancient craft, this exhibition catalog is a good place to start.

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Periodical Abstracts

The following publications are available for borrowing from the Guild Library.

Abbey Newsletter

Vol. 22, #5, 1998

  • 'Leaky Roofs': six answers to a query posted on the Internet about a library's leaky roof and what to do about it. Three replies deal with protecting the books from moisture problems and three with the freezing of wet books.
  • Description of the meeting held in St. Gall, Switzerland, 100 years ago, 'The Mother of All Conservation Conferences'.

Vol. 22, #6, 1998

  • Obituary of Frazer G. Poole, retired preservation officer at the Library of Congress, 'a pioneer in the field of library preservation', who died February 3, 1998.

Vol. 22, #7-8, 1998

  • Translation of the Minutes of the St. Gall Conference on Preservation and Repair of Old Manuscripts held in St. Gall, Switzerland in September 1898.

The Ampersand

Vol. 17, Nos. 3&4, Special Issue Just Type. Quarterly Journal of the Pacific Center for Book Arts.

  • 'Scotch Roman': what it is & how it got its name, by James Mosley
  • An interview with Fred Smeijers, author of Counterpunch
  • Steven Lavoie's review of the exhibition in 1998 at the San Francisco Public Library of the Typeface Designs of Sumner Stone
  • Web Typography an article by Darcy DiNucci, excerpted from 'Elements of Web Design: The Designers Guide to a New Medium', 2nd ed, Peachpit Press, 1998
  • Alistair Johnston's review of Printing on the Iron Handpress by Richard-Gabriel Rummonds, which he feels will stand as the definitive manual on hand-press printing.
  • Johnston also reviews Benjamin Franklin: Experiments & Observations on Electricity, 1751 as produced in Palo Alto by The Warnock Library/Octavo, 1998, (a cd-rom in a plastic jewel box. $25.) Thoughts on the usefulness, advantages and disadvantages of this form of book production, and especially the desirability of this form of reading. The paper book wins.


Biblio magazine discontinued publication with the April 1999 issue, Volume 4, No. 4. We note any items that might be of interest to our members in the last few issues.

Vol. 3, # 10, October 1998.

  • Leah Brumer finds the tradition behind the typography of Wilsted and Taylor, book designers in Oakland, CA.
  • William H. Scheuerle tells the tale of George Baxter whose improved color printing competed with hand coloring in the nineteenth century.

Vol. 4, # 1, January 1999.

  • Leah Brumer looks at City Lights all-paperback bookstore and publishing house in San Francisco, CA.
  • Book Metropolis by Bob Hicks concentrates on Powell's bookstore in Portland, OR.

Vol. 4, #2, February 1999

  • Roy Meador writes about the Wine and Food Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with some lovely photographs of cookbooks and wine books through the centuries.

Vol. 4, No. 3, March 1999

  • Nicholas Basbanes writes about the projected 'revival' of the Alexandrian Library at the mouth of the Nile River. Money has been collected from UNESCO, the Egyptian government and various other foreign countries for the building of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.
  • An article by Carol Grossman on the 'Two Faces of the Limited Editions Club'.
  • The bookstore discussed in this issue is Front Street Books with its two locations in Alpine and Marathon, Texas, in the Big Bend area.

Vol. 4, No. 4, April 1999

  • Nicholas Basbanes writes about the collection of association copies held by Jay Fliegelman, professor of English at Stanford University, who is writing a book about his library to be entitled Signed, Inscribed, and Annotated: American Dramas of Book Ownership 1660-1860.
  • Alice L. Tufel writes about the New York Public Library's Berg Collection, one of the finest collections of rare books and documents in the world, particularly for the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.
  • Victoria, B.C. and its bookstores are the focus in Book Places.

Binders' Guild Newsletter

Vol. XXII, No. 1, January 1999

  • Jim Dorsey's summary of the operations of the Etherington Conservation Center and Southeast Library Bindery visited the day before the GBW Seminar in Greensboro, NC in 1998.
  • 'Pulling Sewing Through the Fold' by Tom Conroy. Detailed instructions for disbinding a book to be rebound.

Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild Newsletter

Vol. 16 # 3 Winter 1998.

  • Lisa Melhorn-Boe recounts her summer vacation making books at the Book Arts Jamboree in Cairo, NY. Lisa learned pop-up structures and made extraordinary books from ordinary materials. She highly recommended the Book Arts Jamboree, which will be offered again this coming summer.
  • The North American Friends of St. Brides Printing Library in London issue an invitation to join them in defending 'the definitive source of typographic information'. You may contact Terry Belanger at the University of Virginia Book Arts Press, tel. (804) 924-8851.
  • Richard Miller favorably reviews Printing on the Iron Handpress by Richard-Gabriel Rummonds.

Vol. 17, No.1, Spring 1999

  • 'An Essay on Designer Bookbinding' by Richard Landon is reprinted from the catalogue for the Michael Wilcox retrospective.held in Toronto, Ontario, in December 1998.
  • 'Onward and downward: how binders coped with the printing press before 1800', part one of a two-part article by Nicholas Pickwoad. It is reprinted from A Millennium of the Book: Production, Design & Illustration in Manuscript and Print 900-1900, edited by Robin Myers & Michael Harris, published by St. Paul's Bibliographies, Winchester, and Oak Knoll Press, Delaware, 1994.

Designer Bookbinders Newsletter

No. 104, Autumn 1998.

  • Anthony Dowd looks at the history and fluctuating fortunes of the Gregynog Press, in South Wales. Gregynog Press produces limited editions of fine books, some of which are available in sheets.

No. 106, Spring 1999

  • A report on the 1998 Bookbinding Competition, held this year in the new British Library for the first time. The set book was The Jubilee Years 1887-1897 published by the Folio Society in 1996. Photographs of three of the books in the exhibition are shown: Stephen Conway's winning binding of Shakespeare Poems and Sonnets in dark brown goatskin with recessed panels inset with painted paper; and two of the set book, Nesta Davie's second prize winner in grey silk and black goatskin with hand and machine embroidery and Jeanette Koch's in dyed goatskin with painted calf crumpled inlays.

Morocco Bound: Journal of the Australian Craft Bookbinders

Vol. 20, No. 1, March 1999

  • Jennifer Storey's report on the 'First International Exhibition of Fine Bindings in Italy' in October 1998. (see report in the Society of Bookbinders Newsletter, April 1999, below).
  • Report on the Artists Books and Multiples Fair in Brisbane, Sept. 1998.
  • Part I of The Endpaper Story: Single Folded Leaf by Keith Turnbull, retired Head Teacher of Bookbinding, Sydney Technical College.
  • N.S.W. Guild of Craft Bookbinders' Newsletter is included with each issue.

The New Bookbinder: Journal of Designer Bookbinders

Vol. 18, 1998.

  • Bernard Middleton recalls a lifetime in bookbinding. This is a very entertaining and candid personal account loosely based on his Recollections.
  • Janos Szirmai gives an excellent condensation of the history of bookbinding structures and how they relate, and have been misapplied to book restoration. Szirmai has recently written a book entitled The Archeology of Medieval Bookbinding which is expected to be released in June 1999.
  • Frederick Bearman reveals developments in Mediaeval binding techniques in the context of textile chemise bookbindings.
  • Dorothy A. Harrop gives the second part of her account of The Keatley Trust Collection of twentieth century British fine bindings.
  • There are also descriptions of members' recent work, and Evangelia Tzanatatou surveys contemporary bindings in Greece.

Paper Conservation News: Newsletter of the Institute of Paper Conservation

Number 88, December 1998.

  • Kiyoshi Imai describes continuing preservation efforts at the national archives in Vietnam.
  • Philip A. Sykas provides insights into the properties and manufacture of linen thread in Sourcing Linen Thread.
  • The conservation of wallpaper at the former home of Paul McCartney obviously delighted Graeme Storey.

The Paper Conservator: Journal of the Institute for Paper Conservation

Vol. 22, 1998.

  • This issue of the Paper Conservator is dedicated to art made with pastels and other wax based drawing media. The history, production, framing and care of English pastel portraits in the eighteenth century. Analysis and conservation of pastel and chalk materials. The effects of water treatments on paper with pastels, powder pigment. Also included is an analysis of water based silkscreen inks.

Printing History: Journal of the American Printing History Association

Vol. XVIII, No. 2, 1998, (36)

  • Michael Peich gives a fascinating account of California poet and printer William Everson. Through necessity Everson moved into publishing and printing his own verse, eventually becoming a fine printer.
  • Robert D. Harlan describes the 'Origins of San Francisco Fine Printing Traditions and the characters who made it happen.'
  • Mark Twain was backing the wrong horse according the to the article on his investment in the commercial development of The Paige Compositor, by Corban Goble. Twain's folly is in part ascribed to his experience of typesetting as a youth.

Vol. XIX, No. 1, (37)

  • 'Starling Burgess, No type Designer: A Rebuttal of Some Allegations and Suppositions Made by Mike Parker in his Article 'Starling Burgess, Type Designer?', by Harold Berliner, Nicolas Barker, Jim Rimmer, and John Dreyfus.
  • 'A Face by Any Other Name is Still My Face: A Tale of Type Piracy' by David Pankow
  • Book review by G. Thomas Tanselle of Bookcloth 1823-1980 by William Tomlinson and Richard Masters.

The Society of Bookbinders Newsletter

August 1998.

  • Alan Parker reports on the new British Library and National Preservation Office.
  • John Lewis describes a Prisoner of War Book which he rebound.
  • Mark Cochram visits the Biblioteca Wittockiana in Brussels
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This list is compiled by Sid Huttner and includes catalogs received by him which include books of interest to GBW members. Catalog number, address, phone number and Internet address (when stated in the catalog) are recorded.

Califia Books Summer 1999 (100 pages). 20 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. 415-284-0314. Fine press and artists' books.

Frances Wakeman Books 44 (500 items). 2 Manor Way, Kidlington, Oxford OX5 2BD, UK. 011-44-01865-378316. The Book Arts, with sections on bookbinding and marbling, papermaking, printing et al.

Oak Knoll Books 211 (751 items). 310 Delaware Street, New Castle, DE 19720. 302-328-7232. Books about books (with lots of book arts books). Oakknoll's "Recently Published Books About Books" (List m553, 597 items) is also available.

Priscilla Juvelis Summer Miscellany List 99-2 (186 items). 1166 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge MA 02138, 617-497-7570. Includes many recent artists' and press books. B&W illustrations.


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