The private press movement was begun by William Morris with the Klemscott Press in 1891. The development of the press came out of Morris' interests in Medieval literature and craftsman workshops. The Klemscott press printed 53 books in 18,000 copies over seven years, the most important of which being The Klemscott Chaucer. The Klemscott Press lead to a renewed interest in book design and high quality book production, as well as typography. The movement tappered off in the 1930's with the Great Depression. A resurgence began in the 1950's, especially with artists and "artists books" and other experimental printing.
The history of the presses found in this collection are described at the series level of the archival finding aid.
Private Press archival collection
Private Press Collection
Private Press collection. - [19--]-1973.
91 cm of graphic materials.
The collection consists of ephemeral materials created and accumulated by various private presses including Dolmen Press, Rampant Lions Press, Poetry Bookshop, Press Porcepic, Soft Press, Stanbrook Abbey Press.
Arranged in series as follows:
- Dolmen Press
- Poetry Bookshop
- Press Porcepic
- Rampant Lions Press
- Soft Press
- Stanbrook Abbey Press.
- Title from contents of the collection.
- To be stored flat.
- The extent is measured in linear metres of shelf space occupied by the collection.
- Purchased over a variety of years from various book sellers, Dolmen Press materials donated by Colin Smythe.
- Series are arranged by press and then alphabetically then chronologically.
- Related records can be found in GA 239, the Eric Gill collection.
Call number: GA 240
Private Press Book Collection
The Private Press book collection includes items from more than 1,000 presses in Canada, Great Britain, and the United States. This collection has been developed as a representative collection, with intensive coverage of selected presses, such as Hague & Gill, St. Dominic's Press, Nonesuch Press, and Golden Cockerel Press, to provide scope for in-depth study of the history and development of these particular presses. A sample selection from a wide range of other private presses gives an overview of the private press movement in the twentieth century.
This large and diverse collection provides support for other collections and subject areas, such as the Eric Gill collection, English, American, and Canadian literature, Fine Arts, Women's Studies, and Dance. The Hogarth Press collection, for example, includes a number of items from the period during which Virginia Woolf was closely associated with the press, while the Trianon Press collection includes numerous facsimiles of the works of William Blake.