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.