Special Collections is highlighting the selection of Fine Press books within the Literature and Rare Books collections with a new subject guide, Fine Press Books in Special Collections! If you would like to learn more about fine press books but aren’t sure where to start, we have a solution. The guide highlights material created by various Fine Presses that are available in the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library.
Beginning in the late 19th century, artists, authors, and craftsmen of the Fine Press movement took care and consideration in the elements of a book. Attention was given to the typography, design, illustration, printing and binding of fine press books. The Fine Press movement produced beautifully crafted books, often in small print-runs of high quality, designed and crafted by individuals or small businesses.
For more resources on Fine Press Books search our catalog or if you have any questions, please contact us!
Victoria Vera is a graduate student in the Masters of Library and Information Sciences program at UMD and a student assistant in the Literature and Rare Books Collections, Special Collections and University Archives.
Visit the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library to view The English Bible, printed by the Doves Press in 1903. This is an exquisite example of the fine press movement in England, which sought to create traditionally crafted, beautiful books using handmade paper, quality ink, and carefully designed type and page layout. The Doves Press operated in England from 1900-1916.
Explore more examples of fine press books in our Literature & Rare Books collections in Special Collections and University Archives.
Recently, Special Collections and University Archives acquired several beautiful examples of early 20th century fine printing. Among them is Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queen, printed in by The Ashendene Press in 1923.
The Ashendene Press is one of the finest examples of the private press movement in England, which valued well-designed books produced with high quality materials by skilled workmen. Private press craftsmen and artists scoffed at the poorly made, commercially-driven books and the mechanized book production of industrialized England. These beautifully crafted books are a testament to the artistry of individuals like Emery Walker, William Morris, T. J. Cobden-Sanderson, Charles Rickets, and others who sought to reclaim traditional book art in a time when profit and mass production trumped integrity and design.