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Photoengravings used in The Inland Printer

 Collection
Identifier: CSC-0127

Scope and Contents

The collection contains roughly 90 photoengraving blocks, including one die and one solid lead block. The blocks feature images relating to printing history, including portraits of famous printers, their printer’s marks, libraries, printing houses, and machines. The blocks in this collection were collected by Cathy Dillon, who describes the collection as such: The “Bullen Blocks” are Printer’s Blocks from the 1920’s. I have been told by a knowledgeable source that these images may be reproduced using old ‘letterpress’ equipment.

The bulk of the ATF library is at the Columbia University Butler Library of rare books and manuscripts. Some of the library was sold off separately, before Columbia’s purchase in the 1930s. The ‘Bullen Collection’ at Columbia includes some treasures and truly rare examples. …

Perhaps this box of blocks was left behind or never included. I suggest that these represent Bullen’s personal favorites—as few of them appeared not only in The Inland Printer; but also in articles that appeared in another trade publication—“The Printing Art” in 1918.

The ‘Of a Certain Age’ [Dillon’s antiques shop] “Bullen Blocks” were acquired by me in a barter agreement: in 2012, in return for helping to clean out the basement of Mr. D. Squires, who passed away in 2006, we agreed I could keep or sell the carton of printing blocks. Mr. Squires worked at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC, and left behind a very interesting assortment of items.

The images were extremely difficult to identify, but some clearly were labeled “Bullen” in loopy handwriting, in pencil, with a month and year on the back. A special block, quite heavy, wrapped up in extra newspaper was the bookplate of the ATF library. …

The work of matching up the images with the issues of ‘The Inland Printer’ in which they appear was done by me, working mainly with computer print outs from Hathi Trust and Google books. The matching issues were purchased in June 2013 from Mr. Scott DeWolfe of DeWolfe and Wood booksellers in Alfred, Maine.

Topics include: Plantin, Gutenberg, Coster, Bruce, Feyrabendt, Tory, Bowyer, Cave, Ratdolt, Konig, Morris, DeVinne, Hoe, Benton, Updike, Goudy, Franklin, Oxford, Saur, Clephane, Banned books, libraries, machines, Larmessin’s Printer’s Costume.

Though the blocks are attributed to Bullen, they do not appear exclusively in his column, Collectanea Typographia, but in other articles in the issues as well.

Dates

  • 1918 - 1937

Biographical / Historical

The Inland Printer was an American magazine that ran from 1883 to 2011, going through a series of rebrands after merging with the American Printer and Lithographer. The journal covered printing history as well as contemporary printing news. The magazine was known for its covers, illustrated by a different designer each volume. It was originally produced by Henry O. Shepard of Shepard & Johnson in Chicago, Illinois. Issues featured a serial column, “Collectanea Typographia,” written by Henry Lewis Bullen (1857-1938). The column featured commentary on historical anecdotes from the printing world. Bullen was a librarian of the Typographic Library and Museum of the American Type Founders (ATF) Company in Jersey City, New Jersey. The column ran from 1918-1926, and then from 1928-1931. The Inland Printer maintained a relationship with ATF, and it is likely that many of the blocks in this collection came from their holdings. Under its final name, The American Printer, the publication ceased in August of 2011.

Extent

4 Box(es)

Language

English

Overview

Photoengravings used in The Inland Printer, circa 1918-1937 contains printing blocks of images that have appeared in various issues of the periodical, The Inland Printer. The majority of the blocks is related to the history and trade of printing, and is identified as appearing in the periodical. Others are unidentified and not confirmed as being used in the periodical.

Arrangement

This finding aid is item level. It lists the blocks by description alphabetically. An accompanying supplement should be referenced, a visual finding aid to the box contents. Boxes are organized roughly by date of appearance in The Inland Printer, and then by best fit.

Note: The dates accompanying each listed block do not correspond to the date of manufacture. Rather, it corresponds with the matching issue of The Inland Printer. Dates are not absolute; blocks may appear in more than one issue.

Other Finding Aids

In addition to this finding aid, an inventory is available below. For more information, please contact the Cary Graphic Arts Collection.

Index to the Inland Printer Boxes

Visual Guide to the Inland Printer blocks (.zip download)

Custodial History

The collection of photoengraving blocks was acquired, along with fifty original issues of The Inland Printer, by the Cary Collection on October 16, 2013 in an auction at Bonhams. The collection was acquired by Cathy Dillon from Mr. D. Squires in 2012, and subsequently put up for auction by Ms. Dillon in 2013.
Status
Completed
Author
Lauren Alberque
Date
2016
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Cary Graphic Arts Collection Repository

Contact:
RIT Libraries
The Wallace Center
90 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester NY 14623 US
(585) 475-2408