Notes on the History of the Elston Press traces the history of America's foremost private press from its troubled beginning in New York City in 1900 to its untimely closing in New Rochelle, New York, in 1905. Clarke Conwell and his artist wife Helen Marguerite O'Kane, proprietors of the press, were avid admirers of the Arts and Crafts style of bookmaking, and O'Kane's wood engraved illustrations were excellent. She is the most notable woman of the Arts and Crafts book. While the Elston Press was undoubtedly the most successful American interpreter of the Kelmscott Press style, its books are rare today because of their extremely limited editions. Therefore, every library, collector of the Arts and Crafts Movement, and Woman's Studies Collection will want a copy of this seminal work.

Herbert H. Johnson, an eminent authority on printing history, has thoroughly researched the works of the Elston Press, examining at least one copy of each of their twenty-six books. In his text he discusses the books, giving particular attention to the art of Helen Marguerite O'Kane, the typefaces, papers, printing, and bindings. He has also included a scholarly Introduction, A Checklist of Books Printed at the Elston Press, A Checklist of Prospectuses and Announcements, and Selected References. As an intellectual accompaniment to his insightful text, the author has included every known critique of the press in Critical Appraisals of Books of the Elston Press and Art by H.M. O'Kane.

About the book. The book itself is a modern masterpiece of bookmaking; it has been designed, composed in English Monotype Garamond, and printed letterpress on Zerkall-Butten laid mould-made paper imported from Germany at the Press of Michael and Winifred Bixler, Skaneateles, New York. Illustrations of selected book and announcement pages were printed by offset lithography at The Stinehour Press in Lunenburg, Vermont. There are 128 book pages plus illustrations.

The entire edition of 225 numbered copies was hand-sewn and bound by Greg Campbell at The Campbell-Logan Bindery in Minneapolis, Minnesota. One hundred and seventy-five copies are quarter-bound in dark blue imported German fabric over boards with a natural sail cloth spine and pasted label, and are available for $225. Remaining copies are available for immediate delivery.

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Copyright © 2003 Michael & Winifred Bixler
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