Launch of Occasional Nuggets

Dear fellow bibliophiles:

I am pleased to announce the launch of Occasional Nuggets, a modest but gratifying serial publication of bookish interest, each issue of which is intended to “bring to light a gem from the special collections of the Providence Public Library.”

Our first issue (Spring 2009) features a set of four Japanese fairy tales written by Lafcadio Hearn and printed in Tokyo from 1898-1904, on crêpe-paper and bound in silk thread in the Japanese (accordion) fashion. The issue begins with a short introduction on Hearn’s life and career, and a reprinting (including a few scans of the original illustrations) of one of the tales—The Boy Who Drew Cats, in which a young and sensitive boy is saved by his art. Also included is a bibliography of books by Hearn in special collections, and suggestions for further reading.

One of our generous volunteers, Meg Turner (RISD ’08), a graphic designer and an instructor at the AS220 Community Printshop, scanned ornaments from the many specimen books in our Updike Printing Collection to design the cover. Two hundred covers were letterpress printed in red & black at the AS220 Printshop. The internal pages were printed in-house on PPL’s laser printers, and so the work embodies printing technologies from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries.

The cost of the production of this first issue (a scan of the cover is attached) of 200 numbered copies has been borne by the Library, but to continue it for the next three issues we need the support of subscribers. We are offering four (4) issues this year (spring, summer, winter, fall) for a subscription price of $15.00, which will cover only our production costs.

The larger purpose of this publication, of course, is to promote the appreciation and support of the special collections at PPL. To this end, on the final pages of each succeeding issue, we would like to list those who have (during the year of publication) decided to give beyond the subscription price to the following levels of support:

Apprentice printers: $5 to $49
Journeymen printers: $50 to $99
Master printers: $100 to $199
Patrons: $200+

All funds we receive beyond those necessary to produce the Occasional Nuggets will be used solely to acquire for, and to conserve the items within, the D. B. Updike collection on the history of printing.

If you are interested in subscribing to this first year of the Occasional Nuggets, please reply by e-mail to with your preferred postal address. Please ALSO indicate if you are willing to donate above the subscription price at any of the aforementioned levels, as this may reduce the number of subscribers we require in order to produce the next three issues.

We are not asking for any money at this time—only an expression of interest in the form of the promise to subscribe and/or donate. If (and only if) we receive enough promised subscriptions—or the equivalent in promised subscriptions & donations—we will send those people a copy of the first issue with an invoice, and proceed with plans to produce the next three issues.

If we do NOT receive enough promised subscriptions (or its equivalent, as stated), we will send copies of the first issue FREE to those who did promise to subscribe, with our thanks for their time and interest. Please write or call if you have any further questions about this offer.

The Special Collections department houses over 40,000 books, posters, pamphlets, photographs, broadsides, manuscripts, and other artifacts which, by virtue of their individual or collective significance, require a higher level of security and interpretive context than other collections in the PPL. Our goal is to preserve, augment, and provide access to these collections to the public in perpetuity. Thank you for your support.

Richard J. Ring
Special Collections Librarian


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