Another Selection of Books about the Book Trade

Here’s another selection of recent acquisitions to the Updike Collection, some new and some a little bit older:

John Lewis’s A Handbook of Type and Illustration (1956) offers samples of a range of illustration techniques and pattern designs like these:

Alfred Seymour’s Modern Printing Inks (1910) includes outlines the ink-making process from start to finish:

And this catalog of Ingersoll hand printing machinery (with assorted ephemera) is where you would have ordered your Little Gem “Family Printing Outfit” in its “elegant Lithographed TIN BOX.” The only other copy in the OCLC database (listed as belonging to the Rochester Museum & Science Center) has an address of 65 Courtland St. in New York. Our copy has an address of 46 Courtland St.


Special Collections on the Road

In addition to the fascinating items we have on exhibition here at our 150 Empire St. location, you can now see PPL Special Collections material at three other locations across the city:

At the RISD Fleet Library (through March 30, 2012), check out Dard Hunter & the Roycroft Print Shop, curated by Robert Garzillo. The exhibition is staged in the downstairs library and upstairs outside of Special Collections. Look for Roycrofters material from our Updike Collection.

Tomorrow at the Providence Athenaeum, the “Wilde at Heart” celebration begins (a limited number of tickets are available), and it will include an exhibition of Wilde materials. Among them you’ll find volumes like the first edition of The Ballad of Reading Gaol from PPL Special Collections.

And through May, the John Carter Brown’s exhibition hall will be filled with items illustrating Lawrence Wroth’s classic The Colonial Printer (which is to say many great examples of early American printing). The first edition of The Colonial Printer was itself printed by Daniel Berkeley Updike’s Merrymount Press, and punches, matrices and type designed for Updike will be on display in the exhibition.

That’s a busy schedule of excellent exhibitions. You should probably get started right away.

Mystery Wood Block

UPDATED: Thanks to Prof. Robert Felsing at the University of Oregon, we now know the text is a passage from the New Testament. (Thanks to Prof. Felsing as well for pointing out that the images were originally posted upside-down.)

Wanted: Asian language expert.

Posted below are images of a wooden block used for printing. It’s an interesting object, but unfortunately I don’t know what the text is or when it was produced. So if anyone reading might be able to offer a clue as what this is, I’d appreciate it. In addition to the unmodified images, the higher-contrast and flipped images below might be legible to anyone who can read the language.

The first person to provide information about the block’s identity wins a year’s subscription to our periodical, Occasional Nuggets. Post suggestions in the comments or by email to

Images of the front and back:


Higher-contrast versions that have been flipped on the vertical axis: