The Printer's Working Library

(View the original post at the Notes for Bibliophiles blog.)

Here at PPL we have a fantastic collection of books on the history of printing and typography, and that collection was originally founded as a resource for working printers in the area, providing a library of books they could use to improve their own work. The collection includes thousands items--books, manuscripts, pieces of ephemera-- especially type specimen books. I was curious what the working library of a modern printer might include, and Dan Wood of DWRI Letterpress was kind enough to let me stop by and take a look at the library in his print shop. Here are some photos of what I found:

There's art all over the place in a print shop. Especially masterpieces by the printer's kids

Type specimen books are still in use for a lot of purposes: showing customers options for faces, picking a typeface to match something printed by photopolymer plate, etc., etc.

The biggest surprise: How essential a good etiquette guide is to the modern letterpress printer. Why? Because...

... they include example text for things like wedding invitations that are frequently printed by letterpress.

I also found some titles we were lacking, like the Vandercook 100 (DWRI Letterpress is among the print shops featured). We now have a copy in the collection.

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Jordan Goffin

Special Collections Librarian Jordan Goffin has been mining the wonders in the Library’s Special Collections since early 2011. If you’d like to stop in and spend some time with the historic and noteworthy books, manuscripts and ephemera at PPL, contact him by email at or by phone at 401.455.8021. Also, visit the Notes for Bibliophiles blog ( to read more about the exciting materials in Special Collections and to keep up with events and announcements.


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