Printing and Publishing History

The books at either end of the large Z classification at AAS, denoted Printing and Related Arts, suggest how relevant this collection is to the core interests of the Society. The first book on the shelf in the Z section is William Loring Andrews's Bibliopegy in the United States and Kindred Subjects, a lovely book published in 1912. Its presence there reminds us of the Society's preeminence as a center for the study of the bookbinder's craft in America, a position solidified by the Society's acquisitions by AAS of the Papantonio and Leach collections and its publication of two books of important bibliopegical research. The last book currently shelved within the section is a salesman's sample copy of the Young People's New Pictorial Library. It brings up the rear of a large collection of book salesman's samples, also called salesman's dummies or blads. This interesting volume, together with the others in that subcollection, reminds us that the study of the commerce in books, no less than that of the printing of them, is an important aspect of the work of the Society's Program in the History of the Book in American Culture. Situated in between these bookends is virtually every other subject related to printing, publishing, and the book trades.

The books in the Z section are primarily secondary materials, although they also include materials, like the salesman's dummies, that may be considered primary sources because of their special artifactual value. (Bibliographies are classified differently and are described elsewhere.) A listing of some of the principal subdivisions within Z indicates its range: bookbinding, American journalism, foreign journalism, libel and other legal matters, magazines and periodicals, paper, printing techniques and practices, publishing and bookselling, and writing. The largest groups are books on the histories of printing, publishing, and bookselling. There is good coverage of the British side of the subject, which is useful to place the history of the book in America in the Atlantic context.

Some of the more interesting items in the collection may be considered primary materials. They include a small collection of press association reports; manuals on how to be a printer, publisher, or journalist; a sizable collection of type-specimen books; and the aforementioned salesman's dummies.

- John B. Hench, Vice President for Collections and Programs

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