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Book Arts & Private Press Collection

Swarthmore College is home to a vibrant and continually growing collection of contemporary artists' books. The collection, with over 6,000 items dating back to 1540, is cataloged and available in Tripod. The Book Arts and Private Press Collection is committed to the acquisition of fine printing and artists' books, and strives to represent all aspects of the physical book including bookbinding, typography, letterpress and offset printing, hand papermaking, illustration, and book design.

Housed in the Rare Book Room in McCabe Library, this collection currently contains examples from nearly 1,000 different presses, from historically significant presses like Kelmscott Press, Doves Press, the Roycrofters, Nonesuch Press, and Golden Cockerel Press, to the works of important contemporary book artisits such as Tia Blassingame, Islam Aly, Russell Maret, Maureen Cummins, Xu Bing, and Donald Glaister.

While the Rare Book Room is not open to the public for browsing, you can discover Swarthmore Special Collections in Tripod. Inquire about arrangements to view materials in the Friends Historical Library reading room by contacting McCabe Library Access + User Services.

Highlights from the Book Arts and Fine Press Collection

Book cover

Common Threads by Candace Hicks, 2009

News From Nowhere by William Morris, Kelmscott Press, 1892.

Book illustration

Brooklyn Bridge : A Love Song by Donald Glaister, Foolsgold Studio, 2002.

Common Threads by Candace Hicks, 2009

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