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History of the Book


The Gutenberg style of press remained in use until the Industrial Revolution, where Charles Stanhope, 3rd Earl of Stanhope (1753-1816) created a new press type, completed by 1800. Made from cast iron instead of wood, this press reduced the amount of force needed to operate the press. As a result, it was increasingly easier and cheaper to mass produce books.

In the late 19th to early 20th centuries, the Art Nouveau movement spread across Europe. Influenced by Japanese woodblock printing, members of the movement longed for a return to the golden age of printing, printmaking, and publishing. As a result, several Fine Presses, such as the Kelmscott Press, were established. These presses produced historical and contemporary books and other materials which contained intricate artwork, fine printing, and different colors of ink. Often produced with limited editions, these books were often bought by book collectors.

Image source: William Morris. 1896. The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer (The Kelmscott Chaucer). [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. 

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Subject Headings


Illustration of books



Private press books


Arion Press

Bird & Bull Press

Doves Press

Golden Cockerel Press

Kelmscott Press

Merrymount Press

Prominent Publishers

Cobden-Sanderson, T.J. (Thomas James), 1840-1922

Goudy, Frederic W. (Frederic William). 1865-1947

Morris, William, 1834-1896

Updike, Daniel Berkely, 1860-1941

Walker, Emery, 1851-1933

Call numbers

Use these call numbers to browse materials in the UBC Catalogue

NE 1-978: Printmaking and engraving

NE 1000-1352: Wood engraving

Z116.A5-265.5: Printing

Digitized Collections

Some of the material relating to fine presses and modern publishing and printing has been digitized and can be found in the UBC Library Open Collections.

Related Works

Beyond our Collections