January 15th, 2013
We recently received a shipment of books from Printed Matter in New York. We order limited edition graphic novels, artists’ books, and zines from them. I was surprised that we received most of the materials we ordered, because after we submitted the order, we heard that disaster in the form of Hurricane Sandy had struck the non-profit.
Printed Matter is the world’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of publications made by artists. Founded as a for-profit alternative arts space in 1976 by artists and artworkers, Printed Matter reincorporated in 1978 to become the independent non-profit organization that it is today… Recognized for years as an essential voice in the increasingly diversified art world conversations and debates, Printed Matter is dedicated to the examination and interrogation of the changing role of artists’ publications in the landscape of contemporary art.
Printed Matter’s mission is to foster the appreciation, dissemination, and understanding of artists’ publications, which we define as books or other editioned publications conceived by artists as art works, or, more succinctly, as ‘artwork for the page.’ Printed Matter specializes in publications produced in large, inexpensive editions and therefore does not deal in ‘book arts’ or ‘book objects’ which are often produced in smaller, more expensive editions due to the craft and labor involved in their fabrication. –From the Printed Matter website.
Printed Matter maintains a public reading room, a wholesale and retail distribution center, and gallery space. They publish, host book readings, and lectures. They participate in larger book events as well. Their participation in educational outreach has been a vital part of the definition and awareness of Artists’ books.
The other day, NPR reported on the over $200,000 worth of damage that occurred during Hurricane Sandy. The Chelsea store was flooded and about 9000 books were destroyed. Volunteers came from all over to help out and managed to salvage a number of boxes of wet materials. With the aid of a grant, these were sent to a restoration company called Polygon, where the materials were freeze dried to remove the water. Printed Matter will need to find new storage space that is not in a basement and a benefit auction is planned for the spring. You can listen to the broadcast or read a transcript of the story.
June 15th, 2012
Recently, we were lucky to find a few more publications by the Ashantilly Press of Darien, Georgia, for sale from rare book vendors and purchase them for the library. That leaves only a few more titles that were either printed by the Ashantilly Press, or designed by Bill Haynes, owner of the press, but printed somewhere else to complete our collection. The press produced some beautiful publications, done more as a labor of love than as a profit making venture. Haynes set the type and carved the woodcuts to illustrate each publication. He also printed publications for organizations such as churches, historical associations, community groups, etc. And he printed invitations and cards for himself and others.
The Ashantilly Press was named after the house, Ashantilly, built in 1820 by Thomas Spalding in Darien, Georgia. It became the property of the Haynes Family in 1918 and they rebuilt the house after a fire in the late 1930s. The press was founded in the mid 1950s. The first project was a broadside of the plan of Fort King George in 1955. His first book project, a reprint of Anchored Yesterdays, came shortly after that. It took him almost a year to design and print the book. The book was entered into the Southern Book Competition and won. Anchored Yesterdays is about the first 100 years of Savannah’s history told in 10 “watches.” This account of the early history of the city from the arrival of the first ship through the rise of importance of Savannah as a port is nicely designed and bound in paper covers. The book does not contain an edition statement, but was published in 1956.
Our Ashantilly Press Collection, MS 029, contains books, broadsides, cards, ephemera and other publication of the Ashantilly Press and other presses. The books were published between 1940 and 1991 and include books that William G. Haynes published at the Ashantilly Press, as well as those he illustrated or designed which were published by other presses. The collection also contains correspondence between William G. Haynes and Dr. Lawrence S. Thompson, former director of libraries at the University of Kentucky. The correspondence dates between 1966 and 1984. Also included is the acceptance speech presented by Haynes on accepting the Rock Howard Award in 1983.
Our three newest books are all poetry and, while they are all nicely done, one in particular is very beautiful: To Dwell in Sound, by Jean Reti. She was an Associate Professor of piano at the University of Georgia. She was married first to Austrian composer and musicologist, Rudolph Reti, and after his death, married artist, W. Stanton Forbes. Her beautifully produced book of poetry is dedicated to the memory of Rudolph Reti. Haynes decorated each part with a beautiful historiated initial in a deep blue. The paper he used was handmade Tovil with a watermark. The book was published in an edition of 100, the library’s copy is 72.
Over a span of several years, the press printed thirty titles, the last in 1991. Haynes died in 2001, leaving the house, Ashantilly, and his printing press to his foundation, the Ashantilly Center, which hosts environmental, cultural, and historic events. The press is being restored and soon will be offering workshops.
November 30th, 2011
Recently, Professor Patricia Butz brought students in to Special Collections to see some books we recently purchased at her request. The books were by Father Edward Catich on calligraphy and handwriting. We are always happy to assist faculty in finding resources for their classes! And, this is an area that we may have been lacking in materials, so it helped our collection, also.
Father Edward Catich was a well known author and artist working in many fields. He was interested in history, liturgical art, photography, music, sculpture and stone cutting, but he is best known as a calligrapher. He was born in Stevensville, Montana. After he and his 3 brothers were orphaned, they were relocated to Illinois. While in an orphanage in Illinois, he undertook a sign-writing apprenticeship with Walter Heberling. He went on to work as a union sign-writer in Chicago and attended the Art Institute of Chicago for three-and-a-half years and then went to St. Ambrose in Iowa. He went on to receive a graduate degree from the University of Iowa, and then went to Rome in 1935 to study at Pontifical Gregorian University and also pursue an interest in paleography and epigraphy. It was there that he observed a relationship between the inscription letter-making of Imperial Rome and the Chicago sign writing he learned in his internship. After ordination, he returned to St. Ambrose College to teach art, music, and math. He founded the Art Department at St. Ambrose and taught there until his death in 1979.
He also founded his own press, the Catfish Press, which operated out of his studio at the University. He published several of his own books at the press. He was a prolific artist in many different formats from stone cutting to painting to calligraphy. St Ambrose University owns 5,000 pieces of the artist’s work and they are available in an online digital archive. Many of his paintings have calligraphic elements. He is also responsible for the designing of two typefaces: Petrarch and Catfish.
He created a number of alphabet stones, some in permanent collections of seven museums. St. Ambrose University house the largest collection of Father Catich’s work, some 5,000 pieces from sketchbooks and drawings to finished works in watercolor, ink, and slates. He also left his manuscripts and correspondence. St. Ambrose has digitized much of the artwork and is available at The Catich Collection: A Digital Archive of the Works of Fr. Edward Catich.