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Subject: Book Arts Press

Book Arts Press

From: Terry Belanger <books>
Date: Wednesday, February 3, 1993
15 tons and what do you get?

    **** Moderator's comments:   The following appeared on Exlibris and
    reappears here with the knowledge and consent of the author.

Many readers of EXLIBRIS will know that from 1972-1992 the Book Arts
Press (BAP) was the teaching laboratory for the Columbia University
School of Library Service (SLS) programs in rare books, programs which
comprised a master's degree in librarianship (its graduates include
David Ferris, Alice Schreyer, Samuel Streit, Suzy Taraba, Daniel
Traister, Peter VanWingen, and David Warrington); an annual summer
institute, Rare Book School (in which the above are currently
instructors); a series of public lectures, including the annual Malkin
Lecture, and a lecture bureau; a modest publication program, including
G. T. Tanselle's bibliography course syllabus; and the production of
videotapes on bibliographical subjects, including FROM PUNCH TO PRINTING

The BAP is supported by a vigorous Friends group of about 525
members, of whom about 125 subscribe to this bulletin board. They
and others will I hope be interested to know that on Friday
Mayflower movers took a fourth and final load of Book Arts Press
property out of Butler Library at Columbia, delivering it yesterday
to the Alderman Library at the University of Virginia, the BAP's
new home.

Together, the weight of the four shipments was slightly over 31,000
pounds, or 15+ tons. Absorbing this stuff into an excellent but
not-yet-fully-renovated space in the Alderman Library has been
time-consuming: the BAP has a staff of two persons of which I am half, a
proportion which may help to account for my curmudgeonly [PG's word]
disinclination these days to read aimless EXLIBRIS messages. The
complexity of this move from the perspective of a staff-of-two is
suggested by the fact that the BAP's well-known collection of about 3500
chronologically-arranged cloth bookbindings, formerly in the SLS
classroom bookcases at Columbia and now at U.Va. on bookshelves in the
Dome Room of The Rotunda, occupied less than 10% of the 12x12x18" boxes
of teaching materials moved from New York City to Charlottesville.

The 15+T total weight included a heavily-built Washington-style flatbed
20x26" platen press (1T); 120 cases and ca. 50 galleys of type (2T); and
miscellaneous equipment (including a 40" board shears, a large standing
press, a small Vandercook proof press, and an etching press: 1T). But
the bulk of the materials moved was bookish, consisting in considerable
part of an accumulation of incomplete or damaged or discarded or
otherwise unloved and unwanted books, pamphlets, prints, and related
material donated over the years to the BAP. (This procession to the dump
never stops: since mid-December alone we have received more than 50
boxes of such material, not part of the 15 tons...nor are the more than
3000 books received this fall as inaugural presents.)

One result is that we now have a sufficient supply of books both post-
and pre-1800 so that we can teach the principles of format and collation
in lab sessions which draw for examples on the BAP's own collections,
without having to raid neighboring stacks. In our business there's never
enough especially of certain kinds of materials (though old hands will
be interested to know that we finally now do have sufficient supplies of
c18 mezzotints and Baxter prints on hand to make Illustration Packets
out of them), and contributions are always welcome.

Rare Book School 1993 is, no doubt, going to be a mess ("who's got the
Cottonian binding?" "where are the mezzotint rockers?" "who took the
66-point Futura wood type?" "where's the bathroom?" "which way's
town?"), but I think it will be an exciting mess: in some ways the best
and most stimulating classes I ever taught at SLS were in my first year
there, when I didn't know much about anything let alone where it was
kept. And I'd be grateful if you would pass on the electronic summary of
RBS I put onto Exlibris earlier today to potentially interested persons.



                  Conservation DistList Instance 6:43
                Distributed: Thursday, February 4, 1993
                        Message Id: cdl-6-43-013
Received on Wednesday, 3 February, 1993

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