California Printers in the Fine Press Tradition, 1975-2006

Selections from Stanford’s Special Collections


An exhibition of books by California fine press printers will open Feb. 12 in the Peterson Gallery on the second floor of the Bing Wing of Green Library. The exhibit, which is free and open to the public, will be on display through June 17, 2007.

California Printers in the Fine Press Tradition, 1975–2006: Selections from Stanford’s Special Collectionsfeatures fine press books ranging from small volumes of poetry to deluxe limited-edition collaborative works representing forty presses active in California over the past three decades. In addition to the books on view, a section of the exhibition is devoted to the arts of the book: type and printing, bookbinding, papermaking, and paper decorating techniques.

“Not only does this exhibit demonstrate the incredible richness of contemporary book arts in California, it contains and displays the tools and techniques, even the raw materials, of those arts,” explained University Librarian Michael A. Keller. “By showing both exquisite finished products and the methods that produced them, this exhibit will be of interest to many audiences, from serious collectors and book artists to those just beginning to realize and explore the tangible, tactile, and beautiful tradition of the printed word.”

Among the books exhibited are critically acclaimed works by internationally-known presses, such as the 1979 hand set edition of Moby-Dick produced by The Arion Press, San Francisco; highly collaborative projects, such as a new translation of Parmenides, printed in two Greek types that were commissioned for the book by Peter Koch, Printers, Berkeley; and two titles published almost thirty years apart, bracketing the time period covered in the show, by typographer and designer Jack Stauffacher, who founded The Greenwood Press, San Francisco, in 1934.

Also included are books by a multitude of presses that had their genesis in the book arts renaissance of the 1970s and early 1980s, many of whom were founded by women: Moving Parts Press, Felicia Rice; Ninja Press, Carolee Campbell; Paradise Press, Susan King; Occasional Works, Ann Rosener; and The Heyeck Press, Robin Heyeck, among others. Many of the books on display are the products of close collaborations among writers, artists, printers, and bookbinders.

Books produced by literary fine presses, such as The Yolla Bolly Press make up the largest category of those featured in the exhibition. Innovative works by creative partnerships such as Bill Kelly and Michele Burgess of Brighton Press, San Diego; Peggy Gotthold and Larry Van Velzer of Foolscap Press, Santa Cruz; and Betsy Davids and Jim Petrillo of Rebis Press, Berkeley, make up another. Also featured are a handful of what might be classified as artists’ books, but which employ fine press techniques.

Press descriptions and images of the books shown in the exhibition, arranged alphabetically by name of press:

For further information, please contact Becky Fischbach at 650-725-1020 or via e-mail at

LOCATION: Peterson Gallery, Green Library Bing Wing, Second Floor, Stanford University, Stanford, CA

NOTE: first-time visitors must register at the east entrance portal to gain access to the library. Green Library's east wing entrance faces Meyer Library. For a map of campus and transportation information, go to

HOURS: Exhibit cases in the Peterson Gallery are illuminated Monday-Friday from 10 am to 6 pm; Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm, and Sunday 1 to 6 pm. The gallery is accessible whenever Green Library is open and hours vary with the academic schedule. For library hours, call 650-723-0931.