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© 1997 – 2017

The Legacy Press

 

The Legacy Press

 

Books about the Printing, Paper, and Bookbinding Arts

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The Legacy Press, scroll to the bottom of this page

Established in 1997 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, by me, Cathleen A. Baker, The Legacy Press is

now located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The first books issued under this imprint were printed

by hand and fulfilled the degree requirements for the MFA in Book Arts at the University of

Alabama. The out-of-print titles for these fledging efforts are viewable on another page.

My thesis project was Endgrain Designs & Repetitions: The Pattern Papers of John DePol co-

authored with John DePol (1913–2004), the celebrated American wood engraver. The

friendship that arose from that project was cherished by us both, and I continue to keep John’s

remarkable work available to book-arts practitioners and collectors. (The limited edition is

now out-of-print, and an offset edition was published in mid-2015.)

While printing Endgrain Designs on my Vandercook No. 4 in the summer of 2000, I often

wondered what it would be like to publish books that did not take so much time at the press

and that could be offered at much more affordable prices. Consequently, I decided that The

Legacy Press would specialize in well designed, offset-printed books. In 2005 after finishing my PhD at U-A, I moved to Ann Arbor in my home state and was Senior/Exhibitor Conservator for The University of Michigan Library. In March 2016, I retired from the University and I am now Conservation Librarian Emerita.

The first offset-printed book that The Legacy Press published was Dorothy Field’s wonderful illustrated essay, Paper and Threshold: The Paradox of Spiritual Connection in Asian Cultures (2007, now out-of-print). It was printed in full color in China in order to keep the costs down. I was very pleased with the results, and the book won a 2008 Independent Publisher Book Award Bronze Medal.

A few years ago, while discussing a book project with my friend and fellow Ann Arborite, book conservator and bookbinding historian, Julia Miller, she expressed a desire to have her book printed in Michigan in order to support local businesses – the state’s economy had taken a downturn. To my surprise, I discovered that Ann Arbor has a long history as a “printing” town, and there are a number of respected book manufacturers located within a few miles of my home office. With the publication of  Elaine Koretsky’s, Killing Green: An Account of Hand Papermaking in China (2009), all of The Legacy Press books have been printed and bound locally. While this increases the cost/price of books somewhat, I feel it was the right decision, and the added bonus is that I can talk to printing professionals face-to-face.

The year 2010 was a landmark one. Julia Miller’s Books Will Speak Plain: A Handbook for Identifying and Describing Historical Bindings was issued a few months after my book was published: From the Hand to the Machine. Nineteenth-Century American Paper and Mediums: Technologies, Materials, and Conservation. The latter work is based on knowledge accumulated over my forty+ years as a conservator and book-arts practitioner.  Since their publication, both of these books have secured several national awards. In 2014 after two printings, the 2nd edition of Books Will Speak Plain was issued, and From the Hand to the Machine is in its 2nd printing.

Other award-winning books include Aimee Lee’s Hanji Unfurled: One Journey into Korean Papermaking (2012) and is in its 2nd printing. A Song of Praise for Shifu by Susan Byrd is a much decorated title (2013). Among other honors, it was named the Best Micro-Press Book 2014 by the Eric Hoffer Book Awards. Sheila Waters' poignant and revealing book Waters Rising: Letters from Florence was published in 2016, exactly 50 years after the devastating flood in Florence from which emerged the origins of library and archives conservation education. Waters Rising recently received the 2017 Society of American Archivists Preservation Publication Award. The Paper & Mediums Study Collection, compiled by myself, is a limited-edition portfolio comprising 63 paper samples and examples of printing and drawing mediums. Despite the high price, it sold out and has received very good reviews.

Vol. 1 in the series, Suave Mechanicals: Essays on the History of Bookbinding, edited by Julia Miller, was published in early 2013, Vol. 2 in March 2015, and Vol. 3 in October 2016. Vol. 4 will be published in late Fall 2017, andVols. 5 & 6 are already in progress. Two new series are in the formative stage: Papermaker 's Tears: Essays on the Art and Craft of Paper, edited by Tatiana Ginsberg and Historia Typographica: Essays on the Art of Printing and Beyond, edited by Pablo Alvarez.

In October 2016, the monumental book (nearly 700 pages), Yours Respectfully, William Berwick: Paper Conservation in the United States and Western Europe, 1800–1935 by Christine A. Smith was published; 50 special copies with pieces of the silk crepeline that Berwick used to repair George Washington's Last Will and Testament are also available. A slight deviation from the books that The Legacy Press usually publishes is the exhibition catalogue by Pablo Alvarez, The Art and Science of Healing: From Antiquity to the Renaissance, which appeared in early February 2017 to coincide with the opening (it closed on 30 April). Quickly following that book was the publication of the 2nd edition of Peter and Donna Thomas' wonderful book, They Made the Paper at Tuckenhay Mill: Interviews with Retired Hand Papermakers. The book features reminiscences of the daily activities of 8 men and women who worked in the mill and includes a surprising amount of very interesting information about hand papermaking as practiced in England from between the World Wars to 1970 when the mill closed.

A number of other books, including Julia Miller's second book, Meeting by Accident, are in preparation for publication in 2017 and 2018; click here.

In addition to editing and designing The Legacy Press books, Cathy is busy conducting research into the first manufacture of wove paper in the West. This paper appeared in John Baskerville's Publii Virgilii Maronis (Birmingham, U.K., 1757). She is convinced that James Whatman Sr. made this wove paper not on a woven wire cover, as has been surmised by generations of paper historians, but instead on a piece of cloth secured to the top of a single-face laid cover. She has successfully conducted numerous papermaking experiments with the help of Timothy Barrett at the University of Iowa Center for the Book and Timothy Moore, mould maker. To solidify her knowledge and familiarity with this paper and the book, generally, Cathy has been traveling to Mid-West collections to examine copies (14 so far), and this Fall, she is visiting East and West Coast collections to see another 80+ copies. Next year she will travel to England to research the archives of Baskerville and Whatman. She would greatly appreciate any financial help and to facilitate this, she is a member of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit foundation that can accept tax-deductible donations on her behalf; see the white box below.

 

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to ensure that

The Legacy Press continues its important work bringing the research

of authors, especially previously unpublished ones, into print.

 

If you would like to make a contribution, please go to the website of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts fiscal sponsor that accepts

donations on behalf of individuals to support their projects:

 

 

 

 

Many thanks!

 

Fractured Atlas

Project title:

The Legacy Press/Baskerville's Virgil

 

Prospective monograph authors are encouraged to submit ideas, outlines, or manuscripts to

 

Cathleen A. Baker

The Legacy Press

1513 Long Meadow Trl

Ann Arbor MI 48108–9633

 

thelegacypress@gmail.com

 

 

Prospective series essayists please contact

 

Bookbinding: Suave Mechanicals

editor : Julia Miller (juvam@comcast.net)

 

Papermaking: Papermaker's Tears

editor : Tatiana Ginsberg (tsginsberg@gmail.com)

 

Printing: Historia Typographica

editor : Pablo Alvarez (historiatypographica@gmail.com)