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The Legacy Press


Books about the Printing, Paper, and Bookbinding Arts

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 UA, I moved to my home state and Ann Arbor and was Conservation Librarian and Exhibit 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). It was printed in full color in China in order to keep the retail price manageable. 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. 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 has sold well and received very good reviews.

The Volume 1 in the series, Suave Mechanicals: Essays on the History of Bookbinding, edited by Julia Miller, was published in early 2013, and Vol. 2 in March 2015. Vol. 3 will be published in September 2016, and volumes 4 and 5 are already underway.

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.

A number of other books are in various stages of preparation for publication later in 2016 and in 2017; click here.


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



Prospective  series essayists please contact


Bookbinding: Suave Mechanicals

editor : Julia Miller (


Papermaking: Papermaker's Tears

editor : Tatiana Ginsberg (


Printing: Historia Typographica

editor : Pablo Alvarez (