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Alembic Press Archive Records

Identifier: MsC0882

  • Staff Only
  • Please navigate to collection organization to place requests.

Scope and Contents

A large part of the archive comprises documentation of the design, production and publication of printed books, from holograph manuscripts, through galley proofs of type cast at the press, to printing, binding and distribution, including correspondence with collaborators and clients and assignment of numbered books. Further aspects of the archive include the records of privately printed work undertaken by the press, including the Reuters Memorial Book; job printing work and ephemeral printing at the press; material relating to the financial operation of the press; and a significant amount of items representing the broader community of private press printing in Britain and abroad during the second half of the twentieth century. The archive in total amounts to approximately forty-two linear feet. It is organized along two very broad concepts: first, items having to do with the press, comprising Series I to VII; and second, items having to do with the broader world of the book arts, which make up Series VIII and IX. The series having to do with the press are organized into several areas, including works created by the press; printed ephemera (which contains both items created at the press and commissioned work); commissioned work; photographs, correspondence; exhibits, publicity, and clippings; and financial records.   The archive will be of interest to researchers working in the fields of the history of the private press in the U.K. in the late twentieth century; the processes of hand-printing and letterpress printing, typography and typecasting; papermaking; bookbinding; women in printing; miniature books; book illustration; industrial book production in England during the twentieth century; and the book market.   Though there are separate series for correspondence and photographs, when a letter or photograph relating to a book or organization was found with the files for that book or organization, it was not removed to the correspondence or photograph files. Please also note that a great deal of correspondence about acquiring type is in the financial series with the charges for the founts.


  • Creation: 1978-2008


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.


18.00 Linear Feet (Photographs in Series IV and throughout.)

Language of Materials



A significant archive, entire and extant, from one of the most prolific and independent of British fine presses, these documents are a record of the processes of hand printing, publishing, and typecasting undertaken by Claire and David Bolton.

Method of Acquisition

This archive was purchased by the University of Iowa in 2008.

Related Materials

Please refer to External Documents to view The Alembic Press homepage.

The University of Iowa Special Collections has many of the Alembic Press's books in its "x collection" and many of the Press's miniature books in its Charlotte Smith collection.

Other Descriptive Information

Jacque Roethler
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)