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Special Collections,
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Private Press Books

Black and white woodcut from The Wood Beyond the World by William Morris (1894)Illustration from 'The Wood Beyond the World' by William Morris. Kelmscott Press, 1894
 

All major British Private Presses are represented in The Mitchell Library's collection

The term 'private press' is usually given to those books produced using traditional printing, binding and paper-making methods and which have small print runs. The importance of the book resides in its abi​lity to reflect the skill of the printer and illustrator, rather than its appeal to a wide audience.
   
The Library's Private Press Collection numbers more than 2,000 items from more than 200 presses - representing printing styles which range from the elaborate decoration of William Morris's Kelmscott Press to the unadorned type of The Doves Press.
 
English examples include the Essex House Press, Golden Cockerel Press, Ashendene Press, Vale Press, Old Stile Press, Gwas Gregynog Press and The Whittington Press. Scottish presses include The Tragara Press, The Porpoise Press, The Signet Press of Thomas Rae and The Wild Hawthorn Press.  
 
A list of The Mitchell Library's Private Press Books, arranged by name of press, is available to view or download on the right. This list is also available in Special Collections on Level 2. Enquiries by email, letter or telephone are welcome. Items can be viewed in Special Collections and where possible, readers should contact us in advance. Please bring photo ID and proof of address. 
 
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