Saving Printing History

One of the exhibitions currently on view is “‘A Unique Museum’: How Henry Lewis Bullen Saved Printing History,” which we put on in honor of the American Printing History Association’s conference “Saving the History of Printing,” held at The Grolier Club and Columbia University on October 10-12, 2008, to discuss the preservation of the primary sources of printing history.

The materials on display are objects from the American Type Founders Company Library & Museum, and the labels discuss Henry Lewis Bullen’s (1857-1938) role in the formation, growth, and use of the collection. There are a lot of nifty things, including Benjamin Franklin’s composing stick, one of the stained glass windows commemorating famous printers commissioned by ATF from J. Francois Kaufman, two cases from one of Bullen’s travelling exhibitions, a few ATF type souvenirs (including pieces of two point type), some Bruce Foundry punches from 1832, and a selection of typographic medals and tokens.

Here, I’m including two favorite photographs that didn’t make it into the exhibition — the one above shows Bullen apparently in conversation with busts of printers Benjamin Franklin and Theodore Low DeVinne, and the one to the left shows Bullen with members of ATF’s carpentry crew, who had made the display pedestal for the wooden printing press behind them.

The exhibition is up until February, 2009.