The gift of the Anthoensen Press collection and the establishment of the Anthoensen-Christian Fund to purchase books in the field of printing and typography occurred in 1946. This led to the founding in 1949 of a printing shop (the Hubbard Hall Press) and a course offering in printing and typography at the College.
In 1950, the Frederick Wilson Main Collection, containing several hundred books and pamphlets relating to fine printing added to the already strong collection of book arts material, with examples of the typographic work of Bruce Rogers, Frederick W. Goudy, Daniel Berkeley Updike, and Rudolph Ruzicka, to mention only a few. Further important acquisitions of works by Rockwell Kent and publications from other fine presses—Mosher, Cuala, Gehenna, and Arion—have added significantly to the number and variety of beautifully designed and illustrated books at Bowdoin.
The department also has a large collection of fine bindings and designer bindings, a world-class collection of pop-up books, as well as a growing number of artists’ books—artistic works informed by the structure of the book and the process of reading—created by artists from Maine and throughout the world.
- Anthoensen Press Collection:
- Books, pamphlets, broadsides, and ephemera from this Portland, Maine press established in 1946 by Fred Anthoensen (Bowd. Hon.1947). Mostly from the twentieth century, this collection of the publications of the famed Portland printing house contains more than nine hundred volumes printed under the Southworth, Southworth-Anthoensen, and Anthoensen imprints. Related are the Fred Anthoensen Collection, the Anthoensen Press Business Records (M220), and the Anthoensen Press Work Orders.
- Arion Press Collection:
- The works of this fine San Francisco press, founded in 1974 by Andrew Hoyem, once a partner with Robert Grabhorn in the Grabhorn-Hoyem Press, are varied and beautiful. They range from the 1987 edition of A Moral Fable-talk, first published in English in 1586, to Sam Shepard's 1986 play, A Lie of the Mind. Illustrations include etchings, wood cuts, and a dry-point engraving by John Baldessari, Jim Dine, and Michael Mazur. This small, but growing, collection includes books, pamphlets, prospecti, and ephemera.
- Cuala Press Collection:
- Founded in 1903 as the Dun Emer Press, the Cuala Press, under the general editorship of W.B. Yeats, was an important element in the Anglo-Irish literary revival of the early twentieth century. Of the eighty-two volumes published between 1903 and 1946, the College owns more than sixty titles, and the collection is particularly strong in the earlier publications. The holdings also include six volumes from the revival of the Press in the 1960s and 1970s.
- Gehenna Press and Leonard Baskin Collection:
- This collection contains the graphic works and publications of Leonard Baskin, etcher, sculptor, book designer, and publisher in Northampton, Massachusetts. Included are more than sixty volumes, pamphlets, and related printed ephemera produced at his Gehenna Press, as well as approximately one dozen books illustrated by Baskin but produced by other presses or publishers.
- Limited Editions Club Collection:
- Issued by subscription only, finely printed books created by eminent designers are produced by the club, which was founded in 1929 by George Macy. Among the designers are Leonard Baskin, W.A. Dwiggins, Eric Gill, Edwin Grabhorn, Macy himself, the Mardersteigs, Bruce Rogers, and Daniel Berkeley Updike. Illustrations are by artists and illustrators such as Balthus, Baskin, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Eric Gill, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Arthur Rackham. The volumes are printed at renowned presses such as the Anthoensen Press, the Curwen Press, the Grabhorn Press, the Officina Bodoni, and the Press of A. Colish. Containing nearly six hundred titles, the collection is complete from the eleventh series (April 1939 - October 1940) to the present and includes many earlier publications, annual prospecti and other ephemera as well.
- Mosher Press Collection:
- This Portland press (1891-1923) was one of the most distinguished private printing establishments in New England. The College's collection of its imprints consists of more than six hundred of the nearly eight hundred titles/editions produced. Some titles were printed both on Japan vellum and Van Gelder paper; the College's holdings often include copies of each form. The collection also includes several of the volumes produced between the death of Thomas Mosher, the press's founder, in 1924 and its closing in 1941.
- Trianon Press William Blake Facsimiles:
- A small French-based press, Trianon began in 1951 to produce for the William Blake Trust superb facsimile editions of Blake's works in his "illuminated printing" technique. He etched plates for each page, text included, and hand-colored the decorative designs for each copy. Trianon used a collotype printing process in the basic colors of the originals, followed by successive applications of water colors painted by hand through stencils. The paper used in the facsimiles is made to match that used by Blake. Six of the facsimiles, America, The Book of Urizen, Jerusalem, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Songs of Innocence, and Visions of the Daughters of Albion, are on permanent loan from the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. The seventh, William Blake's Water-Colour Designs for the Poems of Thomas Gray, was given to the Library by Sumner T. Pike (Bowd. 1913).
- Susan Dwight Bliss Collection:
- Donated to the College chiefly between 1950 and 1963, it contains more than twelve hundred volumes relating primarily to the fine arts, French and English history and literature, and travel. Of special interest are two volumes of Goya prints: Los desastres de la guerra ..., Madrid, 1863, with eighty etchings, and another collection [Los Caprichos], 80 prints with no title page or publication information. The Bliss collection is particularly noted for its many examples of fine and elaborate European bindings by such masters as Riviere and Son, Meunier, Chambolle-Duru, Zaehnsdorf, Marius-Michel, Gruel, Bradstreet, Taffin, and others. It is housed in the Susan Dwight Bliss Room, a baroque-style room with a sixteenth-century ceiling from a Neapolitan palazzo.
- Edward Russell Hale Fore-Edge Collection:
- Comprising fifty-nine titles on all subjects, these books are united by the paintings on the fore-edges of each. Most varieties of fore-edge paintings are represented. Collected by Edward Russell Hale (Bowd.1906), the books came to Bowdoin after the death of his widow in 1989. The collection is supplemented by a few other examples of this art form previously acquired by the College.
- Rockwell Kent Collection:
- More than thirty books written, illustrated, or decorated by Kent are supplemented by a small ephemera collection of 0.25 linear feet. This material was given in 1979 by Dan Burne Jones and his wife, Jacquie, long-time Kent friends and bibliographers. It includes bookplates, stamps, keepsakes, pamphlets, and copies of illustrations and proofs by Kent.
- Rebecca Goodale Artist's Book Collection:
- Artist's books, chiefly employing silkscreens, collage, painting, and paper constructions, as well as silkscreened prints and "xerox books" by Portland, Maine, artist Rebecca Goodale, in extremely limited editions dating from 1988 to the present. Some of Goodale's works address reading and readers; she has also prepared a series of works about endangered and threatened plants and animals in the State of Maine.
- Harold M. Goralnick Pop-Up Book Collection :
- Donated in 2008 by Harold M. Goralnick (Class of 1971), who began collecting pop-up and other movable books in 1999, the collection numbers over 1,900 volumes and comprises works published mainly from the 1940s to the present. Most books are English language materials published in the United States or Great Britain, but some works, particularly fairy tales, also appear in German, French, Czech, and Italian, among other languages. Numerous publisher series, illustrators, and paper engineers are represented. Topics and themes range widely: fairy tales; rhymes and verse; books on the alphabet and counting; animals; space travel; monsters and haunted houses; cartoon, comics, and motion picture adaptations; religion and religious holidays; architecture; erotica; insects; dinosaurs; geography and geology. Illustrators and paper engineers include David A. Carter, Dick Dudley, David Hawcock, Vojtech Kubašta, Tor Lokvig, Kees Moerbeek, Keith Moseley, Chuck Murphy, David Pelham, Ib Penick, Jan Pienkowski, Matthew Reinhart, Robert Sabuda, Rodger Smith, John Strejan, Ron van der Meer, Julian Wehr, and others. A selection of movable book facsimiles from the nineteenth century, by Harold Lentz, Ernest Nister and Lothar Meggendorfer, as well as other examples of toy and movable books, are also represented.
View the online exhibition "Pop-ups! They're not JUST for kids!," which features items from the Goralnick Collection.
- Jane Webster Pearce Collection:
- The Jane Webster Pearce Collection, a bequest to Bowdoin College, was received in February 2006. Ms. Pearce, a resident of Green Island, Mt. Desert, Maine, was an avid book collector who, over a thirty year period, acquired designer bindings and artists' books primarily from bookbinders and artists whom she had met personally. The collection features works by Gérard Charrière, from whom she learned bookbinding techniques, and those by such renowned bookbinders as Michele Brown, Don Etherington, Deborah Evetts, Don Glaister, Monique Lallier, Kerstin Tini Miura, Gray Parrot, Sally Lou Smith, and Michael Wilcox. Book artists include Tara Bryan, Rebecca Goodale, Ronald King (Circle Press), Heidi Kyle, Scott McCarney, Maria Pisano, and Claire Van Vilet (Janus Press). August Heckscher's High Loft Press is also well represented.
- Bailey Bookplate Collection:
- Compiled by Lula Bailey of Augusta, Maine, in the 1930s and 1940s, it was bequeathed to Bowdoin by her husband, Merton G. L. Bailey (Bowd. 1911). Although most of the more than two thousand pieces are American and British, some early Japanese bookplates and correspondence concerning her collection are included.
- Wiepert Bookplate Collection:
- David Douglas Wiepert compiled his collection between the 1890s and the 1930s. Many of the nearly twelve hundred ex-libris belonged to celebrities who sailed on the ships of the White Star Line of which Wiepert was president. Several are accompanied by letters of provenance. Given to Bowdoin by his nephew, Warren R. Johnson, the plates are from the United States, England, France, Italy, and Germany and date from the late seventeenth to the twentieth centuries. A few of the designers are W. P. Barrett, George Wharton Edwards, E. D. French, W. F. Hopson, Arthur Nelson Macdonald, C. W. Sherborn, and Sidney L. Smith.
- George E. Pettengill Bookplate Collection:
- George E. Pettengill (Class of 1933) donated his collection of bookplates (ca. 500 items) to Bowdoin College in 2003. The grandson of Bowdoin College Librarian George T. Little, who was himself a bookplate collector (see below), Pettengill's collection includes many Bowdoin College Library bookplates and a variety of other institutional, personal and armorial plates, including those associated with Carlyle Baer, Elmer Adler, John Calvin Stevens, George Bancroft, and Richard Morris Hunt. Designers include Rockwell Kent, D.B. Upkike, Fred Anthoensen, and J. Winfred Spenceley, among others.
- Bowdoin College Bookplate Collection:
- Part of the Bowdoin College Archives (5.1.9), it contains about six hundred bookplates used at Bowdoin, some of which were designed by Edward G. Caswell, William Edgar Fisher, Arthur Nelson Macdonald, Rudolph Ruzicka, J. Winfred Spenceley, and Sidney L. Smith. Plates gathered by George T. Little, Bowdoin Librarian from 1883 to 1915, through exchanges with collectors, are kept separately. Designers include Winslow Homer, Macdonald, Spenceley, and Smith.
- Graphic Arts Ephemera Collection:
- This collection, measuring 4.0 linear feet, has been gathered and arranged by department staff since the mid-1960s. The files contain ephemeral items from over 230 presses from Maine to California, arranged alphabetically by press name. Addtionally, the Anthoensen and Gehenna Presses and the Limited Editions Club have ephemeral material within their collections, as well.