A papermaking and print work obsessive, William Joseph “Dard” Hunter (1883-1966) was a unique American character. He was an authority in his time on everything having to do with bookmaking as a craft with a special interest in those processes that required hand tools such as those from the sixteenth century. Though the course of his studies, Hunter became obsessed with the idea of a book created entirely from the labor of one man. In order to make his dream into a reality, Hunter traveled Europe learning how to make his own tools and materials. The book that was the result of this labor—from words to ink to type to design—was Old Papermaking (1923). Only 200 copies of Old Papermaking were made, one of which was displayed at the Smithsonian along with some of the tools used in the course of its making. In terms of subject matter, the volume here listed, Papermaking Though Eighteen Centuries (1930), is something of a continuation of Hunter’s great work though it lacks its particular material history. Papermaking (1930) is a conventionally printed work, but it is still notable for its comprehensive and detailed handling of its subject matter:
“A number of years ago I compiled a bibliography of the history of paper, in which hundreds of items, in all languages, were recorded. Practically all of the books and pamphlets in this list were devoted to the writing substances of the ancients, the history of papermaking materials, and the genealogy of papermaking families; a bare half dozen mention anything relating to the actual manufacture of paper in olden times; this craft has received scant attention. It is to supply this lack that the present book is issued. It aims to give the bibliophile an insight into the methods used by the old makers of paper, especially after the introduction of printing from movable types, and to interest the etcher, the engraver, and the printer, as well as those engaged in the paper and watermarking trades. With all of its omissions and shortcomings, it is the most comprehensive work that has yet been issued on this particular phase of papermaking.” (from the Preface).
- Title: Papermaking Through Eighteen Centuries
- Author: Dard Hunter
- Publisher: William Edwin Rudge
- Place: New York
- Year: 1930
- Edition: 1st Edition
- Length: 358pp
- Dimensions: 5” x 9.5” x 1.63”
- Condition: A hardcover library copy, it is in overall wonderful condition. The dustjacket is hardly worn, lightly tanned, and protected with a clear mylar covering. A library call number is affixed to the spine. The boards are in great condition. The binding is tight and complete, no missing pages. The pages of the text block are clean and crisp—no folds or extraneous marks. The top edge of the text block is gilt. Some pages towards the front and back are uncut. Page 343 of the appendix has been torn all along the edge, possible from careless cutting or a dull paperknife. No text appears to have been lost. A Fitchburg Public Library sleeve sits in the front endpapers, and a Grove Street Bookshop sticker sits on back pastedown.