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3 1822 01142 3191

Saint Bride Foundation


of the

echnical Reference Library


Works on Printing

and the Allied Arts


London : Printed for the Governors

Price Two Shillings and Sixpence







r 117 S216


3 1822 01142 3191




Saint Bride Foundation uU;


of the

Technical Reference Library


Works on Printing

and the Allied Arts


London : Printed for the Governors
'Price Two Shillings and Sixpence

Catalogue of the
Technical Reference Library


THE history of the beginnings of the Typographical Library, the
catalogue of which (compiled by Mr. R. A. Peddie, sometime
Librarian) is contained in this volume, is told in the Appendix to
this Preface where are reprinted the Prefaces to the first Catalogues
issued, that of the William Blades collection in 1897 and that of
the Passmore Edwards collection in 1899. During the twenty years
that have elapsed since these Catalogues were compiled, the Library
has developed from the nucleus of these two comparatively small
collections of books, numbering together some 6,000 items, into a
collection of over 30,000.

The first great accession after the printing of the original Cat-
alogues was the complete library of the late Talbot Baines Reed.
A son of Charles Reed, the eminent typefounder, and himself a
member of the firm, Mr. Reed had taken a real interest in his
craft and had collected books and pamphlets dealing with its history
from every point of view. On his death the collection of about
2,000 volumes was purchased for ;^500 and presented to the Library
by Mr. Passmore Edwards at the suggestion of Mr.C. J.Drummond.

This great addition was the more valuable because it strengthened
the Library in places where the Blades collection was weakest such
as in typefounders' specimen books and, still more important, copies
of works printed at the great presses.

In 1902 two collections came to the Library, that of Mr. John
Southward and the technical section of the Library of the London
Society of Compositors. The first of these was presented by the
Institute of Printers and Kindred Trades at the instance of Mr.
C. J. Drummond, Chairman of the Governing Body, and was the
working library of the most active printing trade journalist of his time.
Well-known as the author of the two text-books of the craft "Practical
Printing " and " Modern Printing, " Mr. Southward had been in touch
with every movement in the printing trade for many years and had
preserved every letter and every news-cutting, to say nothing of books
and pamphlets. The story of every advance in the trade is illustrated
in some way in this collection. The books forming the technical
section of the library of the London Society of Compositors were
also received through the instrumentality of Mr. Drummond and
formed a useful addition to the rapidly growing Library.

During the ten years from 1903 to 1913 no collection of books of

any special moment Avas presented, but the Library received many
additions both by way of purchase and gift. During this time, too,
the Author Catalogue had been completed in manuscript and a
Subject Catalogue constructed.

Since the outbreak of the European War it will be readily under-
stood that it has been impossible to add to the Library by purchase.
Gifts, however, have come to hand largely through Mr. Drummond's
effort which have been more than ever welcome. Two collections
.may be specially referred to: those presented by the executors of the
late J. Farlow Wilson, a former governor of the Foundation, and
by Mrs. Peet, the widow of the late W. H. Peet, the well-known
authority on the history of the publishing trade. As many of these
books do not appear in the Catalogue, owing to much of it having
been printed before they came to hand, lists are appended of the
works contained in these two collections.

It will be seen that in the twenty-three years which have elapsed
since the Library was opened a collection has been built up which is
thoroughly representative of each side of the printing crafts.

Nearly every known text-book in every language on printing,
paper, engraving, process work, etc., is on the shelves, together with
the majority of the works issued on the history of these subjects, as
Avell as a large collection of trade catalogues and trade periodicals.
Many articles in these trade periodicals have been catalogued and
appear in this volume, and others will be added in the supplements
which will be issued from time to time. It is thus hoped ultimately
to include in the Catalogue all articles in the trade journals of any
permanent value.

It must be noted that this Catalogue is printed as manuscript
and must be read in conjunction with the Supplementary Catalogue
(at present, 1918, in manuscript only). Cross references in the'
Main Catalogue may refer to main headings in the Supplementary
Catalogue and vice versa, owing to the fact that the production of the
volume has occupied over three years and titles have been in-
corporated up to the time of going to press with each sheet.

The Catalogue is a short title Author Catalogue with Title
entries for Periodicals and Anonymous books. The slips have
been written during a period of eighteen years and it has not been
possible to do more than superficially revise them.

A Classified Subject Catalogue modified on the lines of that used
by 'the Grolier Club, New York," would no doubt be the best
method of publishing the contents of the Library, but at present
it is not proposed to proceed with such a classification.

St. Bride Foundation.

'Peddle R. A. The St. Bride Typographical Library ; its methods and
classification. In the Library Association Record, June 1916.



Preface to the Catalogue of the William Blades Library. Compiled by John
Southward, assisted by the Librarian [F. W. T. Loige], 1899.



books on the History and Practice of Printing — Letterpress
and Lithographic — and on Bibliography. As a collection of
books it is not a large one, as it extends only to about 2,000
volumes, but it forms a collection which possesses distinct, if not
unique features of interest and value to all who are interested in
the art by which our books and our newspapers are made. There
is, unfortunately and to some extent unaccountably, a singular
lack of general interest in the subject. There is no artificial
production which comes before us more frequently, and to which
we pay greater attention than the product of the printing press,
yet the process by which types are formed, and the apparatus for
impressing them on paper, with all the delicate methods by which
books are produced, excite little curiosity. The William Blades
Library, together with the Passmore Edwards Library, which
is contained in an adjoining room — both now rendered easily
accessible to all students of printing — will, it is hoped, direct
attention to the rich stores of literature in existence bearing on
the subject, as well as promote that progress in the technology of
the art which it is one of the prime objects of the St. Bi-ide
Foundation Institute to aid and to encourage.

The William Blades collection is, in the first place, one of
the largest of its kind that exists in a separate and independent
condition. More extensive collections have from time to time
been made, but they have either been eventually dispersed under
the hammer of the auctioneer, or they have lost their identity by
being incorporated with libraries of books on general subjects.
This collection is also remarkable from the fact that it was
collected by one man, and one who was animated by a steady
purpose from the first beginning of his book-hunting and book-
buying career. Libraries of works on printing, and on other
subjects as well, have been formed by the simple method of


commissioning- an agent to " collect everything- " on the subject.
Such a library may be an evidence of a commendable desire on
the part of its owner to possess many books of a specific character,
and perhaps an indisputable evidence of an enviable balance at his
banker's. Such a collector stands in quite a different category
to William Blades. He began when he was a printer's apprentice
to buy up all the books he could — that is, all he came across, and
all his slender purse would permit — on the art to which his life
was to be devoted. He used to recall the pleasure he enjoyed
when his collection amounted to twenty-six volumes. He believed
that he had then possessed himself of nearly everything- that was
worth having- on the subject of printing-. Ampler knowledge, the
result of increasing experience, showed him that his books were
a mere drop in the ocean of typographical literature. Before he
died he managed to obtain almost as many hundreds : even then
he had not made a complete collection. Such a perfect collection
would run to six or seven thousand titles. The British Museum
probably contains as many, yet even there the collection is not
complete. The library is deficient in many valuable books which
are to be found in separate libraries, such as those of the two
great universities, and in the National and Imperial libraries of
Paris, Berlin, and Vienna. A " Bibliography of Printing " was
compiled under the superintendence of Messrs. Bigmore and
Wyman some years ago, and published in three quarto volumes.
These extend to more than a thousand pages, including anno-
tations and illustrations, yet as a list the book is far from being
exhaustive even up to the time of its issue. This fact may afford
some idea of the vast extent to which books have been written
about the history of the processes of book-making.

The Blades Library, if deficient of some books of the extremest
rarity, certainly includes the best books — that is the most useful
and instructive books on printing. They may be grouped as
follows :

Books dealing with the antecedents of Printing;

Those treating of the origin of Printing ;

Those describing the spread of Printing and its history ;

The grammars and special treatises on the practice of Printing ;

Books on Lithography ;


The Library includes, also, a few books which may be called
" curious "—adopting the word without the peculiar meaning in
which it is used by certain of the booksellers. It is, in short, the
library of a working literary man — not of a dilettante. These
volumes were the tools of his trade. Of merely fine and sumptuous
books there are but few. It might be thought that a man whose
celebrity was associated with the history of Caxton's Press, and
who was the recognized authority on the works of England's
first printer, would be an ardent collector of the products of


Caxton's Press. Blades was not, however, a collector of Caxtons.
In 1870 he wrote a little book whose subject was expressed in the
title, " How to tell a Caxton, with some hints where and how the
same might be found." He prefaced it with the explicit notice
"Mr. Blades does not purchase Caxtons." We have in his
library, all of the numerous reproductions and reprints of Caxton's
books that have been issued. Merely " show " books are con-
spicuous by their absence. Blades's one principle of selection was,
how far did any particular book bear on the history of printing-.
If it were irrelevant, it was passed by, however beautiful and
attractive it might be as a specimen of typography. It may be
well to mention this at the outset, to prevent disappointment.
It is this fact, also, which forms the justification of the Governing
Body of St. Bride Foundation Institute in buying the collection
now rendered available to all who are interested in it. The
Institute is the centre of a metropolitan parish whose special
industry has been, almost from the days of the introduction of
Printing into England, the manufacture of books. Books like
those of William Blades, of an instructive and educational, rather
than of an ornamental character, are a pre-eminently appropriate
provision for such an institute, and are manifestly well calculated
to promote its educational objects. There is another feature of
appropriateness in the location of these books within its walls.
They form the best memorial — after his own writings — of a City
printer whose achievements as a bibliographer and a paleotypo-
grapher were an honour to his craft, and have secured for his
name an abiding place in the history of literature.

If the Library is deficient in livres de luxe, it is rich — and to
an unrivalled extent — in other publications. It outrivals all others
in its collection of "Tracts." Blades used the word in its
bibliographical acceptation, and applied it to a pamphlet, a
brochure, a few leaves stitched together, which constituted a
miniature, but, a complete treatise on any specific subject within
the scope of his researches. He went even beyond this, for if he
came across, for example, an article in a magazine which appeared
to be ad rem, and of more than merely ephemeral value, he
extracted the leaves containing it, had them sewn and enclosed in
a wrapper, and catalogued them. In this way he preserved a vast
number of articles which, without this precaution, might have
been lost in oblivion. He also preserved and indexed catalogues,
specimen sheets, and even handbills and broadsides of a cognate
character, in a variety of languages. The " Tracts " number
1500, and when the annals of printing come to be written these
will be of a priceless value, however trivial in themselves some of
them may seem — however heterogeneous they appear to be as
a whole. These render the Library altogether unique — no one,
perhaps, besides William Blades has seriously recognised the
importance of even fugitive prints of the kind as materials for
the history of typography.


William Blades was born on the 5th of December, 1824, at
Clapham. At the age of sixteen he was apprenticed to his father,
the late Joseph Blades, who was the owner of an old-established
City printing- business carried on at 13 Abchurch Lane. Blades
was required to fulfil in their entirety the covenants of his
indenture, commencing- with the simplest and most menial duties,
and afterwards graduating- through the different departments of
the case-room, the press-room, and the warehouse. This varied
and complete practical experience of his trade was the utmost
value to him in after life, not only when the responsibility devolved
upon him of directing- the operations of a concern which g-rew to
very large dimensions, but when he applied himself to the literary
pursuits which eventually occupied all his hours of relaxation from

It may be here pointed out that the books of a bibliographical
character that had been issued up to the middle of the present
century were, almost without exception, the work of literary men,
antiquarians, and scholars, who lacked altogether a real acquaint-
ance with the practical details of the printing- art. Some of these
authors may have possessed a superficial and merely theoretic
knowledge of some of its processes, but hardly one of them was
able to dissect a book, as it were ; to detect minute differences in
types, or to identify the method and the manners of the printer,
in the way that would be possible to one who had himself actually
made books — who had set up the types, rolled the formes, and
" pulled " at the press. Such works as those of the learned and
reverend Dr. Dibdin, and the splendid but unsatisfactory results
of the Bibliomania which rag-ed during- the early years of the
present century, are sadly disfigured by errors which even a slight
acquaintance with the mechanical processes of printing would
have prevented. Blades 's early training provided him with this
knowledge, but it was his own shrewdness and farsightedness, in
perceiving the shortcomings of the existing race of bibliographers,
and the necessity for a new school of students qualified to deal
with the " natural history " of books, according to scientific
methods, which led him to apply the knowledge gained as a
working printer to the investigations of which his published works
are the outcome.

A complete set of Blades 's books will be found in this library,
and, contained in a number of scrap-books, are his fugitive pieces
and his contributions to current periodicals. These were not the
least valuable of his writings, and they deserve careful and
systematic study. He was a most industrious writer for the
typographical and bibliographical journals, and some of his best
work is contained in these articles, often thrown off on the
impulse of the moment, but embracing the result of continued
research and mature judgment, especially on such controverted


points as the orig-In, the invention, and the developments of
printing". A list of these articles, drawn by Talbot Baines Reed,
will be found in Blades's " Pentateuch of Printing-," published
after his death.

This is not the place for a biog^raphy of William Blades, nor
for a critical estimate of his contributions to paleotypog-raphy. An
account of his exemplary career is contained in the fancifully
named " Pentateuch," just mentioned. His death removed from
the ranks of present day bibliographers one of the foremost
authorities, and from those of the craft of printing- one of its most
respected and influential members. He had become the head of
one of the leading- printing- firms in the City of London. It is
infinitely to his credit that, while attending- to the multifarious
details of such a business, he found time and strength to pursue
bibliographical research, and to carry on his investigations into
the most intricate and most controverted questions of typo-
graphical history. Indeed his printed works in this department of
literature, one demanding the most painstaking care, and the most
continuous industry — would in themselves, it might be thought
form a suflRcient outcome from a laborious life. Blades produced
them as a relaxation from the ever-pressing cares of one of the
most exacting businesses. He also took a warm interest in all
associations of printers, and was a constant attendant at gather-
ings for the promotion amongst them of objects of a benevolent,
recreative, or educational character.

During his later years, he lived at Sutton, in Surrey. Here
was installed the library now at St. Bride Institute. His house
was the resort of many literary printers. Visitors from abroad
who were interested in his pursuits were his most welcome guests.
He was never tired of displaying his treasures to all who could
appreciate them. Unlike most bibliophiles, he was not afraid of
lending his books — and sometimes with the usual result of never
getting them back again. Frequently manuscripts were borrowed
from him which had cost him enormous labour, and he altogether
forgot to whom he had confided them. His encyclopaedic know-
ledge of the antiquities and the literature of printing was at the
service of anyone. All his work was done primarily from his love
for the art of printing. Many of his smaller works were brought
out in the full knowledge beforehand that they could not possibly
" pay " — so limited was the circle of readers likely to take any
notice of them.

The most cursory inspection of the library will show that all
the books are substantially — some of them handsomely bound.
After he had discovered them, and bought them, and brought
them home with an undisguised exultation, he laboriously collated
them, and then took into serious consideration the most appro-
priate style of binding them. There had to be considered the
letterings on the back. This was written out and sent with the


book to the binders. A number of books were generally thus
despatched together. The arrival of a box of bound books, in the
house in Cheam Road, Sutton, was quite an event. The packing
case would be laid down in the corridor, outside the library, and
the lid removed by the veteran bibliophile himself, who had
doffed his coat for the task. Then the volumes were taken out
one by one with loving" care, and the bindings compared with the
directions. Woe to the binder if the lettering, especially, were
incorrect or clumsy. Then each book was with much deliberation
consigned to the place on the shelves it was to occupy. Several
of the book cases in the Institute belonged to William Blades.

The two great events of Blades 's life, and they have a special
bearing upon the library under notice, were the publishing of his
monograph on Caxton, and his connection with the Caxton
Celebration of 1877. The one brought him before the notice of
the literary world as an industrious investigator in a field of
research which had been strangely neglected ; the other before
that section of the reading public which could be interested in the
methods by which its books were made. The permanent outcomes
of the exhibition were the inestimably valuable catalogue of
" Antiquities, Curiosities, and Appliances connected with the Art
of Printing ' shown there, and which was afterwards published
under the editorship of the late Mr. George Bullen. The catalogue
contains a list of the engraved portraits and books lent by
William Blades, which are now at the St. Bride Institute, and
also of a collection of medals formed by him, most of them are
now at the Guildhall Museum. He not only arranged his own
exhibits, but attended at the exhibition day by day to describe
them to any one interested. The great success of the celebration
was due in no small degree to the industry and the labour devoted
to it on the part of the biographer of Caxton. The preface to the
catalogue of Caxtoniana was written by ^A^illiam Blades.

William Blades died April 28, 1890. He left behind him a
reputation distinguished for uprightness, industry, and learning —
and for unswerving devotion to an important line of research.
His literary works form a memorial not unworthy of him, and
after them deserves to be named the fine library, which is now
made available to the public at large.


Mr. William Blades died, as already mentioned, April 28, 1890.
In the winter of this year it was announced that the collection
would probably be sold in the coming spring. Thereupon Mr.
C. J. Drummond wrote to one of the executors of Mr. Blades —
Mr. Alfred F. Blades — proposing that the Library should be kept
intact, in view of its possible purchase by the Governors of the


St. Bride Foundation — a body which, although its formation was
then authorised, had not been elected. Mr. A. F. Blades replied
expressing the pleasure the executors would feel if the Library
could be purchased as suggested. In the following January an
informal meeting of the co-optative trustees of the Foundation
was held, when the subject was taken into consideration, with the
result that a deputation was appointed to go down to Sutton,
where the late Mr. Blades resided, and to inspect the Library.
The deputation duly reported, and an expert was called in to value
the books. The price named was ;£g'/S-

The first meeting of the newly-elected Governors was held on
April 8, 1891, and the purchase of the Library was one of the
earliest matters dealt with. It was resolved that, subject to the
sanction of the Board of Charity Commissioners, the offer of
Mr. Blades 's executors to sell the books for the price named be
accepted. Negotiations with the Commissioners followed, the
result of which was that the acquisition of the Library was
authorised, contingent on the Governing Body providing ;;^500
out of the funds at their disposal — the balance of the purchase-
money to be raised from sources outside the Foundation.

With the object of collecting this sum a Committee was
appointed, consisting of Mr. J. Farlow ^^'ilson (chairman), Mr.
James W. Gaze (churchwarden of St. Bride), and Messrs. C.
Austen Leigh, Horace Brooks Marshall, W. P. Treloar, C. J.
Drummond, and R. S. McAllan. A circular appealing for sub-
scriptions was issued on May 2, and the following donations were
received in response : —

Trustees City Parochial Foundation

James Anstie, Esq., Q.C.

Corporation of London ...

John Walter, Esq.

Edward L. Lawson, Esq. (Sir Edward Lawson, Bart.

Online LibrarySt. Bride Foundation Institute. Technical ReferencCatalogue of the Technical Reference Library of works on printing and the allied arts → online text (page 1 of 86)