Private Press Books at St John’s College

an unexpected treasure box

by Petra Hofmann (College Librarian)

This blog is based on a talk I gave alongside the Librarians of Merton College and Worchester College at the online event “Printing for Pleasure: Private Press Collections at Three Oxford Collages” on 9 December 2021 organised by the Oxford Bibliographical Society.

Next to our designated livre d’artiste collection, which includes some private press books purchased on account of their illustrations, St John’s library holds an unexpectedly large number of private press books that found their way into our collections through donations. Many of the provenances lead back to famous writers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

My talk and this blog post focus on on select highlights of those private press volumes that found their way to St John’s College by the quirks of time.

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