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103. Grabhorn Press 1920-1965 and Beyond, an illustrated catalogue for an exhibition at the Grolier Club, by Andrew Hoyem with associate curator Dr. Simran Thadani.

Grabhorn Press 1920-1965 and Beyond, an illustrated catalogue for an exhibition at the Grolier Club, May 13 through August 1, 2015, with introduction and commentaries by Andrew Hoyem, and bibliographical entries by associate curator Dr. Simran Thadani.

The Grabhorn Press was the foremost fine printing establishment in the United States from the early 1920s to the mid-1960s. The Grabhorns stood out for their exuberant and adventuresome approach, with a prolific output of more than 650 books that varied in scale and style.

The brothers Edwin and Robert came to San Francisco in 1920, with printing experience but scant schooling. Both had a keen aesthetic sense, were highly intelligent, and voracious readers. They admired the work of Bruce Rogers and considered themselves his “best students”, although they were never to meet the great man. They practiced what Rogers called “allusive printing”, in which the selection of type, decoration, and page layout alluded to aspects of the books’ contents.

National recognition came quickly: a gold medal from the American Institute of Graphic Arts (1928); an exhibition at the Huntington Library (1945); a travelling exhibition organized by the Smithsonian Institution in Indianapolis, Washington, D. C., and San Francisco’s de Young Museum (1961-1963). This is the first major retrospective exhibition of the Press in over fifty years.

The Grolier Club is the foremost organization for bibliophiles in the United States. It has been celebrating the art and history of the book since 1884. The Club sponsors four major public exhibitions each year in its imposing clubhouse on East Sixtieth Street near Park Avenue. Andrew Hoyem, the publisher at Arion Press, has been a member of the Grolier Club since 1982. He proposed and is the curator of this exhibition on the Grabhorn Press.

The Grabhorn Press closed in December 1965. The following summer, Robert and Jane formed a partnership with Andrew Hoyem. The firm was named Grabhorn-Hoyem. In 1974, after the deaths of Robert and Jane, the imprint was changed to Arion Press, which has gone on to publish over one hundred books and continues to operate in the national park of the Presidio in San Francisco.

The nonprofit Grabhorn Institute, named in honor of the Grabhorns, was established in 2000 and is devoted to education and the preservation of this historic fine printing and bookmaking facility, which includes the vast and distinctive holdings of type and equipment assembled by Edwin and Robert Grabhorn. The Grabhorn Institute and Joan Roth have supported this exhibition. The title of the exhibition gives the dates that the Grabhorn Press was active in San Francisco, 1920-1965, and adds the words “and beyond”, because of the continuation of the career of Robert Grabhorn, the younger of the two Grabhorn brothers, in partnership with Andrew Hoyem from 1966 to 1973. The title also acknowledges that the spirit of the Grabhorn Press is carried on at Arion Press and the nonprofit Grabhorn Institute, where the collection of types and letterpress printing and bookbinding equipment of the Grabhorn Press are preserved and used for fine printing and the making of books in limited editions.

THE EDITION, PRICE, AND ORDERING

As a record of the exhibition an illustrated catalogue has been prepared by Andrew Hoyem with associate curator Dr. Simran Thadani, who drafted the bibliographical entries. Hoyem has written the introduction and commentaries. The selection of eighty-six books, from over 650 produced by the Grabhorn Press, are documented, along with ten more books chosen from those produced by Grabhorn-Hoyem, for a total of ninety-six books in the exhibition. Of these, ten books are shown in color photographs. Twenty-one photographs of the Grabhorn Press from the late thirties to 1963 show the Grabhorn brothers and their associates at work and at ease in their working environments, and of Grabhorn-Hoyem from 1967. The book is 80 pages, 6 by 9 inch format, with a full cloth hardcover binding.  The price is $65.00 per copy. Members of the Grolier Club and Arion Press subscribers may purchase the book for $50.00. Available.

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Edition: Eighty-six books produced by the Grabhorn Press are documented, along with ten more books chosen from those produced by Grabhorn-Hoyem. Of these, ten books are shown in color photographs. Twenty-one photographs of the Grabhorn Press from the late thirties to 1963 show the Grabhorn brothers and their associates at work and at ease in their working environments, and of Grabhorn-Hoyem from 1967. The book is 80 pages, 6 by 9 inch format, with a full cloth hardcover binding.  The price is $65.00 per copy. Members of the Grolier Club and Arion Press subscribers may purchase the book for $50.00.

Purchase the book securely online now:

Reserve the book and pay offline:

Reserve your copy