Alan Isaac Rare Books

The Legacy  Press

The Legacy Press has been running since 1997 and is the creation of Dr Cathleen A. Baker a career library conservator. The books are designed and edited by Cathleen and printed and bound in her locality in Michigan, USA. The books have collected numerous awards and are widely recognised as being excellent productions and an invaluable addition to the field of bibliography and book study.

As agent for The Legacy Press we aim to keep in stock copies of all in-print titles. To ensure availability please contact us with your requirements prior to ordering.  Prices include all in-land UK standard carriage.   Transit is at the purchaser’s risk.  If overseas carriage or full value insurance is required, please let us know and we will quote for the additional cost.

Papermaker ’s Tears: Essays on the Art and Craft of Paper -Volume 1    Tatiana Ginsberg, editor

The new series, Papermaker’s Tears:  Essays on the Art and Craft of Paper encompasses all of the papermaking and paper arts, including decorated papers – historical and current. 

Authors and essay titles include the following:

Cathleen A. Baker    The Wove Paper in John Baskerville’s Virgil (1757): Made on a Cloth-Covered Laid Mould

Nicole Donnelly    Douglass Morse Howell: Breaking the Mould. Part I

Susan Gosin    Founding of Dieu Donné

Kyoko Ibe    On Gampi

Aimee Lee    The Toolmakers – Those Who Build So We Can Make. Part I: Timothy Moore and David Reina

Radha Pandey    Traditional Papermaking in India: Then and Now

Peter Thomas    An Account of My Trip to Find the Hand Papermills of Eastern Europe

360 pages    378 illustrations    full colour    hardcover  ISBN 9781940965147     Price £75

European Hand Papermaking: Traditions, Tools, and Techniques

Timothy D. Barrett

In this important and long-awaited book, Timothy Barrett, internationally known authority in hand papermaking and Director of the University of Iowa Center for the Book, offers the first comprehensive “how-to” book about traditional European hand papermaking since Dard Hunter’s renowned reference, Papermaking: The History and Technique of an Ancient Craft.

This book, which includes an appendix on mould and deckle construction by Timothy Moore, is aimed at a variety of audiences: artisans and craftspeople wishing to make paper or to manufacture papermaking tools and equipment, paper and book conservators seeking detailed information about paper-production techniques, and other readers with a desire to understand the intricacies of the craft. European Hand Papermaking is the companion volume to Barrett’s Japanese Papermaking – Traditions, Tools and Techniques. 

Note: The first edition (hardcover), which included three paper specimens, is out-of-print; the 2nd edition (softcover) does not include paper specimens.

2nd edition (2019)

352 pages    394 illustrations    full colour    softcover  ISBN 9781940965130    £

 Alonso Víctor de Paredes’  Institution, and Origin of the Art of Printing, and General Rules for Compositors [Madrid: ca. 1680]  Edited and translated by Pablo Alvarez

Pablo Alvarez offers the first complete English translation of Alonso Víctor de Paredes’ Institucion, y origen del arte de la imprenta, y reglas generales para los componedores [Institution, and Origin of the Art of Printing, and General Rules for Compositors].

This 96-page printing manual – set and printed by Paredes himself – was issued in Madrid around 1680. It opens with an introductory digression on the origin of writing and printing, followed by ten technical chapters on each of the tasks that are necessary to print a book, including a detailed description of the different kinds of type sizes and their use, the rules of orthography and punctuation, the setting of numeric systems, imposition, casting off, the printing of university dissertations, and the correction of proofs. Some of the chapters are of unique relevance for the understanding of early printing in Europe. Chapter 8, for example, is the first recorded, comprehensive account of the practice of printing by forms/formes.

 Alvarez’ transcription, translation, and notes greatly facilitate access to this important historical work, which is in fact the earliest known printing manual published in Europe – Joseph Moxon’s Mechanick Exercises was published in 1683 – and an extraordinary rarity: there are only two extant copies in the world. The book also features a foreword by Don W. Cruickshank and full reproductions of the copies held in rare-book collections at the Providence Public Library and at the University of Valencia, Spain.

Dr. Alvarez is Curator at the Special Collections Research Center, University of Michigan Library.

466 pages    212 illustrations    full colour    cloth, sewn    2018  ISBN 9781940965109    £87.50

Meeting by Accident: Selected Historical Bindings  Julia Miller

Julia Miller’s second book grew out of the experience of writing Books Will Speak Plain: A Handbook for Identifying and Describing Historical Bindings, now a recognized classic text on the subject. Meeting by Accident: Selected Historical Bindings is a very different sort of book, however. The bindings described in Meeting by Accident all had their initial fascination for Julia as she was researching Books Will Speak Plain, and though she wrote briefly about some of the binding types in that book, she continued to study them and decided to write more about them. Past research and writing has identified, and to a degree defined, many types of binding, and we tend to repeat the ideas and assumptions of past scholars, without question and without exploration. There is still a great deal of research and writing yet to do to identify and describe yet other binding types, but there is also the need to revisit and perhaps add to past research, as we piece together binding history, and answer more of the “what” and “why” and “how” questions concerning historical bindings. 

Research into the history of the book and bookbinding makes our historical bindings relevant again and makes them better company. Studying and understanding and identifying and describing give us more information to consider when we must make decisions about our historical books. Accumulating this information most affects our great institutional collections, and to an extent, private collections, because the custodians of those collections have often tried to pay attention to issues of rarity and importance beyond content. There is certainly a growing and very welcome and broader interest today about the whole book (text and binding), its materials and structures, and the ways that time and use marks books, all books. Custodians and scholars have both arrived at the point where they realize materiality and marking are equally important, and sometimes just as important as content, for understanding the impact of books on culture, and culture on books. Important research is being done on every type of historical binding practice, and it is clearly becoming easier for scholars to find each other, to find the books they are interested in studying, and to publish and share information.

The chapters of Meeting by Accident range across a broad spectrum of binding history, and some of the chapters are intended to change our thinking about what constitutes an “important” binding type. The question we might want to begin asking ourselves is “How is this binding important?” instead of whether it is important. Asking this question might lead us to augment present, and often limited, scholarly descriptions (or the lack of any description) for some binding types. 


Chapter 1. Beyond Tree Calf: Bindings Decorated by Staining

Chapter 2. Not Altogether Unpleasing: The Experiment with Canvas Bindings 

Chapter 3. Wrapped with Care: Overcovers 

Chapter 4. Good Enough for Galileo: Books Made for Scholars

Chapter 5. A Gift from the Desert: A Report on the Nag Hammadi codices, co-authored with Pamela Spitzmueller

Chapter 6. A Model Approach

707 pages    717 illustrations    full colour    DVD with 652 additional images and video ISBN 9781940965079    £107.50

Books Will Speak Plain: A Handbook for Identifying and Describing Historical Bindings – Julia Miller

Books Will Speak Plain is published at a time when the historical book is at risk of being ignored, put away, and forgotten. This handbook combines an overview of the history of the codex with basic information about many of the materials and structures found on historical bindings. The book also includes description-survey guidelines and is supported by a variety of appendices. The text is illustrated by 387 images, and on the accompanying DVD, there are about 1,500 color images that represent structural and decorative elements from a variety of bindings made before 1900. The book’s focus on non-luxury bindings adds depth to an often-neglected segment of bookbinding history.

Preservation is at the heart of Books Will Speak Plain. We have already lost too many historical bindings because their importance was not understood and appreciated. This book is a call to action to urge custodians of every kind of historical book collection – public and private – to assess the physical character of the historical bindings in their care and record the changes that have accrued to those bindings during their passage through time.

This award-winning book is a resource that has been used to recognize binding variations that have long been overlooked and to document such bindings for future scholars. Bibliophiles, bookbinders, curators, private collectors, librarians, cataloguers, antiquarian booksellers, book-history scholars, and conservators have found Books Will Speak Plain an invaluable reference. 

The second edition features a new section about early canvas bindings, and additional images have been added to the book and DVD. Photography by J. Wayne Jones, and drawings by Pamela Spitzmueller.

2nd edition (2014)

632 pages • 387 illustrations in text, black & white and colour • cloth, sewn    DVD with ca. 1,500 color images   ISBN 9780979797477    £72.50

From the Hand to the Machine. Nineteenth-Century American Paper and Mediums: Technologies, Materials, and Conservation – Cathleen A. Baker

No where did the industrial revolution occur faster and to such a degree than in the United States during the 1800s. American paper and printing industries grew exponentially, enabling the mass production of reading material. New businesses specialized in art reproductions for homes of the middle class, employing nineteenth-century inventions, lithography and photography.

Today, paper and book conservators are faced with problems of identifying a bewildering array of papers and mediums that comprise nineteenth-century artifacts, as well as analyzing complex deterioration processes. Basing sound storage and exhibition recommendations, and conservation treatments on as much material and technological information as possible is crucial if the conservator is to make the correct decisions for the preservation of valued artifacts. 

This book will also inform librarians, archivists, curators, cataloguers, collectors, and bibliographers, as well as books-arts practitioners—all who wish to know more about papers and mediums used in both the hand and machine eras.

Contents: history of the American paper industry; typical materials, processes, and technologies used in hand and machine papermaking; letterpress printing, fine printmaking (intaglio, lithography), photo-mechanical reproductions; dry and wet writing, drawing, and painting mediums; decorated papers are also discussed. Appendices include contemporary accounts of hand and machine papermaking; testing procedures; preservation recommendations; glossary, bibliography, and index.

In 2005, Dr. Baker received the Samuel H. Kress Conservation Publication Fellowship  to write this book. She is a Fellow of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC), and the author of several books, including By His Own Labor: The Biography of Dard Hunter. In 2012 in addition to being awarded the AIC’s first publication award. Dr. Baker also received the AIC Sheldon & Caroline Keck Teaching Award. She is Conservation Librarian Emerita, University of Michigan.

2nd impression (2014)  432 pages    cloth, sewn    500+ illustrations, many in colour               ISBN 9780979797422    £60

Hanji Unfurled: One Journey into Korean Papermaking  – Aimee Lee

With a history of well over 1,500 years, Korean handmade paper, known as hanji, is familiar to Koreans but a mystery outside its home country. This lustrous paper that comes in a wide array of thickness, color, dimension, and translucency was once a coveted item inside and beyond Korean borders. Made by farmers and artisans during bitter cold winters, hanji was a noble marker of the literati who demanded high-quality paper for books, documents, calligraphy, and painting. Hanji also played a sacred role as the support for illuminated sutras, the body of temple decorations, and spirit of rituals where it was burned in hopes that its ashes would rise to the sky. Fashioned into objects that ranged from kites to armor to shrouds to chamber pots, there was seemingly no end to the possibilities of the combination of human ingenuity and paper through the transformation of natural fibers, until forces of history and industrialization collided and left this once-celebrated substrate and its related craft practices near extinction.

In this first English-language book about hanji, Aimee Lee shares her experience as a Korean–American artist and Fulbright fellow on her search for a traditional Korean papermaking teacher. Of the handful of American hanji researchers, she is the only one to have interacted with Koreans in their own language while simultaneously learning the craft. This book follows her journey as she met papermakers, scholars, and artists from bustling cities to traditional Korean villages to Buddhist temples to island outposts. Not only did she encounter the few remaining papermakers who still practice webal tteugi, the indigenous Korean sheet-formation method, but she found teachers of a whole array of allied crafts that include jiseung—cording and weaving hanji, joomchi—texturing and felting hanji, natural dyeing, and calligraphy. She traveled from the studios of living treasures to the homes of ordinary Koreans, illuminating an often-misunderstood culture through stories from its keepers of traditional heritage.

2nd impression (2014)  208 pages    cloth, sewn •  illustrated with 320 colour photographs and drawings  ISBN: 9780979797446    £32.50

Killing Green: An Account of Hand Papermaking in China – Elaine Koretsky

The invention of paper in China more than 2,000 years ago was a wondrous discovery. Worn out fish-nets, hemp rags, and rope were soaked, beaten to a pulp, and then the watery mass was poured onto a cloth stretched over a wooden frame. On its surface, a web of fibers coalesced. After drying in the sun, the sheet of paper was gently pulled from the cloth. Although many uses for paper were discovered, the most important was as a superb writing surface. 

Over a millennium, papermaking spread throughout China, then east to Korea and Japan, and finally west along the Silk Road to the rest of the world. The materials, tools, and techniques changed according to what was available in particular locations.

A few scholars have written about hand papermaking in China, but none has been as thorough as Elaine Koretsky. Her remarkable journeys have taken her from the Taklimakan and Gobi Deserts to the Himalayas. Over the course of eighteen field expeditions, she has located forty-two, often remote villages that represent unbroken traditions of papermaking by hand. She interviewed the papermakers, recorded their histories, and documented their processes in both film and digital formats, and in print. Enlightening as well as entertaining, Killing Green chronicles many of the trips that Elaine has made to China over more than a quarter of a century.

217 pages    cloth, sewn    85 colour and b&w photographs/maps    2009 ISBN: 9780979797415    £32.50

Suave Mechanicals: Essays on the History of Bookbinding – Volume 1    Julia Miller, editor

Nine authors writing on nine topics. This collection of essays, published as the first volume of a series of studies on the history of bookbinding, sets a high standard for interesting and groundbreaking scholarship in the history of the book.

Evyn Kropf     Historical Repair, Recycling, and Recovering Phenomena in the Islamic Bindings of the University of Michigan Library: Exploring the Codicological Evidence

Sylvie L. Merian     Protection against the Evil Eye? Votive Offerings on Armenian Manuscript Bindings

Consuela G. Metzger     Colonial Blankbooks in the Winterthur Library

Robert J. Milevski      A Primer on Signed Bindings

Julia Miller     Not Just Another Beautiful Book: A Typology of American Scaleboard Bindings

Jeffrey S. Peachey     Beating, Rolling, and Pressing: The Compression of Signatures in Bookbinding Prior to Sewing

Martha E. Romero     European Influence in the Binding of Mexican Printed Books of the Sixteenth Century

Jennifer W. Rosner     Papier-Mâché Bindings: “Shining in Black and Gorgeous with Pearl and Gold”

John Townsend     The 1715 Mohawk Prayer Book: A Study of Six Copies in Colonial American Scaleboard Bindings

534 pages    485 images in text    full colour    cloth, sewn    DVD    2013 ISBN 9780979797453    £75

Suave Mechanicals: Essays on the History of Bookbinding  Volume 2  •  Julia Miller, editor

Cathleen A. Baker     Examination and Image-Capturing Techniques

Thomas E. Conroy     Binding at Midcentury: The Rivers of America Competition of 1946

Thomas E. Conroy     Bio-Bibliographical List of Individual Bookbinders (on DVD)

Jim Croft     Finding Suitable Wood for Book Boards and Related Considerations (also on DVD)

Julia Miller     Puzzle Me This: Early Binding Fragments in the Papyrology Collection of the University of Michigan Library (additional images on DVD)

Rosa Scobey Moore     Finding Identity on the Endpapers: Folk Traditions of Writing and Drawing in Books

Pamela J. Spitzmueller     A Visual Dictionary of Traditional Long- and Linkstitch Bookbinding Terminology

454 pages    427 images    full colour    cloth, sewn    DVD    2015

ISBN 9780979797484    £67.50

Suave Mechanicals: Essays on the History of Bookbinding – Volume 3  •  Julia Miller, editor

Erin Albritton and Christina Amato     A Study of Two Semi-Limp Parchment Binding Styles in the Rare Book Collection at The New York Academy of Medicine Library

Ruth Bardenstein     Historical Bindings of the Chamberlain-Warren Samaritan Collection

Ana Beny and Kristine Rose Beers     An Inspiration for Conservation: An Historic Andalusi Binding Structure

Ashley Cataldo     “A Swarm of Binders”: Isaiah Thomas’s Bookbinding Network, 1782–1818

Marco di Bella     From Box Binding to Envelope-Flap Binding: The Missing Link in Transitional Islamic Bookbinding

Louise L. Foster     The Nineteenth-Century American Pocket Diary

Bill Hanscom     Towards a Morphology of the Ethiopian Book Satchel

Hedi Kyle     The Fold: Evolution, Function, and Inspiration

Arielle Middleman and Todd Pattison     Benjamin Bradley and the “Profitable Stroke”: Binding Six Months in a Convent and the Need for Copy-Specific Cataloging of Nineteenth-Century Publishers’ Bindings

517 pages    584 images    full colour    cloth, sewn    DVD    2016

ISBN 9781940965024    £75

Suave Mechanicals: Essays on the History of Bookbinding – Volume 4   Julia Miller, editor

Ashley Cataldo     Catalog of the Finishing Tools of the Eighteenth-Century Binder Henry Bilson Legge

Jana Dambrogio     Trickett’s Tickets

Gary Frost     Book Interventions: Books Remade by Use  

Marieka Kaye     Diamond in the Rough: A Study of Kelmscott Quarter-Holland Bindings

Emily Martin and Alice Austin     Book Theater: The History of the Tunnel Book

Roger Williams     Scaleboard Wood and Potential Loss Replacement

350 pages    333 images    full colour    hardcover, sewn

ISBN 9781940965055    £72.50

Suave Mechanicals: Essays on the History of Bookbinding – Volume 5    Julia Miller, editor

Lydia Aikenhead     Pictures in Your Pocket: A History of the American Tintype Album

Ruth Bardenstein     Samaritan Manuscript Bindings from Four Collections in the United States

Jim Bloxam and Shaun Thompson     A Previously Unrecorded Sewing Technique Deciphered during a Study of a Twelfth-Century, Limp Tawed-Skin Binding  

Bexx Caswell and Patrick Olson     Germany and the Modernization of Bookbinding: Evidence from Michigan State University’s Criminology Collection

 Peter Geraty     A Manual Approach to Stiff-Board Parchment Binding

Kathleen Kiefer, Barbara Korbel, and Eva-Maria Schuchardt     Picking Up the Thread: A Study of Bookbinding Canvas (+ 2 canvas samples)

Todd Pattison and Graham Patten     Confusing the Case: Books Bound with Adhered Boards, 1760 –1860

Karin Scheper     Endband Varieties in the Islamic World

464 pages    531 images    full colour    hardcover, sewn    2 canvas samples ISBN 9781940965123    £75   

Available in June 2020

Suave Mechanicals: Essays on the History of Bookbinding – Volume 6   Julia Miller, editor

This volume is dedicated to the memory of Bernard C. Middleton (1924–2019).

Morgan Simms Adams     Identifying Evidence of Textile Curtains in Medieval Manuscripts in the Morgan Library & Museum

Katherine Beaty     Tackets, Buckles, and Overbands: Italian Stationery Bindings of the HBS Medici Family Collection

Elise Hochhalter and Giselle Simón     Life So Far: A Book Model Collection

Karen Jutzi     A Late Coptic Binding with Bridled Leather Boards

Consuela Metzger, Erin Hammeke, and Alexander Ames     The Faith that Binds: Swiss Anabaptist Devotional Bookbindings in Early America

Julia Miller     Modeling Ambiguity: The al-Mudil Codex (David Psalter)

Holly Prochaska and Ashleigh Ferguson Schieszer     Adding Value: Increasing Access and Visibility to Historic Binding Structures

Randy Silverman     Bernard C. Middleton: A Biography and Bibliography

Shannon Zachary     The Peculiar Impossibility of the Square-Back, Stiff-Spine Case Binding