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Rare Book School at the University of Virginia

Rare Book School
Preliminary Reading List

History of European & American Papermaking

Timothy Barrett & John Bidwell


The easiest, cheapest, and most efficient way to prepare for this class is to read straight through Dard Hunter, Papermaking: The History and Technique of an Ancient Craft (2nd ed., rev. and enl. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1947; reprinted New York: Dover Publications, 1978). Although the entire book is useful and relevant, you could concentrate on pp. 75-202, 224-280, 428-452 & 463-532. You will also want to consult Lucien Febvre and Henri-Jean Martin, The Coming of the Book: The Impact of Printing, 1450-1800, trans. David Gerard, ed. Geoffrey Nowell-Smith & David Wootton (London: NLB, 1976; various pb edns including a very recent one), pp. 29-44.

Here follow some additional readings you might try depending on your particular interests in paper and papermaking. The trade publications should be available from your local library or through interlibrary loan; the private press publications may be found in your library's department of special collections.

Preliminary Advices

Papermaking Techniques

  1. Green, J. Barcham. Papermaking by Hand. Maidstone, England: [Hayle Mill] 1967.
  2. Lalande, Joseph Jérôme Jean Le Français de. Art de faire le papier. Paris: Académie royale des sciences, 1761 (Descriptions des arts et métiers, vol. 4). Translated by Richard MacIntyre Atkinson as The Art of Papermaking. Kilmurry, Sixmilebridge, Ireland: The Ashling Press, 1976.
  3. Early American Papermaking: Two Treatises on Manufacturing Techniques Reprinted from James Cutbush's American Artist's Manual (1814), ed. John Bidwell. New Castle: Oak Knoll Books, 1990.
  4. Early American Papermaking: Two Treatises on Manufacturing Techniques Reprinted from James Cutbush's American Artist's Manual (1814), ed. John Bidwell. New Castle: Oak Knoll Books, 1990.
  5. "Early Italian Papermaking, A Crucial Technical Revolution," IPH CongressBook, 1992, Vol. 9. (Copy to be provided in class).
  6. Conservation

  7. Strength and Other Characteristics of Book Papers, 1800-1899. Richmond: W. J. Barrow Research Laboratory, 1967. (Permanence/Durability of the Book, 5).
  8. Physical and Chemical Properties of Book Papers, 1507-1949. Richmond: W. J. Barrow Research Laboratory, 1974. (Permanence/Durability of the Book, 7).
  9. The Paper Conservator. Leigh, Worcestershire: The Institute of Paper Conservation, 1976- . Annual. Includes several articles on historical topics and Timothy Barrett's research report on "Early European Papers/Contemporary Conservation Papers," 13 (1989): 1-108.
  10. Regional Histories

  11. Coleman, D. C. The British Paper Industry, 1495-1860: A Study in Industrial Growth. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1958; reprinted Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1975.
  12. Hunter, Dard. Papermaking in Pioneer America. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1952; reprinted New York & London: Garland Publications, Inc., 1981.
  13. Oriental History and Techniques

  14. Barrett, Timothy. Japanese Papermaking: Traditions, Tools & Techniques. New York & Tokyo: Weatherhill, 1983.
  15. Hughes, Sukey. Washi: The World of Japanese Paper. Tokyo, New York & San Francisco: Kodansha, 1978.
  16. Bibliographical Applications

  17. Gaskell, Philip. A New Introduction to Bibliography. London and New York: Oxford University Press, 1972; corrected edition 1974; 4th impression 1985; paperback edn pbn Oak Knoll Books 1995. Sections on paper, pp. 57-77 & 226-228; the rest very useful for context.
  18. Bidwell, John, "The Study of Paper as Evidence, Artefact, and Commodity," in The Book Encompassed: Studies in Twentieth-Century Bibliography, ed. Peter Davison (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), pp. 69-82.
  19. Revival of Hand Papermaking

  20. Turner, Silvie & Birgit Skiöld, Handmade Paper Today: A Worldwide Survey of Mills, Papers, Techniques and Uses. New York: Frederic C. Beil [1983].
  21. Hand Papermaking. Minneapolis, 1986- . Semi-Annual. Periodical offering a broad view of this topic, including art, craft, historical, and international perspectives. Tipped-in samples in every issue. With HP is published a Hand Papermaking Newsletter with announcements, bulletin board, etc. See especially "Aesthetics and the Future of the Craft." Timothy Barrett, Vol. 2, No.2, Winter 1996. (Copy to be provided in class).
  22. Barrett, Timothy. Early vs. Modern Handmade Papers: Observations of a Twentieth-Century Papermaker. Madison, Wisconsin: Silver Buckle Press, 1989.
  23. Turner, Silvie. Which Paper? A Review of Fine Papers for Artists, Craftspeople & Designers. London: Estamp, 1991.
  24. Bidwell, John. Fine Papers at the Oxford University Press. Risbury, Herefordshire: The Whittington Press, 1999.