The Cary Graphic Arts Collection at Rochester Institute of Technology won the December 6 auction for the Kelmscott-Goudy Albion iron handpress No. 6551, with the generous support of the Brooks Bower family. The Kelmscott-Goudy press, manufactured in England in 1891, has been pivotal in the modern private press movement. The original owner of this press, William Morris, printed his famed 1896 Works of Geoffrey Chaucer with the press—widely considered to be one of the most beautiful books ever created. In 1924, Frederic Goudy, renowned American type designer, brought the Albion to America for his Village Press of Marlborough, NY. Several other proprietors of private presses also used it for their publications, including Spencer Kellogg Jr. of the Aries Press of Eden, NY; Melbert B. Cary Jr., namesake of the Cary Collection and owner of the Press of the Woolly Whale; and J. Ben and Elizabeth Lieberman of the Herity Press.
Steven Galbraith, curator of the Cary Collection said, “The Kelmscott-Goudy Press will have an active life at RIT…as a working press accessible to students, scholars and printers. I look forward to seeing what is produced on the press in the decades to come.” The Kelmscott-Goudy Press joins a working collection of 15 historical printing presses and over 1,500 fonts of metal and wood type at the Cary Collection’s Arthur M. Lowenthal Memorial Pressroom. Study of the press is aided by a collection of Kelmscott publications and archives related to Frederic Goudy and the Press of the Woolly Whale.
– Amelia Hugill-Fontanel, Assistant Curator, Cary Graphic Arts Collection, Rochester Institute of Technology
For the full RIT News post, see RIT acquires famed Kelmscott/Goudy hand press in Christie’s auction.
To read more about the sale of the Kelmscott/Goudy Albion iron hand press No. 6551, see the article Mature, Muscular, Literary and Available in the New York Times.