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Full text of "A life with books and with Fine print, the review for the arts of the book : oral history transcript / 2001"

University of California Berkeley 



Regional Oral History Office University of California 

The Bancroft Library Berkeley, California 



Sandra Kirshenbaum 



A LIFE WITH BOOKS AND WITH 
FINE PRINT: THE REVIEW FOR THE ARTS OF THE BOOK 



With an Introduction by 
Robert D. Harlan 



Interviews Conducted by 

Robert D. Harlan 

in 1999 



Copyright 2001 by The Regents of the University of California 



Since 1954 the Regional Oral History Office has been interviewing leading 
participants in or well-placed witnesses to major events in the development of 
northern California, the West, and the nation. Oral history is a method of 
collecting historical information through tape-recorded interviews between a 
narrator with firsthand knowledge of historically significant events and a well- 
informed interviewer, with the goal of preserving substantive additions to the 
historical record. The tape recording is transcribed, lightly edited for 
continuity and clarity, and reviewed by the interviewee. The corrected 
manuscript is indexed, bound with photographs and illustrative materials, and 
placed in The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley, and in 
other research collections for scholarly use. Because it is primary material, 
oral history is not intended to present the final, verified, or complete 
narrative of events. It is a spoken account, offered by the interviewee in 
response to questioning, and as such it is reflective, partisan, deeply involved, 
and irreplaceable. 

************************************ 



All uses of this manuscript are covered by a legal agreement 
between The Regents of the University of California and Sandra 
Kirshenbaum dated January 23, 2001. The manuscript is thereby made 
available for research purposes. All literary rights in the 
manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to The 
Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley. No part 
of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written 
permission of the Director of The Bancroft Library of the University 
of California, Berkeley. 

Requests for permission to quote for publication should be 
addressed to the Regional Oral History Office, 486 Bancroft Library, 
Mail Code 6000, University of California, Berkeley 94720-6000, and 
should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, 
anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user. 
The legal agreement with Sandra Kirshenbaum requires that she be 
notified of the request and allowed thirty days in which to respond. 



It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows: 



Sandra Kirshenbaum, "A Life with Books and 
with Fine Print: The Review for the Arts 
of the Book," an oral history conducted in 
1999 by Robert D. Harlan, Regional Oral 
History Office, The Bancroft Library, 
University of California, Berkeley, 2001. 



Copy no. 




Sandra Kirshenbaum 



Photo by Carole DeNola 



Cataloguing information 



Kirshenbaum, Sandra (b. 1938) Editor and publisher 

A Life with Books and with Fine Print: The Review for the Arts of the Book, 
2001, vi, 151 pp. 

Italian family background and San Francisco childhood; UC Berkeley B.A., 1959; 
Carnegie Institute of Technology, MLS, 1960; work as public librarian, 
cataloguer, antiquarian bookseller; evolution of Fine Print, 1973-1990, to 
international status; reflections on fine printers Andrew Hoyem, Steve Corey, 
Herb Kaplan, George Ritchie, Linnea Gentry; thoughts on cover designers and 
artists, Adrian Wilson, Frances Butler, Sumner Stone, Hermann Zepf; thoughts 
on fine printing and computer design. 

Introduction by Robert D. Harlan, interviewer. 

Interviewed 1999 by Robert D. Harlan. The Regional Oral History Office, 
The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley. 



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 



The Regional Oral History Office, on behalf of future researchers, 
wishes to thank Robert D. Harlan, who interviewed Sandra Kirshenbaum and 
edited the transcript, as well as The Bancroft Library s Norman H. Strouse 
Fund. These contributions made possible this oral history of Sandra 
Kirshenbaum. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS --Sandra Kirshenbaum 

INTRODUCTION- -by Robert Harlan i 

INTERVIEW HISTORY--by Robert Harlan v 

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION vi 



I A BOOKWOMAN S BEGINNINGS 

A Printing Family in Italy; Escaping During World War II 1 

Father s Business Ventures in San Francisco 5 
Early Interest in Books and Libraries; Public School in San 

Francisco and San Mateo 7 
Undergraduate at UC Berkeley, 1956-1959; Library School at 

Carnegie University, 1959-1960 9 

Parents Background and Influence 12 
Librarian in New Jersey and Argentina; Husband s Career as a 

Metallurgist 15 

Settling in the Bay Area; Two Years on the East Coast 19 

Cataloging Auction Books for Maurice Powers 22 

II THE GENESIS OF FINE PRINT 27 
The People of Fine Print, Circa 1973 27 
Introductions to Steve Corey, Herb Kaplan, and the Grabhorn- 

Hoyem Press 32 

Meeting George Ritchie and Linnea Gentry; Starting With $800 35 

Process and Content for Early Issues of Fine Print 39 

Expanding the Size and Scope of Fine Print 45 

All Volunteers: Regular Staff and Outside Reviewers 48 

III SPECIAL ISSUES AND THE HEYDAY OF FINE PRINT 52 
Surveys of Foreign Fine Printing 52 
The Czech Issue, January 1987 53 
The German Issue, April 1986; Visiting Renata Raecke and 

Other Book People in Germany, 1986 59 

A Letterpress Conference Leads to Contacts in London, 1985 65 

The Italian Fine Printing Scene 68 

Other Foreign Coverage 71 

"Broadside Roundup" Column, From 1984 74 

Other Columns; Coverage of Bookbinding and Calligraphy 77 

Editorial Planning; Indexing 80 
The Influence of Lloyd Reynolds; Profiles and Obituaries of 

Book Artists 84 

The Dutch Issue; Reader Responses 87 

Tenth Anniversary Issue, January 1985 92 



IV COVER ART AND A BOOK ON TYPE 96 
Designers and Artists of fine Print Covers; Adrian Wilson, 

Frances Butler, Sumner Stone, Hermann Zapf, and Others 96 

Publishing a Book: Fine Print on Type, 1989 112 

V THE LAST OF THE FINE PRINT YEARS 118 
Subscribers, Advertising, and Circulation; Steven Harvard 

and Stinehour Press 118 

Grant Funding 124 

Forming an Umbrella Organization, Pro Arte Libri, 1989 126 

Financial Desperation and a Benefit Auction 130 

Seeking a University Press Publisher; No Solution 137 

The Complete Index to Fine Print 139 

Thoughts on Computer Design and the Fine Print Legacy 142 

TAPE GUIDE 145 

INDEX 146 



INTRODUCTION by Robert D. Harlan 



When my offer to conduct oral histories for the Regional Oral 
History Office (ROHO) was accepted in 1999 by The Bancroft Library, one 
of the top priorities was an interview of Sandra Kirshenbaum. Herein is 
the interview. For this Introduction I have chosen to reprint, with 
some omissions and modifications, the following article originally 
published in Number 4, the April 2000 issue of Parenthesis: The 
Newsletter of The Fine Press Book Association, pages 19-20. For their 
kind permission to reprint this article I thank the editors of 
Parenthesis. Since the publication of this article Sandy has been 
honored with distinguished awards from the American Printing History 
Association and the Book Club of California. 



THE EXAMPLE OF FINE PRINT 

by Robert D. Harlan 

Many readers of Parenthesis will recall with pleasure its 
illustrious predecessor Fine Print (1975-1990) which was originally 
created by its editor /publisher Sandra Kirshenbaum to remedy the absence 
of effective bibliographical control of recently issued fine press 
books, a condition she had observed as a cataloguer for a rare book 
auction house and as a bookseller. Ignoring the warnings of a 
distinguished doyen of the San Francisco book scene that such a project 
could never succeed, she persisted with the help of three volunteers 
(the late D. Steven Corey, a rare book librarian, and Linnea Gentry and 
George Ritchie, two junior members of Andrew Hoyem s press), with a 
budget dependent upon her personal bank account and a generous donation 
from her mother. The Fine Print office consisted of a card table around 
which her colleagues and she would gather to discuss the material they 
had assembled, including fine press books submitted for review. Few in 
number at first, these were preponderantly issued by California presses 
where Sandy was known and where her pledge to return the books in the 
same condition in which they had been received was readily accepted. 
The inaugural issue of Fine Print, published in January 1975, comprised 
a modest eight pages of text without illustrations and a banner instead 
of a separate cover. Sub- titled "A Newsletter for the Arts of the 
Book," it contained no substantive articles of the quality for which 
Fine Print would eventually become known and limited news, but it did 
establish the framework for future issues in its departments, including 
"Shoulder Notes," a collection of newsworthy events, and most important, 
"Works in Progress" and "Recent Press Books." Printed by Andrew Hoyem, 
it set high typographical standards which were consistently adhered to 
as other printers and designers became involved. Hoyem s support was 
generoushis contribution to the causeand here too he contributed to 
the model because Sandy could sometimes offer only modest honoraria to 



ii 



contributors, perhaps a copy of a book or complementary subscription to 
Fine Print, or just her thanks and the opportunity to participate in the 
making of an increasingly noteworthy journal. Fine Print never wanted 
for contributors. 

Basing her mailing list upon the lists of The Book Club of 
California and The Typophiles of New York, the latter by courtesy of Dr. 
Robert Leslie who added a personal donation of $50, Sandy ordered the 
printing of 2,000 copies of Volume I, Number 1 of Fine Print. The 
response was encouraging, and Fine Print seemed well launched. Sandy s 
first serious challenge, to free the journal of a provincial 
"California" stigma, diminished as the roster of authors, reviewers, and 
fine presses became international in scope. The first of several 
milestones on that path was reached when conservative eastern printer 
Joseph Blumenthal agreed to review William Everson s controversial 
masterpiece, Robinson Jeffers 1 Granite & Cypress. Sandy had approached 
Blumenthal with some reservation, so his enthusiastic response 
emboldened her to other acts of an audacity seemingly out of character. 
But if Sandy may sometimes have been uncomfortable in her new persona, 
others were not, and her modesty, integrity, and enthusiasm won many 
friends for Fine Print and herself. 

Sandy s editorial policy, from which she never deviated, was 
stated in the first issue of Fine Print: "to present a lively and 
informed report of the current scene in all its diversity." She 
interpreted this ambitious policy to encompass all of the arts of the 
book. Further, she attempted to integrate all of the arts of the book, 
first with an expanded coverage of calligraphy, bookbinding, 
papermaking, wood engraving and type design, the latter subject 
increasingly devoted to digitization and computer-generated types, along 
with continued full coverage of fine printing, and second with broad 
international coverage. The latter goal was most brilliantly achieved 
in the special issues surveying particular countries about which little 
was known at the time in the English-speaking world. The German issue, 
guest edited by Renak Raecke, was a revelation; the Czech issue, with 
guest editor James Eraser, a tour de force, surmounting as it did 
formidable editorial problems such as dealing with articles in an exotic 
foreign language, and with sometimes awkward communications--this before 
the age of the fax machine and e-mail with a country behind the Iron 
Curtain. The Czech issue provided the first comprehensive picture in 
English of the continued rich heritage of the book arts in that country 
since the 1930s, and it triggered something of a revival of interest in 
the West. The Czech articles in the issue employed Monotype s version 
of Oldrich Menhart s original roman and italic design which Fine Print 
typographical editor Paul Hayden Duensing lent for the occasion. These 
accomplishments, and many others, gave credence to Sandy s proclamation 
in her editorial celebrating its fifteenth year that Fine Print had 
truly become "the gluon for the arts of the book." 



ill 



Equally important to Fine Print s success was its physical 
appearance which served to enhance the periodical s attraction, to 
provide a forum for guest designers and printers, and to serve as an 
example of a journal devoted to the arts of the book. With the October 
1979 issue, separate covers were introduced, each designed by a 
different person who might be a calligrapher, a printer, a type 
designer, or a practitioner of some other crafts. Adrian Wilson s cover 
design inaugurated this series which became the talk of the trade. 
Everyone has her or his own favorite cover design. The entire corpus 
will continue to be studied and admired by practitioners, students, and 
connoisseurs. 

When asked to describe one of the achievements in Fine Print in 
which she took particular pleasure Sandy responded: recognizing the 
importance to book art of the "first simultaneous book" (1913), a 
collaboration between the evocative poet Blaise Cendrars and the 
Parisian colorist painter Sonja Delaunay. The poem is printed on a long 
sheet, the text flanked and interwoven by the brilliant colors and 
formed painted by Delaunay. Sandy says she was stunned when she saw a 
copy of the original in the New York gallery of Monica Strauss, a 
longtime contributing editor of Fine Print. Sandy was determined that 
the work should be known and appreciated in the book world. With the 
enthusiastic participation of Strauss, who wrote an introductory article 
on the collaboration, and the late Steven Harvard and a subsidy from the 
Meriden-Stinehour Press in Vermont, Fine Print was able to print a full- 
colour fold-out reproduction of La Prose du Transiberien in the July 
1987 issue. Many other examples as well of Sandy- inspired serendipity 
illumine and enliven the pages of Fine Print. 

Fine Print ceased publication with Volume 16, Number 3, not for 
lack of good material- -Number 4 was tentatively scheduled to include, 
among other material, articles on the book arts in Hungary and an 
article on Coptic bindingsor of subscribers and support. But Sandy s 
attempt to establish in Pro Arte Libri a non-profit organization to 
serve as an umbrella for various activities relating to the book arts 
including Fine Print was not successful. If she had not become 
seriously ill, the project and its fund-raising efforts might well have 
succeeded, for her previous accomplishments had been formidable. And 
chief among those was her stewardship of one of the longest-lived 
journals devoted to the arts of the book, one whose vitality and high 
standards had never been compromised. 

The Fine Print saga continues. Sandy has nearly completed a 
detailed index to Fine Print which will immeasurably increase its use 
for reference and research. The Fine Print archives in the possession 
of The Bancroft Library of the University of California at Berkeley, now 
being processed, will eventually be made available for study. 
Containing layouts, original art work, including the plates used for 
some of the covers, and extensive correspondence, the archives will form 



iv 



an invaluable and unique repository. And finally, Sandy is being 
interviewed by The Bancroft Library s Regional Oral History Office. The 
interview includes her account of the history of Fine Print, the salient 
point of which is, she says, with characteristic modesty, that she can 
only take credit for recognizing and uncovering the creative talent of 
others and giving them a place in print. 



Robert D. Harlan 



April, 2000 

(amended and reprinted June 2001) 



INTERVIEW HISTORY- -Sandra Kirshenbaum 



I volunteered to conduct this interview with Sandra Kirshenbaum in 
order to capture her recollections of her career in documenting the 
life and times of fine printers and fine printing in the Bay Area, 
California, and the world, from how she got interested in the book arts, 
to the publication of the beautifully printed Fine Print journal, to 
her eyewitness account of the shift from letter press printing to 
computer-designed publication. 

Sandy was interviewed in four sessions in the front parlor of her 
lovely home in San Francisco which had been in the possession of her 
husband s family since 1909. The first three sessions took place on 
February 22, April 30, and June 29, 1999, respectively. The fourth 
session, which was taped on December 14, 1999, after the transcriptions 
of the first three sessions had been reviewed by Sandy and me, includes 
some material that in retrospect was thought important to be added, 
including more information on Sandy s family and on the individual 
issues of Fine Print, the distinguished magazine that Sandy edited and 
published from 1975 to 1990. Each of the transcriptions was carefully 
reviewed and revised by Sandy and me before its final text was approved. 

A general outline, agreed upon by Sandy and me, was modified, 
augmented, and in some cases altered as the interviews progressed. 
Sandy would sometimes refer to documents at her home for specific 
information, and I would sometimes check information in the Fine Print 
Archives in The Bancroft Library, the University of California at 
Berkeley. I have assisted in the processing of these archives as a 
volunteer partly in order to inform myself before participating in these 
interviews. Sandy was an articulate participant in the interviews, and 
the graciousness and judiciousness exhibited during her interviews 
strongly suggest to me one of the reasons for the success of Fine Print. 

The Regional Oral History Office was established in 1954 to 
augment through tape-recorded memoirs the Library s materials on the 
history of California and the West. Copies of all interviews are 
available for research use in The Bancroft Library and in the UCLA 
Department of Special Collections. The office is under the direction of 
Richard Candida Smith, Director, and the administrative direction of 
Charles B. Faulhaber, James D. Hart Director of The Bancroft Library, 
University of California, Berkeley. 



Robert D. Harlan 
Interviewer /Editor 

July 2001 

Berkeley, California 



vi 

Regional Oral History Office University of California 

Room 486 The Bancroft Library Berkeley, California 94720 

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION 
(Please write clearly. Use black ink.) 
Your full name ^AfJDRAc De l^OLA. V<* \ RS K t^ Q A O 



Date of birth J Ql>/ ^ l^ ^ S Birthplace N\ \ L. A 



Father s full name LgOf^g AtF^gpO T>gCslouA 
Occupation rRo^O^gR 6lr OPCCIAX l^gg Birthplace Q 

Mother s full name L PA. SAS 



Occupation (^AR/TOfe foR t^oAg ^ Birthplace "oUiS.. XTA 



Your spouse/partner f\J Q g L. VO 1/C V R. S H 6 M F> A O 
Occupation N^ETALL OfifeVST Birthplace 



Your children Ll5A DA^lgLA \/v I RS\4etOg,^0 A\ > M.C~Dot4 



Where did you grow up? >A^ ^R. A; N3 C LS^-O ^> A(^ MATED 
Present community _ S A M F*R. A N^ C I 
Education B.A. (u>\~^ WoWfrVs . C- . 



lA.L.S. ^AR^e&yg Lt6flAiV/ 



Occupation(s)Pog > L\.C. LlBRA^lA:^ J A A^r\ ft>OA.Rl A-t^ "R>o&XgLLgR 

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Areas of expertise B>ooK" A-RTS 



Other interests or activities CA^O^^ TTA^[As^. u) 

3 

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Organizations in which you are active xAXSK. V.C-A tO 



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SIGNATURE xVvVg. lN /St-K . DATE 




; J uL^-| i 4. 2-OQ f 



INTERVIEW WITH SANDRA KIRSHENBAUM 



I A BOOKWOMAN S BEGINNINGS 
[Interview 1: February 22, 1999] ft 1 

A Printing Family in Italy; Escaping During World War II 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 



This is Tape 1, Side 1 of interviews with Sandy Kirshenbaum. 
It s February 22nd. 

First, Sandy, there was life before Fine Print. Maybe 
we could start with your telling us a little bit about your 
background: your family, your education, your experiences, 
the path that to some degree led you to begin Fine Print. 

Sure. Well, I m not sure how far back you want me to go. 
My involvement with books occurred over my whole lifetime. 
As a child, I was an avid reader. We lived in the Portola 
district of San Francisco. We had a sizeable house, which 
was unusual for that area. But anyway, I always loved 
books, from a small child, and I remember going to the 
neighborhood branch and vowing that I would read all the 
books in the children s section. So I started with A s, 
which brought me to Alcott. I became fascinated by Little 
Women and her other books. 

I m reminded of a book called A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Do 
you know that book? 

Oh, yes. 

And it s wonderful because this young girl, although coming 
from a family with no particular money, did have access to a 
good public library, and she was determined to read all of 
the adult books, starting with A, and the librarian very 



ended. 



; This symbol indicates that a tape or tape segment has begun or 
A guide to the tapes follows the transcript. 



Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 



kindly directed her instead to children s books, which were 
much more suitable. 

Yes. 

I guess I meant that you might want to go back, as you did 
in an earlier address, I heard, where you talk about--! 
guess it was your mother s side of the family who were 
lithographers in Italy. 

Kirshenbaum: Yes, that s right. They had a printing business. My 

grandfather was renowned for his beautiful lithographs, so I 
think there s something atavistic about my interest in books 
and printing. 

What was his name? 

Yes. It was Umberto Sabbadini. 

Did you say this was in Rome? 

Yes. And the firm is still in existence today. It s run by 
my grand-nephew, the son of one of the Sabbadini brothers. 

Are they still doing lithography or more likely offset? 

No, their big business is in forms. You know, like 
government forms. It s not very glamorous, but I guess it s 
profitable. 

You mentioned that your grandfather s lithography was 
renowned. Was that also documents and forms and 
pronouncements? 

No, he would do color lithography of little cards and saints 
that the Vatican would hand out as favors. My mother was 
the envy of all her little classmates because she had all 
these wonderful little color lithograph things. So anyway, 
that s how they got started. Later on, I guess after the 
war, they had to get into a real prof it -making line, which 
they did by making these forms for the government. 

Harlan: So it sounds like it s in your blood. 
Kirshenbaum: Yes. 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 
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Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



We re going to talk with this part a little more than we did 
originally about how your mother got you and two of your 
siblings out of Italy in--I guess it was 1941? 

Yes. My father [Leone Alfredo De Nola] had already escaped 
to the U.S. under the pretense of representing Italian 
manufacturers at the World s Fair of 1939. He gathered all 
the goods he could find and he brought some toys and some 
various ceramics and things at which Italian manufacturers 
excelled. Through my mother, who perchance struck up a 
conversation with a gentleman who had a patent on a tube 
made of sawdust, he was going to represent this inventor at 
the fair also. 

Does this mean that in 1939 he thought it was probably a 
good idea for you to leave Italy? 

Absolutely, yes. He had already seen the writing on the 
wall. The thing that really triggered him was the fact that 
neither my brother nor my sister could go to school, and he 
didn t want that for them, having them growing up as 
ignoramuses. Education was very important to him, and there 
were other restrictions on the Italian Jews. They couldn t 
have maids, they couldn t own businesses, they couldn t own 
land, they couldn t do anything much under what they called 
the "leggi raziale", or "the racial laws" which Mussolini 
imposed in 1938-1939. 

I remember in that great movie, The Garden of the Finzi 
Continis, that one of the lead characters was a student, and 
he couldn t even use the library. He was turned away. 



Kirshenbaum: That s right. Terrible. Anyway, on the pretense of going 
to the 1939 World s Fair in New York, he was able to book 
passage on a ship called the Vulcania. As soon as he landed 
and set up his booth, he turned it over to a relative of his 
that he knew there and he went to Cuba where he was able to 
getand I don t how he knew this, but he knew that if you 
went to Cuba you could get an entry visa from Cuba into the 
U.S. It took nine months to get a visa. 

So anyway, when he got back to New York, he brought the 
visa and tried to get my mother [Elda Sabbadini De Nola] to 
come over. It was very hard to get relatives over to the 
U.S. because you had to prove that you were earning a living 
and that you would not be a burden on society. 

Meanwhile, my mother was left stranded in Italy, but she 
had passage on a ship called the Rex, leaving from Naples. 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
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Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Was this an American ship? 

I don t know. Then she was lying in bed one morning and she 
felt like a pressure on her head and a voice telling her to 
go to Naples. My brother Albert accompanied her to the 
travel agency there. He didn t want to go in because he was 
embarrassed by the short pants he had to wear, so she left 
him outside [chuckles]. She went in and she said, "We have 
booked passage on the Rex. Is everything still all right? 
How come you never mailed me the tickets?" And they said, 
"Oh, I m sorry, signora, but the Rex is no longer going to 
go to New York. It s been canceled because the Rex is 
involved in the war, and so we need it for the Italian 
troops or whatever. We ve canceled the voyage." She was 
really desperate then, and she didn t know what to do. And 
then when she got back to Rome she went to American Express, 
which was supposed to have sent her the tickets. She saw a 
sign in the window that said, "Manhattan, departing" at a 
certain time. She went in and said, "Could I get on the 
Manhattan?" And they said, "Oh, no, signora, sorry, but 
that s only a diplomatic ship. It s only carrying out the 
last of the American diplomats." So she was really 
desolated, and then they said, "But you know, maybe if you 
go and see Conte Ciano, he is the one that can get you on." 
She went Conte Ciano s office in Milano. 

Wasn t he the son-in-law of Mussolini? 

Yes. She went to the building where he was, and she had to 
go up several stories in the elevator to reach his office. 
They would stop her on every floor, and she had to give them 
a bribe each time to go up to his office. Finally she gets 
to the office of Conte Ciano and of course he s not there; 
he s off somewhere having a good time, I guess, and his 
assistant is there. She throws herself at his mercy and 
says, "Please, you have to get me on this ship." Then some 
kind of little shenanigans went on, you know. He made some 
fond gestures to her. 

He made a pass? 

Sort of, yes. Then she says that he scratched her palm, 
which is sort of weird. I don t remember if she paid him a 
bribe, but I m pretty sure she did. Finally she got us 
booked on the Manhattan. 

That s four of you, right? 
Yes, four. Three children. 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

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Kirshenbaum: 



And you were how old then? 

Just short of two years old. Because the ship was leaving 
from Genoa, we had to rush up there from Rome to get to the 
ship in time. She managed to get us on, and that was how we 
got across the ocean. 

Do you remember if there was any trouble when you landed 
going through immigration? 

No, because she was on a diplomatic boat [laughter] . They 
never sent her to Ellis Island or anything. My older sister 
and brother report that they couldn t eat the food that they 
were served on the ship. One night it was announced that 
the dinner menu would include pasta! I was barely a toddler 
then, but my older siblings tell me that my eyes lit up when 
I heard that word. The whole family was gravely 
disappointed when we were served a tasteless mash of 
overcooked spaghetti. 

Later, in San Francisco the family was introduced to 
Irish cooking when they were invited to dinner at the home 
of an Irish American businessman. There the family was 
served corned beef and watery cabbage. It took many a 
severe glance from my father to make sure my brother and 
sister ate it all with gusto. 

I can imagine why they would remember that. I m sure they 
were appalled. And did your father meet your family then in 
New York? 

I m not sure. I think he may have been in San Francisco by 
then. And she might have gone over there. I really don t 
know exactly what the chronology was . 

And he was employed in San Francisco. 

Yes, because he had to prove that he was employed. 



Father s Business Ventures in San Francisco 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Do you know what his vocation was, or what he was doing? 

He was a very proud man. When he was in New York he wrote 
my mother long letters , and he was always infuriated that 
because of the war she couldn t get any letters to him. So 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



he wrote to her that he had a small office in lower 
Manhattan on Spring Street, but he says, "Don t worry, I 
will soon go to Rockefeller Center and have a big office 
there." [laughs] He was indomitable. Anyway, I don t 
think he ever made it to Rockefeller Center. 

Then in San Francisco I understand that he was operating 
an elevator- -some measly thing like that. But he didn t 
stay for long. Then he and my brother went into business 
together, and as much as you see the Vietnamese people today 
going around collecting cartons from department stores and 
various storesand they did that. They would go to 
department stores and gather all their cartons, and they had 
a small plant on McAllister Street, which at that time was a 
Jewish neighborhood. They had bought a baler, and they 
would bale these cartons up and sell them for the war 
effort. Then eventually my fatherby 1947 he already had 
his own factory in South San Francisco in which he made 
corrugated cartons. He called it Universal Container 
Company. See, he was not small-minded at all [chuckles]. 

Was this in part recycling or is he starting from scratch? 

First it was recycle. When he was baling, he only had a 
baling machine then. Then when he moved into this wonderful 
factory that they had in South San Francisco--and don t ask 
me how they managed to get the funds together to build it 
but my mother had something to do with that because I think 
she sold some of her property in Rome. 

Then they made their own corrugated boxes, and then 
eventually they developed into a company that made specialty 
boxes for electronic devices, and they made fruit boxes, 
which had always been wood, and he managed to design a 
carton that would be very strong so they could use it for 
picking fruit in Santa Clara Valleyyou know, the Garden of 
Earthly Delights? 

Right. 

That s what they called it then. Now of course it s Silicon 
Valley. 

So when you were still young your father had a heart attack. 

He had a very serious heart attack. When we were in San 
Francisco, and I still remember greeting him, he was in 
Mount Zion Hospital, and I was down on the sidewalk. He 
came to the window and waved at me. He had been a three- or 



Harlan: 



four-pack-a-day smoker. He had a heart attack at age forty- 
three or forty-four, I guess, just after we got here. 

But he survived? 



Kirshenbaum: Yes, he did. And he did not die of heart disease until he 
was about seventy years old. 



Harlan: 



Did he stop smoking? 



Kirshenbaum: Yes, absolutely. Cold turkey. He never touched another 
cigarette. But my mother continued to smoke. She had 
asthma. Fortunately she never had emphysema, but it was 
close. 



Harlan: 



So when you were growing up your father had this factory in 
South San Francisco. 



Early Interest in Books and Libraries; Public School in San 
Francisco and San Mateo M 



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That s great. So you started- -you remember even as a child 
having a real interest in books. 

Yes. 

I presume as much for the content as for the display or the 
aesthetic aspect. 

Oh, sure, strictly for content, because later on the books I 
read were very sparsely illustrated. They were not like 
picture books. I remember one of my favorite books was 
Fables of Aesop. They had wonderful drawings in that. 

Do you remember if you were pleased with the kind of help 
you got from librarians? 

Well, it was sort of funny, really. You know, I used to go 
to the local Portola branch, where the librarian was very 
stern. I have a little memoir of that, actually. So she 
would shake her head and give me a "tsk-tsk-tsk-tsk"--that 
kind of thing, you know. 

She was an old-fashioned librarian. 



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Yes. And she d say, "No, you can t take this many books. 
We have a limit of how many you can take." I really have a 
firm memory of her because she always used to go behind the 
curtain and cook her lamb chops. 

[laughs] That s unusual. 

So the whole library was this small branch library was 
permeated with the smell of frying lamb chops. 

Did that give you perhaps a distorted view of what 
librarians do? 

Right ! 

[laughs] But the collection was adequate. You were able to 
find- 
So I started to read all through Alcott. She had quite a 
few books. And then I jumped over to Heinlein. So then I 
got a fascination for science fiction. I think it s Robert. 
But anyway, he introduced me to the whole idea of science 
fiction and living on Mars, and I just ate it up. I loved 
it. So that was how I got off the track at H. [laughter] 

And where did you go to high school? 

Well, I went to junior high in San Francisco at Portola 
Junior High, which was really multiculturaleven in those 
days. There were all kinds of kids there. There were black 
kids and Chinese kids and 



Italian? 

Few Italians lived in that neighborhood then, 
neighbor, who had twins she was Italian. 



Our next-door 



Did you have good teachers? Was it a good education? 

Certain teachers were wonderful. I remember my sixth grade 
teacher, Mrs. Harrison. She was a great inspiration to me. 
I was like her pet, and all the other kids really--! and 
Diane Duffy were her pets, and all the other kids were 
envious of us and tried to make our lives miserable. 

I m sure they succeeded to a degree. 

Yes. So anyway, I still remember that she told me she 
said, "Your language skills are so good. I m sure you will 



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be a writer." Well, I never made it to writing--! mean, 
fiction. I have done lots of nonfiction writing, but I 
never could get into fiction too much. I guess I didn t 
have enough confidence. 

Plenty of people try fiction, so I wouldn t worry about it. 
And high school? Where did you go to high school, senior 
high? 

Then we moved to San Mateo when I was about fifteen, and I 
went to San Mateo High. They had some great teachers there, 
too. I still remember the economics teacher. I can t 
remember his name right now, but he was really serious about 
history and economics, and he made us write essays. I still 
remember I wrote an essay on Teddy Roosevelt. And I had to 
do real historical research. 

Sounds like another world. 



Yes. 



Undergraduate at UC Berkeley, 1956-1959; Library School at 
Carnegie University. 1959-1960 



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Did you go directly to college? 

Yes, pretty much. I applied to UC Berkeley, and they let me 
in right away. In those days, I guess it was not quite as 
competitive as it is now. 

I think there weren t as many applicants in those days. 

Yes. 

So you were at UC, then, for four years? 

Actually, I took summer courses, so I graduated in three 
years. I would have been the Class of 1960, but I graduated 
in 59. I called myself a child of the fifties because I 
was raised in this very- -well, I don t know what to call it, 
but it was a very straightlaced kind of thing in the 
fifties. A young woman could either choose a career as a 
nurse, a teacher, or a librarian, and those were the three 
things that were open to a young woman. So I chose 
librarian when I graduated. 



10 



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What was your major in college? 

Italian and Romance languagesFrench and Portuguese. They 
had an excellent Italian program there. But there, again, I 
think I really suffered from being a young woman, and they 
didn t take me seriously. I still remember when I turned in 
this wonderful essay on the poetry of Michelangelo, the 
professor said, "I don t believe you wrote this." Isn t 
that awful? And he said, "You must have cribbed it from 
something." And I said, "No," I said, "I did research, but 
I wrote it all myself." And he wouldn t believe me. So 
that was just one of the few resentments that I had about 
UC. And it s taken me a long time to get over it--you know, 
to feel any alliance at all to UC Berkeley. 

Well, it has changed a lot. And it should, of course. 

Yes. 

So you graduated from UC Berkeley in 59. 

Right . 

Did you go directly to library school then? 

Yes. 

Where did you go? 

At that time I went to Pittsburgh, at Carnegie University to 
the Library School there. Now it s Carnegie-Mellon. About 
the time I graduated from library school--! think it was 
around 60 or 61--they just cut off their library school. 
They said it was because they didn t have an undergraduate 
program to feed into the graduate program. That was the 
excuse that they used on me. They sent it to the University 
of Pittsburgh. 

Why did you choose Pittsburgh? 

Well, for one thing, my husband [Noel Kirshenbaum] was 
interested in Carnegie University. 

So you were married by then. 

Yes. Noel and I married at an early age. He was hoping to 
get into a program there that they had in metallurgy, and 
then he pretty much got fed up with it, and so he moved to 
Plainfield, New Jersey, where he worked for American 



11 



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Smelting & Refining. That was his first job. I remained in 
Pittsburgh to finish up my master s degree in library 
science. At that time, they had an excellent program in 
children s librarianship, but I wasn t interested. I don t 
know--I felt like I missed an opportunity, really, because 
they had such an excellent department in that. But I 
studied to be a reference librarian, and that was very 
satisfying, too. That was when I met Jack Stauffacher. 

Oh, really? 

That s right. He was there to service Porter Garnett s 
Laboratory Press. 

How did you happen to meet him? 

His wife was Josephine Gremaldi. Her father and mother were 
also Jewish and had been in Italy and had come over to the 
U.S. at about the same time as mine, so they had met in the 
Italian Jewish community here in San Francisco. I still 
remember the three daughters, Laura, Josephine, and--I can t 
remember the third one. 

You met Jack, but I don t suppose you were cognizant or even 
particularly interested in the fact that he was a fine 
printer. 

Not a bit, not a bit. It s amazing to me now how I could 
have let that all go over my head. 

How could you not? You didn t know. That is interesting. 
It s a small world. 

Yes. So I ve known Jack since I was a little girl. 

Yes. Okay. So you got your library degree [MLS, 1960, 
Carnegie Library School] . Did you get a position as a 
librarian then? 

Yes. My husband was working for AS&R [American Smelting and 
Refining] in Plainfield, New Jersey, and so I marched into 
the library there, to the director s office, and I offered 
my services, and they snapped me up. You know, in those 
days this is, I guess, in the early sixtiesthere was a 
great demand for librarians. All you had to do is say, 
"Yes, I have my MLS," and they would just welcome you with 
open arms . 



12 



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So you were a reference librarian in a special library, as 
it would have been called then. Is that right? 

No. It was just a public library, and I was a reference 
librarian and a cataloguing librarian. That was a wonderful 
preparation. In library school--! can t remember her name, 
Virginia some thing- -but the teacher of the reference was a 
very old-fashioned woman. She taught from this textbook 
called Winchell s [Constance Winchell, A Guide to Reference 
Books]. So you remember that? 

Yes, oh, yes. 

Every reference source would be described and tell you what 
you could find in them, and you had to know all those books, 
and you had to know what was in them--if it was the Annals 
of American Biography or whatever, you had to know which 
book to go to to get the information. Now, you just go to 
the Internet and press a button and get the information you 
want. 

Well, you get the information that s available. It s 
different from Winchell. You were really memorizing a list 
of basic sources. 

Exactly, and that turned out to be very valuable. 

Yes. It s somewhat painful, but it can be very valuable. 



Parents Background and Influence 



Harlan: 



Let s go back for a minute and talk about maybe the 
influence of your parents on your life and your directions 
and your interests . 



Kirshenbaum: Yes. It s interesting that my father was essentially not 
educated. I mean, he maybe went to grammar school, but he 
never went to higher education. 



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This is in Italy. 

In Italy, right. When he came to this country, of course, 
he was very handicapped because at forty years old, it s not 
easy to learn a new language. 

And he came to this country in what year? 



13 



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Well, he first came to the Fair in New York in 39. 
The World s Fair. 

Yes. And then we went to San Francisco in 1941. Anyway, he 
really wasn t formally educated. But, you know, he had a 
great love of learning and books, so when he came to the 
U.S., he actually brought a wonderful Italian encyclopedia, 
multi-volume encyclopedia, and that was one of the treasured 
things he brought. And then he had this huge history of 
Italy and all these wonderful books that he had. I mean, it 
was a bookish family even in the beginning. 

Your family was Jewish on both sides? 

Yes. 

Did your father read Hebrew? 

No. 

And your mother did not. 

Very little. And they didn t try to pursue--! mean, they 
may have known a little Hebrew, but they didn t really 
pursue it. 

Were they practicing? That is, did they go to temple? 

Oh, yes, yes. Especially my mother was very religious. We 
observed all the holidays, and she would go to temple every 
Saturday, and we would go with her. We went to Sherith 
Israel, which was sort of Conservative. I still remember 
they used to take us two younger ones--ray sister, Emily, and 
myselfafter temple we would go to the wonderful Garden 
Court of the Palace Hotel, and my sister and I would both 
have turkey sandwich on white bread with mayonnaise. 

That was the treat, right? 
Yes, that was the treat. 

Well, I think your father came from a generation that 
respected learning, and I just think probably in Italy it 
was highly regarded anyway. 



Kirshenbaum: Yes. 



14 



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Do you think maybe there was an even more intense interest 
in learning because your family was Jewish? 

I think so. You know, another thing that influenced me 
greatly was the fact that my father had a limited knowledge 
of English, and so he would compose letters in Italian, 
saying what he wanted to say-- 

These were business letters? 

Yes, business letters. And then he would turn them over to 
me, and I would translate them and edit them. 

How old were you then? 

About ten. 

[laughs] You developed a business acumen early on. 

Well, maybe not a business acumen but a language acumen, you 
know, which later came to be so valuable to me, and I think 
that s one reason that I grew to be such a good editor. 

You got started early enough. 

Exactly. 

So in your home, you had your father s big encyclopedia. 

Yes. 

How about your mother? What influence did she have on you? 
Besides being a good mother. 

Well, she was a terrifically creative woman, just wonderful. 
I guess I learned a sense of style from her. She was very 
stylish, small, Italian lady. She always taught me how to 
dress and how to coordinate colors. I still remember she 
would take me downtown, and we would go on the bus, and she 
would always just dress to the nines with a hat and gloves 
too and everything, and I had to wear a little hat and 
gloves and so on. In those days, if you went downtown, that 
was something really special, and you had to dress 
appropriately . 

When your familyparticularly your mother s familywere in 
Italy, they probably had servants, didn t they? 



Kirshenbaum: Oh, yes. 



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So when your mother came to this country, I presume there 
were no servants to begin with. 

Exactly. 

But she survived. 
Yes, absolutely. 
Was she a good cook? 

Oh-h-h! Wonderful! Oh, she was fabulous, fabulous. And 
she used to have a New Year s Eve party every year. She 
would just put our this magnificent buf fet--everything you 
could have. And she would do it all herself --all the 
ornamentation and the flowers and everything, and she had 
the most creative mind for cooking. I don t know how, 
because in Italy they had cooks. But somehow she picked it 
all up. In fact, she published a cooking article, "Join Us 
for Dinner in Rome". It was in the May 1962 Sunset magazine 
[pp. 223-224, 226, 228, 231]. I still have a copy of it. 
And she told her secrets of how she made chicken breast with 
lemon caper sauce. 

Were these secrets she brought from Italy, or had she 
developed these herself? 

These were secrets that she learned in Italy. Somehow she 
absorbed them, even though she didn t do much cooking, but 
she would, I guess, see what was produced in the kitchen and 
visit the kitchen sometimes, so she picked up all these 
wonderful things . She knew how to make the most wonderful 
pasta and the pasta sauce, the meat sauce that I still make. 
It was just wonderful. 

Well, that s interesting. Families can be very influential. 
Yes. Someday I m going to write a story of my family. 
I think you should. 



Librarian in New Jersey and Argentina; Husband s Career as a 
Metallurgist 



Harlan: 



Okay, let s go back to- -you re now a librarian. 



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Yes. 

Public library, doing reference work. Your husband is 
engaged in his profession, which is metallurgy? 

Yes. He worked for American Smelting & Refining. And he 
was doing lab work for them. He would test different ores 
and so on. 

And that s still his business, isn t it? 

No, no. He went back to school. After Argentina, he went 
back to Stanford and got a degree in mineral economics, so 
that s what he s been more involved in lately. He still 
does some metallurgy, but mainly he s interested in--he 
wrote a thesis entitled "Transport and Handling of Sulfide 
Concentrates," which was subsequently published. 

Was this at Stanford? 

Yes. That turned out to be--he sold quite a number of 
copies of that because it was a matter of interest because 
sulfide concentrates can be subjected to autogenous heating. 
It s self -created heating, and it was a real problem for 
ships carrying ores. He did a whole study. Visited all 
these different ports where they transported ores, and he 
took pictures of the way they handled the ores, which was 
really sloppy. So that s how he got off into the 
interesting area of mineral economics. 

And this led you, then, to your next move, which was to 
Argentina. For whom did Noel work there? 

Yes. The Agency for International Development, or AID. 

You went there in what year? 

Sixty- four. 

And you were there for two years? 

Yes. And there I pursued my career, and I could do it 
because we had a servant. So I could leave the children in 
her care and go off and work in a library two days or three 
days a week for a few hours . 



Harlan: 



What kind of library was it? 



17 



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It was very interesting, 
library. 

In Argentina. 



It was like a prototype public 



Yes, in Cordoba. And it was the only public library in the 
whole city. At a certain point, there was a president of 
Argentina who was very interested in libraries and 
education. His name was Arturo Illia. So anyway, he 
established a lot of these public libraries that were 
sprinkled around. He was kind of like an Argentine Andrew 
Carnegie. So when I went there and I offered my services 
gratis, they thought I was some kind of crazy American lady. 
And my Spanish was not that good at that time. But I 
quickly picked it up. I d say within a year I was really 
speaking well. This was when I was still in my twenties, 
twenty-six. Later people asked me where I had learned to 
speak such good English! I even had a Cordobes accent. 

So they decided you weren t crazy after all. 

No. And I helped them to catalog and to weed out the 
collection. 

** 

Well, anyway--you see, in Argentina everything is political, 
so the head of the library was an old fellow who had 
previously been in the bureaucracy in the government. I 
forget what his position was, but obviously they wanted to 
get rid of him, so they shuffled him off to be the director 
of the library. The poor old guy was, I m sure, not 
completely blind but legally blind, and so when I went into 
his office it was always dark. He was a funny old guy 
because he took himself very seriously. I said I wanted to 
help cataloguing. They had stacks and stacks of books that 
had just been dumped in the bottom of the library there, in 
the basement. 

Were these books that came from some central agency, or were 
they just books that they had? 

They were just books that they had. 

So many of them probably weren t very useful for a public 
library. 



Kirshenbaum: That s right. 



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The usual problem with gifts. 

Yes. Well, we tried to weed out all the ones that were not 
up to date or not really right. 



Let me just check here. [tape interruption] 

You mentioned you were cataloguing these, 
original cataloguing or copy cataloguing? 



Was this 



What we did was use Dewey. I and the other members of the 
cataloguing group, such as it wasabout three or four of 
us, I guess, doing the cataloguing. And boy, were they ever 
sticklers! They would argue endlessly about whether it 
should be 120.101 or 102 or 103 or whatever. Oh, it just 
used to drive me crazy! They loved to argue about fine 
points like that. So we would go down the basement and work 
on these books, and we would argue over what kind of Dewey 
number we should choose for them. 

And then they would have a break. In midmorning they 
would have their coffee break, and they would just put 
everything away, and they d bring out these hard biscuits. 
They were really heavy with grease. They would eat those 
and would endlessly go on having coffee. They would finally 
get back to work, and then, of course, there was lunch. 



[ laughs ] 

So it was all a very interesting experience, 
managed to get the work done. 



But somehow we 



What kind of people were using the public library, this 
library, this prototypical public library? 

I think it was a variety of people. 
Was it popular? 

Yes, it was. The test that this old bureaucrat put to me-- 
he said, "If I can go to the catalog, card catalog, and find 
the book I want, then I ll know that you ve done a good 
job." So sure enough, he went through the catalog and found 
the book he wanted. 

You were using the Dewey Decimal System, so you had a Dewey 
manual with you? 



Kirshenbaum: Yes. 



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There was a 1955 official Spanish language translation of 
the Dewey Decimal classification manual. Did you have 
access to it? Could they read English? 

Gee, I don t think they could, so maybe it was in Spanish. 
Somehow this environment sounds very Spanish. 

Oh, definitely, yes, because, you know, it was a 
bureaucratic thing from top to bottom. 

Oh, yes. I think so. So you chipped away at this backlog. 

Yes. 

But you were also providing reference serviceor were you? 

Yes, I was. I mean, I would go up into the reading room, 
and I would help people, whoever came in, in a kind of 
casual way. I would show them how to use the catalog or 
whatever. And then when I left Cordoba, they had a special 
dinner for me, and they gave me--I still have itthey gave 
me a fancy certificate of service to Cordoba and so on, and 
they had a celebration dinner for me. It was very touching. 

I m sure they came to appreciate what you had done for them. 
Sure. 



Settling in the Bay Area; Two Years on the East Coast 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



So you left Argentina. 
Area? 



Is that when you came to the Bay 



Sixty- six. Yes, we came back to the Bay Area, and my 
husband returned to Stanford, and we lived in Menlo Park. 
We lived right on the border of Atherton. We had a small 
house there. And then Noel studied mineral economics and 
also took courses in the Business School. I remember my son 
was very young then. I took him to the Bing Nursery School 
at Stanford on a bicycle. Both of the children just went 
back into the American way. 



Harlan: 



Had they picked up Spanish in Argentina? 



20 



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I was sorry that they 



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Oh, they were perfectly bilingual, 
never maintained it. 

Yes, that s too bad. 



It is too bad. But, you know, at a certain point my little 
son, whothen, when we came back, he was just barely three, 
he had a problem with hearing, and so he was having a real 
frustration with not being able to express himself in 
Spanish or in English, so I had to quit trying to speak 
Spanish to them. They really didn t want to accept Spanish 
from me, who had always been their source of English. 

We had a bit of culture shock then. The first thing I 
saw when we were exiting the airport was a sign saying "No 
admission without shoes." I thought of the many shoeless 
people I had seen in Peru because they couldn t afford 
shoes; their feet were all leathery and grey. 1 thought, 
Why would anyone go barefoot by choice? We had had our 
first taste of the hippie movement of the mid-sixties. 

So your husband was at Stanford, then, for how long? 

Let s see. That would have been 66 when we came back. He 
stayed there a couple of years, so I guess it would have 
been around "69 that we left. 

Was he in a degree program? 

Yes, he got a degree in engineering, engineer of mines, 
which is really inappropriate because it was really an 
economic degree. 

Okay. So you re back in the San Francisco area, raising 
your children, and your husband is going to school. 

Yes, right. 

What would you say the next event was that brought you back 
to the world of books? It must have been later, wasn t it? 

No. At that time I worked in the Menlo Park Public Library. 
Oh. As a volunteer or employed? 

No, I was employed. I was, I guess, what you d call a 
community service librarian. I mean, I would gather as much 
information as I could about the community of Menlo Park, 
and we had a file of all the things about the history of 



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Menlo Park and all that, and that was my main interest 
there. And I also worked with children, as children s 
librarian. 

I expect that Menlo Park has changed since then. 

I guess. And then, of course, we lived right next door to 
Atherton. Actually, we were in the border of Atherton, so I 
went to the Atherton Public Library all the time with my 
children. We would just walk there, and we would just load 
up on picture books and every kind of book, and then we 
would come home. They did a lot of reading. At a certain 
point, they learned to read themselves! I mean, at the age 
of three or four, they already knew how to read. And I was 
really mad because I couldn t read to them anymore. They 
wouldn t let me. [laughter] 

Then my husband, Noel, got a position with a major 
mining company, Copper Range, in their New York City office. 

Okay. Now, I think that at some point you got into the 
commercial aspect of books. Didn t you work for an auction 
company? Is that next? 

That s correct. It was California Book Auction. 

And they still exist, of course. 

Yes. Well, now they call themself Pacific Book Auction. 

That s right. 

What happened was when we came back to San Francisco, I 
think it was around 1970, andlet s see. Where did we 
live? I m going blank on it. 

It s okay. 

So anyway, we lived back East in a suburb of New York, in 
Stamford, Connecticut. 

Was this after you came back from Argentina? 

Yes. 

And after he went to Stanford? 

Right. Then he took a job working for Copper Range, a major 
mining company. They had copper mines at the top of 



22 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 
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Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Minnesota there. And so I spent a couple of years as a 
suburban wife. My husband would go- -every morning he would 
get on the train, and he would go to New York to the big 
building, and he would go up to the thirtieth floor or 
whatever and work in this office. And I would stay home and 
be the suburban mother. And I hated it! It was awful. 

You know, we lived in a real suburban kind of place. 
You know, every house was like our house, and every lawn was 
like our lawn. We had unspoken lawn competition [laughs]. 
You know, your lawn had to be as nice and as green as your 
neighbor s so that you wouldn t have a line where your lawn 
was all weed-ridden and yellowed, and theirs was lush and 
green. So that was my lawn episode time, when I had to take 
care of the lawn and make it green. And I handled a lot of 
fungicides at that time, and I wonder if that isn t the 
fungicide is very closely related to non-Hodgkins lymphoma. 
I don t know if there would be a connection because it s so 
many decades later, but-- 

It s a possibility. So it s one more reason you can look 
back on that period without pleasure. 

But anyway, I did find a job in the Stamford, Connecticut, 
Public Library. That was a very nice experience. 

It was a good library, I ll bet. 

Oh, it was very good. I was a cataloguing librarian. I had 
a boss who was the L.C. cataloguer. She was so frustrating 
because she was kind of like a middle-aged lady, but she had 
graduated from library school not very long before, so she 
was very insecure, and she would never let me do anything, 
you know? And she would always be hanging over me. "Are 
you sure this is the right thing?" And "You just didn t do 
that right and didn t do this right." It was so 
frustrating. 

You were there for how long? 

Just a couple of years. And then in 1970 we came back to 
the Bay Area. 



Cataloging Auction Books for Maurice Powers 



Harlan: 



I expect you were glad to get back. 



23 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
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Harlan: 
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Yes, I was very, very glad. So when we got back, I again 
tried to find a library job. At that time, there was a real 
glut. In the early seventies there was a real glut of 
librarians, and everybody wanted to be a librarian in San 
Francisco, and so I cast around, and then my mother-in-law 
said, "You know that there is a"--and I don t know how she 
knew this, but she said, "There is a gentleman who is 
starting up a book auction company here in San Francisco, 
and he s looking for a cataloger for the books . " 

And this was? 

This was Maurice Powers. 

Well, that was nicely timed, wasn t it? 

It was perfect. I guess I was his only employee for a 
while. He had the balcony upstairs where we peons would 
work on cataloguing the books, and that s where I was really 
introduced to a fantastic variety of books. Of course, 
their earliest auctions were based on the Wells Fargo 
collection, so it was heavily into western-- 

This was a collection at the Wells Fargo Corporation? 

Yes. 

That they decided to get rid of? 

Yes. And that was the basis of the whole book auction 
thing. And it had been started by Maurice Powers s brother, 
and when he died, he took it over around 1970. 

It s interesting that they would have got rid of that 
library because they have a history room. 

Well, I don t really know. But they may have-- 
Decided they didn t want it. 

Or something. Or they wanted to emphasize some 
accoutrements like stagecoaches. 

I think they didn t want to emphasize books. 
Yes. 

So you found in this collection probably some early San 
Francisco imprints? 



Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

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Yes. 
did. 



And I still have a complete set of all the catalogs we 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



And were you working with someone else in the cataloguing? 
No, by the seat of my pants, literally. 

Oooh! And did you have sources you could refer to, like 
auction catalogs and that sort of thing? 

Well, that s what I did. I started reading all the auction 
catalogs I could get my hands on, or all the bookseller 
catalogs I could get my hands on. 

Did you have access to indexes to catalogs? Book Prices 
Current, for example? 

Yes, Book Prices Current, right. By reading the catalogs, I 
would learn things, like how you describe a rare book and 
which bibliography is in. 

This really is seat of your pants, isn t it? 

Yes, absolutely. I had no idea what I was getting into, but 
I had to learn how to catalog rare books. We catalogued 
everything from presidential documents to cartoons. 

You must have had manuscripts, too. Some? 

Some, yes. And then I made some colossal errors, of course. 
I once catalogued a pamphlet fromwell, let s say it was a 
Caxton, okay? So I looked it up in a bibliography of Caxton 
or whatever it was, and by golly, this was it! It looked so 
perfect. It had all the right page numbers and everything, 
and I said, "Wow!" 

A Caxton! 

A Caxton! Yes, wow! So I catalogued it-- 

As a Caxton. 

--as a Caxton. And sure enough, after a few days that the 
catalog had been out, in comes Barney Rosenthal. He said, 
"I m curious about the Caxton that you ve got. Could you 
show it to me?" So I proudly took it out, and then he took 
ten seconds to look at it, and he says, "Oh, this is a 
Grolier Club facsimile." Oh, boy, was I ever--I was so 
embarrassed. But, you know, it was a very good facsimile. 



25 

The only thing, of course, that gave it away immediately was 
the paper. So that was my first embarrassment. 

Harlan: He also knew there was a Grolier Club facsimile, obviously, 
so-- 

Kirshenbaum: Oh, yes, so he knew right away. That was wonderful. I 
found out what a real bookman looks for, you know? 

Harlan: Right. He was a nice person to tell you of this mistake. 

Kirshenbaum: Absolutely. He was so kind, and he says, you know, "Don t 
bother. Don t worry. It s okay." And I was so 
embarrassed. 

Harlan: Well, you learned something there. 

Kirshenbaum: Yes. 

Harlan: So I expect you learned a lot in a hurry, didn t you? 

Kirshenbaum: Absolutely. I had to. What else could I do? 

Harlan: And you really didn t have a mentor, did you, someone you 
could turn to? 

Kirshenbaum: Not really, no. 
Harlan: Not at the firm. 

Kirshenbaum: No. And I ll tell you what I did do was I made a friend of 
Steve Corey, who at that point was working on the Grabhorn 
Collection at the San Francisco Public Library, so he and I 
became pals. We just formed a sort of instantaneous 
friendship. He would come over and look at our books for 
sale, and I would go over to the library and see the 
collection he was working on, which was the Grabhorn 
Collection, so that was how I met Steve. 

Harlan: So it was on-the-job training [laughs]. 

Kirshenbaum: Yes, absolutely. And, you know, in the catalogs they would 
put "not in"-- 

Harlan: Which supposedly indicates the rarity of a book because it 
isn t listed in a "standard" source. Often misleading. 

Kirshenbaum: Yes, I learned about the importance of "not in." [laughter] 



26 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
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So you were there for how long? 

Well, I guess it was just a couple of years. And I really 
got to be very good. I learned how to be an auctioneer. 1 
still remember in the early auctions--Warren Howell would 
come in. I remember Maurice Powers said, "I want Warren 
Howell to get to know you and to call you by your first 
name. It s very important for us to be in with Warren 
Howell." He would come to the auctions. He would sit in 
the first row. He would smoke, and he would bid. He was 
very gruff in manner, so I was really intimidated by Warren 
Howell. 

Which is what he wanted. 



Yes, absolutely. 

[laughs] But that s an experience, too, 
you by your first name? 



Did he ever call 



I think at a certain point he did, and then, you know- -I 
still remember when I ran into him at the Book Club [of 
California] . That was after I had already left the Book 
Auction. And he wanted to hire me. At that time, I had 
ideas about Fine Print, and so I was not interested in going 
on with him. But, you know, it probably would have been 
fascinatingand maybe very instructive about the book 
business. [tape interruption] 

So you decided not to work for him. 
Right. 



27 



II THE GENESIS OF FINE PRINT 



The People of Fine Print, Circa 1973 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Now, was this when you began to germinate the idea of Fine 
Print? 

Yes. What happened was I was working on all these kinds of 
books, and then I noticed that there were some especially 
beautiful books, so then I thought, "Well, I could be my own 
bookseller, and I could specialize in these wonderful 
handmade books" that were in existence, and I had never 
known about them before. You know, books from the Grabhorn 
Press, even, I didn t know about. There were people making 
fine booksJack Stauffacher and Adrian Wilson. Those were 
all things that I had not known about. So then I said, 
"Gee, I could become a bookseller on my own, and I would 
specialize, and I would call myself The Book Beautiful." 

[laughs] Well, that s nice. 
Isn t that awful? [laughs] 

Were you thinking about opening a shop or just working from 
a catalog? 

Working from catalogs . And then Gale Herrick introduced me 
to an old San Francisco family called Broder. The Hestahl 
sisters there were two sisters, Eleanor and Dorothy. 
Eleanor loved children s books, and so they collected for 
many years these wonderful children s books, and meanwhile 
their father formed a fine collection of western Americana. 
The house was just full of books. It s down on McAllister 
Street, and I haven t talked to the Broders for a long time. 
Dotsy Broder, Dorothy Broder was her name. They had this 
big mess of books children s books and historic books and 
all kinds. Gale Herrick introduced me to them, and I was 



28 



able to work for them, trying to catalog the various aspects 
of their library and put out catalogs for sale. So that was 
how I really got started on my own. 

Harlan: And you did issue a catalog? 

Kirshenbaum: Yes, I did issue two or three different catalogs on 
children s books and on humor. 

Harlan: I remember that, yes. 
Kirshenbaum: Yes. 

Harlan: And so you were their agent, selling their books through 
your catalog. 

Kirshenbaum: Right. 

Harlan: Now, when you decided to become a dealer in specialized 
books and you issued catalogs, what did you use for a 
mailing list? 

Kirshenbaum: [laughs] Gosh, I don t know. Somehow, I don t know. 

Harlan: Could you have gotten a hold of the list of the Book Club of 
California? 

Kirshenbaum: Yes, that was it. Yes, 1 started with the Book Club, and 
then I started reading a monthly list of antiquarian book 
sales. And I picked up a lot of names there, so I had a 
whole list. I knew which booksellers were expert in 
children s literature . 

Harlan: Yes, and you would send them a catalog. 
Kirshenbaum: Right. 

Harlan: Do you remember how- many copies of the catalog you had 
printed? 

Kirshenbaum: Maybe five hundred, not very many. 
Harlan: How did the sales go? 

Kirshenbaum: They went gangbusters. They really did, because they were 
really wonderful, and the prices were so reasonable, and 
they were wonderful books. I still remember Peter Hanff. 
At that time, he was forming his Oz collection. He came 
over and he--and he also had an interest in Chicago 



29 



Harlan: 

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Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

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publishing, and so he came over and snapped up all my Oz 
books. 

You probably- -you may have been conservative in your 
pricing. 

Oh, sure. 

You could have asked for more, but-- 

Oh, yes, but-- 

The family was happy, the Broders? 

Yes, they were very happy. And then--I forget the name of 
that Chicago publisher. 

I think it s Way and Williams. 

Yes, Way and Williams. It was a whole little group in 
there. 

That s right. 

Yes. So that opened my eyes to a whole other thing, which 
was that trade books that were originally trade books could 
have a lot of value, yes. 

So you issued a catalog of children s books and one of 
humor . 

Yes. 

Any others from that collection? 

No, because--! don t think we did any other catalogs because 
then I did things differently because at that point I was 
offering them privately to libraries. My great coup with 
that collection came when Dotsy Broder went into a cupboard 
and brought out a big folder of photographs of "Yo Semite" 
by Carleton Watkins. These were large plate photographs, 
and I gulped when I saw the date, the 1870s. I muttered 
something about needing to investigate more and promptly 
found that these Carleton E. Watkins photographs had great 
value, especially those of Yosemite. This was just at the 
time that photographia started to skyrocket. I sold it 
privately to the University of Arizona photo collection for 
$14,000. The Broders were very pleased and we even had a 



Harlan: 



30 



champagne toast over the deal. Of course, these days the 
volume would probably be worth at least $400,000. 

Excuse me. The San Francisco Public has a collection. Did 
they have that collection of children s books yet? George 
Fox s father gave to them? 



Kirshenbaum: Yes. 
Harlan: 



So they were interested in children s books. They must have 
gotten some of those books. 



Kirshenbaum: Yes, I think they did, yes. 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
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Harlan: 
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This is Tape 2, Side 1 of the Sandra Kirshenbaum interview. 
We now, I think, have arrived to the genesis of Fine Print. 
You have this interest and background now in dealing with 
rare books and older books and some finely printed books, 
and had decided that you want to do more. Why did you 
decide that you should try for a periodical, considering the 
investment of time and money that you d have to put into it? 
Or didn t you realize when you started how much work it 
would be? 

No, I did not realize it at all. 1 guess when I was working 
at the Book Auction and trying to making a shift into being 
an independent bookseller at the same time, I started 
noticing these different kinds of books and that I realized 
that these beautiful books were being made right now. 

It wasn t just old books. 

No. They were wonderful books- -from the Janus Press and the 
University of Iowa and-- 

And locally, too. 

And locally, yes and everything. So I said to myself, in 
my librarian-like way, right?--"Goodness, there s no 
bibliographic control of these books!" [laughs] 

And you were right. 

[laughs] I was right. So I said, "Oh, I must put out some 
kind of publication that will give these books some 
bibliographic description so that there can be proper 
bibliographies of them." 



31 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



We should mention that there was no bibliographic control 
because these were limited editions, most were expensive. 

Exactly. 

So they don t appear in things like CBI [Cumulative Book 
Index] and Publishers Weekly. And some of them aren t even 
copyrighted because of the requirement for deposit of the 
two copies, so they were just sort of lost. 

That s right. 

And the only source I can think of that might have mentioned 
them maybe would be something like The Book Club of 
California Quarterly News-Letter, but it wasn t systematic. 

No, it wasn t. So there was nobody, no bibliographic 
control. So that was my thought. I said, "Gee, here s a 
big gap in the bibliography control. Maybe I could fill it 
with a little newsletter or something that would list all 
the fine books . " 

At this point you were aware of the printers then at work 
outside of the Bay Area, but you probably hadn t met any of 
them, had you? 

That s right. 

And corresponded with them? 

No. 

You just knew they were out there because you had seen their 
books . 

Exactly. There was no network. There was no contact. The 
Grabhorns might not be aware of the books that are being 
produced in Nebraska or Iowa or in Connecticut or whatever-- 
in New York and around. And so-- 

Not only the printers wouldn t be aware, but certainly 
booksellers and librarians would not be aware, and even 
people who thought they were cognoscenti wouldn t be aware. 



That s right. So I saw this huge gap, 
could step in and fill it. 



and I decided that I 



32 



Introductions to Steve Corey. Herb Kaplan, and the Grabhorn- 
Hoyem Press 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
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Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



So you had this modest publication [laughs]. 

Right. And then, of course, my contact with Steve Corey 
stimulated me because he was very interested in fine 
printing and all that. I mean, I had no inkling, really. 

Was he still at the San Francisco Public Library or had he 
moved on to Gleeson by then? 

No. And that was an interesting little episode, too, 
because I applied for a job as a special collections 
librarian at the University of San Francisco. Yes, the 
Gleeson Library, exactly. And they were looking for someone 
to head up their special collections. So I innocently made 
my application, and I was interviewed. But I didn t know 
that Steve Corey had an inside track. 

He certainly did. 

[laughs] Because he was friends with Father [William J.] 
Monihan. And so, you know, he had an easy entree into that 
position. And so I lost out. But meanwhile, he and I 
became friends, so I didn t really begrudge him because I 
could see that he was a fine person for the position. We 
still had made contact over his coming over to the Book 
Auction to see what books I had, and I would go over to the 
Public Library to read their bibliographies so I could learn 
something about how to catalog things. 

I still remember we made a trip by automobile. He and 1 
just went to visit a wonderful bookseller in Sacramento. 
His name was Herb Kaplan. Anyway, we went to visit this 
bookseller and, of course, knowing Steve, on the way we had 
to stop at this wonderful winery to get the pick of this 
special dessert wine, right. And we had to buy a couple of 
bottles of that. So he introduced me to the whole idea of 
collecting wines! [Laughs] 

He was a dangerous person! 

Yes. So I fortunately did not fall for that part. 

Wellor unfortunately. 

His collecting interest. So anyway, we visited Herb Kaplan. 



33 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



And he had quite a collection, right? 

Oh, yes, he had a fabulous collection. He had a lot of 
western Americana, and so my husband was very interested in 
his collections and made some good buys from him. The main 
thing that he had was a virtually complete collection of 
Mining And Scientific Press, which was first published here 
in San Francisco. 

Right, a major, important journal. 

Absolutely important. He offered it for sale to my husband, 
and my husband stupidly turned it down. He thought it was 
too expensive, so he only bought a few copies, and then he 
acquired some other copies from other sources. But that was 
one of his major faux pas. 

Well, we all learn. You can t easily find a complete run 
now. If you did, it would be prohibitively expensive. 

Sure. So anyway, that s how I got to know Herb, Herb 
Kaplan. 

Well, now, you re becoming aware of all of this. Did you 
visit the Grabhorns, or was it Grabhorn-Hoyem then? 



Kirshenbaum: I was aware of the Grabhorn Press. I can t remember if I 

actually visited the press before it became Arion [Press] or 
Grabhorn-Hoyem, even. I think at a certain point it was 
Grabhorn-Hoyem, and that s when I went to visit it. I also 
remember that they had made a wonderful movie about the 
Grabhorns . 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



I don t know that . 

And they showed it at the San Francisco Public Library. 

I wonder where that is, that movie. Hmm. 

I don t know. But it was one of the last things they did. 
And then, of course, one brother died- -I forget whether it 
was Robert or-- 

Ed died first. 

Ed, yes. And then Robert went in with Andrew Hoyem to form 
Grabhorn-Hoyem. 



34 



Harlan: Now, at this point, did you know or visit either Jack 
Stauffacher or Adrian Wilson? 

Kirshenbaum: Well, I knew Adrian Wilson. Of course, I had lost contact 

completely with Jack Stauffacher. I didn t know until later 
that he was still printing and doing wonderful books and all 
that. But because Adrian Wilson lectured at a meeting of 
was it the Book Club of California? 

Harlan: Probably. Would you have been invited to the Roxburghe Club 
of San Francisco, to a presentation? Were women allowed 
yet? 

Kirshenbaum: No, not at that point. That s why we started the Colophon 
Club. So anyway, Adrian Wilson came and lectured about his 
book, about the design of books. He completely captivated 
me. He was a wonderful person. 

Harlan: He was, yes. 

Kirshenbaum: And he was a real inspiration. And he was so cooperative. 

Harlan: He was a very nice person. 

Kirshenbaum: Oh, absolutely. He was very kind and generous. 

Harlan: Yes, yes. His wife, Joyce, was enthusiastic. 

Kirshenbaum: Absolutely. 

Harlan: And generous. 

Kirshenbaum: Yes. 

Harlan: Sometimes a bit intimidating, but that s all right. 

Kirshenbaura: Sure. She was great. She was a personality. 

Harlan: She was a personality, and she had been an actress. 

Kirshenbaum: Yes, I know. I actually saw her whenthis was before I 
knew herwhen she played the Madwoman of Chaillot . 

Harlan: That s right, for the Interplayers. 
Kirshenbaum: Yes. And that s when they got started printing. 
Harlan: It s very interesting. 



Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



35 

It is. 

It all connects somehow. 

Yes. 

So you and Steve are chums, and you visit a place like 
Kaplan s. You become more aware of fine presses- 
Yes. 

And you are still pursuing this idea of some sort of 
control. 

Well, I still remember--we were driving on the highway going 
back home, and I decided to unburden this idea on him and 
see if he thought it was an important idea. I wanted to 
pursue it, but I was very hesitant about this, and I wasn t 
sure it was really needed and that people would want it, so 
I discussed it with him on the drive back. I said, "You 
know, I have this idea about doing maybe a quarterly 
listing, a newsletter about these books." And he said, 
"Wow! That s a great idea! And I ll help you any way I 
can." You know how Steve was. He would be so enthusiastic 
about something. So I said, "Wow! Isn t this great? I 
have a cohort now, someone who really wants to do this." 



Meeting George Ritchie and Linnea Gentry; Starting with $800 



Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



And then Steve Corey introduced me to George Ritchie and 
Linnea Gentry. 

Do you remember where this happened? 

At the--at that time the Grabhorn-Hoyem Press. 

You had gone to visit? 

Yes. 

And they were both working there? 

Yes. Absolutely, yes. I still remember them. They were in 
their early twenties. Very young. I still remember Linnea 
being a very forceful personality. She would wear these 
heavy shoes and go clomping across the floor, being very 



36 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

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Harlan: 
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officious. I think you had to be that way with Andrew 
because he was not easy on women. 

And George was such a circumspect, cautious person. 
Exactly, yes. And the two of them-- 

I think with those threewith Steve and George and Linnea-- 
you had very different personalities. 

Absolutely. 

And it probably presented you with a nice balance because 
they had different perspectives, and they were all valuable. 

That s right, definitely. Because what did I know about 
printing? Nothing. 

And what did they know about bookselling? 

They knew nothing about bibliography, so I was very 
meticulous about the bibliographical control. You will see 
that in the early issues of Fine Print the books are very 
consistently described. 

So did you talk to them at this meeting about this project? 

Yes. And then when Steve said that they were interested, so 
then we all met here in this room. 

This very living room. 

Yes. The three of us got together- - 

This would be what?-- 74, 75? 

No. Maybe it would have been 73. Yes, 73. Or maybe 74. 
Because, you know, then I stopped working as a bookseller 
because I just got really involved in this idea of 
publishing a newsletter about fine printing. So I pretty 
much abandoned my bookselling efforts. But I did have a 
wonderful training with the Broder Collection, and the 
Watkins photographs . 

There weren t very many auction records, but I had read 
about the fact that all these prices for photography were 
going up, and so at a certain point I learned what things 
were going for at that time, just when the photography 
business was just taking off, and so I set a price of 



37 



$14,000, which was an incredibly--! mean, they were just in 
delight, the Broders were. They just loved it. 

Harlan: It was probably snapped up, wasn t it? 

Kirshenbaum: Well, yes, it was snapped up by--and I contacted various 

libraries that I knew had collections, and I sold it to the 
University of Arizona collection at Tucson, where they have 
a fabulous collection of American photography. 

Harlan: Oh, do they? 

Kirshenbaum: Yes. 

Harlan: That s interesting. So I m sure they were glad to get it. 

Kirshenbaum: Oh, yes. 

Harlan: Well, you hear stories about people going to closets and 
pulling out things, but it doesn t happen very often. 

Kirshenbaum: No, it sure doesn t. 

Harlan: It s a nice cap to your career as a bookseller. 

Kirshenbaum: It was absolutely wonderful, of course. And then my share 
of the cost of it--I mean, the selling price, was enough to 
give me a little extra money. 

Harlan: So this was a stimulus for you to say, "I m going to start 
now with this newsletter." 

Kirshenbaum: Well, that was some of it. And then my mother, God bless 

her, she gave me $800 to start Fine Print. She was my first 
patron. She was a wonderful woman. I started very 
modestly. My share of the sale of that collection was not 
that great because I didn t charge them very much. 

Harlan: But it was money you didn t previously have. 
Kirshenbaum: Yes, that s right. 

Harlan: So, okay, the interest was there. You had done some 

reconnoitering, and you decided there wasn t anything like 
what you proposed to do. 

Kirshenbaum: Yes. 

Harlan: You had some extra money. 



38 



Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



Right. 

And you had found these three young, enthusiastic people to 
help you put out the newsletter. 

Exactly, yes. 

How could you not go ahead and do it? 

That s right, yes. 

Well, that s interesting. So we re now at this threshold of 
a new world. You don t really have any idea of how much 
work it s going to entail or how much it s going to cost? 

That s right. 

So were those factors in your starting out with this modest 
size? 

Absolutely, yes, because--! mean, how could you have big 
plans? I only wanted to do a little newsletter. In fact, 
Fine Print was originally called "a newsletter." We did 
these little bibliographic descriptions of these fine books, 
which somehow--! can t remember exactly how I managed to get 
people to send them to me. 

Right, because then we get into production aspects of this. 
If you re going to review fine-press books, you have to see 
them. 

Absolutely. 

You can t afford to buy them. 

That was one thing we said, was the only way you can get a 
review in Fine Print is to send us a copy. 

And were these usually returned to the printers? 

Yes. And then we promisedwell, first of all, we promised 
to return them if they were not reviewed. We made sure that 
we wouldn t think that we were trying to gobble up fine- 
press books and then not review them, so any book that we 
did not review, we would send back. 

But then the question is: How did you get into the network 
with all of these fine printers? How did you get in the 
list of fine printers? 



39 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Well, it was very slow going. But, you know, I made 
contacts with people like Clair Van Vliet early in her 
career, when she had just done a very few books. She did 
one that was The Bucket Rider by Franz Kafka. 

So anyway, somehow I made contacts with, well, people 
like Adrian Wilson, who knew where people were doing 
printing, and then I still remember going to the Book Club 
and talking about my idea, and George Harding was there. 

The venerable George Harding? ! 
Yes! He was very skeptical. 

Well, he was cautious remember, he was a treasurer of a 
large corporation, so he was used to saying "No!" [laughs] 

Right. So he tried to squelch me, really, because he said, 
"Oh, what do you think you re going to do?" He says, 
"You ve got a tiger by the tail." Quotes. I mean, that s 
exactly what he said, "You ve got a tiger by the tail." But 
I said, "Gee, I don t know. It s no tiger. I m just going 
to have this little newsletter that s going to do 
bibliographic descriptions of fine books." So my ambitions 
were not great, and I had no idea of the broader picture of 
book artsprinting, typography, type design, book binding, 
paper making, calligraphy. 

These things you all moved into eventually. 
Yes. 



Process and Content for Early Issues of Fine Print 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 



Well, okay. And, of course, I suppose George and Linnea and 
Steve would have had awareness of other fine presses, just 
because they were all interested in this. So you decided 
that this was to be called Fine Print. Was it subtitled, A 
Newsletter"? 

Yes, A Newsletter for the Arts of the Book. 

And you decided that well, maybe how much copy you had. 
Also, perhaps, you were trying to control costs. There 
would not be a lot of pages; it would be eight pages to 
begin with. 



40 



Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 



Right. The four of us then met as a group. 

And you had a table with these books on the table, and you d 
review them, right? 

We would do editorial work. We d just get out a card table 
and we d go over to Linnea s houseoh, where was she living 
then? She was living with her first husband in a house--oh, 
I don t remember exactly where it was. But anyway, we can 
find that out easily enough. We just set up a card table 
there, and we would be going over things that we wanted to 
put in the magazine. 



Was it kind of by consensus? 
review this book" or-- 



You d say, "We don t want to 



We were very undiscriminating. Any book that came in that 
wanted to be listed, we would do it, so that led us, really- 
-and then we started being more selective. We had selected 
press booksbecause frankly some of the first books that 
came in were really hideous . 

[ laughs ] 

And it was very embarrassing, then, and that was one thing 
that we did almost from the beginning, was that we were very 
critical of the printing and all that. 

Okay. I m looking here at an early issue. I see this is 
Volume 2, Number 1, 1976. And you already have a lead 
article which is about artistic bookbinding of Philip Smith 
by Eugenie Candau. 

Yes, artist of the book. 

With black-and-white photographs, so you ve already become 
ambitious. 

Absolutely, yes. 

And you ve got an article here on French bookbinders and 
news from European presses. 

Right . 

And letters to the editor already, sometimes complaining, 
and "Recent Press Books," and "Works in Progress." 



Kirshenbaum: Yes. 



Al 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 



So already you obviously have a network of information. And 
"Shoulder Notes," which is sort of chatty. 

Then we had "Corey s Queries," too. 

And "Reference Shelf," you know? It s already become much 
more than just a review of fine-press books, although that 
certainly is the focus. 

Yes. 

So within one year, this whole thing has exploded, really. 

Right. 

It may be that what you found was that all these people out 
there were eager to be noted and quite willing to cooperate 
with you. 

Absolutely, yes. That was wonderful. And I still remember 
that among the first printers that I got in touch with was 
Clair Van Vliet, and she was very cooperative. She sent me 
these wonderful booksand without knowing who I was at all. 
I mean, I could have just swallowed them up, you know? And 
she trusted me. And then the other person who was very 
helpful was Harry Duncan. He just automatically sent me 
these wonderful books that he printed. 

Was he in Omaha, or was he in Iowa? 

Well, I know he left the Cumminston Press in New England. 
He would have gone to Iowa first, I think, and then gone to 
Nebraska. 

Okay. So you already have Clair Van Vliet, who was and is 
one of the leading fine printers, who was eager to 
participate. 

Right. 

You had Harry Duncan, who was kind of an elder statesman, 
really, of the whole movement. 

Yes. 

And I think probably the word just got around, don t you 
think? 



42 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Oh, sure. I think they were starved for attention. I mean, 
they couldn t really--they had no place to advertise or sell 
their books, and we provided them with a venue for recording 
what they had produced. 

Yes. We should probably at this point talk about the- -well, 
it s more than a convenience; it s an asset that Andrew 
Hoyem was involved with you in the printing. 

Yes, absolutely. That was a wonderful thing. 
He had just really started his own career, I think. 
Well, of course, he- 
Bob Grabhorn died I forget when-- 

I think he died in the early seventies [June 14, 1973], 
which was just when I was trying to start Fine Print. It 
was really--you know, of course, George and Linnea were 
there. So I engaged Andrew as the printer. He actually 
designed the first issue, which was a wonderful thing. I 
still love that wonderful ornament that he put right in the 
corner. 

II 

And he used these wonderful incline capital letters, 
designed by an Englishman named John Peters. 



[tape interruption] 

Harlan: Okay, go ahead. 



Kirshenbaum: 



And then he had a Goudy ornament right in the middle, 
between the two words, Fine Print. And it was just a smash. 
It was a wonderful design. So I think a lot of people, 
especially if they knew anything about letterpress printing 



or-- 

[tape interruption] 
Harlan: Okay, go ahead. 



Kirshenbaum : 
Harlan: 



Okay. 

If you can remember where we were! We were talking about 
the first issue and how very attractive it was. 



43 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 
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Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Yes. Anyway, I should say that my vision was very limited, 
and it was only with the help of Linnea and Steve and George 
that I opened my eyes to this wonderful world. They really 
showed me the path. 

Did you decide from the beginning that it should be a 
quarterly? 

Yes. 

Okay. I m just curious now. You set up a budget for the 
first year, or how did you work that? Or was it sort of 
just issue by issue? 

It was issue by issue. 

So Andrew gave you a budget, how much it would cost to 
print. 

Yes. And Andrew was very lenient. 
Because the pricing- 
Yes, he was. And so--you know, he didn t charge us too 
much. Then later on, of course, he had to raise his prices, 
and then when he did that, I just couldn t handle it, 
really. That was when Linnea took over and started printing 
it herself. 

The banner of each of the issues is different. 

Yes. 

Was that Andrew s idea? 

Geez, I can t remember whose idea it was. But whatever, we 
started out having a different designer, actually, for each 
issue. Different people were invited to design different 
issues. And that became very cumbersome and difficult. 

But it was a distinctive feature. 

I know, but still, we couldn t maintain that because, of 
courseespecially if you were doing Linotype. You know, 
you had to reset everything, and it just was untenable, so 
eventually we just restricted ourselves to having the 
graphic artists, printers, whatever designing the cover, and 
we maintained the design inside the same, which was actually 
designed by Linnea Gentry. 



44 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 



So at the end of the first year, you had four issues out. 
You found that there were plenty of books to review. 
There s interest. How about subscribers? Did you have as 
many as you wanted? 

Well, it was almost instantaneous. I mean, the response to 
it was amazing. And all of a sudden, people were saying, 
"Oh, we ve been needing this for a long time," and they were 
so happy that we--we were happy, too, that they were very 
receptive. 

Did you count on word of mouth, or had you sent out PR 
material, the solicitations? 

Well, we did. We sent out solicitations, and we used 
various mailing lists--! guess, the Book Club of California. 
Even then, I guess we got some other mailing lists. I think 
the Guild of Bookworkers and so on. 

Did you find interest on the part of libraries? 

You know, it was a little tough to get into libraries. 

It takes a while, yes. 

Because they are very leery of these publications that pop 
up and then flop. 

[laughs] Yes, the processing is expensive. 

Yes. Finally, we got a good review from the fellow who was 
doing magazine reviews, and his name escapes me now. But he 
was doing magazine reviews. 

I think that was Bill Katz. Does that sound familiar? 

Yes. In Library Journal. And so he gave us a very 
favorable review, so that was how we started getting an 
entree into various libraries. 

So it sounds to me like at the end of the first year you had 
reason to be proud of what you had done and satisfaction, I 
should think. 



Kirshenbaum: Yes. 



45 



Exoandine the Size and Scope of Fine Print 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 



And so we move on from this little eight-page-per-issue 
review, and new features are added, as we mentioned, so that 
it becomes more than just a source of reviews of new fine- 
printed books. 

Right. It attempts, really, to integrate all the book arts. 

Right, right. I ve got a note here that-- just a minute 
[goes through papers]. I m looking at my notes, and I find 
that starting with Volume 2, Number 4--no, Volume 1, Number 
2 it went from eight to ten pages . 

Yes. 

And with Volume 3, Number 1 it went to twelve pages. 

Yes. 

And with Volume 3 , Number 3 it went to fourteen pages . 

Yes. 

And in that issue, with a four-page insert of the 
calligraphy of Stephen Harvard, it s in two colors. 

Right . 

So this was a big step forward. This is not cheap. 

Well, you know, Steve Harvard was a wonderful person. He 
had this idea of writing an article, and he wanted to have 
it well illustrated, so he arranged I can t remember now if 
he actually printed it at the Stinehour Press. He was a 
great inspiration right from the beginning. 

That s interesting. Then I have a note that with Volume 4, 
Number 4 it went to eighteen pages . 

Yes. 

So within four volumes it s gone from eight to eighteen. 
This indicates that you re reviewing more books and you have 
other coverage as well. It s expanded. 



Kirshenbaum: Right. 



46 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



I notice also that you quickly move and I think this was 
important to youfrom a provincial coverage. It s not even 
American. You re trying to get international coverage. 

Right . 

So I notice with Volume 3, Number 2 that you have an article 
on German expressionism and also an article called "Some 
Thoughts on Expressionism" by Claire Van Vliet. 

Yes. 

I think these are crucial steps, and also the final 
indication maybe of coming to age is that with Volume 5, 
Number 1 you go to the new, enlarged format. 



presume, more possibility for more 



Right . 

Which also gives, I 
elaborate covers. 

Illustrations. 
Yes, illustrations. 



And more elaborate covers and more illustrations. You know, 
at that time, I was heavily criticized because people liked 
the small format, and they d say, "Why are you going to a 
larger size? We don t like that." But I felt that was the 
best way in order to maintain the costs at a relatively low 
rate because, obviously, you could print more stuff on 
larger pages, and you wouldn t have to pay for multiple 
runs. You know what I mean? Do you understand what I m 
saying? 

Yes, yes, because you were also expanding the coverage, so 
this was a good thing, to get more type on a page. Because 
paper is expensive. 

Yes, right. 

And I notice also that in the early issues you used staples. 

Yes. 

That must have been a cause of some anxiety, too. 

Oh, wow. They really turned out to be the wrong thing to do 
becausebut I couldn t afford to have any sewn bindings at 



that time--a lot of those staples have rusted, and the back 
issues have got rust stains on them, which is very 
unfortunate. But, you know, I couldn t afford anything else 
at that time. 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



Yes. 

I would have loved to have sewn bindings, but-- 

So did you ever have sewn bindings? 

Never. We always stapled them. That would have been a very 
great expense. Of course, we were looking at it--I mean, we 
wanted to do it, just like we wanted to get away from 
letterpress and get into offset printing at a certain point 
because we just felt like it was going to be too expensive 
to maintain the letterpress, and it was getting scarcer and 
scarcer and more expensive. 

Do you remember what the subscription cost was to begin 
with? 

I think it was eight dollars. 

And do you also remember whether at the end of, let s say, 
the first and second years, you calculate that you had 
broken even or even made a profit, or was it subsidized in 
the sense that it wasn t breaking even? 

Fine Print never made enough money. 
Really? 

It was always subsidized. Many times it was my money that 
went into it, or our money. I don t know if it ever could 
have been profitable. 

That s a very interesting statement because it says so much 
about the nature of periodical publication. 

Right, at least at that time, at that specialized content-- 
because, as I say, a lot of people never understood what it 
was about, you know? I mean, what are book arts? They 
didn t know. 

Can you remember what the run was to begin with, how many 
copies you printed? 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



I think it was about five hundred, eight hundred. Then it 
went to a thousand. And then it stayed there until we 
started getting the library subscriptions and so on. Then 
it went, I think, up to eighteen hundred. And then it sort 
of stalled. And at that point was when I wanted to do a big 
promotion. By that time, it was the early nineties, and I 
wanted to get off of letterpress and do a big promotion, do 
offset printing. Steve Harvard was trying to help me to do 
that, but then, of course- 
He would have used the facilities of Stinehour? 

Yes. And then unfortunately he died, and so we were kind of 
left out in the swamp, trying to make our way through. 



All Volunteers: Regular Staff and Outside Reviewers 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 



You started with your three associates, and you were sort of 
the editorial board. How long did that structure last 
before people went their own ways or you added new people 
or- -of course, they were not paid, were they? They were 
volunteers. 

No. 

No one was paid, I presume. You certainly weren t paid. 

No, I certainly wasn t. 

Andrew was paid. 

Yes. The printers and the paper and the people and the 
typesetting and all thatthat was paid. But I never--! 
mean, I did have employees at a certain point, four of them, 
actually. 

But that was later, wasn t it? 

Yes. And, you know, I had to offer them health benefits and 
do all that sort of thing. It was just too much of a burden 
for a small circulation. 

Well, that s always a problem. It s constantly a problem 
with book publishing, too. I remember reading an article by 
a woman who was a major editor with a major press, saying 
that to publish new poetry in this country was suicidal. 



49 



Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 



And she said that if a commercial printer published a book 
of poetry, a new book of poetry by a relatively unknown 
poet, he would be lucky to sell five hundred copies. 

Right . 

Well, you can t possibly break even with that. 

No, that s right. 

I also noted recently in the Times Literary Supplement that 
Oxford University Press has stopped publishing new poetry. 
They just said they can t afford it. 

Yes. That s why they re going to small presses now. 

But then the problem is how do they get the word out? How 
do they find an audience also? 

I don t know. The whole poetry business seems really--! 
guess I d call it quixotic, you know? But somelike some 
of the writers that I had that did poetry that we reviewed, 
like Tom Gunn and Seamus Heaney and all those- -they were 
wonderful poets. The fact that we reviewed them was all due 
to the fact that the fine printers were on the lookout for 
good work, and they were willing to publish these limited- 
edition books. 

Did you have the impression from looking at a lot of fine 
press books, even early on, that there was a lot of dreck 
there, bad stuff? And you wonder why on earth it was even 
printed? 

Right, yes. You know, there was, like, an emphasis on these 
old chestnuts. 

That s right, which has always been the lodestone of fine 
presses. 

Yes. 

Over and over and over again. 

Yes. And there are certain poets that they liked to beat 
over the head, I guess, sometimes, like Sonnets from the 
Portuguese. That was one favorite one. 

Yes. And there was an earlier period when everyone was 
printing [The] Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. 



50 

Kirshenbaum: Right. 

Harlan: And Rudyard Kipling--you know, these trends would occur. 

So it doesn t take long, then, for Fine Print to get an 
audience. 

Kirshenbaum: Yes, and we discovered that there was very good literature 
and poetry being printed in limited editions. 

Harlan: And to have cooperation from printers and others to help you 
make a go of it. And the same way you found fine presses 
you weren t aware of, you had to find reviewers- - 

Kirshenbaum: Right. 

Harlan: --because your own staff simply- -well, couldn t keep it up, 
and you probably wanted more input. 

Kirshenbaum: Yes. 

Harlan: As you found small presses and contacted them, you somehow 

got a list in your mind of good reviewers for these various, 
different kinds of books? 

Kirshenbaum: It is amazing that I really-- 

Harlan: So you were amazed, too? 

Kirshenbaum: Oh, yes. 

Harlan: [laughs] 

Kirshenbaum: I don t know how it did it, really. I mean, you know, these 
wonderful reviewersthey just came to me, and they said, 
"Oh, I d like to do a review for you." People like Robert 
Bringhurst and Doris Grumbach. 

Harlan: Yes. You didn t pay them, did you? 

Kirshenbaum: No. Very little, if anything. Sometimes, if they d like to 
review a book, they would get a copy of it, and that would 
be it. I mean, I m ashamed to say that we never could 
afford to pay anybody, really, of our reviewers. 

Harlan: Yes, and they wouldn t even get a book, would they, if 
they re just writing an article for you? 

Kirshenbaum: Right. 



51 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



But they were probably eager to do it, quite willing. 
Yes. 

But then, again, the question is: How did you know that 
there was an author out there who could do an article that 
would be acceptable and that you wanted for Fine Print! You 
must have had tentacles all over the place. 

Yes, I kept my eyes very open, and I was always looking at 
who was lecturing about what and who was publishing this or 
that. That s how I found the people. I really--! don t 
even know how I did it, but somehow- 
Well, you did it because you made yourself aware. But it s 
my experience that a reviewer doesn t usually suggest 
someone else to review. It just doesn t work out that way 
very well. So it must have been sort of lonely work for 
you, just out there all the time, beating the grass to see 
what s out there . 

Well, I wouldn t say it was lonely because I met wonderful 
people that way. 

Well, but you had to make the initial contact. 
Yes. [phone rings] Whoops. 



52 



III SPECIAL ISSUES AND THE HEYDAY OF FINE PRINT 
[Interview 2: April 30, 1999] 

Surveys of Foreign Fine Printing 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 



Okay, this is Friday, April 30. We re going to continue 
talking about editing. I thought we would start with a 
discussion of the issues that concentrated on foreign 
countries: Germany, the Netherlands, Czechoslovakia. I 
think there were also cases where you did surveys of fine 
printing in different countries and that sort of thing. 

We also had a special British issue, where we featured 
British fine presses. 

I think I remember, one of the issues you had an article on 
a man named Juan Pascoe in Mexico? 

Oh, yes. 

He s quite interesting. 
Very. 

He sent Jack Stauffacher a book that he had printed. Maybe 
it was on Juan Pablos? 

Yes. 
Beautiful. 

Yes, well, you know how he came to have those skills was 
that he studied with Harry Duncan in Nebraska and became a 
disciple of Harry Duncan. 

How on earth did he end up--did he go there to do that? 



53 

Kirshenbaum: Yes, he did. I think he went to school. That is, he 
studied in America, I guess to perfect his English or 
something, and then he got swept up with Harry Duncan, and 
Harry Duncan was his inspiration for having his own printing 
press. 

Harlan: He must have had some money, then, or support of some sort. 

Kirshenbaum: I guess. I don t know. I never delved into his financial 
things . 

Harlan: Did you ever meet him? 

Kirshenbaum: Yes, yes, I did. I met him first when they had the Art of 
the Book Conference in Omaha. That was where I met him. 

Harlan: Well, anyway, the one piece of his work that I ve seen is 
quite ambitious. My goodness! I think he lives and has 
this press in this remote little village somewhere in 
Mexico. 

Kirshenbaum: Right. 

Harlan: Well, it s an idyllic life, unless it isn t. It s one of 
the two . 



The Czech Issue. January 1987 

Harlan: Okay, let s move on then, starting with the Czech issue. 
Kirshenbaum: Yes. 

Harlan: Which appeared in January 1987. I personally think this is 
perhaps your tour de force in that medium. It s just so 
unexpected, such a surprise. It must have landed like a 
bomb because we in the west knew so little about what was 
going on in Czechoslovakia. 

Kirshenbaum: Exactly. 

Harlan: And a lot was going on. 

Kirshenbaum: Right. 

Harlan: So how did you start this? 



Kirshenbaum: 



Well, I ll tell you. I had a very nice friendship with 
James Frazer, library director at Fairleigh Dickinson 
University in New Jersey. He and his wife dealt a lot with 
eastern European literature, and so he was my inspiration 
for that. 



[tape interruption] 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



We re going to go back and start with the Czech issue again, 
which appeared in January 87. It s a very distinctive 
issue if for no other reason than the cover. Now, one of 
the people involved in this, beside from all these Czechs, 
was Paul Hayden Duensing. 

Absolutely, yes. 

He keeps appearing in the material I look at. Tell us a 
little bit about him if you can. How did you get to know 
him and so on? 

I guess I might have met him also at the Art of the Book 
Conference in Nebraska, which was kind of a landmark 
occasion, where book people got together for the first time 
and discussed things like beautiful books, fine printing, 
and type founding, and all the attendant arts. I think that 
was where I first met him. He is a remarkable person. 

Do you keep in touch with him? 

No, I haven t lately. So he was in Germany for a while, 
where he attempted to set up a museum of metal type and 
typography. 

Was he German? 



Kirshenbaum: No. 



Harlan: 



American. 

Yes. I don t know that he had any connection in any other 
country, but he was very interested in Germany and in 
eastern Europe, so he was very instrumental in many of the 
things that we did. For example, he was able to get this 
special type-- 

This one right here. 



55 



Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



Yes. Menhart Roman and Italic, designed by Oldrich Menhart. 
So he was very valuable to me in my efforts to expand our 
coverage into other countries. 

In this issue, he also wrote an article on Menhart. 

Exactly. 

Which was used in the articles on Czechoslovakia. 

Right. And it s very rare to be able to get that. 

Now, did you have any trouble while you were doing this 
communicating with these Czech people in what was then 
Communist Czechoslovakia? Do you remember? I m just 
talking of correspondence and such. 

I don t recall any trouble. No, I think they were fine, and 
they were pleased to communicate. They were very proud of 
their work. I don t think the government tried to interfere 
with them in any way that I know of. 



Well, it s not apparent to me. 
subtle. 

Yes. 



If they did, it s pretty 



But what this article shows is that even during the 
occupation by the Germans and then the Russians, there was 
still this flourishing art, and I don t think we in the West 
realized that. 

No, that s right. 

So it was a real revelation. 

Yes. I think especially the works of these important 
graphic artistsyou know, Vojtech Preissig, I think I d 
heard of Preissig before, and Frantisek Kupka and Frantisek 
Bilek and Jan Preisler, Josef Vachal, and Tomas Vlak. Those 
graphic artists were not really known at all in the West. I 
guess the exception was Preissig, because he did some 
designs. 

He actually lived in this country for a while. Do you 
recall what kind of reception this issue had? Were people 
particularly interested? I m just curious whether or not 
you had much response. 



56 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 



No, I didn t really have much response. I would gladly have 
published response! But, you know, frankly--! mean, Fine 
Print subscribers were surprisingly placid. They seemed to 
accept anything I threw their way. 

Oh, that s because you were so successful. 

Well, I suppose. I m not sure. But anyway, they never 
complained about, "Oh, why did you do this issue on these 
crazy Czechs?" or "What are you doing with all this German 
stuff" and "Give me the good old American press" and all 
that. No, they never did that. You know, mostly the kind 
of argument we had in Fine Print was over a particular 
printer and what his style or her style was, and someone 
would object to it. For example, we had a lot of argument 
over Richard Bigus s work and that of Roswith Quadflieg in 
Hamburg . 

I was thinking particularly of people not agreeing with the 
reviewers more than with the book. There s Jack 
Stauffacher s Phaedrus , which generated-- 

Which was the first really, you know, major brouhaha we had. 
And then we had to find counter- arguments because it was 
just a brutal review. I was really sorry because I really 
admired the work, and I was very fond of Jack, and I just 
hated to publish it, but what could I do? When I ve asked 
someone to review, that was one of my rules, was that I 
would never prohibit an expression of opinion about a book 
once I had chosen a reviewer, and that was it. And so if 
the result was not quite what I wanted, I never tried to 
change it or anything. 

Yes . I think the controversy about the Phaedrus was the 
two-page layout, with one of the dialoguers on the right and 
one on the left. 

Right. 

As I recall, the reviewer, who was a classicist, made some 
cogent points. They were points of view, however. It s not 
right or wrong. 

Sure. 

And I think some of the responses presented the other point 
of view. That book is still controversial in that regard, I 
think, but most people think it s a masterpiece. 



57 



Kirshenbaum: 



Well, my impression that the way Jack solved the problem of 
repeating the name of whoever is speaking in the dialogue 
and then another name, another name, another name 



[tape interruption] 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 



Yes, he devised this idea of eliminating from the dialogue 
the names of the people speaking. He really invited you to 
read across the gutter, and therefore he could present a 
dialogue without an annoying succession of names or initials 
or whatever they used. I think he found that solution by 
going back and seeing some original Greek manuscripts, which 
he also documented in a separate booklet, so that was quite 
a scholarly feat. 

I remember the initial response to the review was by John 
Windle. It wasn t very effective because he was emotionally 
in high dudgeon. He was very indignant, but he wasn t 
really talking very much about the book. But subsequent 
comments, I thought, really did provide a balance to the 
review. 

Yes. 

Now, talking about this kind of controversy, you mentioned 
earlier that Abe Lerner had very strong opinions about 
things . 

Absolutely. So when we ran a review by Robert Bringhurst of 
the work of a German publisher and printer, Wolfgang 
Tiessin, and he was not pleased at all. This instigated an 
argument about the quality of the typography. He pointed 
out some very good points about the styles of the books and 
the illustrations and said that they were kind of uniform 
typographically, so not necessarily appropriate, and that 
was what his argument was . 

But Abe disagreed? 
Yes. Oh, sure. 

And I thought he waswell, he s a very useful voice just 
generally in the field, and he certainly has things of 
interest to say. 



Kirshenbaum: Yes. 



58 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Were there times there must have been times when the 
printer wasn t happy with the review and let you know, 
that true? The printer of a book? 



Is 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 



You mean as opposed to the author of a book, or the designer 
of a book? 

Yes, yes. I don t know whether it was the Arion Press s 
Moby Dick he reviewed? 

No, it wasn t. There were two reviews, one by Stuart C. 
Sherman, the other by William Everson. But I think the 
principal criticism of the reviewer was that Andrew had not 
allowed enough freedom to the illustrator. 

Oh, the Barry Moser illustrations, which were just artifacts 
except for thatwell, that great initial letter, and 
there s also a dramatic picture of a whale breaking. 

Yes, that was, I think, a just criticism. The thing is, 
though, that Herman Melville, himself, put a lot of emphasis 
on the tools of whaling and all that, and so I could see why 
Andrew would have chosen to have had a very strict adherence 
to illustrating that sort of thing, rather than trying to 
get into the emotions that ran behind, because it s very 
hard to do illustrations to do justice to such heavy hatred 
and emotional- 
It s irrational [laughs]. 
Right . 
A little hard to depict. 

Yes, very hard to illustrate. I mean, I think he may have 
made a wise decision in that case. But anyway, the 
reviewers didn t like it. So I had to publish it anyway. I 
went ahead, and I think I earned Andrew s enmity or 
something with that review, because he was very proud of the 
book. 

Well, I suppose the printer with a book like that regards it 
as his baby, you know. 

Well, sure. 

And you don t like your babies to be criticized. 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 



59 



Of course not. In a way, we were trying to achieve a 
certain maturity of the fine-press movement by saying, you 
know, let yourself be reviewed. Go out into the world. 
Don t just sit on your books. You know, most printers--f ine 
printers, anywaywould just sit on their books or tuck them 
under the bed or something. So marketing was a very big 
problem for them because they had no idea how to do it. 
Andrew was, I think, rather more efficacious than others in 
publicizing and selling his books. 

I think he was, too, yes. I once told him he was in danger 
of becoming a John Henry Nash [laughs]. 

I could see that. 

I said it jokingly [laughs]. Didn t work. 

Let s go back to the foreign issues. Just one more 
thing about the Czech issue, if I can here. Where did I put 
it? [going through papers] Yes, there it is. I noticed in 
the Czech issue and also in the German issue that there are 
these ads, these full-page ads from book dealers. This one 
in the Czech issue--Brill of Leiden--has a whole list of 
Czech bibliophile editions. And it s a major ad. 

Yes, and who knew about these dealers? 

Yes, so it seems to me that this issue must have started a 
kind of revival of interest in what was going on and what 
had been going on in Czechoslovakia, and it seems to me 
that s a very important function of a journal like Fine 
Print. 



Kirshenbaum: Yes. 



The German Issue. April 1986; Visiting Renata Raecke and 
Other Book People in Germany, 1986 



Harlan: Okay. Now, on to Germany. The German issue appeared before 
the Czech issue, in April of 1986. I asked you where you 
got the initial idea, and you said it was from a person you 
knew named James Fraser, and he was where? What university? 
I think you said Fairleigh Dickinson. 

Kirshenbaum: Fairleigh Dickinson in New Jersey. 



60 

Harlan: Did you just happen to know him or did you meet him at a 
conference or what? Do you remember? 

Kirshenbaum: Oh, I don t know. I can t remember what our initial 
meeting 

Harlan: But he put this germ in your head, the idea of doing a 
German edition. 

Kirshenbaum: Yes. 

Harlan: Now, that s a first, too, because I can t think of any other 
bibliophilic source that paid any attention to Germany, 
particularly since the end of World War II. 

Kirshenbaum: Right. 

Harlan: So he must have suggested to you, then the question is: Do 
you think he suggested Renata Raecke to you? 

Kirshenbaum: Yes. 

Harlan: Who was in Germany. 

Kirshenbaum: Right. She lived in Pinneberg. 

Harlan: West Germany, I suppose. 

Kirshenbaum: Yes. 

Harlan: So she made some suggestions, and you worked up kind of an 
agenda. 

Kirshenbaum: Yes. 

Harlan: Well, one can look at the table of contents to see what the 
result is, but it s quite comprehensive. It talks about 
book artists and fine printing in general, book design in 
the Federal Republic of Germany, sources for the book arts 
in Germany 

Kirshenbaum: Right, and I m especially proud of this article on Anna 
Simmons because she was absolutely one of the finest 
calligraphers and letter forms artists anywhere in the 
world. She designed letter forms really, I put her on a 
par with Eric Gill. 

Harlan: Really? 



61 



Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 



Yes. 

So when this article was written, was she dead or was she 
still with us at that time? 

No, I think she had died. 

And so you re particularly fond of this article because it 
kind of revived an interest in her? 

Exactly. And I think a lot of people know about Eric Gill, 
but not many people knew about Anna Simmons. 

Now, I notice in your correspondence with Renata that you 
mentionthis is early onthis is one of those 
serendipitous things that you met Hermann Zapf at Adrian 
and Joyce Wilson s house and talked about this issue, and he 
suggested Walter Wilkes? 

Wilkes, yes. 

That s probably a useful contact, wasn t it? 

Absolutely, sure. 

So this germinates with these suggestions and other things, 
and what you come out with is a very ambitious issue on a 
subject that had not been covered in English, as far as I 
know, at all. 

Right . 

Now, again, the name of Duensing comes up because he helped 
you with translations. 

Right . 

Did you have trouble finding people who could really 
translate into good English from German? 



Kirshenbaum: Gee, I don t think I did, but I can t remember who did the 
translations, but I thought they were all pretty good. I 
had to do a lot of copy editing for those because, of 
course, whoever did the translations didn t do a perfect 
rendition of English, so lots of times I had to go back and 
refine it a little bit so that it would come out sounding 
like it had been written in English. 



62 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



And that s a problem. But I did notice in the 
correspondence that Duensing did help you with some of that, 
so he must have known German. 

Yes, he did. Yes, he was a very important person. 
He also knew the German scene. 

Yes. In fact, he went to Germany. He tried to set up a 
museum of type foundries and so on, typefounding and metal 
type production and all that. Ultimately, he had to come 
back because he didn t succeed in his endeavor. 



Harlan: 



Well, that s interesting, 
guess. 



I m not totally surprised, I 



[tape interruption] 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 



Now, in the middle of all this, you and your husband decide 
to go to Germany. Do you remember? 

Yes, yes. 

This would be the winter of 85. So you went to England to 
a letterpress printers conference and ended up in Europe- - 
all over the place. So you did meet Renata in Germany then? 



Kirshenbaum: Yes, yes. 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



Was she a printer or a publisher or a scholar or-- 

I don t think that you could classify her. She had been 
very active after the war in trying to reconcile the Nazi 
era. That was the principal factor that I knew. But she 
was a very fine woman, and she knew a lot about German 
literature and German bookmaking, and so she was very, very 
helpful to me. 

I notice in the correspondence with her that for this issue 
you were trying to review as many German fine presses as you 
could, and you had trouble getting them. And then you had a 
problem getting good reviews of two books. 

Now, Thiessen was the printer whose style Abe Lerner was 
advocating, and then Robert Bringhurst found fault with it. 

Ah, yes. So it must have been a lot of work. At some point 
in the correspondence you mention that this issue was the 



63 



Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 



most expensive issue you had produced. I can see why the 
additional problem of translation, for example 

Of course. 

And others. But one of the most interesting people involved 
in this, although her name had appeared earlier, is the 
printer and artist, Roswitha Quadflieg. 

Yes, which means "four winds." 

[laughs] She was also a novelist, I think. 

Oh, yes, she was a writer, and she wrote several books. One 
was a memoir of her brother who died. Actually, he was a 
twin, and so it was a very--I tried to read it in German. I 
didn t get very far. But that was the sort of thing she 
would writememoirs. And then she would illustrate various 
things that were really--yes, she was a great illustrator. 

And you chose her to do the cover. 

Yes. This is from a dream Roswitha had. In the background 
are two repeats of the seated Goethe, Bettina von Arnim, 
Goethe s longtime correspondent, and above the face of a 
cat. I thought it was a very effective cover. But I know 
Hermann Zapf hated it. [laughter] 

Do you know why? 

Well, it was just too mixed up for him. He liked a lot of 
clarity. 

It s not a typographer s cover. It s an artist s cover. 

Yes. And she was she still is, I trusta very, very 
talented artist. I mean, her engravings were particularly 
her wood engravings oh, I can t even describe them. They 
were so wonderful. 

In going through Fine Print, I noticed that more than one of 
her books were reviewed, with illustrations. 

Right. 

And the illustrations suggest that she was very competent 
putting together a book. 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Absolutely. Very, veryand she had a bookbinder who 
collaborated with her. I ve forgotten his name as well, but 
he was quite a remarkable bookbinder, so many of her books 
ended up with these beautiful leather covers, and they were 
many times stamped leather, and they were just wonderful. 
In fact, I still have some of her books upstairs. 

Oh! Well, that s nice. 

Yes. And when we had our Fine Print devastationyou know, 
we had to sell everything at auction, when things went bad. 
Those were some of the things I rescued from the auction 
heap. 

[laughs] I think that s your right [laughs]. 

I always admired her work. And I m really sorry I ve lost 
touch with her completely. I haven t been in contact with 
her in years, and I really regret it. 

Did you meet her when you were in Germany? 

Yes, yes. I had a very warm welcome from Renata Raecke, and 
then I met with Roswitha, and I met other book people. We 
had a very nice gathering in her home, in Roswitha "s home. 
If I had any qualms about going to Germany and getting 
involved with German people, I lost it all because I 
understood that there were very fine people. 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaura: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



I came to understand the Germans better, and I lost my 
loathing. But anyway, one of the people that was quite 
remarkable that I met at Roswitha s was actually a member of 
the Germany Army who-- 

During the war, or at that time? 

During the war, and had suffered a leg injury, so his leg 
was stiff, and he held it out straight, like that 
[demonstrating] . Oh, I managed to get into a discussion 
with him. I don t think we really mentioned the war 
directly except he told me that he had been at Monte 
Cassini. 

Oh , my . 

Yes. So that was quite remarkable. 



65 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Yes. Did you see much of Germany on this trip, or was it 
pinpointed to business trips? 

No, I tried to see--in fact, then Noel left me, and he went 
on--I think we were there because he had a conference to go 
to or something. I can t remember what the situation was. 
But anyway, then I went- -I met him in Italy- -in Rome, I 
guess it was. So I traveled by myself in a train, and that 
was quite an experience, too. 

When you were in Germany, were you speaking German, or were 
they speaking English, or some combination thereof? 

They spoke a very fine English, and so I didn t have to 
struggle too much. I took a little bit of German, but not 
enough to be able to speak comfortably, and so they were 
very accommodating to me. 



A Letterpress Conference Leads to Contacts in London, 1985 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 



Now, before you went to Germany you were in England. 
Yes. 

A combination of business and pleasure. What kind of 
reception did you have with the English? 

Wonderful, just wonderful, yes. Oh, they were so welcoming. 
It was so wonderful. They were very, very receptive. 

Did you meet John Dreyfus at this point, or had you met him 
earlier? 

No, I think we met him--we had corresponded before, and we 
knew of each other, but then he invited us to his home, and 
that was really an experience. He had this whole wall just 
covered with rare books and beautiful bindings and 
everything. Yes, that was really wonderful. 

And he became a very active member of Fine Print 
subsequently. 

Right, yes. 

Reviewing and editing, as a consultant, I suppose. 



66 



Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Right. Yes, he was a very valued friend. 

Did you meet anyI m trying to think what printers you 
might have met, fine printers, at the time. 

Yes. Well, I distinctly remember one printeroh, they 
lived in Kent, in an old, old--I mean, really ancient 
cottage. 

Sounds uncomfortable in the winter. 

Well, it wasn t really. I can t remember when we went. 

You were there in the fall. 

In the fall. But anyway, he had his own private press, and 
he was a purist. In fact, he was a purist to such extent 
that he didn t consider a printing press as a machine. I 
kind of insulted him at one point because I said- -he showed 
me his wonderful hand press, you know. I forget what kind 
it was. It was one of the good old iron presses. And I 
just--oh, I just stared at it, and I said, "Oh, what a 
beautiful machine." And he had a very testy response. And 
he said, "That is not a machine. That is a tool." 

You learned your lesson, right? 

Absolutely, yes. But they prepared dinner for us and, oh, 
they were just wonderful. I can t remember the name, but 
I m sure I could look it up. 

Well, we can find it, yes. Did you go to any of the big 
book shops in London, like Quaritch s? 

Yes, we did our share of that. 
And Simon Rota. Did you meet him? 

Yes, yes, I did meet Rota. And Colin Franklin. We tried to 
get into these, you know, fancy book shops like Quaritch s 
and so on. Frankly, I felt like they were a little cool. 
They didn t like people to come over-- 

Not just to browse. 

Right. And they wanted us--you know, they wanted to have 
serious collectors coming in, not people who just wanted to 
browse, as you say. And so I had a distinct feeling of 
coolness . 



67 

Harlan: I think that s not unusual. Did you get a chance to visit 
what was then called the British Library, which has 
wonderful early examples of writing. 

Kirshenbaum: Well, I think we did. 

Harlan: The Rosetta Stone, for example. 

Kirshenbaum: Right. Well, we didn t have time to do justice. We might 
have peeked in or something, but we didn t really have time 
to have an intensive visit to that library. 

Harlan: Now, I noticed in the German issue we re talking about, 
there s this report on a seminar in Hamburg by Fernand 
Baudin, who is Belgian, I think, isn t he? 

Kirshenbaum: Yes. 

Harlan: An important man. And I also noticed in your correspondence 
at the Bancroft that you had quite a correspondence with 
him, too. 

Kirshenbaum: Sure. Yes, he was a very inspiring person. He especially 
believed in sort of calligraphy for the masses kind of 
thing. In fact, he wrote a book called Typography on the 
Blackboard. 

Harlan: Was he a calligrapher primarily? Or was that one of his 
interests? 

Kirshenbaum: Well, that was one of his interests. I think he liked 
graphic arts in general. 

Harlan: Did this trip take you to The Netherlands? 

Kirshenbaum: Yes. We went to--not necessarily to The Netherlands, but we 
did go to Belgium, and we enjoyed the wonderful moule that 
they have there. That s one of my memories. 

Harlan: Wonderful? 

Kirshenbaum: Moule, mussels. Oh, boy, they were just delicious, 
incredibly good. 

Harlan: [laughs] 

Kirshenbaum: And then we visited the Plantin Museum there, and that was 
quite an experience because it s so perfect. It just shows 



68 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



you what a real, quote, "printing plant," unquote, was at 
that time. 

It still functions, I think. They ve got people there who 
can do everything. 

Right . 

It is amazing. 

Have you ever been there? 

No, I haven t. 

You should make a pilgrimage. 



The Italian Fine Printing Scene 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



You said you met your husband in Italy later on in this 
trip. 

Yes. 

Now, The Bancroft Library contains in the Fine Print 
archives a tape, an interview you had with Mardersteig 1 s 
son. 

Martino. 

Martino, right. 

That was the Italian issue. 

Did you meet him on this trip? Do you remember? 

No, I don t think so. Yes, I think I did meet him. I went 
to Verona the first time, and then later I went again in, I 
think it was 1990, and they had the exhibition of "The Most 
Beautiful Books in the World," which is a very ambitious 
title. That was a really remarkable exhibition of books 
they had. They catalogued the whole thing, and they were 
going to do other competitions. Then I don t know what 
happened. I guess Martino must have lost his financial 
support. The banks were being very generous to him. You 
know, many Italian banks are noted for their generosity to 
the arts. But then later on, I guess, he lost his funding 



69 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



and so he wasn t able to continue with that program. I 
think they did two or three years of just gathering all the 
most beautiful books they could find and asked people to 
submit them. 

I think probably by the time you went to Italy that Tallone 
was dead. 

Yes. 

Was Richard-Gabriel Rummonds with the Plain Wrapper Press? 

No, I think he had left already. 

Did you get a sense--! mean, as much as you could with this 
brief tripthat the book arts were alive and well in Italy, 
or not? 

No, they were not. I think the three or four people that I 
was able to have conversation withand the principal ones 
were indeed Martino Mardersteig, and in Milan I think there 
was a very fine printer who was into doing artists books, 
and that was really a very avant-garde thing to do at that 
time. And then I visited the president of the Centra Amid 
del Libra (one hundred friends of the book) , which was a 
book collectors organization. It was kind of stuffy, you 
know, based on aristocratic Italian ideas. They 
commissioned handpress printers to produce their books and 
they funded them, like the Book Club of California. Anyway, 
they would not fund anything that was outre or adventuresome 
or anything. They just wanted their same old classics. 

Were they producing Italian chestnuts? 

Yes, that sort of thing, and so that was kind of 
disappointing . 

You know, Rummonds was in- -was he in Verona? 

Yes. 

For--I don t know- -what? --ten years, maybe? 

Right . 

He must have had an international clientele. 



Yes. 



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Because he certainly couldn t have gotten support from just 
one little place like Verona, I don t think. 

Oh, no. He had an international coterie of people who 
admired his books, yes. And I still remember being bowled 
over by one of his books that he sent to me because it had a 
cover with a brass inset by a famous sculptor, an Italian 
sculptor named Pomodoro. It was all abstract forms. It was 
just stunning. Some of his books were really remarkable. 

He went to Alabama at one point. 
Yes, University of-- 

The book arts program there. I can t imagine a more foreign 
place for him to be! 

But he did really well there, and he had his own private 
press there. He had his own studio with presses and 
everything, so I really don t know why he left, but I guess 
he had some feuds with some people there. 

I can imagine. 

And so then he just dropped the whole printing thing and 
went to Hollywood and tried his hand at screen writing. 

I think he lives in Seattle now. 

Oh, does he? 

Yes. 

Well, I don t know. I ve lost touch with him completely. 
That seems to me a great shame that he never really did a 
manual of printing on the hand press because he became very, 
very skilled. You know, he lectured about it and so on, but 
I don t know that he ever produced a book. 

Actually, he did, rather recently: Printing on the Iron 
Handpress (New Castle, Delaware, Oak Knoll Press, 1998). 

Oh, really? 
Yes. 



That shows you how out of touch I am. 
it was published. 



Well, good, I m glad 



71 



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So at least we have salvaged that from his career. Plus 
those wonderful books from Plain Wrapper. My goodness. 

Yes, they were wonderful. And, of course, his complaint 
always was that when he moved to Verona I guess he expected 
that Giovanni Mardersteig would kind of be a mentor for him 
or some kind of guide for him, but he always resented the 
fact that Giovanni would never share his tricks of the trade 
or whatever. 

That is interesting because you had an interview with 
Martino, and he was taking you through the press. 

Yes. 

He was talking about trade secrets. 

Sure. That was another time and another year and another 
generation. 

Right, right. 

But apparently Giovanni was very tight about sharing his 
knowledge of printing on the hand press with anybody else, 
and so then, he didn t leave too much of a legacy when he 
died because he kept everything to himself about his 
wonderful printing. And God, his books are so gorgeous. 
Ah, really, I would love to be a collector of his original 
works. But-- 

I think they re pricey now. 

Very, very pricey. So you can t afford them. At least a 
normal person can t afford them. 



Other Foreign Coverage 



Harlan: 



Did your travels ever take you to Spain? 



Kirshenbaum: No. That s one of the places we ve never been. We d like 
to go to Spain and Portugal. That s our next dream trip. 

[tape interruption] 



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Still on foreign coverage. Now, of course, you re not just 
covering printing; you re covering calligraphy, paper 
making, bookbinding. 

Right. 

One of the topics that you covered was the book arts report 
on Japan, which I think included papermaking. I thought 
that was interesting. And then, of course, we mentioned 
Juan Pascoe and his press, Martin Pescador, in Mexico. 

Right . 

Do you remember any other parts of world, other than Europe 
and America, that were covered? 

Well, we had, as I say, a very nice connection with Osowshi 
Miura in Japan. He was very interested in papermaking. And 
then we had Tim Barnett, who was a remarkable papermaker. 
He s still working now at the University of Iowa. He has 
his own papermill there. He was a very interesting person 
because he wanted to understand the processes of Japanese 
papermaking, as opposed to European or American papermaking. 
So we had some articles by him. I guess that was about the 
extent of our Japanese coverage. Paper, I guess, was the 
main thing. 

Yes. At the end of Fine Print, when you weren t quite sure 
what was going to happen next, you did plan for an issue 
that was never published. 

Right. That was 16:4. 

Yes. I noticed that the tentative list included coverage of 
Hungary . 

Right. And the reason I had that was because I had made 
friends with a Hungarian fellow, Andras Fiiresz, in Seattle, 
and when he saw the Czech issue--and he had been a long-time 
subscriberhe immediately got in touch with me, and he 
said, "Oh, there is wonderful bookmaking going on in 
Hungary, and you must cover it, and I will help you to make 
a special Hungarian issue," you see, because it was a point 
of pride. But anyway- - 

So that was a possibility. 

Right. Well, we started working on it. It was very 
difficult, you know, to get in touch with the Hungarians. 



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He was going to help me, and it would have been a good 
contact, and then we just never were able to pull it off. 

I think also in the agenda for that last issue was an 
intriguing article by Chuck Bigelow. Do you remember that? 

Right. That was one of the few times I went awry with 
Chuck. He wanted to do an article on the typography of 
perfume ads and perfume bottles, sort of like what are the 
favorite letter forms for perfume, and what types did they 
use and all that. It was really very intriguing. I 
immediately took him up on the suggestion. And then later 
on we just weren t able to pursue it because I wanted more 
information about exactly what makes a perfume type. And he 
wasn t able, really, to present any hard information. So we 
just abandoned the whole thing. 

Yes. I thought, actually, that referred to--I was thinking 
of a perfume book. I was thinking- -remember Andrew Hoyem s 
edition of Venus and Adonis? 

Yes. 

When he published it, he put a dollop of Chanel No. 5 on 
each book. 

Yes, I remember that. 

[laughs] Which didn t last long [laughs]. That was a 
favorite to show my classes because they thought it was a 
hoot, particularly since there was no perfume left. It had 
long since evaporated. 

Sure. 

Perhaps an esoteric idea. 

That was one of Andrew s wiggier ideas. 

[laughs] Yes. He s always full of surprises. 

Isn t he, though. He s a very talented person. 

He certainly is. I thought perhaps that Hungarian issue 
might have been triggered in part by the book on Hungarian 
type designer Miklos Kis and Jack Stauf facher s interest in 
him. But that was either earlier or later than that. 



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74 



No, that waswell, that was an important part of Hungarian 
typographic history, and we might well have had another 
article, but we had already covered the Kis [...] thing, so 
I don t know that I was that enthusiastic about more Kis. 
But it might have been interesting to have another angle on 
that. But we just didn t manage to do it. There are so 
many things that I really would have liked to have 
continued, with the international influence. We might have 
done French book design and French typography. But we never 
got to it because it s really a big field. You know, 
coverage of France would be fantastic, would take maybe a 
double issue or something- -because, of course, there s all 
the wonderful artists books that came originallythe whole 
idea, of course, came from France. 

Yes, I think it might have taken a double issue, and you 
would have, perhaps, in dealing with French contributors, 
been dealing with super-sensitivities. 

Oh, absolutely. That was one of the things that sort of put 
me off from trying to cover France because I felt that there 
were a lot of, oh, contentious people there in France, and 
they were very jealous of their tradition, and they wouldn t 
have wanted any coverage of anything that was less than 
favorable. 



Harlan: And their tradition. 
Kirshenbaum: Yes. 
[tape interruption] 



Broadside Roundup" Column. From 198A 



Harlan: 



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Let s talk about a featureone of several that appeared in 
Fine Print which started in 1984, July. It s called the 
"Broadside Roundup." This began as an annual, became a 
biennial, and then, as you say, it just appeared when you 



could get it together! Now, how did this germinate? 
remember? How you decided to try to do this? 



Do you 



Well, at some point or other I was stricken by the fact that 
just as fine printing was being ignored as a bibliographic 
field of endeavor, the same thing occurred when I kept 
seeing these wonderful broadsides that these fine presses 
were producing. I had an urge to try to round them up, as 



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we say, and present them as worthy of a collector s 
attention. 

How did you see these? Did they send you copies, or did you 
see them in shows, or-- 

Very often they would send me their broadsides. And, of 
course, I didn t know what to do with them because you can t 
review them as books, surely. But I think a lot of very 
fine poetry and memoirs and so on were wrapped up in these 
wonderful broadsides. And the combination of graphic art, 
typography, and literature was all there. And so that s why 
I was very attracted to it. 

Yes. One of the things I like about broadsides is that 
they re often whimsical. They re really fun. 

Right. And we had one, actually- -let s see if it s in here 
[going through papers]. Oh, yes. This is a wonderful wood 
engraving from Bieler Press. It shows two rabbits--one kind 
of hunkering down and the other one sitting up, alert. The 
caption on the illustration is "Rabbits Do Not Know What 
They Are" --which I thought was wonderful, a little aphorism 
there. 

That is charming, yes. So your cover statement on the 84 
"Roundup" said you had got 150 submissions from forty-five 
presses for that first "Roundup." And probably you didn t 
have much trouble getting those, did you? 

No, not at all. 

Just the word getting out? 

Well, we put a notice in the magazine. 

This [showing the notice]: "A Neglected American Art Form." 
You included it, I presume, with the magazine? 

Yes. 

And invited people to send in their broadsides, and they 
sure did. 



Yes. 



So the problem probably was logistical. 



76 

Kirshenbaum: It was. It was a nightmare. Ginger was a very important 
person as far as gathering in the--she became kind of 
Broadside editor. We had to gather them all in. 

Harlan: Was that her first name? 

Kirshenbaum: She goes by the name of Ginger, which is her last name. But 
her initials, E. M. Ginger. 

Harlan: Have you kept in touch with her? 

Kirshenbaum: Yes, in a kind of a minor way because she s very busy right 
now. 

Harlan: Is she still on the West Coast? 

Kirshenbaum: Yes, she lives in Piedmont, and she just has been on a new 
job with John Warnock of Adobe Systems. They re doing 
something called Octavo, which is a gathering of all 
important rare books and putting on disc. 

Harlan: That s a very ambitious project. 

Kirshenbaum: It absolutely is, and I just had a chance to speak with him 
when he gave a presentation at the Gleeson Library about his 
project. And that s what she s been really busy with. 

Harlan: How did you go about reviewing? Did you have a committee to 
look at it? Do you remember? Judges? 

Kirshenbaum: Yes, we did. We had judges, yes. We had judges. They 
selected. 

Harlan: And then did you reproduce these in Fine Print? 

Kirshenbaum: As much as we could. We were very limited. We couldn t do 
a lot of color print and so forth. That was a real pity 
because, you know, a lot of the color of these broadsides is 
just a wonderful part of it. But we weren t able to do 
that. 

Harlan: So you started out in 84. You had one in 85 and then, as 
you say, it became occasional. 

Kirshenbaum: Yes. 

Harlan: But there was never a shortage of interest or broadsides, I 
presume, if you dared to call them in! [laughs] 



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No, neverand everybody was so fascinated. They just loved 

them. And I loved them, too. I was really sorry that we 
couldn t maintain it, but honestly, it just got too 

difficult because, don t forget, we also had to return all 

the broadsides that were not reviewed, and that became a 

real drag. And then, of course, we did not pay any of the 

jury or the selectors, whatever you might call it, but they 
got to keep the broadsides they reviewed. 



Other Columns ; Coverage of Bookbinding and Calligraphy 



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We had to drop another feature: "Books in Sheets" because it 
was just too difficult for the printers to inform us ahead 
of time whether they were going to offer sheets or not, and 
there were various other things that we sort of started and 
then had to discontinue. 



[tape interruption] 



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"New Presses," for example, was a real problem because you 
could say, "Oh, here s a wonderful new press," and you d 
look at their brochure and think, "Oh, wow, these people are 
going to really produce something great." 

And then they would vanish? 

And then they would vanish, yes! 

Well, the original purpose of Fine Print was to provide some 
sort of bibliographic control over what was being produced. 

That was my original impulse. 

Right. And it was limited originally to fine-press books. 
But rather early on, you decided to include other of the 
book arts, like calligraphy and binding-- 

And bookbinding, yes. Bookbinding was an important element. 

Now, in dealing with the world of bookbinding, from your 
standpoint, the standpoint of editor of Fine Print, were you 
dealing with very different kind of people than printers? 
Was it more difficult, less difficult than trying to keep in 
touch with what s going on in printing? 



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Well, in some ways yes and in some ways no. In other words, 
there were organizations like the Guild of Bookworkers and 
the Designer Bookbinders in England that made it easier for 
me to maintain contact. And then we also had a bookbinding 
editor at one point, first Susan Spring Wilson, and then 
later I think we had Joanne Sonnichsen. And so I just 
accepted whatever they gave me, and that was it, yes. 

Are there as many fledgling bookbinders as there are 
fledgling printers? What are the numbers? Are they 
comparable? 

Gee, I really don t know. I haven t kept up with the 
bookbinders. But, you know, the Bookbinders of California 
are still flourishing, so I think there s a good group of 
bookbinders. And the Designer Bookbinders are certainly 
flourishing. Of course, there s the Guild of Bookworkers, 
mainly in the eastern U.S., and that s and of course, 
there s a wonderful coterie of edition binders in the U.S. 

And I think in places like Germany there s still a craft of 
bookbinding that is taught. 

Right. 

Perhaps rather differently, but it exists, so it s a 
surviving craft, certainly in Europe. I would think that 
there was always an interest on the part of your subscribers 
in bookbinding. 

Yes, there was. But, of course, it presented another of the 
dilemmas of Fine Print: all the bookbinders avidly read the 
bookbinding articles, and they wanted me to do more 
bookbinding. Some of them even dropped their subscriptions 
because there wasn t enough bookbinding. Then, of course, 
you know, the printers and typographers and type designers, 
who probably should have been interested in bookbinding, 
were not that interested. So I think that s why many fine- 
press books suffer from a lack of knowledge about what is a 
really good bookbinding. An edition binding is what you 
need, which is a different function from doing an individual 
book binding. At one point, we even listed a group of 
edition binders and talked about the different styles of 
bookbinding that might apply to a whole run of fine-press 
books, yes. 

And calligraphy. Again, a very different field but one that 
would have attracted some of your subscribers, certainly. 



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Sure, yes. And people loved our calligraphy articles, and 
they loved our coverage of calligraphic books and all that, 
yes. Well, there was something from every angle of 
bookmaking, I think. Of course, there was the whole idea of 
reviewing books on the history of books and printing. 

Yes, the "Reference Shelf." 

The "Reference Shelf" was a very important factor. And then 
we got into ornament, and we got into manuscript ornament, 
illuminated manuscripts, and so on, and that was a very 
interestingto me, personallypath to pursue. 

Right. Now, I remember in calligraphy one of your, I 
thought, spectacular issues was on Islamic calligraphy. 

Right . 

A very serious issue, very serious articles, lots of 
illustrations. 

Yes. 

I just thought it was a most telling treatment. Do you 
remember how you got onto that subject, and the right people 
to do it? 

Right. Well, I received a notice of an exhibition at the 
Library of Congress. The whole exhibition was run by a 
fellow named Mohammed Zakairya. He was an American Muslim 
and had made a special study of these different sorts of 
Muslim calligraphy. 

Right, it s like medieval hands. 

Right, right, right in each different style and everything. 
And so I just got in touch with him. I just said, "Hey, how 
about it? Come and do an article on Muslim calligraphy for 
us." And so he did, and it was wonderful. And then I had 
an opportunity to meet him, and he s quite a remarkable man. 
I recently had a phone call from [Ingrid Weimann?], whose 
husband was Chris Weimann, who was the wonderful expert in 
marbling, Turkish marbling. He had collaborated a lot with 
Mohammed Zachariah to produce marbling with Muslim 
calligraphy on it. 

Do you know, who was the audience for that? They must have 
had some special appealplus the fact they were just 



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beautiful. People would buy them just because they 
beautiful. 



were 



I think that was it . That was the reason why I was 
interested in it, too. And so, you know, we did this 
special issue on non-Roman type, and that was an important 
part of it. Yes, I was very happy with that issue. 
Mohammed Zachariah was a very talented calligrapher, and 
also he knew a lot about the different kinds of calligraphy, 
and so that s how that issue turned out to be so good. 

Yes. So again it s that kind of serendipity at work. 



Editorial Planning: Indexing 



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Absolutely. But, you know, I would do a lot of that. I 
would track special exhibitions, and then I would find out 
who had organized them. And then I would get in touch with 
them. So that was an important part. In fact, I kept a 
special file of potential reviewers and so on. 

I think in one of your letters--! notice you were 
corresponding with someoneyou said you viewed the function 
of the editor as "to know who knows." 

Right . 

That s what you were about. And in the Fine Print archives 
there are folders, information files, in which you have 
clipped things out from magazines and a number of sources 
about exhibits and shows and individuals. 

Right, yes. 

That must have been perhaps one of your major 
responsibilities . 

Absolutely. 

How far ahead of time did you have things blocked out? 
Probably not as far as you would have liked [laughs] I 

Right. And ultimately we had to change our numbering 
system, so we couldn t say January, April, October and 
December. We had to say Winter, Spring- -you know, so we 
would have a little more leeway. And that maybe was a bad 



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mistake because it permitted us to publish a spring issue, 
like June and July [laughs]. 

It was too tempting. 

Yes. So I should have kept a tighter rein on that, but, you 
know, once we started, it was just--what do they say?--you 
start sliding down the hill? 

If an issue were late, the reasons might be what? 

Well, just the difficulty of making contact with authors and 
having to depend on them to get their stuff in on time. 

Did you have to do a lot of wheedling, remindering, or were 
they pretty good about that? 



But there was 



Overall, I d say they were pretty good, 
always a straggler or two-- 

Who could hold the whole issue up. 
Yes, right, right. 



How about, as a problem or not, the mechanics of 
illustrations and that sort of thing? 

We tried to have more illustration and, of course, that was 
a problem because we had to find the source of the 
illustration, and then we had to see if it was reproducible 
or not. That was another thing that was a problem. You 
know, can we reproduce this in black and white so it will be 
effective? Or can we reproduce it in letterpress? Or, you 
know, should we have an offset sheet where we do a lot of 
the illustration? And that was our choice, too, was 
sometimes we would just leave all the illustration for the 
offset pages. 

Did you ever have problems with printers who couldn t meet 
deadlines? 

No, no. They were pretty good, really. 
Well, they wanted to get paid, too. 

Sure, yes. So no, I wouldn t say that printers were ever a 
real source of a timing problem. In fact, I d say that if 
anything, they were the ones that established some kind of a 



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standardbecause they had a tight window, too, in which 
they could print Fine Print. 

Right. Now, another one of the departments that came out a 
little later, but not much, was called "On Type." In that 
department-- 

That came very early on. 

Yes. And that would feature either a particular type or 
some family of type. 

Right . 

And that certainly would have appealed to the groups who 
were interested in printing. And there were certainly 
experts available, I would think. 

Oh, yes. 

It was just a matter of finding them, again. 

True. And I still remember our first "On Type" article was 
in a very early issue. I think it might have been Volume 1, 
Number 2 or 3 or something. And that was sort of launching 
us on the whole type idea. For that, I have to give credit 
to Albert Sperisen of the Book Club of California? 

Sperisen? 

Because he did an article on the different uses of Caslon 
over the centuries. I mean, I think it was attractive to a 
lot of people to see all the wonderful books that had been 
printed in Caslon. And so from there we went on, trying to 
do other articles on type design. For example, one early 
one that we did was actually a book that had been printed in 
a very strange type. I acquired the book. I think it was 
from the Broder collection, you know? 

Yes. 

And it was all done in a very unusual type. Linnea Gentry 
volunteered to track it down and see what the history of the 
type was, and then that was the second article that we had 
that was of some significant--! remember now what it was. 
It was Fleischmann. He was a type designer, and he produced 
this type--I think it was back in the 17th century. 



83 



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Now this appeared in--what was the book? Do you remember? 
From the Broder collection. Was it a 18th-century book? 

Yes, I think it was. 

Yes. I think later on, then, you began to have--maybe not 
later on--you began to have an editor of that department. 

Actually, yes. 

Chuck Bigelow was the first of the editors. 

Yes, and he volunteered. I mean, I knew him. I had been up 
to visit him in Portland, and I knew him when he was just 
starting his own little press up there, the Corvine Press. 
But anyway, he was doing some very creditable books. 
Through Lloyd Reynolds he had- become very interested in 
letter design, so he was willing to take on the job of being 
type editor. That was really just the making of the "On 
Type" feature. 

This was before he got his MacArthur, I think. 

Yes. 

He did studies on providing alphabets for Indian languages. 

Yes. I believe that he did contribute to the design of a 
language, an Indian language, and I think it was Cherokee. 
So he was very interested in that whole aspect of type 
design for different languages and so on. He had a very 
good friend named William Bright, who also was very 
interested because he was a linguist. He did some reviewing 
for us also. He is just brilliant, a brilliant person, and 
he eventually wrote a book on all the written languages of 
the world. He is really an outstanding person. 

The thing is that William Bright was the one that first 
introduced us to the idea of indexing Fine Print. He had 
what I call an autologous index. I mean, he just would 
automatically index each year, as the issues came out. That 
sort of formed the basis of our idea of producing an index. 
We counted on him, too, when we saw what his index was like, 
and we realized that we could produce an index. But we 
couldn t follow his format eventually because what he did 
was to make the whole index by title, and he assigned a 
number to it, alphabetically, by title. 



Harlan: 



It sounds very rational and perhaps difficult. 



Kirshenbaum: 



Absolutely, because then eventually, when we tried to use it 
and we had adjustments to be made to it, we would have this 
very cumbersome numbering style, and then we would have to 
go back and find the number and hope changing it wouldn t 
affect the numbering system. So it turned out that we 
couldn t really follow his style. But it was very 
illuminating about doing an index of Fine Print. 



The Influence of Lloyd Reynolds; Profiles and Obituaries of 
Book Artists 



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Now, another one of your contributors, perhaps consultants, 
was Sumner Stone, who was with Adobe at one point. 

Yes. 

He s independent now. And I think you ve mentioned that-- 
weren t he and Bigelow roommates at Reed College? Or they 
were friends, anyway. 

Yes. 

And they both studied with Lloyd Reynolds. 

Lloyd Reynolds, right. And I think that that is a very 
important connection or spur to the development of American 
calligraphy and type design. I would like someday to 
interview all those people inspired by Lloyd Reynolds who 
later went on to be calligraphers and type designers: Sumner 
Stone, Michael Sheridan, Charles Bigelow, Kris Holmes, and 
Georgiana Greenwood. 

And so I think that was a very important influence. 
It s one that I d like to pursue, maybe doing oral histories 
of Lloyd Reynolds s students. 

Yes. He certainly produced some influential people, working 
on type design and digitization. 

Right . 

Sumner Stone has been particularly active in that. I don t 
know what Bigelow is doing now. He just doesn t seem to be 
so visible. He may be active, but-- 



85 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



Well, I think he and his wife Kris--l don t actually know if 
they re married, but they ve been together for decades. But 
anyway, at some point they moved to Hawaii, and I don t know 
why they did that. I guess they just wanted to get away 
from the hurly-burly of the mainland. 

Maybe they sort of retreated. 

Yes. Well, I think they made pretty good money, you know, 
with their Lucida, which was an early digital type, and then 
Chris Holmes designed Isadora, which was a fancy 
calligraphic type, very beautiful. Then they ve done other 
types which are based on the idea that you can produce 
legible types digitally. 

Yes. Well, of course, Sumner Stone has specialized to some 
degree in the digitization of classical type faces, like the 
Bodoni which is just beautiful. He s been very good at 
that. He also, I think, provided Jack Stauffacher with a 
computer and got Jack involved in this whole process of 
using computers to produce attractive type designs. 



[tape interruption] 



Harlan: 



Another feature of Fine Print is profiles of book arts 
people, I presume, type people mostly- -maybe not entirely. 
I notice that in the tenth anniversary issue there s a book 
arts profile of August Hechscher. 



Kirshenbaum: Yes. 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



By Joseph Blumenthal. And then the "On Type" department has 
the Civilite of Hermann Zapf by Duensing again. So that s 
sort of a double wharamy there. 

Yes. 

So you would do profiles of individual type designers, but 
sometimes you would do something like digital, for example? 

Well, sure. And I guess Carol Blinn was our first venture 
into doing a profile of a digital type designer. Adobe 
Systems was really very far advanced in terms of hiring 
their own type designers. 

Right . 

Then we did profiles of presses, of course, and proprietors 
of presses, like the Janus Press and Clair van Vliet. 



86 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 



She was early to be involved with Fine Print. 

Oh, absolutely. She was, like, one of the first to respond 
to our request for books to review, and she sent us two or 
three of her early books, including Kafka s Bucket Rider and 
a couple of other books that she d done early on. I don t 
know why, but she trusted us to review the books and send 
them back to her. 

You know, I noticed that one of the books you reviewed in an 
early issue was from Quadflieg. 

Yes, absolutely. 

Which I found interesting. 

Yes, yes. And we did a profile of Roswitha, of course, 
Roswitha Quadflieg. I m trying to remember who else. 

It s either a profile or a kind of memorial to Valenti 
Angelo by Abe Lerner. 



That was from 



Yes, yes. 

And also you did obituaries of people, too. 
the beginning. 

Yes, of course. 



And they would be short or long, depending on how the spirit 
took the writer, I guess. 

Right. And that s one of the great regrets about letting 
Fine Print go down, is that, you know, I realized that it s 
one of the few places that you can do an obituary of a 
stellar graphic artist-type designer or, you know, a 
bookbinder or whatevera book arts person who s really made 
a contribution. Now I don t know where a person can place 
an obituary of such a person. 

Not to that degree, as in Fine Print. You can go to a place 
like the Book Club of California, but that s really of 
members of the Book Club, who may or may not be-- 

I don t know where people go now. 

Well, I think if the person is truly significant, you can go 
to The New York Times, but how many people get into that? 



87 



Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 



Well, yes. That s it, that s it. It s not that easy to get 
an obituary into The New York Times. 

Well, all of these features that were in Fine Print have 
just fallen by the wayside now. You re right. I don t know 
where you go for this information. 

Right. Well, there is a hand papermaking magazine. 
How about the bookbinders? 

And the bookbinders have their ownit s a Guild of 
Bookworkers, and they publish a nice little newsletter-type 
thing and also have articles on bookbinding. And then 
there s the New Bookbinder in England. They publish fine 
articles, beautifully illustrated, about bookbinding. And 
then, of course, there s that well-known and very expensive 
magazine, Matrix. 

In England? 

Yes. So, I mean, I think it s a very laudable thing, but, 
on the other hand, I don t think it s something that most 
people can afford. 

I was looking at recent issues of Matrix the other day. 
It s book length. It s beautiful. 

It is beautiful. 

And it s an annual, and it--well, it just doesn t try to be 
as comprehensive in coverage as something like Fine Print. 
It s quite specialized. And I supposed the bibliographic 
journals have some obituaries. 



The Dutch Issue; Reader Responses 
[Interview 3: June 29, 1999] 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



We re going to go back now and talk about the issue on Dutch 
printing, which will be a companion to the German and the 
Czech, which you already covered. So, Sandy, did someone 
suggest this to you? 

The Dutch issue? Well, yes. The person who suggested it to 
me was Monica Strauss, who has been almost from the 



88 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



beginning one of our principal contributing editors. She 
had traveled a lot in The Netherlands and went on bicycle 
trips with her then husband through The Netherlands. Also 
she knew a lot of book people and fine printers and type 
designers. So when she came back from a trip there, she 
suggested that we do a special issue on The Netherlands 
because the Dutch book arts were very diverse and very 
experimental. 



Did she have contacts in the Netherlands? 
the best people would be to contact? 



Did she know who 



Yes, she did. In fact, I wouldn t have had an idea--I guess 
the only people I heard of was the Enschede Typefoundry and 
the type design that had gone on at Enschede, but I had no 
idea about the rest and about these printing people that 
were gathering. There was one outfit called Bookie Wookie-- 
[ laughter] They did all kinds of bizarre little books and 
so on. So that was fun, getting to know all of that. 

It s interesting that the Dutch have been so--really since 
the end of World War II have been so experimental, so avant- 
garde. 

Yes. 

And you think of the Dutchnot that long ago, you think of 
them as rather stolid and unimaginative and puritanical. 
But obviously something happened. The Netherlands still is, 
I think, a center for a lot of original ideas and material. 
It s amazing, I think. 

So she suggested who might be included in this article, 
in this issue? 



Right. 

Did she contact these people, or did you? 
Or did you both? 



Do you remember? 



She initiated everything. This is an interesting group, 
Druekers in der Marge, on the margin, on the fringe. And 
then she got in touch with Huib van Krimpen, who was the son 
on Jan van Krimpen. He wrote an article for us about type 
design in the Netherlands and the influence of the Enschede 
Foundry, which was really fascinating. 

And then we also did an article on touring for book 
arts. In other words, we tried to identify all the 



89 



Harlan: 



important museums and collections, and of course there s a 
great collection at Enschede, so that was the whole thing, 
and it was really a wonderful thing. I could never have 
done it without Monica. 

That s interesting. And the cover is quite unusual. The 
cover, I think, is one of the most enigmatic of any of the 
Fine Print covers. How did it come about? 



Kirshenbaum: Well, again, it was just a contact through Monica Strauss. 
Janine Huizenga is known as an avant-garde artist and 
designer in Amsterdam. She is a sculptor and a freelance 
photographer and illustrator, and so she seemed the perfect 
person to do a design for us. The design that she did I 
think is really interesting because it represents the 
founding of The Netherlands. There s a red silhouette in 
the geographic form of The Netherlands . Then she has these 
sort of sculpture-like headless figures with long screws 
coming out of holes where their heads should be, and so 
she s saying that [reading]: "a process of cultivation 
because the land is wrested from the sea by human hands. 
The red silhouette of the country rests on statues which 
symbolize its apparently indestructible foundations. 
However, the hard and continuous battle against the sea has 
been a great strain on the Dutch. Hence, the blood-red form 
of the land." The title is set in Helvetica. I think it s 
very interesting to see the way these screws apparently, 
she s indicating, you know, what a great effort it is to 
hold the country together. So that was very interesting. 



Harlan: 



When we talked about the Czech and the German issues, I 
think I asked you whether or not you got much response, 
said certainly no negative response. 



You 



Kirshenbaum: Yes. 



Harlan: 



It sort of raised a question with me, again, that a couple 
of times you have said that there wasn t much feedback, and 
I think you can take that as a compliment, but I expect from 
your standpoint you wanted some sort of controversy 
occasionally whenever you had it. 



Kirshenbaum: 



Well, we did have controversy, 
reviews. 



Mainly it was about book 



Harlan: Yes --which is inevitable, I think, 
[tape interruption] 



90 



Harlan: 



I m thinking of book reviews. There was the controversy 
with Jack Stauf facher s Phaedrus , which we talked about. 



Kirshenbaum: Right, and that generated a letter or two. 

Harlan: Right. Then there was another one. 

Kirshenbaum: Yes. There waslet me see. It was a book review-- 

[tape interruption] 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



There was a lot of controversy about Richard Bigus because 
he produced books with experimental typography. Abe Lerner 
thought that they were very bad books. For example, 
Neruda s Ode to Typography, in which Richard Bigus set it in 
a kind of a floating diagonal format, in a different shape. 
Of course, Abe, being very traditional, did not like that at 
all. 

And then there was another book of his, whose title I 
don t remember, but anyway- - 

Of Bigus? 

Yes, "Out of the Cradle, Endlessly Rocking." That also 
inspired a dialogue between the two: Richard Bigus 
responding to Abe Lerner, and Abe Lerner responding to 
Richard Bigus s defense. It was a jolly good time. 

I remember that now. It was spirited. But Abe Lerner had 
very strong opinions, effectively expressed, I think. 



Kirshenbaum: Yes. 



So he couldn t be ignored. 

No, certainly not, and I didn t wantyou know, then there 
was another controversy which occurred when we reviewed some 
books from Wolfgang Tiessen in Germany. They were beautiful 
books, really, and so I asked Robert Bringhurst to review 
them. He complained about the sameness of the typography, 
and apparently Tiessen was wedded to Kis Janson. I mean, 
Robert Bringhurst objected to the sameness of the 
typography, for whatever work- -and they were beautifully 
printed and bound. 

But when you look closely at it, as Robert Bringhurst 
didand he was an expert he became an expert on type 
design and the cultural implications of type design, and 



91 



eventually he wrote a book about the Elements of Typographic 
Styleyou know, imitating that book, Elements of Style that 
is so well known. He expressed his thoughts about the 
meanings of type as indicative of the culture in which the 
type is created, and it s really perceptive. And so he was 
very critical of this Tiessen fellow because he didn t seem 
to have the same sensitivity to type that one would expect 
from a creator of fine books. 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



And was there any reaction to his negative feelings about 
the books? 

Yes, there was, because, again, Abe Lerner [laughter] 
objected greatly. In fact, I accepted on loan from him a 
bunch of Tiessen books so I could see how good they were. 
Eventually I sent them back. But they really are beautiful 
but maybe not as sensitive to typography as one would wish. 

Well, that s still a controversy. A line of fine printers 
in the past have a house type, and that s what they use, and 
they use the same style. Almost all Doves Press books look 
the same. 



Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 



Exactly. 

A lot of printers are that way. 

Well, I think it s partly because they have limited funds 
for type, and they choose one or two, and then they ve got 
to make do with them. You can t have a whole library of 
types the way you once could. 

No. That also brings up an interesting topic, the use of 
computer-generated type. For instance, you look at the work 
of Jack Stauffacher, who has his house type- -he has the Kis 
Janson typebut now he uses everything he can get a hold 
of, an amalgamation of everything, and he still, I think, is 
doing excellent work. But he s freed from the restrictions 
of having hard metal types and cases because one can get 
software with so many good typefaces. 

That s right. 

He s a good example of using it quite intelligently, I 
think. 

Absolutely. 

So there is hope. 



92 



[tape interruption] 



Tenth Anniversary Issue. January 1985 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



The celebratory tenth anniversary issue of January 1985 is 
interesting on several counts. It s such an ambitious work. 
I thought we d talk about that aspect of it, too. It must 
have taken a lot of time to put this out. It s so 
collaborative, and it s a kind of Valentine from the various 
presses that were involved in it. 

Ten designs, on the theme of ten. 

Right. So you must have started this, I would think, quite 
a bit before you published it. It would take a while. 

Yes. 

It starts out with your editor s letter, which I think is 
very masterful, a summation of where we were at that point. 
It must have taken a long time to write this. It s really a 
very thoughtful essay. And then I don t know whether the 
other articles you selected as particularly appropriate for 
this issue, or are they just good articles you wanted to 
publish? For example, this one by Scott Walker on "Fine 
Printing and Trade Book Publishing: Conflict and 
Compromise. " 

Yes. My recollection was that I just put in whatever good 
articles I had coming, and I didn t seek out anything 
special. 

But this seems appropriate. It may have been serendipity, 
but it seems appropriate. I reread that recently. It still 
makes some valid points. This also, the one on 
"Bookbinding: Perspective and Prescription" of [W. ] Thomas 
Taylor. You know, these articles tend to look backwards and 
forwards, and I think that s appropriate for this tenth 
anniversary issue. And the one by Frances Butler is quirky 
but fun. 



Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 



Yes. 



Well, you have to read the article maybe three times. 



93 



Kirshenbaum: You do, which is fine, yes. That s all right. Then the 
rest of the issue is typical of other issues. All the 
departments are there, reviewing and so on. But it is a 
thick issue. 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Is that because it was a tenth anniversary or did it just 
sort of work out that way? 

Well, we had to make room for all the different ten designs. 
And so it ended up being a double issue. 

Although it s not numbered a double issue, is it? 

No, but it was more extensive than other issues. And it s 
still very much in demand. 

Oh, I m sure. 

I m running out of copies of that issue now. 

In the front of this issue you ve written [reading], "For 
this anniversary issue, we invited each of the designers who 
had designed an issue or cover of Fine Print to provide us 
with an original graphic design on the theme of ten or on an 
anniversary theme." And let s see- -one, two, three, four, 
five, six--six of those people were unable to participate, 



That s a lot of 



but the rest were, apparently, 
participants. 

Yes. 



They obviously had a lot of fun with this. If you look at 
all of these different ten designs, they re really quite 
ingenious . 

Yes. 

Some of them are calligraphy, some are straightforward type, 
some of them are mixed, some of them are really very, very 
clever. 

Yes. 

And a lot of them don t even mention their names; it s just 
celebratory of Fine Print. 

I think I had more fun with that. I sent out the requests 
to all the people who had designed covers or designed issues 



94 

of Fine Print, and then they came back with just marvelous, 
marvelous designs. 

Harlan: I think they re just absolutely brilliant, some of them. 
Kirshenbaum: Yes. 

Harlan: For instance--! don t know who that is, but it uses type 
that doesn t look like type. 

Kirshenbaum: Yes. That looks like Peter Koch s ex-wife [Shelley Hoyt- 
Koch] . Isn t that fun? 

Harlan: They re quite ambitious. 

Kirshenbaum: Some of them are. 

Harlan: You didn t pay them, did you? 

Kirshenbaum: No. And most of them were pleased to be in it because they 
felt it was important. Of course, the same issue had this 
wonderful cover by Hermann Zapf. 

Harlan: I was going to get to that in a minute. Do you knowlet s 
see- -who didn t contribute? Do you know why they didn t? 
They just didn t have time or they couldn t do it anymore 
or-- 

Kirshenbaum: Well, whatever. I think Will Powers at that time tended to 
be a little self-effacing, shall I say? 

Harlan: Really? 

Kirshenbaum: He s kind of gotten over it now. 

Harlan: I would hope so, for his sake. [laughter] 

Kirshenbaum: He s really great now. He s working for the Minnesota 

History Association. He does book design. Of course, he 
did advertising design for many years, so he kept the wolf 
from the door. But he was glad to get back to designing 
books. 

Harlan: The cover of this issue (tenth anniversary issue) is by 
Hermann Zapf. 

Kirshenbaum: Right. 



95 

Harlan: As I looked at that cover, I thought it was in contrast to 
these quirky, imaginative treatment of "tens," the "ten" 
design. 

Kirshenbaum: Yes. 

Harlan: Except perhaps for the border and his calligraphy. 

Kirshenbaum: Right. Very classical. 

Harlan: It says a lot about where he s coming from. 

Kirshenbaum: Right. 

Harlan: We ve mentioned earlier that for the German issue the cover 
was by Roswitha Quadflieg, and Zapf didn t like it, 
particularly because, I think, it was too quirky, not 
typographical enough. 

Kirshenbaum: Right. Yes, he really hated that cover! 
Harlan: [laughs] 

Kirshenbaum: What did he used to say about it? Something about two cats 
and- -some thing aboutoh, I can t-- 

Harlan: Well, there is a cat on the cover, isn t there? 

Kirshenbaum: Yes. I think he was very disappointed because for the 
German issue he would have liked to have something more 
traditional. 

Harlan: Yes, probably he would. 



96 



IV COVER ART AND A BOOK ON TYPE 
[Supplementary Interview: December 14, 1999] ## 

Designers and Artists of Fine Print Covers; Adrian Wilson, 
Frances Butler, Sumner Stone, Hermann Zapf. and Others 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 



This is for insertion B, and this covers the artistic covers 
for fine print and how you got there. After the initial 
copies which have banners, which [become?] quite attractive 
and are by different people, you decided to move to a full- 
cover artistic cover. The first one is volume five, number 
four, October 1979. Tell us who designed it and how you 
happened to choose that one. 

It was designed by Adrian Wilson, and since the features in 
the issue were all pressmarks of different presses, he used 
the pressmarks that he chose and he made a cover of them. 
There s a Valenti Angelo, a Jack Stauffacher, Rampant Lions, 
and there was Arion Press. Oh, no, this wasn t Rampant 
Lions [points]; this is Rampant Lions. This was another 
English press. And I think that s another Valenti. 

Anyway, there were all these different designs, and he 
put them on the cover. 

And you chose Adrian because he was here and because you 
knew him and liked him-- 

Yes. 

And because he certainly was one of the eminent printers by 
this time. 

Absolutely. 

So you were satisfied then with this first attempt at an 
artistic cover. Now with this cover and subsequent covers 
you re choosing a different artist each time. How did you 



97 



Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



do that? You must have had kind of a want list of people 
you wanted to be involved. 

First we started with the banners in the large format. And 
that continued through volume five, 1979. 

Through number four? 

Yes. And that was all banners. Then for the next issue, 
volume eight, number four, Frances Butler wanted to write an 
article about superannuated color printing techniques. 

Did she approach you on this? Do you remember? 

I can t remember, but I think she did. I would just gobble 
up any suggestions that people made. She wanted to 
demonstrate one of the superannuated color printing 
techniques on the cover. So I let her have the whole cover 
to do it. 

After Adrian s cover had come out, and particularly hers, 
what kind of response did you get from subscribers? 

For one thing, they were really mad at me for changing the 
format. They didn t like a bigger issue. But I soon 
discovered that having a larger format permitted me a lot 
more content and the same number of press runs. So of 
course I took advantage of that by having a larger format. 

Once they got used to the larger format perhaps they forgave 
you. 

Yes, I think they did. But they liked the small format, you 
know. 



Harlan: 



How much did you pay people for this work? Could you pay 
them? 



Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Yes, I did. Later, I paid them a measly sum, probably about 
a hundred dollars . 

So they weren t doing it for the money. 

No. They did it because of love. They wanted to be in Fine 
Print and they wanted their work to be seen by people who 
appreciated good design and good calligraphy and good 
printing- -they wanted to display their skills to other fine 
print magazines. 



98 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 



When you think about it, how many other options do they have 
to do a cover to a periodical? There weren t any--or there 
were very few. 

Right. Maybe the New Yorker. 

Yes, but you know, that s a different world. And also I 

noticed early on that you were using artists not just in 

California or the Bay Area but all over. Do you remember 
who the first European you used was? 

Kirshenbaum: Let s see, this cover was by Joseph Blumental, a highly 

respected typographer and printer in New York, and his cover 
is classical, 16th century, using a decorative frame by 
Simon de Colines (1542). His article on book arts mazagine 
was very effectively illustrated by Mark Livingston. 

The first foreign cover designer that we had was 
Sebastian Carter of Rampant Lions press in England. 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Which issue? 

He designed a cover using a multilineal letter form, which 
I m sure he designed himself, in red outline letters. 

I think that cover is particularly handsome; it s very 
effective. 

Let s go back. After Adrian Wilson you said you had 
Frances Butler. Then you moved on to some east coast people 
in Massachusetts. 

No. [indicates] This which is by Kris Holmes, then a 
California digital type designer. The banner is in a very 
fancy calligraphic script in two colors, blue and black. It 
is a foretaste of her calligraphic type face, Isadora. 

We ve talked about your first non-American. But before that 
you found some artists in- -what state was it in? 

East Hampton, Massachusetts. 
And who was that? 

Well, one of them was Carol J. [Blynn?]. she did a cover 
design from a linoleum cut of a Japanese paper maker. A 
second was Barry Moser. 



99 



Harlan: Do you think that working with her you kind of broke into 
the East, and they knew who you were and you had other 
contacts then? 

Kirshenbaum: Sure. 

Harlan: It probably worked that way generally, didn t it? 

Kirshenbaum: Yes. 

One of my favorite covers is volume seven, number three, 
July 1981. This is a wonderful marbled flower spread across 
the cover, and it was by Chris Weimann, the great marble r 
from Los Angeles who unfortunately died at an early age. 
Then the calligraphy was done by Sumner Stone. 

Harlan: So that s the first time Sumner worked for Fine Print too. 

Kirshenbaum: He started as a calligrapher, a wonderful calligrapher . In 
fact, we collaborated to do a full year on a single sheet, 
and Sumner did it for me. 

Harlan: You and Sumner collaborated? 

Kirshenbaum: No, I didn t do anything. I just said I want a full sheet 
for a whole year. 

Harlan: It wasn t a Fine Print publication. 

Kirshenbaum: Yes, it was. 

Harlan: So you commissioned it then? 

Kirshenbaum: Right. 

Harlan: Oh, I wonder if we have that in the archive. 

Kirshenbaum: Gee, I don t know, because I have not been able to find a 
copy since then. 

Harlan: You know people throw out calendars [laughs]. 

Kirshenbaum: They do. It was really well done, and Sumner was such a 

talent as a calligrapher. He learned calligraphy from Lloyd 
Reynolds, a well known teacher of calligraphy at Reed 
College in Portland, Oregon. He and several other students 
of Reynolds went on to become designers of digital type. 



100 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



So this is one of your favorites, this marbled paper 
technique. It s in two colors, too (vol. 7, no. 1). 

Marbled flowers, yes. 

Green and red. 

Green and red. It s just beautiful. 

Meanwhile, I was making contacts with people in Europe. 
One of the people that I particularly enjoyed knowing was 
Gerard Unger. 

What country? 

He was from The Netherlands. He designed this cover for 
vol. 17, no. 2, 1981, which was a special Netherlands issue 
because it had a big article on the types of Jan van 
Krimpen. So then I decided to ask this Dutch type designer 
if he would make a cover, and this is what he came up with. 

It s two-color, orange and white, and it s got two little 
white bunnies. 

This is the cover for volume seven, number 1, January 1981. 
We had an article in it by Barry Moser talking about how he 
illustrated Dante with watercolors and wood engravings. 

These were used in that edition of Dante from the University 
of California press. 

*i 

It was printed using a very, very fine screen that really 
represented the watercolors very well, and it was printed at 
the University of California Presstheir edition of Dante s 
Inferno. So anyway, the only disturbing part of it was that 
it was the first time we had an image of frontal male nudity 
on the cover. 

Or any nudity. Were people shocked? 

It was funny, but not one person commented on that. I 
thought they would say, "How dare you desecrate your 
magazine, blah blah blah," but they didn t. 

This is July 82, volume eight, number three: the Eric 
Gill centenary issue, and it was designed by Christopher 
Skelton of England, and since it was an Eric Gill issue he 



101 



used Gill San Serif and the burning bush pressmark of Eric 
Gill. 

Harlan: And it s in red and black. Very effective. 
Kirshenbaum: Beautiful. 

Harlan: The next issue you describe as having a "boo-boo" in it, 
which made the designer quite angry. 

Kirshenbaum: Yes. The designer was Max Caflisch of Switzerland, and he 
was very disturbed. He didn t yell at us; he said, "How is 
it that you don t know what a Caslon italic should look 
like?" 

Harlan: Part of the banner is Caslon italic. 

Kirshenbaum: Right. And then the main part of the cover is composed of 
four enlarged 16th century ornaments printed one over the 
other in orange and green. 

Harlan: And what s the boo-boo? 

Kirshenbaum: See how there s a little swash on the capitals? 

Harlan: Capital R, capital A. 

Kirshenbaum: There s a little kern on the end of the swash capital, and 
the N has no little kern. 

Harlan: And do you know how that happened? 

Kirshenbaum: It was probably somebody who was setting the type. 

Harlan: Who was the artist, do you know? 

Kirshenbaum: No, I don t know. But somewhere between the press and the 
setting, apparently they had a broken-- 

Harlan: It s a swash letter, and the kern is missing from the N. 

Kirshenbaum: Right. 

Harlan: Well, that ll happen. 

Kirshenbaum: He expressed some displeasure. 

Harlan: [laughs] Is that all? 



102 



Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 
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Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 
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One of the most remarkable covers that I ever commissioned 
was by Chris Weimann. 

He was an American. 
Yes, he was an American. 
Working where? Do you remember? 

He was in Los Angeles. He was exploring the history of 
marbling in southern India, and he discovered that there 
were these images all done in marbling of very complex 
figures like deer and a lion gobbling up a goat, some foxes. 
He managed to create this cover for us in which he used the 
techniques of the Indian marbling in order to create his 
cover design with all the mottos that I told you earlier. 
That was absolutely remarkable. I just loved his cover. It 
was the one cover that was really, really popular. And then 
of course inside the issue there was an article by Weimann 
describing exactly Indian techniques of marbling in early 
Indian paintings and how they made these marbled images. In 
his article, he shows exactly how they did it, so I was very 
pleased to have his cover design. 

He died of cancer at an early age, didn t he? 

Yes, he did. That was so sad. I still keep in touch with 
his wife, Ingrid. 

There are several photos in the archive of him and his wife. 
Is she still involved in this kind of work? 

She doesn t do it herself, but she does show his work. 
She s very devoted. She s gone to several marbling 
conferences and so on. They ve even invited her to come to 
Turkey and to see the marbling that they do there. 

This is volume nine, number three, July 1983, and it has 
a brilliant cover by Wesley Tanner of various shades of blue 
for the mountains and then there s sort of a middle ground 
of red and a river in blue running through a field of 
yellow, and a big green tree and a smaller green tree in 
front. 



Harlan: 



This is based upon his own artwork, 
he printed it. 



He painted this before 



103 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

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Well, let s say he planned it. This is all letterpress, so 
you can imagine how he must have fussed over the make-ready 
that was necessary to reproduce this. 

We have kept in the archive all of the blocks involved in 
this, and of course it s a multi-block process-- just 
amazing. 

It is. You know, he came to me and said, "Look, I have this 
vision of a fine print cover, and this image is in my mind 
and I really want to do a cover." But see, I had a rule 
that said you could only do one banner design or one cover 
design. You can t do two. But he was so convincing that I 
let him go ahead. He had already designed an entire early 
issue of Fine Print, using Fournier ornaments for the 
banner, but he had never done a whole cover. So I relented 
and I said, "Okay, go ahead." And he came up with this 
beautiful cover, all letterpress. 

It s stunning. 

It shows you what letterpress can do when it s properly 
executed. 

This received an award, didn t it? 

Yes, it did. It won the AIGA magazine cover award. 

That must have made you very pleased. 

It did, and of course Wesley was delighted. 

Can you imagine how much time he put in on this? 

It must have been really mind-boggling. 

This is July 84, volume ten, number three. This cover 
is by Sarah Chamberlain, who is a great wood engraver and 
did illustrations of animals in her fine books. I just fell 
in love with them; they were so wonderful. I asked her if 
she would like to design a cover of Fine Print, and of 
course she did. I say "of course"--! mean, she could have 
turned me down [chuckles], but she didn t, and so I have 
this wonderful cover. It s all done by wood engraving, and 
then it s enlarged and printed from a photo engraving. 



Harlan: 



Tell us the subject of it. 



104 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 
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Harlan: 
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We have four bears, 
fish- 



There s a papa bear who is catching 



And he s fly-casting, and the rod goes up into the banner of 
fine print. 

He s carrying in his pocket The Complete Angler [laughter], 
just to get the book thing in, you know. And then the mama 
bear is sitting on the bank on a rock and she has her 
thermos there and she s designing the cover of fine print 
[laughs] on sort of a board there. And then the little baby 
bears are having fun plucking berries or running their 



little boat on the stream, 
charming 



It s just a completely charming, 



It is. And it shows such detailed craftsmanship, 
lot of work in that. 



There s a 



Oh, she is a wonderful wood engraver. I ve lost touch with 
her lately. I should get in touch with her again and see if 
she has any books, because I loved her books. 

That s really neat. 

I made a trip to Italy in the 1980s--I can t remember 
exactly what date. We did a special Italian issue following 
that, and I wrote an article on three stars of Italian 
bookmaking, and that was October 1985, volume eleven, number 
four. And of course I couldn t do less than to invite an 
Italian to design the cover. That was Martino Mardersteig, 
son of Giovanni Mardersteig, who was one of the greatest 
fine printers in the world. 

Martino also was a very creditable printer and designer. 
He designed a classic constructed alphabetthat is, Roman 
capitals for our cover. 

In three colors. 

Red and greenwhich of course are the Italian colors and 
then the white. 

We had a special issue on women in printing and also we 
included women calligraphers of the sixteenth and 
seventeenth centuries. Then we had an article by Kathy 
Walkup on "Notes on Women in Printing". So it was sort of 
like a women s issue, although there were other things in 
there also. The cover was designed by Kathy Walkup. It 
shows a wonderful wood engraving from the nineteenth 



105 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 
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Harlan: 

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Harlan: 



century, showing the women setting type and the women 
bustling around in the printing shop. The supervisor, of 
course, is a man with a top hat [laughter]. The quote was 
from Helen Gentry, and at first Kathy wanted to have 
something that was more feminist, you know. Then of course 
we didn t want to rile any men, so we kind of toned her down 
a little bit. What we ended up with was a quote from Helen 
Gentry. She says, "The feminine touch in printing is not a 
matter of using italics as some might think. It takes place 
in the same way that all individuality takes place. 
Personal style comes through handling of the type." She 
accepted that and we ran it that way. 

For the tenth anniversary issue (vol. 10, no. 1, 1975) I 
wanted something really special, so what I did was I asked 
for everybody to send me designs on the theme of "ten". 
Then I put those throughout the issue, and we had some 
wonderful entries. So for the tenth anniversary issue I 
wanted to have somebody really special do the cover, and of 
course I could only think of the greatest type designer in 
the world at that time and still, and that is Hermann Zapf. 
He designed this wonderful cover for us. Of course I 
approached him with trepidation because I thought, "Oh, 
he ll never be able to design a cover for us because he s so 
busy and important." 

Had you had contact with him before or did he do work for 
you before? Or was this the first time? 

This was the first time. So I approached him very gingerly 
and I said, "Would you like to?" And he said, "Yes." So he 
did a very classic design with beautiful Roman capitals and 
a gold border and his signature in the gold. 

Is that italic type or is that his hand? 
That s his hand right there. 
A real personal touch. 

His signature and the issue of Fine Print is written in the 
gold band that surrounds the design. 

It s very nice. 

It s beautiful. What can I say? 

You can say you re proud of it [chuckles]. 



106 



Kirshenbaum: It s so classic. I was very proud of it. 

This is volume twelve, number three, July 1986. The 
cover design is by Harry Duncan, one of my favorite American 
printers. A designer of distinction and also a great 
philosopher of printing. I was very pleased to have him 
design the cover. It is utter simplicity- -and yet so 
perfectly arranged. What he did was to use a relief etching 
made by Keith Achepohl. This was a direct etching on zinc. 
Then it was mounted for letter press printing. Then the 
type was Perpetua and Octavian, set by Harry Duncan. 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 
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Harlan: 
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Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 
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Harlan: 
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It s a lovely cover. 

It is. 

It s silver almost, isn t it? 

Right. There is a silver ink in this etching; it s really 
wonderful. The great thing is the way Duncan has it spaced 
so that it s just perfectthe letters, the fine print, et 
cetera, the volume number and all that. 

It s a lovely cover. 

It s poised to the left and then the zinc etching is up and 
down next to it all the way down to the bottom of the page. 

Tell us what number now. 

This is January 86, volume twelve, number one. The cover 
design is made of different typecases. 

The lay of the case, right? 

Yes, and these are layouts of the case in different 
languages. 

It s roman alphabet, Cyrillic, black letter and so on. 

Then there s Hebrew, and down here there s arabic, and down 
here there are Egyptian hieroglyphics. This was specially 
designed by Glenn Goluska. 

Do you remember who he was? 

Yes. He was a Canadian who had the Nightshade Press. He 
also printed books at his own press called Imprimerie 
Dromedaire, which means Camel Printing Press. He was expert 



107 



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Harlan: 
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in non-Roman types, and that s why he was able to do these 
typecase illustrations. 

It s quite a dramatic cover. Very interesting. 

This is volume thirteen, number two, April 1987. The cover 
is very dramatic. It s all an orange background with purple 
ornaments in the shape of a diamond almost, and they re all 
done from stencil ornaments by William Addison Dwiggins. 
The cover was designed by Dorothy Abbey, who was a close 
associate of W.A. Dwiggins. They collaborated on, for 
example, the Piiterschein Press. She had a lot to do with 
the Piiterschein Press, and she was a wonderful photographer 
and designer herself, but she hid her light, her talent, 
under the basket of W.A. Dwiggins. So she used his 
ornaments in designing the cover. 

Is there something in the issue itself about Dwiggins? 

Yes. It s an article by Steven Heller called "William 
Addison Dwiggins: A Current Assessment." And there s a 
second article by Alexander Nesbitt: "A Contemporary s View 
of Dwiggins." 

His work is still popular. He did a lot of work for 
commercial presses like Knopf, for example. 

One of the most interesting covers was that done for our 
special Czechoslovakia issue, January 1987, number one, 
volume thirteen. The cover is strictly type, and it was 
designed by Jan Jiskra. The cover was designed in the Czech 
colors of blue, black, and red. The types, which are 
[characters strictly letter forms?] of the Czech alphabet 
and all the accents that they have, and the types were the 
creation of Wojciech Preissig [spells]. 

Earlier we talked about the content of this issue because it 
is quite special. I ve always thought it was one of your 
most ambitious issues. 



Kirshenbaum: 



It was all the inspiration of James Eraser, 
already? 



Did I say this 



Harlan: 



Yes. 



108 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



He introduced me to Renata Raecke. 
editor for the German one. 



Then she was the guest 



Kirshenbaum: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 



These international issues would in a sense be the hardest 
to pull together. They certainly add to the luster of the 
whole series. Was there any one personor personswho was 
of help to you in this direction? 

Yes. 1 think the person who urged me to expand my coverage 
to international countries was James Fraser of Fairleigh 
Dickinson University in New Jersey. He had a remarkable 
knowledge of all Eastern European bookmaking and 
printmaking. He was the one who encouraged me to do the 
special German issue and the special Czech issue. 

Volume fourteen, number four, October 1998, is one of 
the most remarkable covers we ever had. It looks like a 
weaving in three or four colors red, deep red, blue, and 
green. It s all inter-knit as though it were a fabric. It 
was designed by Bonnie O Connell at Omaha s Fine Arts Press 
where she also directed Abattoir Editions. The cover is 
what she calls a ikat technique for both color letterpress 
prints and pattern papers for bookbinding. She credits her 
inspiration to ikat masterworks by native weavers in Africa, 
Indonesia, Japan, and Guatemala. The [letters fine print?] 
are in a wonderful, open typeface called Cristal. I don t 
know who the designer of that was, but it s quite 
remarkable. 

II 

I d like to say that I think one of the reasons that the 
cover designs were so successful was that I let the graphic 
artists that did the covers have complete freedom, and even 
if I didn t much like the cover design I always let the 
artists have their own way. I guess that was part 
compensation for a very small fee for doing it, that they 
could absolutely have complete freedom to do any design they 
want within the color restrictions. Sometimes I was greatly 
surprised by what they produced [laughter]. 

But you still used them, right? 
Sure. 

An example of a cover that you could possibly have predicted 
is the next one we re going to talk about, which is-- 



109 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 
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Harlan: 

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Volume fifteen, number two, April 89. You can see that the 
cover is just a pastiche of different colors: gray, yellow, 
black, blue, and green, and different forms in kind of a 
crazy patchwork quilt design. The interesting thing about 
that was that it was actually an example of screenless 
lithography. This cover was designed by Richard Bigus, a 
very talented and I guess I d say adventuresome printer. It 
was the result of a collaboration experiment with printer 
Steve Mott of Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo. 
The artwork was created by using film positives and wet and 
dry media on matte acetate. The printing required gray, 
yellow, blue, and black inks. The effect is one of 
screenless lithography. It is a very unusual and striking 
cover. 

Do you know if screenless lithography was in its infant 
stage when this happened, or had it been around a while? 



So this was kind of 



No, I don t think it was widely used, 
an experimental use of it. 

It certainly is a unique cover. 



The next cover is quite a contrast from the free figuration 
--or non-figuration--of the Bigus cover. This is volume 
fifteen, number one, January 89. What it shows is, on the 
left side against a white field is a large titlefine 
print, et cetera, which was cut in metal. It s a Garamond 
cut in metal by Stempel in Germany in 1924, closely 
following the original sixteenth-century designs of Claude 
Garamond. Now within the time band at the right, with a 
pink background, are all the different versions of his 
capital letters--Garamond capitals. 

And of course there were many because he was very 
influential. 

Sure. It s the words "Fine Print, Fine Print, Fine Print--" 

Then a background of a jumble of different capitals. 

Right. [Then come into?) the digital forms. 

So there s a lot going on there. 

Right . 

Who did this? 



110 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



It was done by Margery Cantor. She arranged this and was 
able to acquire the electrotypes of the original Garamond 
capitals from Germany. Then she went on to do in a band at 
the edges all the distortions possible with Adobe 
Illustrator 88, and finally at the bottom of the band she 
repeats the title. 

I hadn t realized before myself, but there s a lot going on 



in that one panel. 
It s amazing. 



A lot of work and a lot of presentation. 



The next cover, volume sixteen, number three, autumn 
1990, is again an absolute contrast to the previous classic 
one, just as the one before that was. It s perhaps the most 
startling of all the covers in the sense of hitting you in 
the eye. 

Kirshenbaum: Yes. It looks like a dancer in some kind of cabaret, and 
she s wearing a sort of a fluffy background on her butt 
[laughs] . 

Like wings or something. 

Wings on her butt, yes [laughter]. Her body is in yellow, 
and her suit in black and she has sort of a crown hat on, 
and she s holding her hands up. It s a red background, and 
then the fluffy things protrude out of her butt [chuckles] 
are all in yellow with red spots. 

It s sort of like German expressionist art, but it s not 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



exactly. It s quite unique, 
saw this? 



What did you think when you 



Kirshenbaum: 



I was flabbergasted. That s the trouble with just blindly 
asking somebody. This was a special issue where we had our 
broadside roundup where we would invite printers to submit 
their broadsides. 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Is this from a broadside then? 

I think he intended it to be like a broadside. It s very 
splashy. 

Who s the artist? 

The artist is Herbert Gutsch of Berlin, Germany. He is 
intending to do a kind of a flamboyant cover in honor of the 
broadside roundup that we had in this issue. 



Ill 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 
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Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 



I think he certainly succeeded in flamboyance. 

Yes. The type used on the cover is Block Condensed, 
designed by H. Hoffman in 1908. It was originally designed 
as an advertising type. So he put it to good use here. 

Do you recall getting any comments on this? 

I don t recall, but I think it was shocking to everybody, 
really, because it s so flamboyant. That s what happens 
when you take a chance on a designer. But I m pleased. It 
was so much fun waiting to see what these different artists 
would do. 

And the last one we ll talk about is volume sixteen, number 
one, which has this striking cover by Fritz Eichenberg. 

He was a master wood engraver. He did dramatic 
illustrations for the great Russian classics like Dostoevsky 
and Tolstoy and so on. 

The ones I remember as I child are his illustrations for 
Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. 

Right . 

This may be from Wuthering Heights. 

It s just classic. 

There s an article in the issue on him, and that s why the 
cover. Who designed the cover? 

It s interesting to note that it s a detailit shows this 
pattern of bare branches issuing from a tree trunk on the 
left side and covering the whole issue with dark black 
branches. This is a detail from Fritz Eichenberg s print, 
"Heathcliff Under the Tree," for the cover of Emily Bronte s 
Wuthering Heights. He did several Bronte books. 

Who actually designed the cover? 

The design was by Antonie Eichenberg, a German-born artist 
and graphic designer. She was very talented. 

He was dead by this time, so was she younger than he? Or 
was she quite old? 



112 



Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
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I think she was younger. Again, she s an example of a 
woman, a very talented woman, who defers to her husband- - 

Subsumes her career to his. 

Right. And the words "Fine Print" are all hand-lettered by 
her. 

Oh, really? But he s an amazing engraver. 
Yes, he s a wonderful wood engraver. 

I think you said correctly that these covers were a lot of 
fun to work with because you didn t know what to expect, 
really. A ton of surprises. 

I would choose people and then sometimes they surprised me. 
But you know, I chose them because 1 had seen their work 
somewhere or I knew of their work. And then people just 
volunteered: "Oh, could I do a cover for you?" That s how 
it happened. 

It s nice to have too much talent to choose from. 
Yes. 



Publishing a Book; Fine Print on Type, 1989 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Fine Print was involved in the publication of one book: Fine 
Print on Typel 

Yes. We shared publication with an outfit called Bedford 
Arts, which was run by the wife of a man named Peter Bedford 
who was a big real estate mogul, and he made a lot of money 
creating shopping malls mainly over in the East Bay and 
further east. I gather that he funded her to do whatever 



I can t remember her first name at 



she wanted, the wife, 
this moment. 

Was it in the East Bay? 



No, they had an office in San Francisco. So they were 
publishing all kinds of books on avant-garde design and all 
that. I can t remember if I approached them or they 
approached me. But in any case, we had a collaboration and 



113 



we shared the cost of the book. I think I did keep the 
copyright. 

And so anyway, it worked out pretty well. I mean, I 
think our collaboration worked out pretty well, even though 
they had kind of a director who liked to consider himself 
one of the literati of San Francisco. 

Harlan: Whatever that means. 

Kirshenbaum: Well, you know. Well, we do have some in the sense of, 

like, Ferlinghetti and all that, that gang that was mostly 
in the sixties, right? 

Harlan: Right, or earlier. 

Kirshenbaum: Yes. And so he prided himself on being part of that clique. 
A little bit of an outsider, I think. But anyway, I managed 
to get along with him. It was very difficult. 

Harlan: Well, you can get along with most people. 

Kirshenbaum: Yes! Well, anyway, it was a way for me to share the cost of 
producing book. And so I went along with it. And we did 
produce the book. And then shortly thereafter, her husband 
didn t like her losing money because he was a very profit- 
oriented person. So one day he just locked the door 
[laughs] . 

Harlan: Of what, the house? 

Kirshenbaum: On the office. And he kicked everybody out, including his 
wife! 

Harlan: [laughs] Oh, dear. 

Kirshenbaum: Yes. So that was the ultimate fate of Bedford Arts. 

Harlan: Did that affect the fate of Fine Print on Typel 

Kirshenbaum: Well, it didn t really because by then we had already [phone 
rings ]-- 

[tape interruption] 

Kirshenbaum: He just kicked everybody out and locked the door. 

Harlan: And where were the copies of the book stored? 



Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



I can t remember. 
But not just there. 

No, no, certainly not. No, we had a warehouse or something 
where they were stored. 

Do you remember how many copies you printed? 
I think about two thousand. 

And I note that it was available it says here [reading]: 
"$39.95 hardcover and $19.95 softcover." Does that sound 
right? 

Right. Now the price is $25.00 for the softcover and $50.00 
for the hardcover. 

Do you still have copies? 

A few, yes, of the hardcover, and many of the softcover. 

Yes. And this is a collection of articles from Fine Print 
in the section On Type. 

Yes. And other places in Fine Print. And, as I say, my 
only regret was that we never had a chance to put in the 
book the last Fine Print "On Type" article, which was by 
Juliet Spahn Twomey. She researched the roman inscriptional 
influences on Paduan manuscripts and on the creation of 
Jensen type. It was a superb article, really good, and I 
think really groundbreaking. I did have a lot of 
compliments from people in Europe, especially people like 
the head of the St. Bride s Library, James Mosley. 

Yes. And John Dreyfus and so on. They really, really liked 
it because they were so interested in her being able to 
trace this inscriptional influence into the type. 

I was just looking over the contents here of the Fine Print 
on Type book. It s quite a spread. I see big names like G. 
W. Ovink, the great European designer, and Mosley and John 
Dreyfus and Sumner Stone, Chuck Bigelow, Paul Hayden 
Duensing did a couple of articles, and Kris Holmes, and the 
introduction, I think, is by Linnea Gentry. 



Kirshenbaum: Yes. 



115 



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Harlan: 

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I ve looked at some reviews of the book, copies of which are 
in the Fine Print archives at the Bancroft, and they re all 
quite favorable. 

Yes. 

And it does seem to serve a purpose, and it also, 1 think, 
reflects very well upon the quality of Fine Print that this 
was the kind of thing appearing in Fine Print. 

I d love to eventually do a gathering of all the articles on 
bookbinding and papermaking and sell that as a separate 
book. Well, as soon as I get through with this index thing, 
that s the first thing I m going to do. And do you know, I 
actually had someone, a man in Chicago, who published a 
magazine about type, called Serif--! "ve forgotten his name 
now. But, you know, I had a little tiff with him because he 
wanted to go ahead and--in fact, he went ahead and contacted 
the bookbinders without my permission or knowledge, and so I 
had to get wild with him. 

Well, I would think so. 

But anyway, he thought I had given him my assent, but I 
would never sign up for something like that without getting 
an agreement, signing an agreement with him to produce it, 
so he didn t have any claim. 

This was your first enterprise in publishing a book? 
Right . 

Do you remember--! mean, it s a big undertaking. Do you 
remember why you decided to do it, to produce this in a book 
form? 

Well, because I thought the articles were all superior and 
deserved to be together in a book, and that s the same thing 
with bookbinding. I think some of the best writing on 
bookbinding appeared in Fine Print. 

ft 

In any case, it was the same reason that I put together the 
articles in Fine Print on Type, because I felt that these 
articles- -thanks to these very wise editors that I had-- 
Bigelow and Gentry and Duensing, you know- -they were so 
good, and thanks to their influence- -and I say that I myself 
had something to do with it--and I was very proud of them, 



116 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



that series of articles that we did, and so that was what 
encouraged me to want to publish it. 

The same way I feel about the bookbinding, that I really 
never read such good articles on bookbinding, so completely 
understandable, even by a non-bookbinder and so interesting. 
And the reason I think they were interesting was that I let 
the binders speak, themselves, about how they determined the 
binding design or how they concluded on the structure of it, 
so there are all kinds of different structures also in the 
bookbinding articles. I let them express themselves about 
their own creativity. And that s why I think they re such 
wonderful articles, and that s why I d love to get them 
together in a book. 

Well, you mentioned on the one "On Type" that Peter Bedford 
shut the shop because it wasn t making money. Did you lose 

money on this? Or was he upset that you just weren t making 
enough money? 

Well, no, it wasn t just Fine Print. The enterprise was 
just losing money--! assume that it must have been overall 
losing money. 

The whole outfit. 

Yes. And so, I mean, Fine Print on Type may have been just 
one more straw on the camel s back. I don t know. I never 
spoke to him, Peter Bedford. I have no idea what his 
rationale was or why he did it so suddenly. 

Maybe he was having a spat with his wife. 
Maybe. I don t know. 

I should think she would have been a little embarrassed by 
it all. 

Oh, yes, she was. 

[laughs] Oh, well. So this one exercise in publishing a 
book certainly had good critical reception and didn t lose 
you tons of money. It worked in that sense. 

Well, you know, it s been sellingit still sells, but very 
slowly. Right now we have it on Amazon.com. 



Harlan: 



Oh, do you? 



117 



Kirshenbaum: Yes. 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



That s interesting. Of course, they take big discounts. 

0-h-h, wow! You know, they take a huge percentage of the 
price of the book so that every copy that they sell, 
ultimately we get only $11.25. 

They routinely offer 30 percent off the list price of any 
book, so you figure someone has to give, and it s not them. 

No, no. So it s the publishers. But I m happy to get rid 
of the books. So I m not going to argue whether they re 
going to have 40 percent. We ve sold quite a few copies 
through Amazonyou know, not a lot of copies, but just a 
few. 



118 



V THE LAST OF THE FINE PRINT YEARS 



Subscribers, Advertising, and Circulation; Steven Harvard 
and Stinehour Press 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaura: 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 



In reviewing some of the material in the archive, I noted 
some correspondence you had with a person named Gregory 
Graalfs, who was a photographer and a publisher of 
photographer books. He discussed with you for a while the 
idea of having a section in Fine Print on this medium. I 
don t think it went anywhere, but I thought that was 
interesting that you would consider that. 

Yes, well, I guess I was interested because I was interested 
in expanding the audience of Fine Print, and a section on 
photography books seemed to be one way to do that. And 
there were some superb photography books in the eighties, 
just wonderful. And I think we did review one or two. 

I can t recall any, but you certainly considered it? 
Yes. 

That would have been interesting, and it would have expanded 
the coverage. 



Yes. I think it was just too much for us to handle, 
know, it s a very difficult field to really get good 
reviews. It just didn t work out. 



You 



Now I d like to turn to the business aspect of producing 
Fine Print. Again, the archives contain the records for all 
of this, so the information is there for a detailed study, 
but we have already noted that when Fine Print started your 
mother lent you some money so you could launch it. 



Kirshenbaum: Right. 



119 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
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Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



And it grew in size and reputation with each issue. I 
presume also that from the beginning, anyway, the number of 
subscribers grew. 

Yes. 

Do you recall what the peak number was for subscribers? 

I think the peak was about 2,800, so we never did make that 
leap over the 3,000 mark. That was what I wanted to do. I 
wanted to increase the circulation. Towards the end there, 
I was really desperate to increase the circulation because I 
thought that that would solve some of our financial 
problems. 

You must have had a promotional program. 

Yes, we did. 

How did you attempt to acquire new subscribers? 

Well, we had mailing lists of different book organizations, 
and we would send out solicitations. For example, we traded 
mailing lists with a fellow in Germany called Bartowiak. He 
was doing a mailing for his compendium of presses that he 
issued each year about small presses. And so I tried to 
muscle in on him and trade our mailing list for his mailing 
list. But I never did get to do it. I mean, I wanted to do 
it, but same old story--! got sick and I couldn t pursue it. 
That all went to hell. 

How many of your subscribers were non-USA subscribers? 

Gee, I never actually counted them up, but we had 
subscribers in every continent, and almost all the national 
libraries subscribed, like the New Zealand National Library, 
Australian, and French and the British Library and the 
Italian libraries and the French National Library. I mean, 
really, it got around. It definitely got around. But I 
don t know what proportion. I think it was--say, we reached 
a peak of 2,800, and of those, we had about six or seven 
hundred libraries. 

That s a large number, actually. For libraries. And 
libraries are pretty cautious about subscribing to fly-by- 
night magazines. 



Kirshenbaum: They sure are. 



120 



Harlan: 



So that does suggest that the reputation had been 
established. 



Kirshenbaum: Yes. Well, we got a few good reviews in the Library 
Journal . 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



And Choice. 

Yes. And so that helped us get library subscriptions, and 
we were quite successful in that because almost every 
library that had any special collections were really 
interested as a tool to know what to buy, so a lot of them 
used it as a buying tool. 

If you had gotten 3,000 subscribers, would that have at 
least given you the break-even point for expenses? 

Well, that s hard to say, but somehow I thought that 
increasing the circulation was the only way to salvage the 
magazine because I didn t think that our--well, one thing is 
that I think I was over-ambitious in the sense that I just 
loved having all these wonderful special issues, and I loved 
the idea of being able to reproducein full color!-- 
something like La prose du Transiberien, the first 
simultaneous "book" in terms of the interplay of text and 
image . 

You know, a lot of people were generous to me. For 
example, Steven Harvard- -when he heard my idea, you know, he 
just jumped at the chance. "Let Stinehour Press do it." 
And it was just wonderful. They borrowed the copy from the 
New York Public Library, which was one of the few libraries 
at the time that had the work. Of course, the artist, Sonia 
Delauney, was the wife of Robert Delauney, who was a well- 
known artist. She was lesser known, but she was a fabulous 
artist and designer. She used to do costumes and every kind 
of thing. 

I ll tell you how I happened upon it. I went to Monica 
Strauss s gallery on the Upper East Side, and I walked in 
the door, and she had a copy for sale in a frame, right 
opposite the door. And I walked in, and I absolutely was--I 
mean, open-mouthed. I thought it was so amazing- -the way 
that they were able tothey call it the first simultaneous 
book because she was able to integrate her art with his 
poetry. It was just a marvelous piece of work. And so I 
said, "I ve got to do an article on that. Are you willing 
to write an article?" 



121 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 



Of course, Monica just loved it, too, and so she agreed 
to do an article. And then, of course, Steven Harvard 
agreed to make the facilities of Stinehour Press available 
to us, and it was just altogether a wonderful- 
Do you mean that he was simply willing to have Stinehour 
produce the work at going rates, or did they give you-- 

Actually, it was no charge. 
Really? 

Absolutely none. 
Goodness . 

No charge. Because Harvard was so fascinated by the project 
that he just wanted to do it. He was so wonderful. I just 
regretted so much when he died. You know, he committed 
suicide. 

That was a real tragedy. 

I don t know. In a way, the loss of Steven Harvard was kind 
of like a coup de grace for Fine Print because, you know, he 
was helping us to make a transition from letterpress into 
offset printing. There aren t too many offset printers I 
would have trusted, but obviously Stinehour Press was just 
wonderful, so we were going to arrange to make that change. 
Unfortunately, he died before we could make the change and 
so we never did, and that was a shame because letterpress 
printing became increasingly expensive, and we just couldn t 
maintain that. 

I suppose that some of the attraction for Fine Print for a 
lot of subscribers was that it was letterpress and not 
offset. 

That s true. 

But I think in the hands of Harvard and Stinehour you would 
have had a quality of printing that people would have 
accepted. 

Yes, I think so. 

I asked you on the question sheet I gave you if ads were an 
important source of income. You ve got a note here saying 
you think it s around 13 percent. 



122 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Right. And I know in the archives there s a chart. It 
charts the progress of advertising. I think 13 percent 
maybe 15 percent of each issue s cost would have been paid 
by advertising. But then, of course, you know, that s not 
figuring the cost of the ads themselves. I mean, printing 
themI m saying 13 percent after we deducted the printing 
costs of the ads. 

Was there much turnover in subscribers? Do you have any 
sense of that? There certainly was a core. I think 
libraries would not be inclined at that point to cancel. 

There was a core of libraries, of course. And then there 
was a core of subscribers, I d say, people who just loved 
Fine Print and would resubscribe without even giving them 
again and again renewal notices. I d say maybe that was 
maybe five to eight hundred people. And then the rest of 
the people would kind of more flakey, and they would flake 
off [laughs] . 

Flake off? 

Flake off. But anyway, they would say, "Oh, I used to 
subscribe, but it got too expensive" and "There wasn t 
enough bookbinding" or "There wasn t enough type design" or 
"There weren t enough articles about this or that." And 
that wasyou know, that was our intention, was to just put 
all these book arts together and make them understand each 
other, in a way, because where would a type designer read 
about bookbinding? They wouldn t. They wouldn t make this 
cross-disciplinary thing that I think is more and more 
important. 

You could see that for example, some people were 
attempting to do some fine printing, but they didn t know 
anything about bookbinding, and they would attempt to do 
their own bookbindings, which was a disaster. 

Well, yes. 

Right. Same way, a bookbinder might not know anything about 
typography. We had an article from well, we had an article 
on the use of letterforms in bookbinding from Kay Amert, a 
professor at the University of Iowa. She s a wonderful 
printer. She also knows about type and letterforms and all. 
She wrote an article about using letterforms in bookbinding. 
And that was the kind of interdisciplinary article that I 
liked. 



123 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



So subscriptions provided you with, I suppose, most of your 
budget. 

Yes. 

Advertising provided you with some of your budget. 

Right. 

None of these were guarantees. It vacillates from issue to 
issue? 

Yes. 

Year to year. Over the period of Fine Print, which was 
almost sixteen years, did you notice any inflationary trends 
that were more exaggerated for one thinglike, say, paper 
or typesettingthan the other? Did the costs of all of 
these elements increase? 

Well, we were very fortunate because we had a donation of 
paper from Mohawk Paper Mills, so we really never had to 
worry about the cost of paper. 

Oh, that s wonderful. I didn t realize that. 
Yes. 

You mean during the whole of Fine Print they provided the 
paper? 

No. We didn t make an arrangement with them until later. I 
mean, the first few issues are on some other kind of paper, 
and then later--! can t remember, but I remember that the 
person that we were in touch with was Scott Petrequin at 
Mohawk. He just liked Fine Print. So we met and we 
immediately formed a friendship. I m sorry, I haven t been 
in touch with him for maybe eight years or so, but he just 
liked Fine Print, and he wanted to have it printed on Mohawk 
paper. And so that was how we managed to get-- 

Well, that s quite a boon. 

Absolutely. We wouldn t have been able to make it if we 
hadn t had that. And still maintain the quality, you know? 

Yes, yes. 

Because how could we afford this Mohawk paper? We couldn t. 



124 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



That s interesting. So you really were patronized in a good 
sense of the word. 

Absolutely. That was a very big thing for us. 

Now, I did notice in some issues of Fine Print there would 
be a Mohawk ad. Did you just run them gratis? 

I think we did. I can t remember, but I don t think we 
charged them. 

[laughs] I would think maybe you didn t. And then you get 
the cooperation of someone like Steven Harvard, who s 
willing to use Stinehour to produce certain things for you. 
But there was the cost of typesetting, composition and so 
on. 

Of course. And that got to be very pricey. 
Did it? 

Well, setting Monotype was really, really expensive. I 
think that was why we saw the writing on the wall that it 
would become increasing expensive as fewer and fewer people 
--really, when we got right down to it, the only people who 
could really typeset for us was Arion Press or Stinehour 
press. So that s why we really needed to go to offset 
printing. But unfortunately, as 1 say, the deal with Steve 
Harvard sort of fell through, and then he died, and then I 
got sick, and so everything sort of fell to pieces. 



Grant Funding 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 



Yes. Now, another source for funds would have been grants, 
and you did do the grant thing. 

Yes. 

In looking at the grants files in the Bancroft archives, I 
find that you seemed to have had the most luck with the 
California Arts Council. 



Kirshenbaum: Yes. 



125 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



The earliest that I ve noted for an award from them was 
1984, which waswell, that s almost ten years after you 
started. 

Right. And then the other important source that we had was 
the NBA [National Endowment for the Arts]. 

Yes, I noticed that. 

I think that we had two grants from them. And the last one 
we had was partly to sponsor our turnover to offset 
printing. We were successful in obtaining that grant, but 
we were not able to use it. In fact, I just had a letter 
from the woman who was the director of the Minnesota Center 
for Book Arts, and we were channeling through themthe 
grant through them. So the grant went through and we were 
granted the money, but we never used it because, as I say, 
things just went to hell. They fell apart. We did not use 
the money. But it was still there! She called me and told 
me that apparently the moneyshe had checked, and it was 
still there! And so she used it eventually, she used the 
money for one of their programs at the MCBA, and that was 
great. 

At least it was used. 

Yes. I m surprised that the NEA said, "Okay, blow the 
whistle. These people have been hanging on too long." 

Maybe so, yes. I notice in looking at the applications for 
the California Arts Council that an application was a lot of 
work. 

It was . 

An inch thick of paper, and it goes on and on and on. 

Did I hate it! I just hated that stuff. I think I 
developed what I call terminal formiphobia. 

[laughs] 

And I just dreaded doing any kind of grant applications. So 
I did an unfortunate thing, which was to hire grant writers. 
That was really stupid. 



Harlan: 



Well, you had to try. 



126 



Kirshenbaura: That was just such a waste of time. It took them so long to 
understand what we were really about, you know? It just was 
a hideous situation. And it ended up costing a lot of 
money . 



Harlan: 



I would like to see a study of the success rate of grant 
writers. I ll bet it s appallingly low. 



Kirshenbaum: I bet it is. 

Harlan: Particularly when you factor in what they cost. 

Kirshenbaum: Absolutely. And that was a big mistake on our part. But we 
did get a goodly number of grants, just on our own. 



Harlan: 



Yes, and I notice that you received grants from the 
Fleishhacker Foundation and the Skaggs Foundation. 



Kirshenbaum: Yes. 



Harlan: 



So, you know, you did get grants, but it just struck me that 
to even apply for a grant was a lot of work. 



Kirshenbaum: It was, absolutely. 
Harlan: 



And I suppose that over time, one would develop a facility 
for this but-- 



Kirshenbaum: Well, I don t know. I never did. All I did was develop a 
complete aversion to it. 



Harlan: 



[laughs] Now I want to move on to sort of the last chapter 
of Fine Print, which was Pro Arte Libri. This also was a 
major undertaking. It must have taken a lot of time to pull 
this together. 



Kirshenbaum: It took a lot of time. 



Harlan: 



So why don t you start by telling us-- 



[tape interruption] 



Forming an Umbrella Organization. Pro Arte Libri, 1989 



Harlan: 



Do you remember when you started thinking about the need for 
this kind of organization as an umbrella for Fine Print? 



127 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 



Yes, about 88, I think. And then we had a lot of work to 
do to put it together. I couldn t have done it without the 
help of Alan Freeland, who was a lawyer with Cooper White 
and Cooper, one of the best known firms in publishing law. 
He s been wonderful to us from the beginning, and he helped 
us to form the nonprofit. I guess we felt at that point 
that we weren t going to make it just on the strength of our 
circulation, that we needed to form a nonprofit organization 
so we could offer people the opportunity to make donations 
that would be tax-deductible and be able to expand our 
vision of what Fine Print could do. So that was why we did 
it. 

Why that name? 

Well, you know, I had a lot of objections to that name. 
People said, "A Latin name like that they won t be able to 
understand it." They may understand Pro Arte because there 
is some other use of that word, but not Pro Arte Libri; they 
would never understand. They think it means- 
Liberty? 

For art--Libri--I mean, they just don t know what it means 
at all. Or Pro Arte Library is another one that they like 
to use--I mean, just general people coming upon the name. 
But I just liked it becauseof course, I like Latinbeing 
Italian, I like Latin expression anyway, and it seemed to me 
to be very good. 

** 

The proper way in Latin would have been to say Pro Arte 
Librorum, books you know, plural. But I thought, oh, well, 
people won t understand that at all. We used "Libri" then 
it would be maybe more understandable. So that s what we 
did. 



Did you form a 
started? 



committee, or how did you get this thing 



Kirshenbaum: Gee, I can t really remember when we got it started. But 

the people who were on my first board of directors and many 
of them still are, perhaps in name only because I haven t 
been in touch with them but I just asked them if they would 
be directors, and they would, and so 



Harlan: 



I ve got the first board includes, in addition to you, 
Ginger, Helen Frederick-- 



128 



Kirshenbaum: Yes, Helen was a good friend of mine. She ran a book arts 
program, Pyramid Atlantic, which was located back East. I 
can t remember whether it was New York or--I think it 
probably was in New York. And she was very enthusiastic 
about it. 

Harlan: And William Bright. 

Kirshenbaum: Yes. He s a linguist. He has since retired from the board. 
He was a contributing editor. Anytime I had any problems 
with the language or bilingual editions or anything, I would 
just send them to Bill and he would do it. 

Harlan: And we ve mentioned Alan Freeland already. 

Kirshenbaum: Yes. 

Harlan: And Paul Hayden Duensing we ve mentioned. 

Kirshenbaum: Right. 

Harlan: Merker? Ken Merker? 

Kirshenbaum: Yes. He s the head of the book arts centeractually, they 
call it the Center for the Book at University of Iowa. 

Harlan: Oh, yes. And Chuck Bigelow we ve mentioned. 

Kirshenbaum: Yes. 

Harlan: And Decherd Turner. 

Kirshenbaum: Oh, yes, Decherd. 

Harlan: Decherd Turner, yes. And Betsy Davids. 

Kirshenbaum: Right. 

Harlan: I ve got a note here that the first meeting was in August of 
1989. Does that sound-- 

Kirshenbaum: Right. 

Harlan: And when you met, you probably drew up some goals and 
purposes of what you hoped to achieve. 

Kirshenbaum: Right. 



129 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 
Harlan: 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



You also were obviously thinking in terms of becoming an 
organization that would impress someone enough to give you 
money . 

Yes. 

It must have been a major concern. So, in looking at the 
literature that you produced, I found that Pro Arte Libri 
was an umbrella organization which incorporated Fine Print: 
but did much more. 

Yes. What we did was we tried to find new audiences for 
fine printing and book arts. One of the first things we did 
was in 1990 we decided we would go to the American 
Booksellers Association fair in Las Vegas. And they were so 
thrilled that we were going to come and do demonstrations of 
books arts and digital type and digital type production. 
There s where Adobe Systems kindly arranged for us to have a 
computer and to have a couple of people there so they could 
talk about computer type design. And we had a person who is 
still doing metal type founding and type production, 
Golganooza Type Foundry, and that s in New Hampshire, I 
believe. 

And you weren t paying for them. 

No, because they considered it an opportunity to have 
publicity. And then I collected a bunch of beautiful fine 
printing to put on display, and the ABA was so kind as to 
provide plastic cases for us to display all the fine books. 
They were just so generous. And they were crazy about the 
idea of having fine printing and book arts as a display. It 
was quite successful. It almost killed us financially, 
[laughter] Because we had to- -we drove in a van. 

Who went? 

Let s see. It was Alan Hillesheim, Barbara Golden, and me 
and Deborah. 

Oh, that s okay. 

Anyway, there were a couple of other participants. So we 
rented a van, and we all drove all the way to Las Vegas. 
And then, of course, I had to pay for everybody s 
accommodations. So it really killed us financially, but it 
was--I hoped it would be an enormous boost for us. I hoped 
that we would get a lot of subscribers. But we didn t. And 



130 



so we didn t get any financial reward from doing this, even 
though a lot of people found it fascinating. 

We just had a wonderful combination of things. We had a 
demonstration of bookbinding and marbling of paper and 
everything. It was a fabulous thing. And, you know, I had 
so many other organizations, like American Library 
Association and Special Libraries Association and various 
other organizations all wanted to have their own 
demonstration of book arts. 

Harlan: But you couldn t afford it [laughs]. 

Kirshenbaum: No, we couldn t. 

Harlan: Well, also the time. It must have been a major undertaking. 

Kirshenbaum: Oh, yes, it was. I mean, just gathering these people was a 
very major thing. But somehow we managed it. We must have 
been crazy. I think we were. 

Harlan: Well, might have been. So this very successful display at 
ABA did not yield money or new subscriptions in vast 
numbers, so that was a disappointment. 

Kirshenbaum: Right. 



Financial Desperation and a Benefit Auction 

Harlan: Then you attempted to raise money through a book auction? 
Kirshenbaum: Yes. Well, that was a desperation move. 

Harlan: Do you remember when that occurred? Yes, December 1990 was 
the auction itself, by the California Book Auction. 

Kirshenbaum: Right. 

Harlan: It s called the Library of Fine Print Magazine. 

Kirshenbaum: Right. 

Harlan: You say this was a desperate act. Is that because you were 
really short of money? 



131 



Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 

Harlan: 

Kirshenbaum: 



Harlan: 
Kirshenbaum: 



Absolutely. And I had creditors calling me. For example, 
the fellow that made the plates for printing letterpress 
illustrations, and he was just on my case. And it was the 
first time that I had ever experienced thatyou know, of 
being- 
It does not pay to be a debtor. 

Oh, it was just awful! And, of course, I knew that there 
were printersyou know, I think at that time Powers & 
Tanner were running Fine Print. I think I owed them money, 
and I owed the plate maker money, and I owed the bindery 
money, and I just had all these bills coming on me. And, of 
course, we spent a lot of our money going to the ABA, so 

By this time you also had a permanent staff that you had to 
pay. 

Absolutely. And that was what killed me. 
Was it? 

I think so, because I had an advertising manager, and I had 
a circulation manager, and then I had one or two other 
people. So I really think that for our budget, I had too 
many people. But at that time, it just seemed like 
everybody was so essential, that I couldn t get along 
without them. I certainly didn t want to manage 
advertising, so at that point I had two women who did it. 
There was Debbie--! forgot her last nameand then the other 
one was Barbara Golden. Barbara was a real whiz at getting 
advertisers you know, she d just call them up in her 
friendly way and say, "Oh, you know, we re having a special 
Italian issue. Do you want to advertise your Italian 
books?" and so on. They just fell for it. She would chat 
them up. She was a great phone talker. So she really did a 
lot. 

And the other one, of course, was Deborah- -whatever her 
last name was . 

Was Ginger on your staff, too? 

Yes, Ginger. You know, it was really bad because I had to 
pay Ginger a decent living wage. Well, it was barely a 
living wage, and so she got really, I guess, depressed about 
not earning enough money. And I had to provide health 
insurance, and that was something that was just reallyit 
was so expensive. I felt like I morally had to do it. And 



132 



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it was good because Liz Sluzinksy, who just came on board, 
and a few months later she had an acute appendicitis, so I 
don t know what would have happened if she hadn t had that 
health insurance. So there was something thatwhen you get 
into a growing business, which is more than, say, two or 
three people, you ve simply got to employ more people 
because you can t do it all yourself, and that s what I 
found. And then it got just too burdensome. 

What I should have done is A) go offset, B) fire about 
half my staff --you know, get rid of the advertising manager, 
get rid of whatever--! can t remember what all the different 
positions were. 

You had a managing editor, you had a production manager, a 
development director, a circulation director- 
Right . 

--a mailing supervisor, and a press book secretary. That s 
a big staff. 

Well, the press book secretary was a voluntary position. 

But I suspect, as you say, you found out that once these 
people came, and if they were good, that you really thought 
you couldn t do without them. 

Right. 

You may have wondered how you carried on without them for so 
long. 

Right. 

But it is a very interesting experience thatif you run 
kind of a cottage industry, in one sense it works better, 
but it also-- 

It limits what you can do. And that s the thing. I always 
had more ambition for Fine Print, and whenever opportunities 
would arise, I would just want to do them so badly that I 
would just go ahead, even though it wasn t really so smart. 
And we certainly should never have gone to Las Vegas to the 
ABA. But, you know, I wanted it. I wanted to do it. I 
wanted people to know what fine printing and the different 
book arts were all about. People were so amazed to see 
paper marbling and bookbinding and all that. It was just 
wonderful. But it was really costly. 



133 



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Yes, yes. So one way to try to raise money was your 
decision to sell the library of Fine Print. 

Absolutely. And at that time I called Doug Johns. I had 
been friendly with him. Of course, I had worked for 
California Book Auction when it restarted in 1972 because 
previously it had been run by Maurice Powers s brother. He 
was looking for a cataloguer. Of course, I never catalogued 
any rare books, so it was a real learning thing for me, and 
so I signed on as his only cataloguer at that time. We did 
some very nice catalogs. 

Yes. So you had this association with California Book 
Auction. 

Yes. I called Doug Johns, and I said, "Look, we re in 
desperate straits, and we really need to raise money, and 
the only way I can think to do it is to sell off all the 
books that we ve gathered." I m talking books that I bought 
because I liked them and books that were donated just 
because people wanted to give them to us. 

Were some of these books books that you had received from 
the publisher or the printer for review? 

Well, very few of them, I tell you, because we made it our 
policy if you would send us an expensive book for review, we 
would either review it and give it to the reviewer as a 
reward because they didn t get any other payment for writing 
a review, or we would return the book to you. But many 
times I just liked the book, so I would buy it or I would--! 
don t remember how I--anyway, I did get a good library 
going. 

So when you were preparing for this benefit auction, you put 
out the call to friends and subscribers and anyone else you 
could think of to donate books for the sale. 

Exactly. 

And I remember in one of the letters in the Fine Print 
archives it says the books should be worth at least fifty 
dollars or it s hardly worth the effort. In the catalog is 
a long list of donors who gave, and there are names of 
printers and friends. 



Kirshenbaum: Yes, wonderful, wonderful-- 



134 



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Claire Van Vliet and the Yolla Bolly Press and Sue Allen and 
Martin Antonetti and Richard Bigus and-- 

Mills College. 

And Muir Dawson. So these are all friends. David Goines. 

Yes. 

The catalog lists 240 books. The sale was held, and were 
you pleased with the results of the sale? 

No, I wasn t. Of course, I never would be, you know. I 
mean, I don t know. I d have to go back and check the 
prices realized because I just never wanted to know. I 
really didn t. But it was effective in the sense that I did 
pay off all my debt. 

That s good. 

So that was really good and successful in that sense, 
really, because I just felt so terrible owing people money, 
especially people who couldn t afford to lend money. It 
worked out all right. It really did. 

Well, in looking at your goals and proposed programs, it s 
very ambitious. In addition to Fine Print, you proposed-- 
why don t you just look this over [gives her paper] and 
mention what you want? 

Yes. We wanted to run a series of interdisciplinary popular 
seminars on such themes as Appreciating and Collecting 
Contemporary Books, Appreciation and Collecting Fine 
Bindings, Edition Binding and Fine Presses, and a seminar on 
the Basics of Typography, and a Specialist s Seminars on 
Non-Roman Type Faces, on Commercial Typesetting Versus 
Desktop Computer Type, the Types of Eric Gill, the Origins 
and Development of San Serif Types, and then--of course, 
these were just a few ideas that we were obviously capable 
of doing at that time. 

And then we wanted to range further afield, and we 
wanted to organize a Pro Arte Libri book club, which would 
issue regular catalogs of books about books, typography, 
bibliography, and book crafts and printing, and catalog them 
and offer at a discount, by direct mail, several times a 
year. Well, you know, nowadays we would have put it on the 
Net. 



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Right, right. Would these seminars have all been held in 
San Francisco? 

Well, at that time we had this wonderful large space in the 
Printing Industry of Northern California s "PINC building" 
on Third Street, so we had this very large space and we 
could have easily held seminars right in that office. And 
there were other printers in the vicinity, too. There was 
the beginnings of a computer firm that did computer graphic 
design, so it was a wonderful mix of people there. 

And then another thing we would do would be to have 
public exhibitions and demonstrations. You know, the way we 
had at the ABA in Las Vegas in 1990. And many other 
organizations, including American Library Association and 
the Center for the Book in Florida and so on--they wanted to 
have similar kinds of expositions at their meetings, so 
there were lots of possibilities therewhich we were never 
able to follow up on, of course. 

To become a nonprofit organization, did you have to 
demonstrate that you had a certain amount of money? Was 
that part of it? 



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Kirshenbaum: I think we had to demonstrate that we had a certain number 
of supporters, not necessarily money. That s my 
recollection. 

This didn t succeed? 

No. 

What do you think the problems were? 

Well, I think in some regards it was very successful in 
terms of donations that we received. We really got some 
very generous donations, and I won t mention one person who 
gave us a lot of money because I don t think he d want to be 
identified. But he gave us something like $15,000, so that 
was very helpful. And then the other people they also gave 
us lesser donations but substantial ones, and so that was 
very, very helpful. 

I think it would have been a success. I think that 
there s two problems with it. One thing is that since I had 
a board--! think this is the same problem that everybody s 
got. All nonprofit organizations have the strong person 
who initiates the whole thing is now in a way hogtied by the 
board, and so there was a time when we had our board meeting 



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and I wanted to go ahead and do the super-big mailing, 
Bartkoviak, of all his people. And essentially I got shot 
down by the board because they didn t want me to get into 
any dangerous situations again. 

Financially dangerous. 

Financially. And mainly our treasurer, Leah Wolfe, who was 
a dear friendyou know, she didn t want me to take any more 
chances . 

You thought that was the only chance you had, really. 

Yes. I felt that way, but they wouldn t give their approval 
for this massive mailing because they thought it would be 
too expensive and not remunerative enough. So there were 
some things that I really would have done to improve the 
prospects of Fine Print that I wasn t able to do. Then 
shortly after that, I think- -we held that meeting in 
October- -well, anyway, then shortly after that I wasn t able 
to follow through on those plans in any case. 

This is because you became ill? 

Yes. 

This was in 90? 

Actually, it was 92, late 92, my annus horribilis . 

Going back to 90, you did not publish Volume 16, Number 4. 

That s right. 

Was that for financial reasons? 

Yes, because I owed money. I owed money, and they wouldn t 
--you know, Andrew Hoyem was very adamant. I visited him 
with Dechard Turner, and I wanted him to release our type, 
and he wouldn t do it because he said, "I ve done enough in 
Fine Print." 

He had set the type? When you say "release the type"? 

Yes, I think it was all set. I guess he wanted us to pay, 
and so that was it. 



137 



Seeking a University Press Publisher; No Solution 



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Yes. Now, there was a point where you thought Fine Print 
might be transferred to the University of Iowa. 

Right. 

That didn t succeed either, did it? 

No, it didn t. There were two prime possibilities. One was 
KIT, Rochester Institute of Technology, and the other one 
was the University of Iowa. I ll tell you the story, but I 
may not necessarily want to keep it in the oral [history] . 

Well, you can edit it out. 

Right. What happened was that I had been in negotiations 
with Thomas Taylor, who had a large letterpress printer in 
Texas. In Austin. I was also talking about the University 
of Iowa and Rochester Institute of Technology which were the 
two universities that were really interested in Fine Print, 
in taking it over and publishing it. And so I realized that 
I could not continue the way I had been, and I just couldn t 
manage it anymore, so I thought the best answer was to give 
it to one of these universities or to go into partnership 
with Thomas Taylor and let him do the printing and let me do 
the editing. 

Was he amenable to that? 

Well, at first he seemed to be, but later he called me and 
he said, "You know, one of the main reasons that--I 
originally wanted to create my own book arts journal, and 
the only reason I really didn t was I couldn t think of a 
good name." And he said, "Now I ve thought of one, and so I 
don t want to collaborate with you anymore. I want to do my 
own thing." He said, "That s the way I ve always been. I 
like to do my own thing, and I don t like to collaborate 
with anybody, and so our deal is off." 

Only later did I discover that Kim Merker, who was on 
our board of directors- 
University of Iowa? 
Yes, at the University of Iowa. Only later did I discover-- 



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Kim Merker had abused our offer of our mailing list. In 
other words, instead of just using it for one mailing for 
this Iowa Center for the Book-- 

You d given him the mailing list so that he could-- 

I had given him the mailing list. That was when he just 
wanted to have our mailing list for the Center for the Book 
at Iowa. Of course, we gave it to him. We had no reason to 
distrust him at that time. But what he did was he had one 
of his underlings, I should call her, one of the women who 
worked at the presshe had her copying, name for name, all 
our mailing list, for later use. When I discovered that, I 
was just irate. We did some lawyer type things and so on. 

But in the meanwhile, I learned that Thomas Taylor had 
received a copy of the mailing list from Kim Merker. I 
suspect that that was why he withdrew from our deal because 
he had our list, and he thought he could do his own journal 
very readily, using our list, I suspect. But I don t know 
for sure that that was his intention. But he did say 
something when I discussed this with him over the phone. He 
said, "Well, I didn t know that Kim Merker didn t have 
permission to send the mailing list to me. I thought it was 
okay." And he said, "I always wondered why he never sent me 
the library list, the list of library subscribers. I guess 
you hadn t given him that." So I said, "No, I didn t." 

The whole thing just hurt me so much. It did. I mean, 
I just felt betrayed in the worst way. I felt like they 
were two men taking advantage of me as a woman, thinking 
that they could pull this off without my knowing it. 
Actually, the only way I knew was when I got a mailing that 
went to my mother, who was one of our "fake" address people. 

And she got a solicitation then. 

Yes. 

Yes, that s too bad. 

It is. 

Taylor did go on to produce his periodical, which was called 
Bookwaysl 

That s right. 

Which lasted about four years, I think. 



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That s right. It was like an imitation Fine Print. And he 
poached on all the writers I had developed. I mean, it was 
really awful. It was an awful imitation thing. He took all 
my good writers and had them write for him. By the time he 
got his Bookways thing going, I was already sick. I 
couldn t protest too much. 

Well, it s probably just as well. 

Yes. But I did get to threaten Kim Merker a little bit. I 
wrote him some nasty letters. That will probably be in the 
archive there. Later he tried to apologize. 

Oh, I think it is. I think I ve seen it. 

So that was my adventures in printing, fine printing. 

Well, it s in the world of business. 

The world of business. 

And that makes a difference. 

Yes. 

Well, think about the good aspects of it. Fine Print lasted 
for almost sixteen years and it is a distinguished magazine, 
still used by people, and always will be, I think. 

I hope so. 

Oh, I think so. 



The Complete Index to Fine Print 



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I m working now like hell on the complete index. 

Yes, I wanted to talk about the last thing I wanted to talk 
about was your proposed index to Fine Print because Fine 
Print, like most journals, doesn t have indexes. Sixteen 
years of a lot of information. 



Kirshenbaum: Absolutely. And complex. 



140 



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Complex information, which is really not available in the 
way it would be if there was a very good index. So when did 
you start working on this index? 

My records show that we started it in 1996, when I made an 
agreement with an indexer who had been recommended to me by 
Wilsted & Taylor, who have done a lot of work for the 
University of California Presstypesetting. So I started 
out with giving her a substantial payment in 1996. Believe 
it or not, we are still working on it. 



Harlan: I can believe it. Indexing is not easy, 
[tape interruption] 



Kirshenbaum: 



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It turned out to be a much more complex and intricate job 
than I had ever imagined, or for that matter that the 
indexer, herself, had ever imagined. So it s now the middle 
of 1999, and I m still going over the second draft, and it s 
almost going item by item. So it has been a lot of work. 
I ve had to go back over it and examine almost every entry 
and make sure that it was right. 

Why don t you describe, in as much detail as you want, what 
--well, what are the approaches in the index? 

Well, okay. There is actually three indexes. One is the 
table of contents, which is just a listing of each issue 
with the principal articles that appeared in it, and who the 
cover designer was or the issue designer or whatever. So 
that is a very important access tool. 

So the second is what we call the names index. That was 
all the presses and the names of the proprietors and 
referral from the press names to the printer names, and then 
we had other names of authors and article writers and book 
reviewers and reference book writers, and all those were in 
the names index. I had some trouble with that because I 
realized that going through the names, one wouldn t know 
whether one actually wrote an article or reviewed a book. 
But we decided it would have been just too, too complicated 
to try to make those designations, so only if a person had a 
lot of entries did we say "reviewed by" or "article by" and 
so on. Other people that just had one entry, we just hoped 
that they would find them somehow. 

And then we had what we called the subject index. And 
that has turned out to be a true-- 



141 



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So in the subject index we put all things that were relating 
to book arts and we included the subjects of reference books 
reviewed because frequently a lot of information would be in 
a book review of, say, illuminated manuscripts or something. 
And so we figured people wouldn t really care if they could 
tell how long the entry was and from that, they could tell 
if it was an extensive article in Fine Print or if it was 
just a small book review. 

So we didn t make any distinction in the subject index 
of authors and article writers and so on. There was none of 
that. There was only the subjects of the things that were 
either reviewed or articles on. For example, we had a whole 
section of letterforms, and we would put in there all the 
articles on different letterforms, like alphabets and 
calligraphy and all those things. And then we had a whole 
section on type design and typography, and we had a whole 
list of featured bookbinders. 

I didn t know whether we really should have put the 
bookbinders, the whole list of bookbinders and we had a 
whole list of type designers, too, and we had a whole list 
of types, and so there was always a question, Well, should 
this be in the subject index, or should it be in the names 
index?--because if you have a whole list of names, well, 
that ought to go in the names index. But we tried to 
restrict the names mainly to authors, writers of articles 
and reviewers and illustrators and people like that. 
Whether it was the name of the author of an article or the 
author of a reviewed book, we did not make a distinction, 
okay? But that just shows you how complexit could have 
been even more complex had we attempted to do that. But 
anyhow- - 

Do you have any idea how long it will be, how many pages? 

Our last estimate is something like seventy pages. 

Wow. Well, that will be a thorough index. 

Yes, it will be. It will definitely be very thorough. 

So when the index is completed, will you publish it, or are 
you thinking about-- 

Well, what I m thinking is to just take the whole thing over 
to Charles Faulhaber at The Bancroft Library and say, 



142 



"Here s the complete index to Fine Print. Now you ve got 
the archive of Fine Print. Why don t you publish this?" 
And so I would hope that he would take me up on the 
challenge and go ahead and do it and get it out of my hair. 
I mean, that s what I want! 



Thoughts on Computer Design and the Fine Print Legacy 



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Yes. What would you like to do next? 
Well-- 

I know for one thing that Willa Baum wants you to do some 
oral histories on people like Sumner Stone. 

Right. Well, what I wanted to do was to do an oral history 
on the transition and the possibility of using a computer to 
design letters and the people who made the first steps in 
that direction. And then I understood thatyou know that a 
lot of this has been written already. 

Yes. 

That I don t have to do it. So, I mean, a lot of people 
have written about the origins of the computer interface 
because it s very interesting to think that computer output 
in the sixites was a whole bunch of punched cards, and 
that s how you got the information, by sorting through these 
punched cards. 

It seems very primitive now, doesn t it? 

It really does! And then somehow they discovered the fact 
that you could actually create graphics on the screen that 
would let you into the mind of the computer, and that whole 
thing just fascinated me, so I thought I could do an oral 
history on it. But I found that a lot of it has been done 
already and that Stanford has done a lot of work in Silicon 
Valley. 

And I was very interested in Xerox Pare- -you know, where 
a lot of the early pioneers had developed the whole idea of 
an interface, a graphic interface. And I thought, Wow, it 
would be so neat to interview some of those people and have 
that all coming out. But actually, I discovered that 



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Stanford University had already started that, so I didn t 
want to interfere with it at all. 

But what I did do was I was thinking of another aspect 
that has not been written about, and that is--or even 
interviewed about and that was the influence of Lloyd 
Reynolds at Reed College in Oregon. He taught calligraphy, 
and he inspired so many people. He managed to, for example, 
revolutionize the teaching of writing in schools, to teach 
young people how to write italic letters. He had these 
wonderful classes. That was where I first met Charles 
Bigelow because he had been studying with Lloyd Reynolds, 
and I soon discovered that there was a whole group of people 
who later went on to develop the whole idea of type design 
by computer, that were influenced by Lloyd Reynolds in the 
sense of getting an appreciation of letterforms and what 
went into the design of letters and all that. 

There were people like, of course, Chuck Bigelow and 
Kris Holmes and Sumner Stone and Michael Sheridan and a 
couple of others who studied with Lloyd Reynolds, who then 
later went on to develop the core of type design by 
computer. And so I thought I would try to restrict my 
interviewing with that. But so far I haven t been 
successful because I ve been too involved with the Fine 
Print index and so on. Meanwhile, Bigelow and Holmes have 
moved to Hawaii! So they re not too easy to reach anymore. 

No. Can you keep up with the fine print scene as much as 
you did? 



No, no. 1 feel very distant from it now. I feel like I 
my bit for it, and I ll let other people do it now. 



did 



It s interesting that after Fine Print was Bookways , which 
was different in some respectsnot as successful, I think. 
Then there s a hiatus of several years, and now we have this 
new journal called Parenthesis, which is too new to 
evaluate. It has the advantage, or perhaps the 
disadvantage, of having an English and American split. 
There s an English office and an American office. We ll see 
what happens with that. 

Right. 

But there seems still to be a pretty lively printing scene. 

Right. Well, you know, at a certain point, when I thought 
that Fine Print would meet a demise in any case, because of 



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the fact that computer communications would sort of take 
over and there would no longer be a need for a magazine like 
Fine Print, I wanted to change the character of Fine Print 
at a certain point and call it Fine Print: The Review for 
the Design of Literature. That would have brought in the 
literary, which I love, and would allow us to still do 
limited edition books of fine literature, which I think is 
really wonderful and a wonderful way to get out the 
literature that might not find a publisher because, you 
know, publishers now are more and more interested in having 
blockbusters -- 

Right. 

--and so on. I wanted it to include literature design by 
computer, as well. And I wanted to review, for example, CDs 
that would show a sensitivity to design and so on. So that 
was my idea for a continuation of Fine Print, but then, of 
course, it never came to pass. 

Yes. Well, I think Fine Print stands on its own, don t you? 

Yes. 

And I think it made a major contribution. 

Sure. 

And I think its influence will continue to be felt. 



Postscript: On November 10, 2000, Sandra Kirshenbaum received a letter 
notifying her that she had been chosen unanimously by the 
awards committee to receive the 2001 Award of the American 
Printing History Association (the first person in the 
Western U.S. to receive this honor). 



Transcribed by Him Eisenberg and Gary Varney 
Final Typed by Shannon Page 



145 
TAPE GUIDE--Sandra Kirshenbaum 



Interview 1: February 2, 1999 

Tape 1, Side A 1 

Insert from Tape 7, Side A [12-14-99] 2 

Resume Tape 1, Side A 7 

Tape 1, Side B 17 

Tape 2, Side A 30 

Tape 2, Side B 42 

Interview 2: April 30, 1999 

Tape 3, Side A 52 

Tape 3, Side B 64 

Tape 4, Side A 77 
Tape 4, Side B not recorded 

Interview 3: June 29, 1999 

Tape 5, Side A 87 

Insert from Tape 7, Side A [12-14-99] 96 

Tape 7, Side B 100 

Tape 8, Side A 108 

Resume Tape 5, Side A 112 

Tape 5, Side B 115 

Tape 6, Side A 127 

Tape 6, Side B 137 



INDEX--Sandra Kirshenbaum 



146 



Abbatoir Editions, 108 
Abbey, Dorothy, 107 
Achepohl, Keith, 106 
Adobe Illustrator, 88 
Adobe Systems, 76, 84-85, 129 
Agency for International 

Development (AID) , 16 
Alcott, Louisa May, 8 
Allen, Sue, 134 
Amazon.com, 116 
American Booksellers Association 

(ABA), 129, 130, 132, 135 
American Express Company, 4 
American Institute of Graphic Arts 

(AIGA) , 103 
American Library Association 

(ALA), 130, 135 
American Smelting and Refining 

Company, 11, 16 
Amert, Kay, 122 
Angelo, Valenti, 86, 96 
Annals of American Biography, 12 
Antonetti, Martin, 134 
Argentina, residence in and 

opinion of, 16-17, 19, 21 
Arion Press, 33, 58, 96, 124 
Art of the Book Conference, Omaha, 

53-54 
Atherton (California) Public 

Library, 21 
Australian National Library, 119 



Barnett, Tim, 72 

Bartowiak, 119, 130 

Baud in, Fernand, 67 

Baum, Willa, 142 

Bedford, Peter, 112-113, 116 

Bedford Arts, 111, 113 

Bieler Press, 75 

Bigelow, Charles, 73, 83-84, 114, 

128, 143 

Bigus, Richard, 56, 90, 134 
Bilek, Frantisek, 55 
Bing Nursery School, 19 
Blinn, Carol, 85 



Blumenthal, Joseph, 85, 98 

Blynn, Carol, 5, 98 

Book Club of California, The, 26, 

28, 39, 44, 69, 86 
Book Club of California Quarterly 

News-Letter, The, 31 
Bookbinders of California, 78 
"Bookbinding: Perspective and 

Prescription," 92 
Book Prices Current, 24 
Bookways, 138, 143 
Bright, William, 83 
Brill of Leiden, 59 
Bringhurst, Robert, 50, 57, 62, 

90 

British Library, The, 67, 119 
Broder Collection, 36-37, 82-83 
Broder family, 27, 29 
Bronte, Emily, 111 
Bucket Rider, 86 
Butler, Frances, 92, 97-98 



Caflisch, Max, 101 

California Arts Council, 124-125 

California Book Auction, 21-26, 

30, 32, 130 
California Polytechnical State 

University, 109 
Camel Printing Press, 106 
Candau, Eugenia, 40 
Cantor, Marjorie, 110 
Carnegie, Andrew, 17 
Carnegie Library School, 10-11 
Carnegie-Mellon University, 10 
Carter, Sebastian, 98 
Caxton, William, 24 
Center for the Book, the 

University of Iowa, 128 
Center for the Book, Florida, 135 
Centre Amici del Libro, 69 
Chamberlain, Sarah, 103 
Chanel Number 5, 73 
Cherokee language, 83 
Choice, 120 
Ciano, Conte Galeazzo, 4 



147 



Colines, Simon de, 98 
Colophon Club, 34 
Complete Angler, The, 104 
"Contemporary s View of Dwiggins, 

A," 107 

Cooper White and Cooper, 127 
Copper Range Company, 21 
Corey, Steven, 25, 32, 35-36, 39, 

43, 45 

Corvine Press, 83 
Cumminston Press, 41 
Cumulative Book Index, 31 



Dante Alighieri, 100 

Dawson, Muir, 134 

Delauney, Robert, 120 

Delauney, Sonia, 120 

DeNola, Elda, 2-5, 13-15, 37 

DeNola, Leone, 3-7, 12-13 

Designer Bookbinders, 78 

Dewey, Melvil, 17 

Dewey Decimal Classification, 18- 

19 

Dostoevsky, Fyodor, 111 
Doves Press, 91 
Dreyfus, John, 65, 114 
Druekers in der Marge, 88 
Duensing, Paul Hayden, 54, 61-62, 

66, 85, 114, 128 
Duffy, Diane, 8 
Duncan, Henry, 41, 52-53, 106 
Dwiggins, William Addison, 107 



archives, 118, 122, 124 
"Books in Sheets," 77 
"Broadside Roundup," 74-77 
calendar, 99 
"Corey s Queries," 41 
Czech issue, 53-54, 72, 87, 

89, 108 

Dutch issue, 87-89 
proposed French issue, 74 
German issue, 87, 89, 95, 108 
proposed Hungarian issue, 75 
proposed index, 83-84, 115 
Islamic issue, 79 
Italian issue, 68 
library, sale of, 133-134 
"New Presses," 77 
"On Type," 82-83, 114 
"Recent Press Books," 40 
"Reference Shelf," 41, 79 
"Shoulder Notes," 41 
Tenth Annual Issue, 92-95 
"Works in Progress," 40 
Fine Print on Type, 112-116 
"Fine Printing and Trade Book 
Publishing: Conflict and 
Compromise," 92 
Fox, George, 30 
Franklin, Colin, 66 
Frazer, James, 54, 59, 107-108 
Frederick, Helen, 127-128 
Freeland, Alan, 127-128 
French National Library, 119 
Furesz, Andras, 72 



Eichenberg, Antonie, 111 

Eichenberg, Fritz, 111 

Elements of Typographic Style, 91 

Ellis Island, 5 

Enchede Typefoundry, 88-89 

Everson, William, 58 



Fables of Aesop, 7 

Fairleigh Dickinson University, 

54, 59, 108 

Faulhaber, Charles, 141 
Ferlinghetti, Lawrence, 111 
Fine Arts Press, 108 
Fine Print, 1, 26, 36-144 passim 



Garamond, Claude, 109 

Garden Court (Palace Hotel, San 

Francisco), 13 
"Garden of Earthly Delights" 

(Santa Clara Valley) , 6 
Garden of the Finzi-Continis , 3 
Garnett, Porter, 1 
Gentry, Helen, 105 
Gentry, Linnea, 35-37, 39-40 



Germany, visit to and opinion of, 
35-36, 39-40, 43, 55-56, 64-65, 
67, 82, 104, 110, 119 

Gill, Eric, 60, 110, 134 



148 



Ginger (personal name), 127, 131 
Gleeson Library (University of San 

Francisco), 32, 76 
Goethe, Johann, 63 
Goines, David, 134 
Golganooza Type Foundry, 129 
Goluska, Glen, 106 
Golden, Barbara, 128, 131 
Graalfs, Gregory, 118 
Grabhorn, Edwin, 33 
Grabhorn, Robert, 33, 42 
Grabhorn Collection (San Francisco 

Public Library), 25 
Grabhorn Press, 31, 33 
Grabhorn-Hoyem Press, 33, 35 
Greenwood, Georgiana, 84 
Gremaldi, Josephine, 11 
Gremaldi, Laura, 11 
Grolier Club, 24-25 
Grumbach, Doris, 50 
Guide to Reference Books, 12 
Guild of Bookbinders, 87 
Guild of Bookmakers, 44, 78 
Gunn, Tom, 49 
Gutsch, Herbert, 110 



Banff, Peter, 28 

Harding, George, 39 

Harrison, Mrs., 8 

Harvard, Steven, 45, 48, 120-121, 

124 

Heaney, Seamus, 49 
Hechscher, August, 85 
Heinlein, Robert, 8 
Heller, Steven, 107 
Herrick, Gale, 27 
Hestahl, Dorothy, 27 
Hestahl, Eleanor, 27 
Hillesheim, Alan, 129 
Hoffman, H., Ill 
Holmes, Kris, 43, 84-85, 98 
Howell, Warren, 26 
Hoyem, Andrew, 33, 42, 48, 58-59, 

73, 136 

Hoyt-Koch, Shelley, 94 
Huizenga, Janine, 89 



Illia, Arturo, 17 



Impremirie Dromedair, 106 

Inferno, 100 

Interplayers, 34 

Iowa Center for the Book, 138 



Jane Eyre, 111 

Janus Press, 30, 85 

Jiskra, Jan, 107 

Johns, Douglas, 133 

"Join Us for Dinner in Rome," 15 



Kafka, Franz, 86 

Kaplan, Herb, 32-33 

Katz, Bill, 44 

Kipling, Rudyard, 50 

Kirshenbaum, Noel, 10, 16, 21, 33 

Kis, Miklos, 73-74 

Knopf, Alfred A., 107 

Koch, Peter, 94 

Kupa, Frantisik, 55 



Laboratory Press, 11 
Lerner, Abe, 86, 91 
Library Journal, 44, 120 
Library of Congress, 79 
Livingston, Mark, 98 



MacArthur Fellowship, 83 
Mad Woman of Chaillot, 34 
Mardersteig, Giovanni, 68, 71, 

104 
Mardersteig, Martino, 68-69, 71, 

104 

Marin Pescador Press, 72 
Matrix, 87 
Melville, Herman, 58 
Menlo Park Public Library, 20 
Menhart, Oldfich, 55 
Michelangelo Buonarroti, 10 
Mining and Scientific Press, 33 

Minnesota Historical Association, 

94 

Miura, Osowshi, 72 
Moby Dick, 58 
Monihan, Father William J., 32 



149 



Monte Cassini, 64 

"Most Beautiful Books in the 

World" conference, Verona, 

1990, 68 

Moser, Barry, 58, 98, 100 
Mosley, James, 14 
Mott, Steve, 109 
Mount Zion Hospital (San 

Francisco) , 6 
Mussolini, Benito, 3 



Nash, John Henry, 59 

Nazi Party, 62 

"Neglected American Art Form, A," 

75 

Neruda, Pablo, 90 
Nesbitt, Alexander, 107 
New Bookbinders, 87 
New York Times, The, 86-87 
New Yorker, 98 
Newsletter for the Arts of the 

Book, A, 39 
Nightshade Press, 106 
"Notes on Women in Printing," 104 



Oak Knoll Press, 70 
O Connell, Bonnie, 108 
Ode to Typography, 90 
"Out of the Cradle, Endlessly 

Rocking," 90 
Oxford University Press, 49 



Palace Hotel (San Francisco), 13 

Pascoe, Juan, 52-53 

Parenthesis, 143 

Petrequin, Scott, 123 

Peters, John, 42 

Phaedrus, 56, 90 

Plain Wrapper Press, 69, 71 

Plantin-Moretus Museum, 67 

Pomodoro, Arnaldo, 70 

Portola branch, San Francisco 

Public Library, 7 
Portola Jr. High School, San 

Francisco, 8 

Powers, Maurice, 22-23, 26, 133 
Powers, Will, 94, 131 



Preissig, Vojtech, 55 
Printing Industry of Northern 

California, 135 
Printing on the Iron Handpress, 

70 

Pro Arte Libri, 126-130 
Pro Arte Libri Book Club, 

proposed, 134 

Prose du Transiberien, La, 120 
Publishers Weekly, 31 
Piiterschein Press, 107 
Pyramid Atlantic Book Arts 

Program, 128 



Quadflieg, Roswitha, 63-64, 86, 
95 



Raecke, Renata, 60-62, 64, 108 
Rampant Lions Press, 96, 98 
Reed College, 84, 99, 143 
Rex, 3, 4 

Reynolds, Lloyd, 79, 83-84, 143 
Ritchie, George F., 35-36, 39, 

42-43 
Rochester Institute of Technology, 

137 

Rockefeller Center, 6 
Roosevelt, Theodore, 9 
Rosenthal, Barney, 24 
Rota, Simon, 66 

Roxburghe Club of California, 34 
Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, The, 49 
Rummonds, Richard-Gabriel, 69-70 



Sabbadini, Albert, 4 
Sabbadini, Emily, 13 
Sabbadini, Umberto, 2 
San Francisco, 5-6, 8, 11, 20-21, 
23, 111-112, 135 

San Francisco Public Library, 5, 

21, 25, 30, 32-33 
San Mateo High School, 9 
Serif, 15 

Sheridan, Michael, 84, 143 
Sherith Israel, 13 
Sherman, Stuart C., 58 



150 



Simmons, Anna, 60-61 

Skelton, Christopher, 100 

Smith, Philip, 40 

"Some Thoughts on Expressionism," 

46 

Sonnets from the Portuguese, 49 
Special Libraries Association, 

130 

Sperisen, Albert, 82 
St. Brides Library, 114 
Stamford (Connecticut) Public 

Library, 22 
Stanford University, 16, 19, 21, 

143 
Stanford University Business 

School, 19-20 
Stauffacher, Jack, 11, 27, 34, 

52, 56, 73, 85, 90-91, 96 
Stempel Typefoundry, 109 
Stinehour Press, 45, 120, 124 
Stone, Sumner, 84, 85, 99, 114, 

142-143 

Strauss, Monica, 87, 89, 120-121 
Sunset, 15 



Tallone, Alberto, 69 
Tanner, Wesley, 102-103, 131 
Taylor, W. Thomas, 92, 137 
The Bancroft Library, 68, 115, 

141 

The Netherlands, 52, 67, 88, 100 
Tiessin, Wolfgang, 57, 62, 90-91 
Times Literary Supplement, 49 
Tolstoy, Leo, 111 
"Transport and Handling of Sulfide 

Concentrates," 16 
Turner, Decherd, 128, 136 
Twomey, Juliet Spahn, 114 
typefaces 

Block Condensed, 111 

Caslon, 82, 101 

Civilite, 85 

Cristel, 108 

Fleischmann, 82 

Fournier, 103 

Garamond, 109-110 

Gill Sanserif, 101 

Goudy, 62 

Helvetica, 89 



typefaces (cont d.) 

Isadora, 85 

Jenson, 114 

Kis-Janson, 90-91 

Lucida, 85 

Menhart, 55 

Ovtavian, 106 

Perpetua, 106 

Sanserif, 134 
Typography on the Blackboard, 67 



Unger, Gerard, 100 
Universal Container Company, 6 
University of Alabama, 70 
University of Arizona, 29 
University of California, 

Berkeley, 9-10 
University of California Press, 

100, 140 
University of Iowa, 30, 72, 122, 

137 
University of San Francisco, 32 



Vachal, Josef, 56 

Van Krimpen, Huib, 88 

Van Krimpen, Jan, 88, 100 

Van Vliet, Clare, 39, 41, 46, 85, 

134 

Vatican, The, 2 
Venus and Adonis, 73 
Von Arnim, Bettina, 63 
Vulvania , 3 



Walker, Scott, 92 
Walkup, Kathy, 104-105 
Warnock, John, 76 
Watkins, Carelton E., 29 
Way and Williams, 29 
Weimann, Christ, 79, 99, 102 
Weimann, Ingrid, 79, 102 
Wells Fargo Corporation, 23 
Wilkes, Walter, 61 
"William Addison Dwiggins : A 

Current Assessment," 107 
Wilson, Adrian, 27, 34, 39, 61, 

96-98 
Wilson, Joyce, 34, 61 



151 



Wilsted and Taylor, 140 

Winchell, Constance, 12 

Windle, John, 57 

Wizard of Oz , 28 

Wolfe, Leah, 136 

World s Fair (New York), 3, 13 

Withering Heights, 111 



Xerox Pare, 142 

Yolla Bolly Press, 134 
Yosemite, 29 



Zakairya, Mohammed, 79-80 

Zapf, Hermann, 61, 63, 94-95, 105 



Robert Harlan 



Born in Hastings, Nebraska; came to Berkeley in 
1963 as Assistant Professor, School of 
Librarianship. Professor Emeritus 1992. Hastings 
College, B.A. University of Michigan, M.A.L.S., 
M.A., Ph.D. 

Author of biographies of John Henry Nash (1970 and 
1982) and William Doxey (1983), several articles on 
printing and publishing in the Bay Area since the 
19th century, a bibliography of the Grabhorn Press 
and Grabhorn-Hoyem (1977), and The Two Hundredth 
Book: A Bibliography of the Books Published by the 
Book Club of California 1958-1992 (1993). 



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U. C. BERKELEY LIBRARIES