December 2012 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Oak Knoll 300

img76_5.jpgOak Knoll Books of New Castle, Delaware, has just issued its 300th catalogue, a feat that certainly deserves some attention. As readers of this blog will know, Oak Knoll is both an antiquarian bookseller and a press devoted to the books about books genre. It was started by Bob Fleck in 1976 and has been continuously publishing catalogues of books old & new since then.

This catalogue offers a wealth of options -- the table of contents alone tempts any collector: bookbinding, book collecting, bookselling, publishing history, book illustration, cartography, book and graphic design, private and fine press, papermaking, printing history, reference and bibliography, type specimens, and writing and calligraphy. And the very first item in the catalogue, a beautifully illustrated broadside calendar by the bookbinding and stationery company Middleton & Dawson of Quebec, 1873, is a fine example of the treasures within ($750).

An interest in the good doctor Rosenbach? There's a privately printed Christmas book, The All-Embracing Doctor Franklin, from 1932 that looks lovely ($700), as well as FB&C columnist Joel Silver's recently published book, Dr. Rosenbach and Mr. Lilly: Book Collecting in a Golden Age ($49.95).

When I was a graduate student there was nothing I would have liked more than my very own copy of the four-volume History of Book Publishing in the United States by John Tebbel. Oak Knoll has a presentation copy for $550. Now I think David Pearson's Books As History: The Importance of Books Beyond Their Texts ($29.95) should be required reading.

I am fascinated by the limited edition of Rudolph Ruzicka's wood-engravings done for the Carteret Book Club of Newark, New Jersey, 1917 ($1,750). I'd love to have a close look at that one. There's also a commendable section on Dard Hunter, with limited editions from his Mountain House Press.

Nearly 300 items in this 300th catalogue, so take a look. You can download the PDF here.

See also our review of Oak Knoll's catalogue #296 and our Bright Young Things interview with Bob's son, Rob Fleck.