I feel confident that there will always be a place for books we touch and hold. Some of us will read on phones or tablets; others will keep reaching for the real thing, the same way the great medieval printer Anton Koberger imagined his customers doing in 1493, when he sent out his Nuremberg Chronicle with this printed wish:

Speed now, Book…
A thousand hands will grasp you with warm desire
And read you with great attention.


Wow, you guys really like butterflies!

A little late, but as promised, here are a few more of the specimens from Moths and Butterflies of the United States East of the Rocky Mountains by Sherman Denton.  I also did some research and found the answers to some of your questions and a little bit more about the author of this book.

The Denton family were world-famous butterfly collectors and sellers.  They perfected methods of mounting and preserving butterflies, and their work touched off a butterfly fad during the late nineteenth century.  Sherman Denton’s papers and part of his butterfly collection are now at the Wellesley Historical Society.

keepyourhandsbusy asked whether they had to kill specimens for each copy of the book. Unfortunately, yes.  Historians estimate that around 50,000 butterflies were harmed in the making of this publication. Yikes.

idratherbesailing asked whether these are severed butterfly wings.  Not exactly, but they are made from severed butterfly wings.  The printing process used to produce them involved pressing the butterfly wings onto a gummed paper so that the scales would stick, and an image of the butterfly would remain.  I didn’t realize this when we published the previous post about this book, but smithsonianlibraries has a great explanation of this process on their blog, and they even mention this exact publication.  Plus, they have a field notebook produced this way.  Go take a look!

Any other questions for us?  You can always reblog or ask, and we’ll try to find out.  We’re librarians - it’s what we do.




225th Anniversary of the First Congress: We’ll be posting documents and stories highlighting the establishment of the new government under the Constitution through March 2016.

On February 2, 1790 the Senate received a petition from printer Francis Bailey asking Congress to patent his innovative printing techniques for preventing counterfeiting. Bailey’s petition was referred to the Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton who reported back to Congress on February 23 that Bailey should be issued “exclusive right” to use his invention.

On March 2 the Senate was sent H.R. 44, an act to give Francis Bailey the exclusive right to use his invention. This was the only patent petition received by the First Congress to result in a private bill. However, the Senate never voted on the bill because of the passage of the Patents Act on April 10, which provided the Patents Commission the ability to issue patents. Bailey’s patent application was placed through the Patents Commission. He was issued a patent for his invention on January 29, 1791.

H.R. 44, an Act to Vest in Francis Bailey, 3/2/1790, SEN1A-C1, Records of the U.S. Senate

This week in OUP Archives we found a picture of the copper matrix imported from the Netherlands in the 17th century by John Fell, the man who was in charge of the Press at the time. These moulds made the iron punches (or letters) that were used in printing materials. The matrix bears his name as a result, “Fell type”, and was considered state of the art equipment in England at the time it was imported to the Press. The Press still has the Fell type on site in Oxford!


The printing process is taking a little longer than expected. As is, we may juuuuust squeak in shipping everything out at the end of Feburary as planned, but if it takes a little extra time, (moving into the beginning of March,) I hope you’ll bear with me. The books are looking great, and I’ll keep you updated as they start to come in and get shipped out.

The PDF version (and all other electronic rewards) will be delivered within the first couple weeks of Feburary. The Kickstarter PDF will have some bonus material that won’t be available later, and I’m putting the finishing touches on that.

And here’s some more good news! Kraken sent me photos of some of the first books printed!


We’re doing a quick custom order for business cards/poker cards, and have a few spots available! 

You’ll get 400 copies of one design for $40 USD. That’s only ten cents per card! An amazing deal, especially when you consider the extras, such as:

  • Double sided full-color
  • Coated (sparkle front and matte back)
  • Rounded corners
  • Includes international shipping

Payment is immediate, and all images are due February 15th 23.59 EDT. Since this is a rush order (and because of the Lunar New Year’s), we need to print these fast! 

Send us an e-mail to jiny.miso (Gmail.com) if you’re interested!

Jeff Buckley's Album 'Grace' As A Collection Of Books

This is my new print, available right now in the Standard Designs Etsy shop. It’s of Jeff Buckley’s phenomenal album ‘Grace’ as if it had been written as a series of novels instead of songs. It’s the ideal gift for the Jeff Buckley fan in your life (and if that’s not you - listen to the album, and it soon will be!)

The print measures 42 x 29.7cm, approximately 16.5 x 11.5 inches. It’s professionally printed on 200gsm/120lb premium archival heavy silk paper, and comes shipped in a sturdy mailing tube.

You can see more at the Standard Designs Etsy shop.