The Robert Grabhorn Collection

Robert Grabhorn, 1936

The Robert Grabhorn Collection on the History of Printing and the Development of the Book

During the 1930s, the San Francisco printer Robert Grabhorn started his collection on printing in order to study the solutions of the masters to various problems in design, typography and bookmaking. By the time this printer's library was transferred to the San Francisco Public Library in 1965, it had grown to include almost every typeface, printer and publisher of note from the past five hundred years.

The collection is particularly strong in early type specimens and the work of sixteenth century French and Italian masters. Also of note are fine press editions of twentieth century letterpress printers, including printers' ephemera. The collection supports the study of printing, papermaking and bookbinding with a large reference collection of books, pamphlets, and periodicals. An active acquisitions program has increased the collection to over 9,000 volumes and more than 100 journal titles. The Max J. Kuhl Collection, the Jane Hart Collection on Book Design, and the Wilder Bentley Archetype Press Archives are included here.

Photo above of Robert Grabhorn, 1936, by Marjorie Farquhar, from A Tribute to Edwin Grabhorn & The Grabhorn Press, by James D. Hart.

Further reading

A Selection of Letterpress Printing Films

Take our survey