The Robert Grabhorn Collection

San Francisco printer Robert Grabhorn started collecting printing books during the 1930s. He focused his attention on books which would enable his study of the masters' solutions to various problems in design, typography, and bookmaking. By the time Grabhorn'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 since the 15th century.

The collection is particularly strong in early type specimens and the work of sixteenth century French and Italian printers. Also of note are fine press editions and ephemera by contemporary letterpress printers. The collection supports the study of printing, papermaking, and bookbinding with a large selection of books, pamphlets, and periodicals. New acquisitions have 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.

Robert Grabhorn setting type
Jane and Robert Grabhorn setting type

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