History of Fine Printing with a Special Salute to the Richard C. Jenkinson Collection of Notable Books and Broadsides

Nearly 85 years ago, the Library was the recipient of an outstanding donation of 288 books showing off the work of fine presses and the art of printing. The collection was from Richard C. Jenkinson, who at that point was a 30-year veteran as a library trustee and the current board president. Today, the Richard C. Jenkinson Collection stands at more than 3,600 titles, representing over 800 presses. We are pleased to highlight a selection of books from this collection in a new exhibition, History of Fine Printing, with a Special Salute to the Richard C. Jenkinson Collection of Notable Books and Broadsides. Curated by William J. Dane and Chad Leinaweaver, Special Collections Division, it will be on view in the third-floor gallery from April 27 to July 1, 2009. The New Jersey Council for the Humanities provided valuable funding to mount this show and two related programs.

The exhibition includes writing from early civilizations, historic publications of incunabula with global importance, plus a gathering of acquisitions created in the 21st century. These present visual delights and subtle messages assuring visitors that printing and visual communication will continue to evolve in magical ways with high aesthetic standards for everyone everywhere.

Certain monumental works of printing from within the Library’s collections will also be shown, including a page from an original Gutenberg Bible from the 1400s, a 1493 copy of the Liber Chronicarum (the Nuremburg Chronicle), and Denis Diderot’s Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire Raisonné des Sciences, des Arts et des Métiers, a massive multivolume set published in France from 1751–1777. Additionally, the show features some of the mechanics of printing and fine press books, and chronicles the men behind this major collection concerning fine printing at the Newark Public Library—John Cotton Dana, the Library’s legendary second director, and Jenkinson himself.

Two programs, which are free and open to the public, will be presented during the exhibition’s run. A film showing of The Machine That Made Us will take place on Thursday, May 7, 2009 at 2:00 pm, followed by a discussion and tour of the exhibition with the curators. Examining the Importance of Printing and the Book: A Panel Discussion will be held on Tuesday, May 12, 2009 at 2:00 pm with Michael Joseph of Rutgers University Libraries and Jerry Kelly, freelance designer, calligrapher, and partner in the Kelly/Winterton Press.

For more information about this exhibition, please call Special Collections at 973-733-7745.