Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: (413) 597-4277; email: [email protected]
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., March 15, 2001–Books printed by hand at the press of Leonard and Virginia Woolf are on display through April 27, 2001 in the Chapin Library of Rare Books, Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts.
British authors Leonard and Virginia Woolf taught themselves to print in 1917, and began to produce, at first as a hobby, small but significant books. In 1919 their Hogarth Press was discovered by a wide audience, and the Woolfs embarked on a more ambitious program. Altogether they published 525 books, many of them by important poets, essayists, and novelists such as T.S. Eliot, E.M. Forster, Robert Graves, Katherine Mansfield, Edwin Muir, Herbert Read, Laura Riding, V. Sackville-West, and the Woolfs themselves. Although most of these books were printed commercially, Leonard and Virginia Woolf printed thirty-four of their Hogarth Press titles themselves, by hand.
All but one of the handprinted books of the Hogarth Press are included in the new exhibition in the Chapin Library. They are not finely printed, but were competently made and were bound in a variety of attractive covers. All are of interest as products of Leonard and Virginia Woolf’s personal involvement, as examples of amateur bookmaking, and as the work also of other “Bloomsbury” figures such as Vanessa and Clive Bell, Dora Carrington, and Roger Fry.
Most of the items on display have been lent for the occasion from the collection of David H. and Helen Porter. David H. Porter is emeritus president and professor of classics of Skidmore College, and recently has been the Harry C. Payne Visiting Professor of Liberal Arts at Williams College. The case labels and handlist were written by Mr. Porter. The exhibition design is by Wayne G. Hammond, Assistant Chapin Librarian.
The Chapin Library is located on the second floor of Stetson Hall, north of Main Street on the Williams College campus. Adjacent parking is available behind Thompson Memorial Chapel. The Library is open Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 noon and 1:00-5:00 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, phone 413-597-2462 during library hours, fax 413-597-2929, e-mail [email protected], or go to the Library website at www.williams.edu/resources/chapin.