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Re: Early Printed Leaves

The subject at hand, with discussion initiated by Mr. Otten's query, brought
to mind a possible solution. When Gabriel Rummonds and I worked together,
years ago at the U of Alabama, he taught an excellent course on Descriptive
Bibliography. The charge to the students enrolled in the course (and in the
book arts program at the time) was to select pages from historical texts,
research all aspects of the design and production of these, and to reproduce
them as exactly as possible.

The students who pursued the assignments went from study of reproductions and
other documentation of the original work to making (or selecting) facsimile
paper, duplicating illustrations via having magnesium plates made or carving
their own woodcuts to selecting type and setting it by hand and then printing
on cast-iron platen presses to reproduce the originals as exactly as
possible. The results were historically accurate, brilliantly produced and
most impressive.

This kind of project - where one actually duplicates, through scholarship,
artisanry and craft - a work of historical significance, would provide
tremendous satisfaction, enhance the maker's breadth of skill and knowledge,
as well as maintaining integrity throughout. Everyone wins. Books are
preserved, learning occurs and the historical crafts of the book are served,
respected and perpetuated.

Just a thought...that sometimes, it's perhaps better - and appropriate - to
do the work it takes to produce things the old-fashioned way.

Paula Marie Gourley

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