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Alastair Johnston at SFPL

For Immediate Release:                                          Contact: Marcia Schneider
November 7, 2000                                                                     415.557.4252

                                        HOLIDAY LECTURE

San Francisco-The Book Arts and Special Collections Center of the San
Francisco Public Library presents its annual Holiday Lecture on Thursday,
December 7, 2000, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Latino-Hispanic Room 58B, Lower Level,
Main Library, Civic Center. "Lost in the Stacks" features the inimitable
Alastair Johnston with an illuminating presentation on his new book.
Eschewing the academic for once, Johnston, typographic raconteur, amateur
ethnomusicologist, world traveler, &c, &c, will discuss how he came to
write Alphabets to Order, his vast tome on nineteenth-century printing type
specimens (just published by the British Library & Oak Knoll Press), a work
that encompasses literary criticism, typographic scholarship and some very
arcane information, the best of which is, of course, buried in the footnotes.

Expanding on the more abstruse of these footnotes, Johnston will show how
it took him twenty years to assemble and assimilate all the information. He
plans to touch on topics as diverse as Atmospheric Railways, Confectioners
Sugar Cut with White Clay, Anecdotes of Ants, Hermits, &c, &c, and explain
how Serendipity and Getting Lost in the Library Stacks is always the
straightest way to Knowledge. As Oliver Cromwell once said, "A man never
rises so high as when he does not know where he is going."

The public is invited to this free event sponsored by the Marjorie G. and
Carl W. Stern Book Arts and Special Collections Center of the San Francisco
Public Library. The Center is home to the Robert Grabhorn Collection on the
History of Printing and the Development of the Book, the Richard Harrison
Collection of Calligraphy and Lettering, and the Schmulowitz Collection of
Wit and Humor. For further information, please contact the Book Arts &
Special Collections Center at 415.557.4560.

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