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Finding Aid to the Plantin Press Papers, 1931 -1986
Shelfmark: Press coll. Archives Plantin  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Scope and Content

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: The Plantin Press Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1931 -1986
    Collection number: Shelfmark: Press coll. Archives Plantin
    Creator: Marks, Saul, 1905-1974.
    Creator/Collector: Marks, Lillian.
    Extent: 14 linear feet
    Repository: William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
    Los Angeles, CA 90018
    Shelf location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Source of Acquisition/Provenance

    Acquired: Dawson's Book Shop, Feb. 2, 1987.


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, UCLA. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Librarian. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

    Preferred Citation

    [Indentification of item], Plantin Press Archives, 1925-1986.William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

    Biographical/Historical Note

    The Plantin Press, a small private press in Los Angeles and considered one of North America's finest, was started in 1931 by Saul and Lillian Marks. Saul Marks, having learned the printing trade while a youth in Poland during the First World War, emigrated to the United States in 1921. Here he met and married Lillian Simon in 1928. With the coming of the Depression, the Marks moved to Los Angeles in 1930 and there set up shop. Saul and Lillian Marks purposely kept the Plantin Press a small operation so that each book or project could receive personal attention. Saul Marks died on November 27, 1974, leaving Lillian Marks to continue the press. This she did until the decision was made in 1985 to sell the business.
    The work of Saul and Lillian Marks earned high praise on this continent and abroad for its uniformly high quality with appropriate and notable presswork. The Plantin Press printed approximately one hundred fifty-five books, pamphlets, keepsakes, etc. not including numerous programs, announcements, invitations, and stationery sets. The books of the Plantin Press were consistently awarded recognition in the printing world for their fine workmanship.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Following as close as possible to the original order as designed by Lillian Marks, the archive is arranged in 8 series as follows:
    • ARTISTS & TYPOGRAPHERS (3 boxes)
    • BUSINESS (6 boxes)
    • TYPOPHILES (3 boxes)
    • TYPE FOUNDRIES, PAPER (2 boxes)
    • SUPPLIERS (3 boxes)
    • OTHER PRINTERS (2 boxes)
    • MISCELLANEOUS (3 boxes)
    • FINANCIAL RECORDS (11 boxes)
    Original order has been followed down to the folder level with a few exceptions. Folders containing correspondence, invoices, statements and like matter are arranged chronologically. Folders containing items with no clear chronological organization have been in most instances left in their original order. Folder headings are those assigned by Lillian Marks, again with a few exceptions. There has been no separation of material by type. Therefore in a folder on a particular subject, the researcher can find correspondence, printed items, photographs, negatives, galley proofs, etc. In the following finding aid, a general contents description has been given such as correspondence or invoices if this designation portrays the majority of items in the folder. If the file contains a publication, photograph or some other item of possible interest, this has also been noted. Obviously, it is impossible to include everything, and the following list is by no means a complete contents lis! t. A more detailed contents list, created as the time the files were being arranged, has been placed at the front of each folder. These lists generally give the order of the contents as they were originally found. When requesting items, please state series, folder heading, box and folder number.

    Scope and Content

    The archives consist of subject files on artists, typographers, clients, business contacts, suppliers, projects, etc. Individual files contain correspondence, lectures, photographs, greeting cards, and examples of artwork. Also to be found are printed items by Plantin Press and other printers, drafts of books, galley proofs, work sheets, sample pages, photographs and negatives of illustrations, color separations, prospectuses, etc. Job printing such as wedding announcements, programs, stationery sets, business cards, invitations, membership cards and menus can be found in files such as those of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Union Bank and the University of Southern California. Financial records consist of ledger and journal sheets, account cards, invoices, statements, purchase orders, tax papers, canceled checks, paid notes and other business papers.
    Included in the files are materials relating to typographers and other presses such as the Grabhorn Press, Rampant Lions Press, Stanley Morison, Will Cheney, Vance Gerry, Ward Ritchie, Grant Dahlstrom and the Castle Press, Patrick Reagh, Fred Goudy, The Golden Cockerel Press, John Dreyfus, Paul Standard, Adrian Wilson and Beatrice Warde. Examples of work by artists such as Reynolds Stone, Ilya Schor, Fritz Eichenberg, Ernest Freed, Gene Holtan and Stan Washburn are also included.