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Re: collection of early printed leaves



  I think Mr. Otten's project raises a issue familiar, in various forms,
to many of us.  The moral issue is not whether one can, by a single
unilateral action, stop the roaring trade in single manuscript leaves,
book illustrations, and ancient artifaxs. Obviously one person cannot.
The moral issue is whether to personally participate in this trade or
not.  The problem for Mr. Otten is how to advance his project without
accidently advancing this deplorable trade, but still managing to
convey to his readers a vibrant sense of the living art of these early
printers.  I would hope persons on this list, themselves printers, can
offer Mr. Otten a number of suggestions as to how to do this.
   As a binder, not a printer, it still seems to me that both of us have
been regarded as necessary drudges in the grand enterprise of the book.
Academic study has focused on the finishing of fine binding, the
elegance of type design and page layout as "art", book production and
typesetting as unworthy of serious study, until quite recently.
Perhaps, as a printer yourself, Mr. Otten, you might have some valuable
commentary to offer on what makes these early printers distinctive to
other printers.  Since your own work is letterset, perhaps you could
give examples of how the same line would look set with different spacing
or typeface to show how a particular effect is achieved by these early
printers.  Just a thought, I am sure others will be able to offer more.
I do hope, in the end, you have a project that satisfies your original
intention to honor these printers and leaves you with a clean
conscience!
  Dorothy A.

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