Skip to main content

Ross collection

Established in 1994, the Ross Collection is a book arts collection principally made up of selections of books and ephemera printed by contemporary private presses. English presses are well represented, as well as presses in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, France, Holland, Belgium, Spain and Wales. There also are several American presses represented, including Gehenna, Double Elephant, Grabhorn and Providence.

It has been argued that the modern private press movement began as a result of the great arts and crafts era that flourished in the nineteenth century. In Oxford, the Daniel Press published small but lovely editions of poetry, which may have been a point of inspiration for William Morris, a student at Christ Church College, who was to transform the book arts through the work of his great Kelmscott Press.

Some enthusiasts have observed that the book arts seem to be approaching a threshold of rejuvenation. The founding patrons of this Collection, Virginia Ross, Mount Holyoke College class of 1966, and her father, George Berkeley Ross, wished to encourage contemporary private printers of fine books and acquire some of the long overlooked editions of earlier presses. In the first year, a collection of books and ephemera published by the Rocket Press of England helped to form the nucleus of a contemporary book arts collection.

The patrons hope that the Ross Collection will become an inspiration to scholars and book artists at Mount Holyoke, where, in an age of information technology dominated by the images appearing on glimmering screens, they would like to encourage a renewal of creative emphasis on the arts of the sumptuous book.

Kalinovich Bookplate Image