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Press of the Woolly Whale Collections

The Press of the Woolly Whale was founded by Melbert B. Cary Jr., a New York businessman and prominent figure in the fields of typography and private printing during the second quarter of the twentieth century. The press was in operation in New York City between 1928 and 1941 and produced limited edition volumes, publications related to printing and typography, and a variety of ephemera that reflected the interests, professional relationships, and humor of Cary and his friends.

Melbert Brinkerhoff Cary Jr. (1892-1941) was born in New York, educated at the Groton School and Yale University, and died in New York. He was director of Continental Type Founders Association, president of the American Institute of Graphic Arts, and proprietor of the private Press of the Woolly Whale.

George W. Van Vechten Jr., American printer, typographer, and book designer, was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, attended Carnegie Institute of Technology, and died in Metuchen, New Jersey, in 1962, at age 55. He produced private and limited edition works for thirty-five years with Frederic W. Goudy at the Village Press, with Melbert B. Cary Jr. at the Press of the Woolly Whale, and from 1941 to 1962 at his own Van Vechten Press in Metuchen.

The collection primarily consists of ephemera issued by the Press of the Woolly Whale between 1928 and 1941, including prospectuses, booklets, invitations, broadsides, holiday cards, mailing labels, certificates, and programs, among other items, most of which were drawn from the stock of the press when it was donated in 1969 to the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University; books printed by the press were also received but were cataloged separately. View this collection's record in the RIT Libraries Catalog.

Visitors' book by Press of the Woolly Whale

This manuscript visitors' book of the Press of the Woolly Whale, recorded visitors to the press from April 25, 1928, through March 28, 1941. The volume contains approximately 600 signatures, 11 watercolors, 16 pen-and-ink drawings, 6 pencil sketches, 5 mounted photographs and other ephemera (including Guggenheim family bookplates). The first signatures in the volume are by type designer Frederic W. Goudy and his wife Bertha; they are followed by those of noted typographers, artists, printers, collectors, and bookmen, including Paul Bennett, Otto Bettmann, B. Dalton, John S. Fass, Gerhard Gerlach, Victor Hammer, Clarence Hornung, Mitchell Kennerley, Douglas McMurtrie, George Macy, F. Clifford Maggs, Hans Mardersteig, Stanley Morison, Will Ransom, Bruce Rogers, Rudolph Ruzicka, Georg Salter, Wilbur Macy Stone, Karl Shultheiss, Lynd Ward, Beatrice and Frederic Warde, Monroe Wheeler, and Laurence Wroth. Illustrations include drawings and watercolors by Valenti Angelo, Cyrus Leroy Baldridge, Warren Chappell, Ernest B. Dielman, Donald Greame-Kelley, Fritz Kredel, Wolfgang Lederer, Paul McPharlin, Charles E. Pont, Philip G. Reed, Alan Reeve, Alexander Stern, Paul Wescott, and Gustav Wolf, among others. View this item’s record in the RIT Libraries Catalog.

Please refer to the related Melbert B. Cary Jr. Collection.