From 1919 through 1965, brothers Edwin and Robert Grabhorn had the most venerable press in California. Printing such works as Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and Robinson Jeffers’ Solstice, they were revered by San Francisco bibliophiles for their expert sense of design, their mastery of historical and contemporary modes of typographic expression, and the creativity and versatility of their publications. The Grabhorns printed over fifty books between the years 1921 and 1965 for the Book Club o f California, along with the first twelve years of the Club’s Quarterly News-Letter, numerous keepsakes, and more.
Primarily known for their books, the brothers’ “bread & butter” came from producing ephemera—announcements, invitations, certificates, resolutions, memorials and tributes, programs, menus, wine labels, advertisements, and broadsides—for institutions such as the Book Club, the Bohemian Club, the Roxburghe Club, the Wine & Food Society, the Chit-Chat Club, the Sarah Dix Hamlin School, and the Dominican Convent of San Rafael.
This exhibition presents a selection of some of rare Grabhorn ephemera, drawn from the Book Club of California’s collections: The Florence Walter Grabhorn Press Collection (donated by Margot and Perry Biestman), a portfolio assembled by Dr. George Lyman (donated by Mrs. David Potter), and previous holdings.
As 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of Book Club publications, we are proud to celebrate the Grabhorn Press’s close alliance with the Club and its integral role in the history of Club publications.