About Book & Printing History

Cushing Library boasts significant holdings related to bibliography and the history of the book, broadly construed:

The Al Lowman Printing Arts Collection and Research Archive documents fine printing, book design, bibliography, and the history of the books and printing in Texas and the Southwest as well as nationally and internationally; likewise, it preserves an extensive collection of books, ephemera, correspondence, manuscripts, and archival material from the El Paso printer and book designer Carl Hertzog.

The Berger-Cloonan Collection of Decorated Papers contains more than 20,000 paper specimens from all over the world and spanning more than five centuries. It includes about 1,000 paper-sample books from American commercial paper mills. Among the strengths it displays are marbling, paste papers, watermarks, block printing, wallpapers, Dutch-gilt and gold-varnish papers, Asian papers, and many examples of proto-papers. Likewise, the collection features many paper-related objects and ephemera, which illuminate the papermaking process and industry.

With its emphasis on the development of media technologies which have fueled intellectual, scientific, and political revolutions, the Loran L. Laughlin Collection of Antiquarian Books offers a valuable glimpse into the material products upon which this progress moved. After working in the university print shop during his years at Texas A&M, Loran Laughlin began his collection of artifacts and books related to printing, with the earliest item dating from around 2300 B. C. Materials in the collection span the globe and historical periods, and include a Mesopotamian clay cone and tablets, an Ethiopian Coptic Gospel of St. John, an 8th Century Buddhist sutra transliterated into Chinese, 15th Century European incunabula, and more.

As an author who has written extensively about bibliography and book culture, the archives of Nicholas A. Basbanes contain a wealth of resources for those interested in book collecting and the book trade. Contained herein are the author’s interviews with prominent booksellers, collectors, and figures of the book world as well as extensive notes and other research materials.