Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Colophon Club

Our first speaker in January of 2013, Oakland Paper Conservator Karen Zukor, gave the lecture “Triangulating Euclid, a presentation on the repair of a late 15th-century incunabula, Euclid's Elementa Geometriae.” She detailed a fascinating journey that determined the distance between collector, curator and conservator. The publication of the Elements, the first substantial printed work on mathematics and the first to include diagrams of geometric theorems, was considered an important event in early Renaissance printing; conservation of this damaged work proved to be a challenge in communicating the complexities of both paper and binding repair.

After exhibiting her books at the CODEX Book Fair Julia Ferrari, widow and partner of the late Dan Carr, was our February speaker. She showed a short film "The Golgonooza Letter Foundry, its History: Past and Future."  She spoke about her career with Dan at the foundry and press and her hopes for the future of Golgonooza. She is presently in the Netherlands learning how to operate a monotype casting machine.

In March Donald Knuth, computer scientist and Professor Emeritus at Stanford University, author of the Art of Computer Programming, and developer of METAFONT delivered a talk, “Digital Typography,” on how he programmed computers to write with the beautiful fonts we now have available to us on our computers. It was the most well attended program in Colophon Club history!  Bay Area techies were there in droves, all recording his talk on their iphones.

Our April speaker Aaron Parret traveled from far Helena, Montana to address the Club. Parret holds a doctorate in Comparative Literature, and has published in philosophy, history, fiction, and literary criticism.  In his talk entitled "The Story of J," he pointed out that the letter J is the workhorse of the English alphabet representing five distinct sounds; it operates as both a consonant and a vowel; and, as any hepcat knows, is also a single-letter word. Dr. Parrett discussed the origin and history of the letter J and as a source of curious fascination for typographers, linguists, and writers of science fiction.

On May 14 David de Lorenzo, Associate Director and Head of Technical Services at The Bancroft Library, U.C. Berkeley, provided us with a detailed description of The BART Collection at the Bancroft in his lecture “The Book Artifacts Collection: Unbound and Rediscovered.” The BART collection per se dates back to printer Roger Levenson's gift in 1956 of an 1856 super-royal Albion hand press to the Bancroft Library's Rare Book Department. This comprehensive collection contains a continuum of rare, unusual, and commonplace items (such as paper samples, type punches, moveable type, etc.) demonstrating the evolution of written communication.

The Colophon Club meets at the Berkeley City Club for cocktails, dinner, and a talk on the second Tuesday of the month September through May 2012 – 2013. Colophon Club Officers:  Susan Filter, President; Tom Ingalls, Vice-President; Nancy Wickes, Secretary; and Klaus-Ullrich Rotzcher, Treasurer

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