Archive of the Angelica and Amity Presses
Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The Angelica Press was founded in Brooklyn, New York, in 1974 by Dennis and Marilyn Grastorf. The Grastorfs both graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology's School of Printing in 1969 and immediately began working in the printing trade. Dennis Grastorf was a third-generation New York printer. His maternal grandfather, L.L. Stillwell, served as editor- publisher of the AngelicaAdvocate and owned a print shop in Angelica, New York. Bill Grastorf, Dennis's uncle, ran a printing business in Grandville, New York, and Dennis's father and mother owned the Belmont Dispatch and a print shop in Belmont, New York. Dennis eventually bought his parents' print shop, renaming it the Amity Press.
After graduating from Rochester Institute of Technology, Dennis worked in a number of commercial print shops in New York City, gaining experience in both fine letterpress printing and commercial offset printing. Marilyn Grastorf worked as a designer and an illustrator for various firms on the East Coast before teaming up with her husband to design and illustrate books. In 1974 the Grastorfs founded the Angelica Press in Brooklyn, where they set out to carry on the fine press traditions Dennis learned from his father and grandfather. The first book produced by the Angelica Press was Washington Irving'sChristmas at Bracebridge Hall (F3) illustrated by Marilyn Grastorf. The Grastorfs eventually moved their print shop to New York City, continuing to turn out fine press books until about 1980.
In 1975, after the death of Dennis's father, the Grastorfs purchased the newspaper and print shop in Belmont, New York, renaming it the Amity Press. Dennis raised the standards of the Belmont press with the aim of making it one of the top commercial presses in the country. The Amity Press completed a series of projects for the Mysterious Press, which includedThe Adventures of Herlock Sholmes, (F9) designed by Dennis and printed in 1976.
Dennis Grastorf also used the Angelica Press to distribute other fine press books, including works by the Basilisk Press, the Circle Press, the Janus Press, the Oliphant Press, and the Whittington Press.
Biographical AND/OR historical information derived from the collection. See F36
The Archive of the Angelica and Amity Presses spans the dates 1967–1983, with the bulk of items spanning the dates 1974–1979. The archive includes published books, printing samples, production materials, artwork, printing plates, photographs, paper and cloth samples, correspondence, financial records, and ephemera related to the presses and its owners. The archive documents the products, operations, and distribution projects of the presses, as well as aspects of the personal relationship between Dennis and Marilyn Grastorf. Throughout the collection, most printed works have been removed for cataloging with the printed collections in the Special Collections Department.
The first two series in the archive contain works printed, designed, and illustrated by Dennis and Marilyn Grastorf. Included are extensive production materials for many of the books produced by the Angelica Press. There are two copies of their first book,Christmas at Bracebridge Hall, including one copy with an annotated dust jacket. The most complete example is the group of materials for A Voyage to Laputa illustrated by Warren Chappell, which includes correspondence, original illustrations, 56 copper and lead printing plates, a dummy copy, and the final work. There is also a copy of Wood Type of the Angelica Press, the press's most significant publication. The archive also includes many printing samples from other Angelica Press projects. An early sample of Dennis's work, William Dean Howell's The Country Printer, is also included.
The financial records in the archive include a forty-page proposal for a business loan, prepared by Dennis Grastorf, including a history of the two presses and brief biographies of Dennis and Marilyn Grastorf (F36). The proposal details the current financial state of the two presses and describes what improvements would be made upon approval of the loan.
The Distribution and Fine Press Series contain files related to Dennis Grastorf's interest and involvement with other fine presses in the United States and Britain. Among the presses represented in the archive that Dennis helped distribute are the Basilisk Press, the Circle Press, the Janus Press, the Oliphant Press, and the Whittington Press. Included are publications, printing samples, and correspondence. The archive also contains many fine press items, such as catalogues, artwork, and printing samples, that represent the work of other fine presses. The Spiral Press of New York City is especially well represented.
The Series of personal items includes photographs of the Grastorfs and correspondence between Dennis and Marilyn, including handmade and illustrated greeting cards.
Boxes 1-3: Shelved in SPEC MSS record center cartons
Removals: Shelved in SPEC MSS oversize boxes (24 inches)
Processed by Gerald Cloud, July 2002. Encoded by Jaime Margalotti, July 2021.
Published works received with the collection have been removed and cataloged separately with imprints in Special Collections. They can be accessed by searching the library catalog.
- Private presses--New York (State)--History--20th century
- Printing--United States--History--20th century
- University of Delaware Library Special Collections
- Finding Aid Author
- University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
- Finding Aid Date
- 2021 July 19
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open for research.
- Use Restrictions
Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library, https://library.udel.edu/static/purl.php?askspec
By William Dean Howells. S.l.: The Press of the Good Mountain, 1967, small 4to., paper-covered boards with paper cover label. (vii), 12, (2) pages. Printed in a limited edition of 100 copies for the Typographic Workshop, Rochester Institute of Technology by Dennis Grastorf.
By Mark Twain. S.l.: s.n., 1972. Printed for the friends of Dennis and Marilyn Grastorf
By Washington Irving. Brooklyn, NY: The Angelica Press, 1974. Limited edition of 2000 copies with a preface by Dennis and Marilyn Grastorf and illustrations by Marilyn Grastorf. Copy preserved in original glassine and cardboard shipping case with a printed "thank you" note laid in.
A second copy with an annotated paper dust jacket.
Original artwork by Marilyn Grastorf.
By William Shakespeare. Brooklyn, NY: The Angelica Press, 1974. Christmas keepsake with original wood engraving by Marilyn Grastorf. With original envelope.
By Donald C. Dickenson. NY: The Typophiles, 1975. Foreword by Herbert Cahoon, and "A Bookman's Credo" By Hellmut Lehmann-Haupt. Edition of 750 copies printed by the Angelica Press with typographic design by Dennis Grastorf. Also included is a typescript with autograph corrections and correspondence from Donald Dickenson, Hellmut Lehmann-Haupt, Harvey Simmonds, Robert Leslie, and carbon copies of Dennis Grastorf's letters related to the bibliography's publication. Additionally, a catalog of devices for The Typophiles is also included.
By Edgar Allen Poe. Brooklyn, NY: The Angelica Press, 1975. Christmas keepsake with original wood engraving by Marilyn Grastorf. With original envelope.
By Peter Todd (a.k.a. Charles Hamilton, 1875-1961). NY: The Mysterious Press, 1976. An edition of 1250 copies was designed by Dennis Grastorf and printed at his Amity Press. Although no finished copy of this book is present, correspondence related to publication, book cloth samples, a binding mock-up, annotated typescripts, and printed colophon pages are included.
Promotional materials for the Mysterious Press including artwork, promotional flyers for The Adventures of Herlock Sholmes.
By Erica Doctorow and Gary Cantrell. NY: Adelphi University, 1976. Catalog for an exhibition at the Swirbul Library Gallery of Adelphi University. Typographic design by Dennis Grastorf with an illustration by Marilyn Grastorf, printed in an edition of 500 copies at the Angelica Press. This copy is unnumbered. Also included is production correspondence, notes, and original artwork by Marilyn Grastorf.
Correspondence and finished business card for Fordham University Press business cards.
Eulogy delivered by William Maxwell, 27 May 1976. Handset, printed by Lawrence Barth, assistant to the Grastorfs. Edition of 300 copies.
By Jonathan Swift. (Brooklyn, NY): Angelica Press. Limited edition of 1000 numbered copies signed by illustrator Warren Chappell, of which this is copy number 1. Includes slipcase and original cardboard shipping case.
Proof sheet mock-up with autograph notes in Warren Chappell's hand.
Printed, uncut, and unbound dummy copy.
Folded dummy copy with pages and signatures marked.
Photostat of a previously published version of A Voyage with autograph notes.
Postcards and letters from Chappell to the Grastorfs including: 5 Autograph Letters Signed, 7 Autograph Copies Signed ; one letter and several of the cards haveillustrations and drawings by Chappell. Also included in an invitation and small exhibition catalog of Chappell's drawings and illustrations at the University of Virginia, February-March, 1983.
56 lead and copper plates used to print 28 two-color illustrations. (Housed separately.)
Original artwork by Warren Chappell, including a mock-up with layout notes, book cloth, customer and business correspondence, production notes, and typescript with autograph corrections of Dennis Grastorf's note on Swift and the edition.
John Mattingly. NY: Angelica Press, 1976. With a preface by Michael Lang. Typescript with autograph corrections.
Includes galleys (3 pp.), sales prospectus, artwork, correspondence from John Mattingly, David Itchkawich, Dennis Grastorf, and others involved in productions, and production notes.
N.P.: Angelica Press. Folio leaves organized in four folders, lacking colophon and wooden storage case.
Correspondence, photographs, and other production items for a catalog of fine press books, including Angelica Press, Bird and Bull Press, Press of the Night Owl, Stanbrook Abbey Press, and others.
Dinner invitation and Grolier Club artwork, also includes two earlier invitations with autograph notes.
By Lewis Carroll. NY: The Lewis Carroll Society of North America, 1977.
Includes a bound galley proof, binding sample, photocopy of a Smithsonian article discussing the suppressed episode and its publication, production correspondence and notes, and book cloth and paper samples.
New York: Angelica Studios, 1979. A book of recipes compiled by Paul Chevannes and Dennis Grastorf and printed in an edition of 250 copies of which this is number 73. Illustrations by Paul Chevannes.
Lerner, Abe. NY: Angelica Press, 1979. Text of an address delivered at the Grolier Club, pamphlet designed by Dennis Grastorf and printed at Amity Press. Copy number 331 of an edition of 500.
Includes Angelica Press stationery and business cards, Press book catalog for 1975-1976, two items each for the Grolier Club and the Long Island Historical Society, meeting and wedding announcements, flyers, Christmas cards, and other ephemera. Also includes typescript photocopy of an article on fine press work by Dennis Grastorf.
Miscellaneous artwork for Angelica press projects.
Photographs, artwork, and other promotional items related to the Angelica Press.
Cancelled checks and bank statements for the Amity Press.
Promissory note, loan agreement, insurance documents, and correspondence related to a business loan for the Amity Press.
Detailed business loan request for the Angelica Press Corporation including index, history and description of Angelica and Amity Presses, biographies of Dennis and Marilyn Grastorf, financial reports, newspaper and magazine clippings on the Angelica Press, and correspondence from customers and clients. The Grastorfs prepared this report.
Receipts, balance sheets, and bank books detailing Grastorf's expenses.
Income tax forms and returns.
Insurance policy and related documents.
Insurance policy and related documents.
Includes invoices, receipts, and correspondence related to business finances.
Catalog, order form, and correspondence between Dennis Grastorf and Charlotte Garry of the Basilisk Press (England). Basilisk Press also distributed Angelica Press books in the UK.
Publication check list, balance sheets, and correspondence between Dennis Grastorf and Ronald King of the Circle Press (England).
Publication checklist, printing samples, flyer, postcard, balance sheet and correspondence between Dennis Grastorf and Claire Van Vliet of the Janus Press.
Book list, Oliphant Press printing samples and greeting cards, photograph, artwork, balance sheets, and correspondence between Dennis Grastorf and Ronald Gordon of the Oliphant Press, including a brief history of the press.
Printing samples, catalog, photographic negative, balance sheets, and correspondence between Dennis Grastorf and John Randall of the Whittington Press (England).
Catalog for artist and printer Victor Hammer, including biographical notes.
Printing samples, 2 ALS from Paul Livingston of the Birch Hill Press to Dennis Grastorf, and a keepsake recipes book.
Pamphlet from the Friends of Leo H. Joachim Testimonial Dinner. Joachim was the co-founder, editor, and publisher of Printing News.
Print samples, publication notices, and ephemera from the Frederic William Goudy Society. Also includes a keepsake edition of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens with illustrations by Charles Dougherty, printed in a limited edition of an unspecified number of which this is copy number 454. Also includes a poem by Earl H Emmons, "Le Chapeau Immortel" with a foreward by Frederic Goudy.
Print samples, photocopy of an article written by Paul Hayden Duensing on private presses, and a ALS from Paul Hayden Duensing to Dennis Grastorf.
Six works by the illustrator Kingsly Parker. Black Holes, NY: The Drill Press, 1979. Copy 246 of 510, signed by Parker. Circum, NY: The Circumfused Press, 1980. Copy 235 of 475, signed by Parker. Drawings, NY: K. Parker, 1978. Copy 27 of 400, signed by Parker. Pornocrats, NY: The Crude Press, 1981. Copy 66 of 300, signed by Parker. Sofas, Smug Incumbents, NY: The Crude Press, 1982. Copy 89 of 400. Starting with Flags, Forty-Three Drawings, NY: K. Parker, 1976. Copy 221 of 600.
Printing samples and keepsakes.
Autograph Letter Signed from Bernard Roberts of John Roberts Press and "Lament of the Cats of Rapallo," a broadsheet poem by Ruthven Todd written on the death of Ezra Pound, this copy is number 98 of 100, signed by Todd.
Autograph Letter Signed from Philip Smith to Dennis Grastorf, 2 photographs of Smith's work, a pamphlet on Smith's work and a brief biography, and news clippings. (see F64)
Printing samples, book plates, greeting cards, exhibition catalogs, memorial pamphlets, and programs.
Exhibition catalogs, printing samples, and correspondence between Sister Hildeleth Cumming of the Stanbrook Abbey Press.
Printing and paper samples, artwork, news clippings, periodical, newsletters, and ephemera.
Photographs of Dennis and Marilyn Grastorf and unidentified others, including "Webster County Nebraska, 1972" by Lucia Woods.
Miscellaneous correspondence including 4 Typed Letters Signed and 3 Autograph Letters Signed from Philip Smith (see F57)
Miscellaneous correspondence between Dennis and Marilyn Grastorf, including illustrated and handmade greeting cards.
Karate certificate for Dennis Grastorf.