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A. Colish, Inc. ephemera

 Collection — Box: 1, Folder: 1-3
Identifier: CSC-0059

Scope and Contents

A. Colish, Inc. ephemera is a collection of items collected at an unspecified time during the history of the press. The bulk of the collection consists of a scrapbook of bookplates published by A. Colish, Inc. Many of these bookplates were designed by Rockwell Kent and several are by Bruce Rogers. Two original pen-and-ink drawings for bookplates by Rockwell Kent are included. These are both personal bookplates for Kent and his wife, Sally Gorton Kent. A single piece of decorated stationery by William Addison Dwiggins is in the collection.


  • Creation: circa 1950


Biographical / Historical

From: “The Press of A. Colish Archives, 1913 – 1990,” Finding Aid. University of Delaware Library, Special Collections, Retrieved 2013-06-18.

American fine printer and publisher Abraham Colish (1882-1963) immigrated with his family to the United States from Eastern Europe in the late nineteenth century. In 1894, at the age of twelve, he took an after-school job with a small printing shop in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Over the next few years, his duties progressed from sweeping the shop and selling papers to feeding the press and composing type. When he was sixteen, Colish and his mother moved to New York City, where he quickly found a position as a typesetter for Kane Brothers, a Broadway printing company.

In 1907, Colish left his position as a composing room foreman at Rogers and Company and opened his own composing office. His business specialized in advertising typography and is credited as the first shop to exclusively cater to the advertising market. By the next year, Colish moved into larger quarters and began printing small orders. After several moves to successively larger offices in New York City, the Press of A. Colish relocated to a printing plant in Mount Vernon, New York, in 1956.

By the late 1920s, the press was producing fine printing jobs as well as advertising. Colish began working with the Limited Editions Club and, in 1930, printed an edition of Boccaccio's Decameron. The Press continued to print material for the club through the 1980s, including a thirty-seven volume edition of Shakespeare's plays from 1929 to 1940. In addition to working with the Limited Edition Club, the Press of A. Colish also produced work for, among others, the Grolier Club, the Typophiles, the Colophon, Harvard University, the Universities of Texas and Illinois, the Pforzheimer Library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, and publisher Henry Schuman.

Colish worked repeatedly with prominent artists and designers. His experience with the Limited Edition Club brought him into contact with American artist T.M. Cleland (1880-1964), who illustrated several of the Club's editions, among them the Decameron, Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy (1935), and William Congreve's Way of the World (1959), all of which were printed by Colish. Another of Colish's creative partnerships was with designer and typographer Bruce Rogers (1870-1957), who had provided designs for the Limited Edition's Shakespeare series. Colish and Rogers collaborated on several fine printing projects over the next three decades, including a limited edition lecturn Bible for the World Publishing Company (1947), and an illustrated folio edition of Dante Aligheri's Divine Comedy (1955). Colish also printed illustrations and bookplates for American artist Rockwell Kent (1882-1971), who designed the Press of A. Colish logo.

Abraham Colish worked at his press until the week before he died on April 10, 1963. His son, Louis Colish, who had worked at the press since the 1920s, assumed the management of the plant. In the late 1980s, the Press of A. Colish, which was also known as A. Colish, Incorporated, merged with Laurel Printing of Elmsford, New York.


0.2 Linear Feet




Collection of a scrapbook of bookplates printed by A. Colish Inc. (1908–circa 1980). Several loose materials include original drawings by Rockwell Kent that were then printed as bookplates by the Colish firm.


Collection is organized in one box with three folders.

Physical Location

Cary Graphic Arts Collection

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated to RIT by A. Colish, Inc. on January 28, 1989.


  • "Detailed description of the Rockwell Kent papers, [circa 1840]-1993,” Digitized Collection. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. 2013-06-18.
  • “The Press of A. Colish Archives, 1913 – 1990,” Finding Aid. University of Delaware Library, Special Collections, 2013-06-18.
  • Rockwell Kent, The Bookplates & Marks of Rockwell Kent; with a Preface by the Artist. New York: Pynson Printers for Random House, 1929.
  • Rockwell Kent, Later Bookplates & Marks of Rockwell Kent; with a Preface by the Artist. New York: Pynson Printers, 1937.
A. Colish, Inc. ephemera
Ready To Publish
Cary Special Collections
Amelia Hugill-Fontanel
3 July 2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Cary Graphic Arts Collection Repository

Rochester NY 14623 US
(585) 475-2408