Curwen Press Papers

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 12 MS Add.9853
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
      English .
  • Physical Description
      85 archive box(es) 85 boxes

Scope and Content

The collection contains papers of the company and personal papers of Oliver Simon, Herbert Simon, and Basil Harley. These include correspondence; papers relating to specific printing jobs and to types, paper, printing processes, etc.; business papers; and specimens of printing.

Access Information

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (

Acquisition Information

Papers of Oliver Simon were acquired about 1970. These included, besides his own correspondence and records of the Fleuron and Signature, much printed matter from the Press. The Curwen Press's own archives, not apparently systematically preserved, were acquired in 1984. Papers of Herbert Simon were acquired from his son Robert in 1984. Besides his own papers and a further collection of Press ephemera, these included some original drawings for patterned papers. Papers of Basil Harley were purchased in 1988. Some other items were acquired from unidentified sources and from the clearance of the Curwen Press works.

Other Finding Aids

A catalogue of the collection can be found on ArchiveSearch.

Related Material

Associated material. Some further archival material from the Curwen Press composing room was acquired by Ian Mortimer and then in 2010 by the Barbarian Press. An overview of this material is at:


Basil Harley, The Curwen Press (1970) Pat Gilmour, Artists at Curwen (1977), esp. 9-95 'The Curwen Press' Alan Powers, Art and print: the Curwen story (2008) Several articles in Matrix 5 (1985): David McKitterick, 'Typograpahers tallied: the origin and growth of the Morison Room, Cambridge University Library', pp. 15-22, specif. 17-18 on Curwen John Dreyfus, 'The Curwen Press collection in Cambridge University Library', 23-30 + 16 plates Ian Mortimer, Curwen Press types and borders, 8 pp. before p. 33 Noel Carrington, 'Harold Curwen, master printer and craftsman', pp. 33-6.