American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Memory, Exhibit Object Focus

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Janus Press

Night Street
Barbara Luck
Night Street
Vermont: Janus Press, 1993
Mixed media
Rare Book & Special Collections Division

Night Street, featuring the poetry of Barbara Luck and illustrated by Lois Johnson, is a book in which the design truly bears the influence of the content.

Published by the Janus Press, a small but important printing venture, the book is an example of the creativity of the small press movement in America--a movement devoted to the book as a product of collaborative and intensely aesthetic energies on the part of several artists and craftsmen, whether they be artisans of the word, of the visual image, or of the printed and bound page.

The Janus Press was founded by Claire Van Vliet in 1955, and with unflagging energy she has run the press for more than forty years. The Library has collected her work from the press's inception, and recently it received the entire Janus Press archives, comprising drawings, proofs, layouts, and designs for each book Van Vliet has produced. The press strives for a balance between various claims to attention and affection that a book exerts upon the reader/viewer/handler.

The Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress has long collected premier examples of the book arts, from the Middle Ages to the present, and is the repository of the collections of the early-twentieth-century book designers Frederic Goudy and Bruce Rogers, as well as contemporaries of Van Vliet such as Leonard Baskin of Gehenna Press and Timothy Ely.

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