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Emerson G. Wulling:
Printer for Pleasure

by Gaylord Schanilec

  • <em>Emerson G. Wulling: Printer for Pleasure 2000</em>

9 x 14 inches. 76 pages. 146 numbered copies on Hahnemuhle mould-made paper. Seven color wood engravings by Gaylord Schanilec. Composition-set in Monotype Poliphilus by Michael Bixler. Interspersed with the text are examples of Mr. Wulling's work printed from his original linecut blocks, archival ink-jet reproductions of his printing, and two pieces printed by the printer himself. Bound in printed paper over boards at the Campbell-Logan Bindery. Issued in a slipcase. $445. Purchase.


Emerson Wulling printed for pleasure for over nintey years. The quintessential hobby printer, he maintained his shop in several locations over the years, producing a variety of books, pamphlets, and ephemera. An English professor and lover of books, his printing, with much of the text written by himself, consistently displays a lively sense of humor and a clever literary wit. He carried on correspondence with numerous important people in the book world including William Rudge, George Parker Winship, Ward Ritchie, Rockwell Kent, Paul Hayden Duensing, Walter Hamady, Frederic Goudy, Dard Hunter, Bruce Rogers, Norman Forgue, T. M. Cleland, Carol Blinn, Abe Lerner, and Leonard Bahr, among others. The text of the book is derived from conversations with Mr. Wulling which recorded by Gaylord Schanilec between 1995 and 1999. Robert Rulon-Miller contributed both an introduction and a complete checklist of Mr. Wulling’s printing.

While the volume of his output might not measure up to that of some who have taken on fine printing as a profession, his work retains a pristine quality, like a rare patch of native prairie grass. His printing was not driven by the marketplace or by any of the other pressures that come to bear on the professional printer. Instead, without exception, he printed for pleasure. This lends significance to his work in the overall history of the private press. He also serves as a reminder to those of us who are private press printers by profession, who out of necessity are influenced by the marketplace and by the unavoidable posturing of the professional. He reminds us of that essential flame that brought us all to printing in the first place, but a flame that inevitably flickers in the struggle to survive.

The Prints

Individual signed and numbered prints from Emerson G. Wulling: Printer for Pleasure

A Very Small Composing Table
5 x 7 inches. Edition size: 49. $165
Bookish (Emerson's book case)
3 x 4 inches. Edition size: 50. $165