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Spiral Press Records

An inventory of its records at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: --
Date: circa 1967

Biographical History

The Spiral Press was an American fine press founded by Joseph Blumenthal (1897-1990) in 1926. Between 1926 and its closure in 1971, the press designed and printed books for or by Robert Frost, W. H. Auden, Pablo Neruda, William Carlos Williams, Robinson Jeffers and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The press's institutional clients included the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Morgan Library, Museum of Modern Art, Frick Collection, Random House, and CBS Television Network.

Blumenthal also designed a typeface, Spiral, which he named after the press, and wrote and taught on fine printing and book arts. In recognition of his attention to detail and high standards of excellence in his work, he was awarded the American Institute of Graphic Arts’ Lifetime Achievement Award in 1952.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Spiral Press Records consist of a small number of general files and production files.

The General files contain several pamphlets, one letter, and a Spiral Press bibliography, but the vast majority of the collection consists of the Production files for 1961 and 1962. Within the folders one may find various galley proofs, draft copies for letterheads, envelopes, and invitations, and, in some cases, correspondence between the customer and the Spiral Press.

Arrangement of the Collection

The production folders are arranged consecutively by job number as follows:

To simplify locating a specific customer, however, the list below is given alphabetically by customer, with the job number and box information following the customer name.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

One copy of Robert Frost and the Spiral Press has been transferredd to Rare Books for cataloging. The other copy remains in the collection, in Series I, Box 1.

Special Collections Research Center has the records of several publishers and printers. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.

Subject Headings


Blumenthal, Joseph, 1897-1990.

Corporate Bodies

Spiral Press.


Fine books -- Publishing.
Printers and printing -- United States -- History -- 20th century.

Genres and Forms

Galley proofs.



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Spiral Press Records,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Spiral Press, 1966-1981.

Table of Contents

General files

Production files