Skip to Main Content

Book Arts Collection

A guide to discovering artists' books in the Book Arts Collection at Hill Memorial Library.

About Janus Press

Janus Press was founded by Claire Van Vliet in 1955, originally in California, and later moved the operation to Vermont. Van Vliet has collaborated with many artists including Helen Siegl, Ruth Fine, and Susan Johanknecht, to name a few, and the press has created more than 100 artists' books. Hill Memorial Library holds more than 40 artists' books and more than 100 related items such as broadsides, checklists, catalogs, and ephemera.

Van Vliet experimented with non-paper materials in her books like plastics and screens, developed techniques for woven, non-adhesive binding structures, and used a multitude of printmaking techniques such as woodcut, relief etching, stone lithography, and letterpress. Van Vliet also editioned pulp painted and shaped handmade paper books, sometimes collaborating with Twinrocker Handmade Paper.

The Library of Congress houses the Janus Press archive: LOC Finding Aid

Selected Works by Janus Press

An Oxford Odyssey

Theobald, John. An Oxford Odyssey. [El Cajon, Calif.] : Janus, c1955.
PS3539 .H42 O96 1955, Rare

This is one of Janus Press's earliest book works. The production of chapbooks and small press editions like this sometimes serve as a gateway to larger projects. In this work, Claire Van Vliet illustrated the text with woodcut and printed the text by letterpress. Van Vliet continued to develop her woodcut style and use it in many of her artists' books.

Flowering Time: a Poem

Johnson, W. R. Flowering Time: a Poem. West Burke, Vt. : Janus Press, 1976.
PS3560 .O3865 F58, Rare

Color stone lithography by Claire Van Vliet. This is a typical example of Van Vliet's poetry books from this time period -- one poem printed with lead type via letterpress featuring two or three illustrations.

Dido and Aeneas

Purcell, Henry. Dido and Aeneas. Newark, Vt.: Janus Press, 1989.
ML50 .P99 D5 1989 FLAT, Rare

Multi-format structure using sewn pamphlets into the valleys of the larger accordion structure made from pulp painted handmade paper. The may be stood upright as an accordion or can be placed in the round as a circle-star structure. A recording of the opera is included.

[Compound Frame]: Seven Poems by Emily Dickinson

Dickinson, Emily. [Compound Frame]: Seven Poems. [West Burke], Vt.: Janus Press; London: Gefn Press, 1998.
PS1541 .A6 1998B, Rare

In the late 90s, Janus Press experimented with plastics in several pieces. In this collaboration with Susan Johanknecht, the covers are made from needlepoint polyethylene canvas which slap loudly against the Bee’s-eye clear Rowlux end sheets. Tyvek strips are used for the woven binding. Unexpectedly, Johanknecht's hand-burnished woodcuts on Japanese Kozo paper appear throughout the text alongside synthetic paper.

The Gospel of Mary

Ruether, Rosemary Radford. The Gospel of Mary / English translation from the Greek by Karen King. Newark, Vt.: Janus Press, 2006.
BT1392 .G65 A3 2006 FLAT, Rare

Accordion with woven binding, letterpress printing on Barcham Green paper, centerfold pop-up and pulp painting are all featured in this book work by Janus Press.

Provide Website Feedback
Accessibility Statement