Skip to content Skip to navigation

Order, Harmony, and Just A Little Surprise: An Apologia for Traditional Typography

Monday, March 28, 2016 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Registration is NOT required

John KristensenOrder, Harmony, and Just A Little Surprise: An Apologia for Traditional Typography

John Kristensen

According to John Kristensen, proprietor of Boston’s Firefly Press, beauty should not be a goal but a by-product of a well-made book. In his lecture, Kristensen will consider what properly constitutes beauty in book-making and share with the audiences why what he calls the “New England manner” of bookmaking is still so influential today.

John Kristensen is the proprietor of Boston’s Firefly Press, a commercial letterpress printing office that for over 30 years has practiced traditional metal-type printing in a manner not slavishly backward-looking but historically informed. His interest in typography, especially that of Boston and New England printers, is of long standing, but it is not academic; he studies the printing of others as an aid to thinking about his own work. He is a frequent instructor in the craft of printing and lecturer on its history, in recent years teaching at Rare Book School at the University of Virginia and advising on the setting up of several teaching presses. Kristensen is the Cruft Reader at the Boston Athenaeum.

This is the first in a series of five events dedicated to exploring different aspects of the art of the book. Join us for Artists’ Books at the Boston Athenæum by Stanley Cushing, Giambattista Bodoni: His Life and His World by Valerie Browne Lester, Paper: Paging through History by Mark Kurlansky, and workshop Technology in the Conservation Lab: Bookbinding for multiple perspectives on the art, craft, and scholarship of books and bookmaking.

Assistive Listening Devices image

Most programs held in the Bayard Henry Long Room on the Athenaeum's first floor are amplified and assistive listening devices are available for patron use.

ASL Interpretation image

To request ASL interpretation services for any of the Athenaeum's programs, please contact Hannah Weisman at 617-720-7617 or