Kat Ran Press, 2003 to 2005. .. .. Fine. - sc - What is offered here consists of 5 octavo booklets, apparently all that were published, printed by the Kat Ran Press in 2003 and 2005 representing Year 1 and Year 2 of the Kat Ran Ephemera Club publications. These, which we will describe below, are included together with the finely printed 2005 "Kat Ran Books For Sale" catalog, a 2003 four-fold accordion foldout offering "Three Very Special Offers", together with order sheet and envelope, 5 large envelopes, each with the title of one of the booklets, a wonderful keepsake print produced for the The Society of Printers, and 3 signed letters by the founder of the press Michael Russem. These items are laid into a 12-3/4 inch high by 9-7/8 inch wide creamy buff silk clamshell box with a paper title label on the spine printed by the press. Fine.
Membership in the Kat Ran Ephemera Club, according to the prospectus, was "strictly limited to no more than seventy-five members, and inclusion is available on a first come, first serve basis."
Housed within the case are the following pieces produced and printed by the Kat Ran Press:
"Portraits of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands and Great Britain's King George VI. The Former with Calligraphy by Jan Van Krimpen and the Latter with Typography by Eric Gill". Kat Ran, 2003. Octavo, 8 inches high by 5 inches high. Printed self- wraps titled in red & black. 4 pages with 2 Dutch Postage stamps, one illustrated with a portrait of Queen Wilhelmina by S.L. Hartz , the other with a portrait of King George VI by Edmund Dulac. Fine.
"A Modest Specimen of Koch Antiqua Showing Only the Capitals". Kat Ran, February 2004. Octavo, 7-1/8 inches high by 4-7/8 inches wide. Light brown wraps titled in black within an outer double-ruled burgundy frame. 8 pages in French-fold, including the front & rear blanks. Fine.
"A History of Printing in Andover, Massachusetts 1798-1931 by Scott H. Paradise, Instructor, Phillips Academy. With a Preface and Notes by the Printer and a Leaf from the Fourth Edition of Professor Moses Stuart's A Grammar of the Hebrew Language Printed at Andover in 1831". Florence, Massachusetts: Composed in Monotype Bell by Michael and Winifred Bixler and Printed for Members of The Kat Ran Ephemera Club, August 2004. Octavo, 8 inches high by 5-1/4 inches wide. Light blue wraps titled in black within a double- ruled frame on the front cover. 19 pages plus the colophon, including the front blanks. Tipped-in is an original folded leaf from the 1831 "Grammar of the Hebrew Language". Fine.
"A Wearable Specimen of Rudolph Koch's Wilhelm Klingspor-Schrift". Printed for Members of the Kat Ran Ephemera Club April 2005. Oblong octavo, 4-7/8 inches high by 6 inches wide. White paper wraps titled in black. Within the covers is mounted, within slits, a glossy specimen sample printed in black & red on glossy adhesive paper with a protective clear cover. Text instructs the reader to remove the cover and apply the adhesive side to the skin. With pressure from a wet cloth, the text would then be transferred to one's skin. An additional four samples of these "temporary tattoos" are contained within a sleeve in the pamphlet. Fine.
"In Praise of Fine Printing. Reflections gathered from an internet chat room devoted to the life and work of the Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, author of our most recent book". Composed in Monotype Walbaum by Michael and Winifred Bixler and printed for the Members of the Kat Ran Ephemera Club in October of 2005. Octavo, 7 inches high by 4-1/2 inches wide. Light green wraps titled in black on the front cover. 12 pages including blanks. Fine.
"Kat Ran Press Books for Sale: A reverse chronological checklist of titles". Firenze, 2005. Octavo, 6-1/2 inches high by 4-1/2 inches wide. Light gray wraps titled in black on the front cover. 16 pages, including the colophon, illustrated with 5 delicate full-page illustrations. Number 31 of a limited edition of 2000 copies composed in Fournier & Gill Sans Bold at the little Kat Ran Press and printed on the Heidelberg at Oxbow Press in March of 2005, sewn into Fabriano wrappers. Fine.
"Three Very Special Offers for Very Special People". Kat Ran, 2003. Octavo, 7 inches high by 5 inches wide. Accordion four-fold printed on one side. Together with an order form printed on matching paper and a mailing envelope.
"A fairly small drawing of Katherine by Jennifer Schmidtmann printed for the visiting members of the Society of Printers". Kat Ran Press, 2003. A beautiful and delicate 3-1/2 inch high by 2 inch wide wood engraving of a dog, ears back with averted head, printed within 5-1/4 inch high by 2-1/2 inch wide burgundy ruled frame on a 12 inch high by 9 inch wide sheet. Fine.
Two Typed Form Letters Signed with initials by Michael Russem on 11 inch high by 8-1/2 inch wide Kat Ran Ephemera Club stationery. Respectively dated April 19, 2005 and October 20, 2005, the letters refer with dark humor to the time elapsed between each of the booklets produced for club members, deflecting complaints with playful suggestions that members should direct angry letters to his staff.
An Autograph Letter Signed by Michael Russem dated December 29, 2003 penned on 11 inch high by 8-1/2 inch wide creamy white paper. The printer mentions receiving the first batch of boxes from the bindery though he's taking his time printing the labels. He informs his correspondent that he's including a "little keepsake I printed for the Society of Printers' pilgrimage to my shop", no doubt referring to the print which is included in this portfolio.
And finally, the volume includes five 12 inch high by 9 inch wide white envelopes, each printed with the title of one of the five publications listed above. Fine.
A rare portfolio.
Michael Russem's Kat Ran Press has designed books for Goshen Editions, The Grolier Club, The Laureate Press, The Limited Editions Club, The One Oak Press, Oak Knoll Books, Sierras Press, Smith College, The Society of Printers, and Shambhala Publishing, among others.