International Kelmscott Press Day

An announcement and invitation to contribute to the International Kelmscott Press Day

June 26 2021

The William Morris Society in the United States is organizing an international celebration to commemorate the founding of the Kelmscott Press in 1891. We hope that many will join us in this unique collaborative opportunity to promote the life and work of William Morris, the beauty of books, and the history of printing.

International Kelmscott Press Day is scheduled for June 26, 2021, the 125th anniversary of the publication of the Kelmscott edition of The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. Four years in the making, with illustrations by the Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones, and designed by Morris in every detail, the Kelmscott Chaucer, as it is commonly known, is universally considered one of the most beautiful books ever printed. Our focus, however, will extend beyond it to encompass the whole of William Morris’s ‘typographical adventure’ which exerted great influence on the private press movement and the modern book.

Libraries, museums, and other institutions that own the Kelmscott Chaucer or other Kelmscott titles and related materials are encouraged to create special displays (online and in-person) and host activities such as talks and printing demonstrations and to commission and show work by contemporary book artists and printers—whatever they think appropriate for the occasion. We hope that participation can be truly international, knowing that there are significant Kelmscott Press collections in Australia, Japan, France, Germany, The Netherlands, South Korea, and other countries; throughout Britain; and in 29 US states and several Canadian provinces.

All activities will be listed on the William Morris Society in the United States website.

For more information, contact

Mark Samuels Lasner
Senior Research Fellow, University of Delaware Library, Musuems and Press

Photo by Jim Heaphy of a copy of ‘The works of Geoffrey Chaucer now newly imprinted’ in California State Library. (Wikimedia.)

Co-sponsors (as of April 1, 2021)

Bibliographical Society of America
Pre-Raphaelite Society
William Morris Society (UK)
William Morris Society of Canada

Expected participants (as of April 1, 2021)

University of Delaware Library, Museums and Press
Rare Book Division, Library of Congress
Morgan Library & Museum
Museum of Printing, Haverhill, MA
University of Puget Sound
Cary Collection, Rochester Institute of Technology
Special Collections, University of Washington