Graffiti, History of Printing Style

Official Website of Rebecca Romney

Think bibliography is too stuffy? There are plenty of scandalous tales in the history of printing. One of the most infamous is the story of the Uncle Silas plate in the first edition of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn.



Twain expected Huck to be a major hit, and the huge number of advance orders strengthened his opinion. To prepare for demand, the first printing alone contained 30,000 copies. In order to print that many copies so quickly, Twain’s printer had 50 pressmen working on the project, who produced 690,000 sheets in three months.


It is because there were so many pressmen who had access to the printing plates that the perpetrator was never caught, despite a $500 reward.


Like Tom Sawyer, Twain’s previous book about boys, this work contained a great number of illustrations. One of those illustrations is an engraved plate that depicts Huck…

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About bibliodeviant

This is the journal of Jonathan Kearns Rare Books & Curiosities, and all who sail in her. Information, updates, rantings, musings and pretty pictures related (loosely I would imagine) to the world of rare and antiquarian books will be brought to you by a number of different personalities, some of whom cohabit in the same person's head. We welcome queries, comments and contributions of virtually any description, and in return we will attempt to rein in our multitudinous personality disorders and deliver wonders and joys beyond compare. At least that's the plan. View all posts by bibliodeviant

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