University of Notre Dame


Hesburgh Libraries

Rare Books & Special Collections

The St. Dominic's Press Collection

Hilary Pepler lived in the Hammersmith neighborhood of London in the vicinity of the Kelmscott Press and early in life was an enthusiastic follower of the Arts and Crafts Movement. When he founded the St. Dominic's Press in 1916, however, he rejected the vision of the Book Beautiful embraced by William Morris over two decades earlier. Pepler printed the books he believed needed to be printed without undue concern setting especially high aesthetic standards. With his frequent collaborators the calligrapher and type designed Edward Johnston and the type designer and illustrator Eric Gill, he created books that were attractive while retaining their simplicity. Pepler printed books and the periodical The Game, but also a great range of ephemera, including posters, broadsides, calendars, and even labels for beer bottles. The commercial focus of the press allowed it to be successful well into the 1930s when many other private presses were failing. By 1940 it had gradually become less active while Pepler directed his energy elsewhere, and it was purchased and renamed the Ditchling Press.

The Department of Special Collections owns a substantial collections of products from the St. Dominic's Press including a complete run of The Game, 357 books and pamphlets, 38 posters and other ephemera totalling 675 pieces.