John and Griselda Lewis Collection

PLEASE NOTE: conservation is currently taking place on this collection. Boxes are being taken offsite for treatment for approximately 2 months each. Please contact Special Collections staff giving reference numbers of which boxes you wish to access (using the PDF handlist below), and we can advise on availability.

John Lewis (1912-1996) was a typographer and graphic designer who, with Michael Twyman and Maurice Rickards, pioneered the study of printed ephemera. He was the author of several books, including Printed ephemera : the changing uses of type and letterforms in English and American printing, which was published in 1962. His wife Griselda Lewis (1917-2014) was a writer and book designer.

The collection consists of some 20,000 items illustrating the history of printing and graphic design from the fifteenth century to the present, the earliest item being a leaf from a 14th-century manuscript. Much of the material can be described as printed ephemera and includes a huge range, from bottle labels to examples of fine printing.

The collection is classified thematically and occupies about 87 boxes in which most of the specimens are mounted on large sheets - among the more intriguing categories are proclamations and broadsides 1650 onwards; artists' greeting cards (1,200 items); 19th century lottery handbills, and the advertising archive of Reckitt & Coleman, Australia.

The collection complements collections held at the Centre for Ephemera Studies in the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication.

More information

  • A full description is available on our online database

  • Collection reference JGL (Manuscript number MS 5317)
history, printing history ephemera lewis john printing

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