Skip to Main Content

William Morris and the Kelmscott Press

A guide to resources on William Morris available in Special Collections at Hornbake Library.



The William Morris Collection in Special Collections and University Archives is available to researchers in the Maryland Room at the University of Maryland's Hornbake Library. The collection was established in 1985 with the purchase of approximately three hundred and forty titles of English-language books and related material printed by or about William Morris since 1891. The core of the collection was purchased by the University of Maryland from collector John J. Walsdorf. Walsdorf, an avid Morris scholar and collector, is the author of Kelmscott Press: William Morris & His Circle(1996), William Morris in Private Press and Limited Editions: A Descriptive Bibliography of Books by and about William Morris 1891-1981 (1983), and Men of Printing: Anglo American Profiles (1976).

The collection has continued to grow since 1985, and serves as a valuable resource for students, faculty, and visiting researchers interested in the life and work of William Morris The William Morris collection is a comprehensive research tool for studying Morris' work as a typographer and book designer, and for examining the development of late nineteenth-century illustration and design.

Ephemera such as advertising circulars and specimen pages, combined with a small collection of correspondence, provide insight into the business and evolution of Morris' influential Kelmscott Press. Auction and dealers catalogs dating as far back as 1900 are useful resources for tracing the movement of William Morris materials between public and private hands. Morris's own literary output is well represented—including his poetical works and romantic legends—and the collection contains a few books from Morris' personal library. His activities as a socialist author and speaker are documented in a good number of pamphlets containing his speeches of the 1880s on socialist issues, published by The Socialist League Office, The Office of "The Commonweal," The Freedom Library, etc.

All materials can be viewed in the Maryland Room, the reading room for Special Collections and University Archives.

Visit the online exhibit How We Might Live: The Vision of William Morris


Search the UMD Catalog for Items in Special Collections

Use the University of Maryland classic catalog to search for titles in the rare book collection by date of publication, author, or keyword. Select Advanced Search and select Marylandia and Rare Books to search for works housed in Special Collections and University Archives.

Contact us with any questions about locating books in Special Collections and University Archives at the University of Maryland.

All rare books can be requested online and viewed in the Maryland Room, located in Hornbake Library at the University of Maryland College Park.