Tragara Press Collection


Tragara Press Collection


This is an almost complete collection of all the letterpress items printed by Alan Anderson's Tragara Press between 1954 and 2012. The Tragara Press was founded in Edinburgh the early 1950s by the late Alan Anderson (1922-2016), the press taking its name from the famous Punta Tragara hotel on the Italian island of Capri, a favourite holiday destination for him. It was Scotland's longest-running, and, in terms of output, most prolific private press. Alan Anderson studied printing at Edinburgh College of Art in the early 1950s, and the first book with a Tragara Press imprint appeared in 1954. However, he worked mainly as a bookseller until the 1970s before devoting himself full-time to printing and publishing. Between 1954 and 1991 he printed and published himself around 150 items. These items were usually small octavo format pamphlets with the print runs of 100-200 numbered copies, printed from 1969 onwards on an 'Arab' treadle platen press, although some of them have smaller print runs. His wife Jenny assisted him with the sewing and binding of the pamphlets. Anderson's aim was to produce good quality, appropriate printing of selected texts (with particular emphasis on the works of Norman Douglas, Oscar Wilde, John Gray, Baron Corvo and other writers of the 1890s/early 20th century) at affordable prices. His printing is characterised by its emphasis on typography rather than illustration, and by its elegant, austere design; his books are now collectors' items among bibliophiles. He also produced a substantial body of work from the 1950s onwards, usually contemporary poetry, which was privately commissioned by other presses and by friends. From 1991 onwards his printing was exclusively for other publishers, with the exception of his 2004 anthology of poems 'Blue Remembered Hills'. The collection also has examples of work printed for other presses, such as Alan Clodd's Enitharmon Press and David Tibet's Durtro Press; it also includes examples of rare printed ephemera, proof copies and variant printings on different papers, enabling one to trace the different stages in the printing of the individual publications.


The books have been catalogued individually and have the shelfmark 'Trag.'.


The collection was formed from 2010 onwards, bringing together a collection of around 230 items purchased from a private collector in 2010, and other items acquired by the Library over the last five decades, many of which were donated by Alan Anderson and which were not already in special collection shelfmarks.

Related collections

'Fifty years of hand-printing: a bibliography of the Tragara Press', S Halliwell, High Wycombe, 2005.

'The Tragara Press 1954-1979: a bibliography', A Anderson, Edinburgh, 1979.

'Kindly and erudite: Alan Anderson remembered', G Hogg, Discover 33, Winter 2016, pp. 28-29.

Online resources

Private press books in the Library's collections




Private presses

Tragara Press