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"The Tribune Book of Open-Air Sports", the First Book Typeset by Linotype (1887)


In 1887 The New York Daily Tribune newspaper published the first book typeset by Linotype, The Tribune Book of Open-Air Sports. The New York Daily Tribune was the first paper to use the Linotype, introducing mechanized typesetting for the first time in its issue of July 3, 1886.

Printed on the front and back pastedown endpapers the well-produced and attractively bound book was a statement that the book could be obtained only with a one-year paid subscription to The New York Tribune Weekly, Semi-Weekly, or Daily. Only the title page of this 500 page book was printed from hand-set type.

On the verso of the title page was printed two lines set in small nonpareil capitals and small caps:

"This Book is Printed Without Type, being the First Product in Book Form of the Mergenthaler Machine which wholly Supercedes the Use of Movable Type."

At this time the Mergenthaler typesetting machine was not yet known as the Linotype.

In January 2015 I obtained a fine copy of this book for my collection bound in the original red cloth from Peter Daly in Hampshire, England. I had been searching for a fine copy for several years; most copies are heavily worn. To my surprise when I studied pencil notes on the rear endpaper of the copy I noticed that a previous owner had indicated in a small neat hand that they bought the book from me in San Francisco on August 14, 1972. It was fortunate that the buyer, of whose name I have no recollection, kept it with great care.