The Alcuin Society is a non-profit organization supported by people who care about the past, present and future of fine books. Founded in 1965, the society is the only organization in Canada dedicated to the entire range of interests relating to books: publishing, book design and production, bookselling, book buying and collecting, printing, binding, papermaking, calligraphy and illustration.

James (Jim) Arthur Rainer, May 19, 1932 – February 2, 2018

Everyone in The Alcuin Society feels a great sense of loss over the passing of an exceptional leader and an even more exceptional friend in the person of Jim Rainer who served as the Society’s chairperson for ten years. We plan to publish a series of memories in a future issue of Amphora but wanted to share the obituary prepared by members of his family with members of the Society.

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Reminder: Illustration of books in the ancient Graeco-Roman world: Cillian O’Hogan

The Alcuin Society is pleased to announce its first lecture of 2018.  Join us for an evening with lecturer Cillian O’Hogan of the UBC Classics Department about the illustration of books in the ancient Graeco-Roman world.  This lecture will give an overview of the surviving fragments of ancient illustration and will explain how and for whom these lavish books were produced.  Dr. O’Hogan’s talk will be given Wednesday March 7 at The Post, 110-750 Hamilton Street in Vancouver in the StartUp East Room from 7:30 to 8:30 pm.

Space is limited, so reserve with EventBrite: Register.  For further information, please contact:


Old movie posters

Early movie theaters had to design and produce their own advertising and promotion. All they got from Hollywood was the films themselves. These posters from two theaters in Haverhill, Massachusetts are among the better examples of what was done in those days (the late 20s and early 30s) by local artists and printers. Probably these were done by a local sign painter whose main business was painting shop signs and decorating trucks. Only a sign painter would have all the type styles shown on these posters at his disposal, as they are similar to those found in books of the time that were used by sign painters. These posters are excellent examples of a type of 1930s graphic design that introduced the public to the earliest “talking” pictures. And what pictures—what stars! Continue Reading…

Robert R. Reid Exhibition at Massey College in Toronto

In May 1957, Carl Dair wrote to a colleague in the design profession regarding his decision to join the Typographic Designers of Canada. He also proposed in that letter setting up an Octovo Club of eight members who would comprise the pacesetters in the profession. He listed Robert Reid as being one of the eight. Reid had not turned thirty yet and was by far the youngest in the group. Continue Reading…

Howard Greaves, 1941 – 2018

It is with great sadness that we learned that Howard Greaves died January 23, 2018. Howard had a talent for bringing people together, a generosity of spirit that brought so much to our community, and enthusiasm that enriched the book arts in Canada.

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Rudolf Koch exhibit, Port Moody Station Museum

Markus Fahrner would like to invite you to the opening of the Great War sketches of the famous typographer Rudolf Koch. For the first time outside Germany the Port Moody Station Museum exhibits the sketches Rudolf Koch drew as soldier in the trenches of WW1. Among many typefaces Koch created is Neuland, Prisma and Kabel.

Port Moody Station Museum, 2734 Murray St., January 14, 2pm, in collaboration with the Klingspor Museum, Offenbach, Germany.