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Production Narrative

by J. Drucker

This book was fun to make and to print, though it took longer than I had imagined. The original conception came in 1989, when I walked into the Bow and Arrow, saw the cut of the drum majorette who reminded me of my mother, and thought, I'll make a book that will be a history of the world by taking images from these cuts, letting them fall in random sequence, and writing a narrative to fit. Of course I didn't end up following that rule, but arranged and rearranged the visual elements to make all kinds of graphic games and visual puns on the sheets. The texts were composed as separate exercises, with the large black (reworked) history of the world and the smaller red personal memory both written and laid out, even begun to be printed, in advance of the captions. They were finished later, sitting in the New York apartment, where I pushed myself to compose comments on the images that would often, also, refer to childhood or personal experience. Printing required five runs per sheet, large black type, red type, small black type, red images, black images. The cover printing damaged the wood type, especially the gloriously beautiful large W, which became pitted as the surface of the moon because the hard fibers of the bagasse punched holes in it.

Critical Analysis

by J. Drucker

Design Features

typographic: The type is used to distinguish history from memory, the received and reworked from the personal lines.

imagery: All found cuts, line and half-tone, all letterpress.

graphical: Borders, dingbats, and other devices help punctuate the page and introduce a sign set as part of the text.

openings: The only page that uses an image across the gutter is a full spread, and it has the photographic cut of the Last Summer tableau.

Critical Discussion

The intertextual elements of meaning production on these pages are complicated, but visually evident. Conception and execution had a happy relationship in this work.

History of the/my Wor(l)d


Johanna Drucker

type: initiating


born: United States
active: United States
citizenship: United States

birth: 1952-05-30

Publication Information

edition type: editioned

publisher: Druckwerk

place: Bow and Arrow Press, Harvard University

publication: 1990-06-00

edition size: 70 copies

note: I loved making this first edition, and Gino Lee was a major presence during its production. Without him it would never have happened. He let me use the Press without restraint and allowed me to return to the Bow and Arrow after I'd moved to New York so that I could continue to print and finish the book. [J. Drucker]


horizontal: 10" inches closed

vertical: 13" inches closed

depth: .25 inches closed

Production Information

production means:
letterpress (local)

binding: hand sewn (local) The signatures are bound to cover stock which is folded into the bagasse wrappers. Not perfect, but functional.

bookBlock: paper Warren's Lustro Dull
endsheets: paper Various

ink (local)


format: codex (AAT)

cover: Letterpress on Bagasse, with wood type and linoleum elements.

color: yes Printed in black and red.


pagination: unpaginated

numbered?: numbered

signed?: signed


In fond and loving memory of my mother. At the Bow and Arrow Press, Adams House, Harvard University. Summer 1989 through late Spring 1990. In Caslon on Warren's Lustro dull. Many thanks to Gino Lee and Charles Steele.

reception history: Various people have written about this work, none extensively.

Related Documents

manuscript type: mockups

location: artist's archive

note: All the production materials exist.

manuscript type: texts

location: artist's archive

note: The texts are also preserved in various forms.