Reviews of The Rise and Fall of the Printers’ International Specimen Exchange

“Young has provided the most careful and in-depth study of the Exchange to date, a book that will be useful to historians of the late nineteenth-century printing and design trades. His focused and, above all, original research on this valuable resource is to be applauded. … Young’s is the first book to be devoted solely to the Exchange and it provides valuable information about the conflicts, printers, and styles that influenced the arts and crafts movement’s fascination with antique printing aesthetics and production processes.”
– Doug Clouse, Codex 3, Summer 2013

“The work of the nineteenth cantury Artistic printer was once described as ‘the most unpleasant and the most skilful work ever forced through a [composing] stick.’ Skilful, yes; but most unpleasant? The statement is too sweeping, for that some really commendable work was also produced during the Artistic period is clearly evidenced by Matthew Young’s book. … Ephemera Society members interested in design history, nineteenth century self-improvement or Victorian culture generally, will find much to commend in this book. It is worth noting also that it was with the printing of ephemera that the Artistic Printer was chiefly concerned, and the Gallery display of flyers, seed catalogues, calendars, et al, should prove a delight for many of our readers.”
– Graham Hudson, The Ephemerist, No. 160, Spring 2013.

“If you are interested in the history of graphic design, Matthew Young’s new book is a wonderful account of a lesser-known part of the story. It’s handsome and lucidly presented and worth your time and attention.”
– Alastair Johnston, Booktryst

Contemporary notices of the Printers’ International Specimen Exchange

“Like a rugged but powerful pioneer, it has swept down forests and razed mountains of egotism, skepticism, and sectional prejudice, as to what led to art and advancement. It has helped to clear off the brusque path which self has studded over with fossiliferous embarrassments; and it has marked out a course of confraternity which is not only new but really congenial, and now bristles with electric effulgence over the present advancing host of typographic artists.”
– William J. Kelly, American Model Printer (1881)

“The third volume may decidedly be considered a great result. … a personal inspection is indispensable to form an idea of it.”
– Theodore Goebel, Austrian Printers’ Gazette (1882)

“While many of the elaborate or many colored jobs from each country are delightful in their rich completeness, there are as many specimens in only one or two colors which are equal feasts for the eye of a lover of good work.”
Superior Printer (1888)

“Of this institution it would be impossible to express too high an opinion.”
– George Joyner, Fine Printing (1895)