MacArthur Fellows Program

Adrian Wilson

Book Designer, Printer, and Historian of the Book | Class of February 1983

Title
Book Designer, Printer, and Historian of the Book
Location
San Francisco, California
Age
60 at time of award
Deceased
Feb. 3, 1988

Adrian Wilson was a book designer, a printer, a typographer, and an author on the history of the book.

He began his career in 1947 by designing and printing theater programs.  This work led to commissions for printing fine books, for designing scholarly texts for university presses, and for books and catalogues of the work of major photographers and artists for museums and trade publishers.  His research involved the analysis and dating of early books and manuscripts.  Wilson’s works include Printing for Theater (1957), The Design of Books (1967), The Making of the Nuremberg Chronicle (1976), The Work and Play of Adrian Wilson (1983), A Medieval Mirror: Speculum humanae salvationis 1324-1500 (1984), and More Printing for Theater (1987).  He was also the designer, printer, and publisher of Weldon Kees’ Poems 1947-1954 (1954) and William Everson’s In Medias Res. (1984), among others.

Wilson was a research associate at the University of California, Davis.  He also taught at the San Francisco Art Institute and the University of California, Santa Cruz, among others.  He received grants from the California Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Wilson attended Wesleyan University and the University of California at Berkeley.

Last updated January 1, 2005.

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