This month we have been busy cataloguing our collection of books by the Cuala Press, one of the many private presses in the Cardiff Rare Books Collection. Originally known as the Dun Emer Press, the Cuala Press was operated by Elizabeth Yeats, sister of William Butler Yeats, near Dublin from 1903 to 1940.
Elizabeth began her career working with William Morris, founder of the Kelmscott Press, and Cuala took inspiration from Morris’s Arts and Crafts Movement. Unlike most Arts and Crafts presses, however, the Cuala Press concentrated on publishing new works, often by writers associated with the Irish Literary Revival. In all, the press published more than 70 titles. After Elizabeth Yeats’ death in 1940, the press was run by Esther Ryan and Marie Gill and the last Cuala book, Stranger in Aran by Elizabeth Rivers, was published on July 31, 1946.
The Cardiff Rare Books Collection contains more than 60 books printed by the Cuala Press, including 24 by William Butler Yeats. In addition to Yeats, Cuala published works by Ezra Pound, Elizabeth Bowen, Lady Gregory, John Masefield, Frank O’Connor, John Millington Synge, and many others.