The Philosophy of Umbrellas

Robert Louis Stevenson

Above: The Limited Edition

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Below is the text of the Preface, which is printed on the umbrella's sleeve, a 3" diameter cylinder.
The umbrella handle extends from the sleeve for carrying.


This publication came about when I received an e-mail from Susan Viguers, Director of the MFA Book Arts/Printmaking Program at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, inviting me to be a von Hess Visiting Artist at the Borowsky Center for Publication Arts. The purpose would be to create a work, with the master printer, Lori Spencer, on a Heidelberg KORS one-color offset press.
     It seemed like the perfect opportunity to make an edition in honor of Judith Hoffberg, co-founder of ARLIS/NA and advocate of artists’ books. Judith is the Editor and Publisher of Umbrella, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year as the main resource for information about contemporary artists’ books, mail art and Fluxus.
     The obvious form for this work would be an umbrella with a text, but what text? I asked Judith for a suggestion and she sent this essay by R. L. Stevenson (1850-1894). It was written while he was in college and first published in The Edinburgh University Magazine, which only existed for four monthly issues (January thru April, 1871).
     The first printing in book form was posthumous, in the 1896 Edinburgh Edition of Juvenilia and Other Papers, Volume XXI of The Works [London: Charles Baxter & Sidney Colvin on behalf of Robert Louis Stevenson; Printed by T. and A. Constable for Longmans, Green & Co.: Cassell and Co., Seeley & Co., Chas. Scribner’s Sons and Sold by Chatto & Windus].
     The text used for this edition is from a collection titled Memories & Portraits [Boston: Herbert B. Turner & Co., 1904].
     The von Hess Visiting Artist Program in UArts’ Borowsky Center is funded through the generosity of the Richard C. von Hess Foundation.

Richard Minsky
April, 2008

As the von Hess Visiting Artist, Richard Minsky performed critiques and presented a lecture at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. The lecture was part of the Inaugural Symposia:  Improvise/Commit: Conversations on the Creative Process.

About the Edition

An edition of 100 copies was printed on DuPontTM Tyvek?. The typography was designed by Minsky using InDesign with Palatino Linotype and OpenType Discretionary Ligatures.

The University of the Arts will umbrellify 50 copies numbered 1-50. They will be doing their own distribution.

Richard Minsky will produce 43 copies numbered I-XLIII, and a Deluxe Edition of 7 copies numbered A-G. You can order these below. 

Institutions using purchase orders or those who wish to pay by mail may use the form below. 

The Philosophy of Umbrellas Limited Edition:

The Philosophy of Umbrellas Deluxe Edition: $1,500.00

To pay by mail with a check or submit an institutional purchase order, please reserve your umbrella online or by phone with the order form below.  If you prefer to pay online, use the secure ordering system by clicking on "add to cart" above for the items you choose. Please read the Terms

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