In the early years of the 20th century, the publishing house known as Tolmer et Cie or Maison Tolmer was located at 15, quai Bourbon in Paris. The editor in chief was Alfred Tolmer, who took over after his father, whose name does not seem to have been recorded. Alfred’s son Claude Tolmer (1922-1991) was also with the firm and Bernard Tolmer is also mentioned. These three generations of Tolmers produced literally hundreds of beautiful volumes with exceptional design, often illustrated with original pochoir or lithographic prints. See Papillons in a previous blog post.
In 1930, Alfred began to write his definitive treatise on graphic design, entitled Mise en Page: the Theory and Practice of Layout, which continues to be consulted, if only for the inspirational layout of this book alone. The volume deals with photography, typography, and illustration, using unusual techniques of collage, pochoir, and coated papers. He published a French language edition himself and an English language edition with The Studio magazine, which was printed in London and includes the French text at the back.
In 1985, Tolmer’s work was the subject of an exhibition at the Musée des Beaux-arts, Centre d’art contemporain, in Rouen France. A catalogue of the show, entitled Tolmer, can be read through interlibrary loan.
Here are just a few of the hundreds of titles published by Tolmer et Cie, most available through the Cotsen Children’s Library, Rare Books and Special Collections.
Hellé, André, 1871-1935. Drôles de bêtes. Paris. A. Tolmer et cie. [191-?].
Hellé, André, 1871-1935. Grosse bêtes & petites bêtes. Paris. Tolmer & Cie. [191-?].
Les musiques de la guerre: hymnes Alliés. Paris. Tolmer & Cie. .
Petite histoire de La Fayette. Paris. Tolmer [. 1920s].
Séguy, E. A. Papillons : vingt planches en phototypie coloriées au patron donnant 81 papillons et 16 compositions décoratives / E.A. Séguy. Paris : Tolmer, [192-?]
Voyages & glorieuses découvertes des grands navigateurs & explorateurs français; illustré par Edy Legrand. Paris, Tolmer [c1921]
France, Anatole, 1844-1924. Madame de Luzy : manuscript du 15 Sept. 1792. Paris : Chez Tolmer, 
Alphabet. Paris : Tolmer, [probably 1923].
Vildrac, Charles, 1882-1971. L’Île rose. [Paris. Tolmer. c1924].
Roberts, Jack. Histoire aventureuse de Ludovic, le joli petit canard vert. Paris. Tolmer éditeur. [c1924].
Andersen, H. C. (Hans Christian), 1805-1875. Le petit elfe ferme l’oeil. [Paris]. [A. Tolmer]. [c1924].
Legrand, Edy, 1892-1970. Petite histoire de La Fayette. [Paris. Tolmer. ca. 1925].
Roberts, Jack. Céleste L’hippopotame rose. Paris. A. Tolmer. 1926.
Voyages & glorieuses découvertes des grands navigateurs & explorateurs français. Paris. Tolmer. [c1921].
Roberts, Jack. La croisière blanche, ou L’expédition Moko-Moka Kokola. Paris. A. Tolmer. [c1928].