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Acanthus started as an  antiquarian bookstore in 1982. Ten years later, Barry Cenower, the owner and founder, launched Acanthus Press as an adjunct to the bookstore. The press started by reproducing previously published and highly sought books in design and architecture. The early Acanthus publications were produced as high quality hardcover volumes that book collectors could appreciate . By 2001, Acanthus was publishing original works, conceived along the lines of fine early 20th century books that were sold in the bookstore and that many of its clients coveted.


Today Acanthus Press continues a long tradition of fine book publishing with its program of residential architecture, interior design, and garden books. From the opulent interiors of French chateaux in New York to the romantic sunlit courtyards of California's haciendas, Acanthus Press titles portray an American domestic architectural heritage that is rich, complex, and timeless.


Acanthus began with a mission--”to bring books to collectors and design enthusiasts that would be serious additions to 21st century library. This ideal is best defined by a quote from William Morris:


"If I were asked to say what is at once the most important production of Art and the thing most to be longed for, I should answer, A beautiful House; and if I were further asked to name the production next in importance and the thing next to be longed for, I should answer, A beautiful Book. To enjoy good houses and good books in self respect and decent comfort, seems to me to be the pleasurable end towards which all societies of human beings ought now to struggle".

from Some Thoughts on the Ornamented MSS of the Middle Age
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