Our People

We believe that finely crafted books are essential repositories of American history and of our broader cultural wealth. We also believe that the best books are built on a rock-solid foundation of credibility, accuracy, and vivid writing. It was with that belief that Paul Chutkow, an accomplished journalist and author, created Val de Grace Books.

Before he began writing books, Paul was a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press and a frequent contributor to The New York Times, Cigar Aficionado, and other publications. In 2000, Visa International asked Paul to write their company story, and then and there he decided to create Val de Grace Books. The rest, as they say, is history.  
Milton Glaser is a legend in American design. 

His “I Love NY” logo is an American classic, as are many of his posters, logos, and product packages. His Bob Dylan poster is one of our favorites. Milton and his wonderful team designed “Faces of Courage" and "Reaching For The Stars,” ​the book we did for Constellation Brands, and he serves as our constant guide and inspiration in all matters of vision and design. 

Milton also reminds us, eloquently, that our mission is to create books of lasting value and significance, books that say something important about the world we live in. And as Milton is fond of reminding us, “The good is the enemy of the great.” Yes! And we take that to heart in everything we do. 

There are many fine photographers today, but there is only one Matthew Klein. 

Wine, food, jewelry, or just a humble credit card -- Matthew brings them to life with rare beauty and flair. When we did “Visa, The Power of an Idea,” Matthew went into a shabby credit card plant in El Segundo, California, and came out, to our amazement, with magnificent images. And when we did the book on Constellation Brands, Matthew again came forth with images that stunned us all with their artistry and feeling. Matthew has “the eye,” pure and simple, and his artwork is one of the main reasons why Val de Grace Books are so special in look, feel, and lasting value.   
Quality printing and binding are art forms unto themselves, and for the past 30 years we have worked with one of the leading printing groups in the world: Toppan Printing. Whether at their headquarters in Tokyo or at their new state-of-the-art printing plant in Hong Kong, the artisans of Toppan know the quality we expect for a Val de Grace Book -- and they deliver. Always. 

Toppan is also a world leader in using elegant recycled paper and printing processes that are entirely safe for the environment. All this at affordable prices too! To manage all our printing needs, we rely on one of the best in the business: Tom Hummel of Crash Paper.
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At the heart of every Val de Grace Book is a secret talent: match-making! It's true. For every project, we have to bring together, harmoniously, the right team, sure, but that is just the beginning. From there, we have to adroitly meld the book's design, imagery,  typography, the paper quality and feel, and the cover art -- and each element has to marry happily with the others. And nobody is a better match-maker than Dorothy Carico Smith.

In the course of her design career, Dorothy has created highly evocative covers for more than 400 books. Like Milton Glaser, one of her heroes, Dorothy works on feel as well as craft, and she always brings a fresh, arresting perspective to our projects. Dorothy serves as our West Coast design director, and just a glance at her cover for “Birgitte’s War” will help you understand why.

Our mission, our passion, is creating books
 of extraordinary quality and significance.  
           Val de Grace Books
             Napa, California