Jim Daggs‘ letterpress career started with his apprenticeship at age 14 with a master printer who ran a letterpress shop in Jim’s hometown of Eldora, Iowa. Soon he had acquired an 8×12 C&P, some cases of type, and had set up a small shop in the basement of his father’s store. Jim continued his training at the local twice-weekly newspaper plant, learning the Linotype and Ludlow. His first exposure to Heidelberg Windmill was at age 21 when he went to work for Woolverton Printing Co. in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The letterpress foreman at Woolverton put Jim in front of a Windmill one day, and alongside of the press were several pallets of 16-page product catalogs for a local manufacturing company. With that, the composing room sent over galleys and galleys of imprint lines to put dealer names on the back of catalogs. The job exceeded the capacity of the Windmill, so some modifications had to be made. The foreman quickly ran through the procedure to set up press and form and left Jim with the words, “If you can run this job, you can run anything on a Heidelberg!” Now, 36 years later, Daggs’ Ackley Publishing Co. operates five 10x15s and 2 13x18s on a daily basis. Jim has moved and refurbished each press, and has trained numerous operators.
Barbara Henry was introduced to letterpress by Kay Amert at the University of Iowa in 1978. She was for 20 years Curator of Bowne & Co., Stationers, a 19th-century printing office and part of the South Street Seaport Museum in New York City. While at Bowne she operated two platen presses, a Columbian Rotary and a Golding, on which she printed cards and invitations and book pages. Presently she is Master Printer at the Center for Book Arts in Manhattan, and prints books for her own imprint, Harsimus Press. Her work is in many university libraries and private collections.
Owner, designer and printer of The Permanent Collection Letterpress & Design Studio, Sarah McCoy letterpress prints on an almost daily basis for a variety of clients both big and small, and everywhere in-between. She was introduced to letterpress printing while a Graduate Student at The University of Iowa. She earned a BA from The School of Art and Art History at The University of Iowa (1999). She worked as a graphic designer in a corporate design group in Austin, Texas for several years, before returning to earn her MFA in Graphic Design from The University of Iowa (2005) and a Graduate Certificate with a concentration in letterpress and artist books from The University of Iowa Center for the Book (2006). She then moved to Des Moines, Iowa where she was an Assistant Professor in Graphic Design at Drake University. She has taught all levels of graphic design courses and recently introduced an Introduction to Letterpress Printing course. She has taught several letterpress workshops for Universities, professional organizations (AIGA) and elementary students alike. Currently she is an adjunct professor at Drake University and oversees her company, The Permanent Collection.
Sarah’s work is found in retailers throughout the U.S. and U.K. Her work has been featured in several publications, most recently 1,000 More Greetings: Creative Correspondence for All Occasions (1000 Series), Rockport Publications and exhibitions both nationally and internationally. Her artist books are part of several University Libraries, such as Yale, Wesleyan, and University of California System Libraries. She has presented her letterpress research both nationally and internationally most notable at ATYPI’s (Association Typographique Internationale) annual conference entitled, “Typographic Form and the Permanence of Letterpress Type” and in an essay entitled: “Analogue Aesthetics.” “The Means by Which We Find Our Way: Observations on Design,” Waikato Institute of Technology in Hamilton, New Zealand, 2008.
Scott Moore recently retired after 35 years of teaching Industrial Arts at Pickerington High School near Columbus, OH and now continues the tradition of cutting end grain hard maple wood type by the historic pantograph method. He has two degrees from Miami University in Oxford, OH where he worked as a lab assistant in the print shop as part of his Industrial Arts studies. Letterpress and offset printing were taught as part of Industrial Arts during the 1950-70s.
Twenty-five years later his daughter, Erin Beckloff, earned her BFA in Graphic Design from Miami where she first fell in love with the letterpress equipment sitting unused in her art building. Erin received a Kelsey platen press as a wedding gift and asked her Dad (Scott) to make her some special ornaments to go with her growing letterpress collection. That led to his interest in making his own pantograph to cut wood type. Scott and Erin made several trips to study the large pantographs at the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum in Two Rivers, WI and to discuss the job of cutting type with expert Norb Brylski. Scott then built his own reproduction of a Hamilton pantograph, and with that knowledge he modified a small engraving machine into a wood cutting pantograph. To provide lots of type high, end grain maple slabs, Scott also designed and built a very accurate Type High Surfacing Machine. MWT recently acquired a Hacker Block Leveler to speed up the type high maple production process.
Scott’s company, Moore Wood Type, is located in central Ohio. For the past three years he has been making and selling historic based ornaments, catchwords, and replacement letters to letterpress printers around the world. His philosophy is that every printer deserves to have some special “printers candy” wood type to use on their own projects. In 2012-13 he has conducted wood type workshops at three universities in Ohio and enjoys sharing wood type history and production with eager learners.
Paul Moxon is a studio letterpress printer and author of Vandercook Presses: Maintenance, History and Resources. He is editor of the American Printing History Association Newsletter and a core contributor to Letterpress Commons. Paul also prints for hire and publishes limited edition books and broadsides under the imprint Fameorshame Press. This work is included in several public and private collections.
Under the imprint Paper Souvenir, Jessica Peterson utilizes letterpress printing and hand papermaking to create artists’ books. She was introduced to artists’ books by the community at Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York in the early 1990′s and earned a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1998. She worked in corporate print production in New York for several years, before moving off to Alabama, where she earned MFA in Book Arts from the University of Alabama in May 2009. She then moved off the grid to live as a printer in residence in the town of Gordo, Alabama and study with Glenn House Sr. and Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. She has taught graphic design and book arts at Mississippi University for Women and Purchase College, and University of Alabama. She is currently an instructor in the MFA Book Arts program at The University of Alabama, and the co-proprietor of The Southern Letterpress in Northport, Alabama.
Gaylord Shanilec, noted for his color wood engravings, established his own press, Midnight Paper Sales, in 1980. Since then he has published more than 25 books under his imprint, as well as accepted numerous commissions including works for The Gregynog Press in Wales and the Grolier Club of New York. He has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Carl Hertzog award for excellence in book design, and the Greynog prize. He is an Honorary Member of the Double Crown Club, and an active member of the Typophiles and the Ampersand Club. His work is represented in most major book arts collections in the United States and in the United Kingdom, and the archive of his working materials is held at the University of Minnesota. He is very famous.
Rick von Holdt: Established the Foolproof Press in 1976 for my own education and entertainment. Started as a fool with a little proof press and a few fonts of type. The great adventure has lead to more acquisitions over the decades and I now have over 2,000 fonts of handset type in my shop. In addition to printing as a hobby I also serve as a director at Printer’s Hall in Mt. Pleasant, IA.
Marnie Powers-Torrey holds an MFA in photography from the University of Utah and a BA in English and Philosophy from Boston College’s Honors Program. She is the Managing Director of the Book Arts Program and Red Butte Press, an Associate Librarian (Lecturer), and serves as the academic advisor for the minor and certificate in book arts. Marnie teaches letterpress printing, artists’ books, and other courses for the Book Arts Program and elsewhere. She is master printer for the Red Butte Press, harnessing the mighty printing power of a full staff of excellent printers. As a founding member of the College Book Arts Association, she served as Awards Chair for three years and currently serves on the board of directors. Her work is exhibited and held in collections nationally.
Claire Taylor is the Studio Manager at the Book Arts Program and acts as head printer for the Red Butte Press. She received a BFA from the University of Utah in printmaking in 2007. Claire teaches non-credit letterpress courses and various workshops for the Book Arts Progam. Working mainly in letterpress and drawn media, she exhibits nationally.
Marnie and Claire have spent an obscene number of hours together, under the gaze of the eagle, at times resorting to placing a bag over the golden eagle’s head to escape his unforgiving watch. When printing on a handpress in the twenty-first century, one must regularly employ both resolution and humor. You decide which lady gets which job.