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It was the hands-on practice of letterpress that originally drew a small group together to form what is now the Chesapeake Chapter. Still to this day many of the most active members are practitioners of the craft. Each of the past four years this group has produced a chapter calendar which we sell to help fund events and materials. It has been a great way to engage new members and also to attract new APHA members from area schools which have access to letterpress.

We are close to starting to bind the 2015 calendar. We’ll update the images below as we scan new images of the pages. Support our work and soak up some great dates. Think holiday presents. $25 each. Free mailing. We expect to have some at the upcoming APHA conference, so find Val Lucas, President of the Chesapeake Chapter, and pick up a couple.


APHA’s Chesapeake Chapter is an active group of collectors, letterpress printers, & scholors sponsoring monthly lectures, field trips and other opportunities  to connect on an informal basis. Generally made up of members from within 90 miles of Washington, DC, the Chapter enjoys close-by access to a variety of major APHA-related collections, such as the Library of Congress, The Folger Library & the Smithsonian, along with a large number of other museums and libraries with important book and printing history holdings.     

The Chapter also has an active group of letterpress printers with a variety of equipment and varied missions, producing a variety of work from ephemera and keepsakes to  posters and books. Often one of the printing members will produce a keepsake for those attending the events.

The Chesapeake Chapter Program Committee continues to work on a great year of Chapter programs. On the horizon are talks at the Library of Congress and the Historical Society of DC on early Washington printers, a visit to the Washington Print Club Biennial Show, a talk on artist’s books at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, a cooperative event with the Potomac Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers, an afternoon of presentations by our Denker Fellows, and a day in Delaware. Stay tuned for details.

We may eventually get most of our Chapter’s past history transferred to this main APHA site, but in the meantime you can visit the Chesapeake Chapter’s website.


          Saturday November 1, 2014

APHA Chespeake Chapter Wayzgoose & Annual
Meeting at the home of Chris & Pat Manson &
Crooked Crow Press

          508 Mannakee Street
          Rockville MD 20850


You can choose links to other past events listed in the sidebar to the right.

Treasures in the Hornbake Library at the University of Maryland
Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Chesapeake Chapter of APHA, and friends,  had the opportunity to look over some of the treasures in the Hornbake Library at the University of Maryland in College Park, on Saturday, July 19th.

Doug McElrath, Manager of Special Collections hosted a showing of the W.A. Dwiggins collection, as well as typefounder’s catalogues from the Maurice Annenberg collection. Additionally, there were some Colonial-era types recovered from the Jonas Green house in Annapolis. Green was the official printer for the province of Maryland in the mid-18th century, and a large amount of type has been unearthed during archeological excavations there.

W. A. Dwiggins was a pre-eminent book designer, calligrapher, type designer, illustrator and commercial artist in the first half of the 20th century, and was responsible for a marked improvement in American book design through the 1920’s and 1930’s. He is also credited with coining the term “graphic designer” in 1922.

Maurice Annenberg was a commercial printer, among other things, and a scholar of printing history; he was, in fact, a founding member of The American Printing History Association. Among his other writings are “Typefoundries of America and Their Catalogues” (1975, recently reprinted) and “A Typographical Journey Through the ‘Inland Printer’ 1883-1900″ (1977).

Being on a summer Saturday morning, we had the entire library to ourselves, and grateful to Doug for allowing us to handle samples of the Colonial-era type found in Annapolis; there are thousands of pieces in their archives.  We were also able to examine and read good examples of books from the Dwiggins and Annenberg collections.  Doug painted a very helpful story of the impact of the two on the history of American printing.


Left to right: Chris Sweterlitsch, Chris Manson and Doug McElrath, manager of special collections at the University of Maryland Hornbake Library.


Casey Smith, Val Lucas


Chris Sweterlitsch, Chris Manson, Pat Manson, Val Lucas, Hershel Kanter.







Casey Smith, Hershel Kanter, Doug McElrath

Photos by Jim Wilder.