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Call for Proposals 2015

The American Printing History Association welcomes proposals for its 40th annual conference: “Printing on the Hand Press & Beyond” to be held at RIT Cary Graphic Arts Collection, Rochester, NY, October 23–24, 2015. Proposals are due by March 15, 2015. PDF

The flat-bed hand presses invented in the fifteenth century were the predominant models in the printing industry for over 350 years and are still used by printers, artists, scholars, and educators. This conference will investigate the technological history of these earliest printing machines, along with the associated materials of the printer’s trade: type, paper, ink, and relief printing methods. The theme also invites exploration into areas of early print culture including but not limited to: the reception of printing, increases in literacy, changes in the dissemination and standardization of texts, the availability of books, considerations of authorship, publication and print shop practices, the book trade, printer’s manuals, the triumphs (and failures) of historic printers and printing houses, literary depictions of print shops, and collaborations between printers and authors.

This conference sets the stage to investigate how the hand press fits into twentieth- and twenty-first-century private press and artist’s book production, and contemporary printmaking. Further, it addresses the application of hand press operation to teaching in programs of library and information science, history, digital humanities, and book arts programs.

Opportunities are available for teaching workshops using the Cary technology collection. This includes five iron hand presses, among them the recently acquired Kelmscott-Goudy Albion hand press, which dates from 1891 and was first used by William Morris and subsequently, American type designer Frederic W. Goudy, and APHA founder J. Ben Lieberman.

Conference Location

The 40th annual conference will be held at the Rochester Institute of Technology Cary Graphic Arts Collection and the Vignelli Center for Design Studies. The Cary Collection is one of the country’s premier libraries on graphic communication history and practices. Conference excursions will include trips to the University of Rochester Special Collections, as well as Wells College Book Arts Center and Bixler Letterfoundry in the New York Finger Lakes.


  1. I saw your call for proposals on the Book Arts List serv.
    I am a book artist and recently, to expand my methods of making artist books,
    I designed and built a hydraulic powered hand press that I use to do relief printing with metal type, hand cut type and other relief methods.
    The press has a unique feature that allows precision monitoring of platen force.
    Below is a direct link to my website that describes the press and has a video of the press in operation.

    If this would be of interest to you I would be happy to submit a proposal for a talk.

    Thank you,

    Thomas Parker Williams

  2. Paul Moxon, Website Editor 26 January, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    Congratulations on your press, that’s a tremendous accomplishment. Interesting video. I imagine that the conference program committee would be interested in reading your proposal.

  3. I just stumbled on this advert after returning from abroad, I would propose a paper exploring the Terms of Printmaker versus Letterpress.

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