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Benjamin Franklin, born this day in 1706

Paul Moxon, Website Editor

Much has been written about this founding father of the United States. His contributions as a diplomat, statesman, civic activist, scientist, and inventor are well known. Readers of this website will be quick to add that he was also an author, printer, editor and publisher. To the last appellation,  I wish to direct attention to an article that was overlooked when first posted: Penn Connections: Provost William Smith’s Sermon on “the Death of a Beloved Pupil,” Printed by Ben Franklin in 1754.

ISO: Steenland Lithography, Philadelphia

Via the contact form:

I am researching a book, and one of the people in it closed out his career in the 1980s at Steenland Lithography, apparently in the metro Philadelphia area. He was Steenland’s “director of research,” so I assume it was a company of some size. But I have been unable to find any references to it, its business, its fate. I’m seeking guidance to someone who might know about the industry in that area in that period or who might know the Steenland name. Any direction you could provide to secondary sources would be terrific, too. Thanks very much, and I look forward to returning the favor.


Recap of Matthew Carter’s 2016 Lieberman Lecture

Katherine M. Ruffin

Matthew Carter (Kim Pickard)

Matthew Carter discussing serifs. (Kim Pickard)

Matthew Carter delivered APHA’s annual Lieberman Lecture on Saturday, December 3, 2016, at the Museum of Printing in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Over sixty people gathered to hear Carter present a lecture titled “Genuine Imitations, a Type Designer’s View of Revivals.” The lecture was followed by a lively question and answer period and a convivial reception. Attendees enjoyed exploring the new home of the Museum of Printing, which recently relocated to Haverhill from North Andover, Massachusetts. [Read more]

ISO: Printing Group in Michigan

Via the contact form:

Hi im very interesred in printing. In my younger days i had printing shop in both jr high and high school. I would love to learn more and am very interested in finding a group near me. Any help with locating a group near me would be greatly appreciated. Would love to volunteer and learn. zip code 48044 macomb twp mi. Best regards mark


Shape Shifters

Melissa Nykanen


Volvelle in the second edition of Thurneisser’s Archidoxa, 1575, a work on astrology printed at his private press in Berlin. Enlarged detail, right. (Saxon State Library, Universitätsbibliothk Dresden)


3:15-4:15 pm  saturday, october 8

Philip J. Weimerskirch: Leonhard Thurnheisser (1531-1596): Alchemist, Astrologer, Printer, Typefounder, & Papermaker   Mary Catharine Johnsen: From Magic to Science with Johannes Müller von Königsberg 


Longtime APHA member and frequent presenter, Phil Weimerskirch talked about the life of Leonhard Thurneisser (1531–1596) and the books he wrote and printed. He was an alchemist, astrologer, medical practitioner, printer, typefounder and papermaker, among other things. Much has been published about him, but nearly all of it is in German. There have also been two recent exhibitions about his life and work, one in Basle and one in Berlin.  [Read more]

ISO: Charles Fenton Whitely Portrait

Via the contact form:

I’m doing a school project about postal history and I’m trying to find a portrait of Charles (Fenton) Whitely, the American printer who moved to London and was involved with printing the penny back postage stamp.

Please let me know if you can help with my search. A JPEG image would be thankfully received.
Many thanks indeed.


The Home Stretch: Building a Wooden Common Press

Seth Gottlieb

The partially constructed Uncommon Press at RIT, soon to be housed at the Cary Graphic Arts Collection.

The partially constructed Uncommon Press at RIT, soon to be housed at the Cary Graphic Arts Collection.

This is the fifth in a series of posts that will appear throughout the year.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that building a wooden common press is a massive undertaking in more ways than one. Literally, a common press is huge, standing over six feet tall and weighing a few hundred pounds. But, it’s everything that goes into actually constructing a press that really adds up.  [Read more]

APHA Conference Undergraduate Presentations

Katherine M. Ruffin

L: Blake's "The Temptation and Fall of Eve," 1808. One of the illustrations in Milton's "Paradise Lost," The Butts Set. (William Blake Archive). R: A composite of three common presses from the early, middle, and late eighteenth century. (Seth Gottlieb)

L: Blake’s “The Temptation and Fall of Eve,” 1808. One of the illustrations in Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” The Butts Set. (William Blake Archive). R: A composite of three common presses from the early, middle, and late eighteenth century. (Seth Gottlieb)


4:30-5:30 pm friday, october 7

Illusory Painting: The History of Hidden Fore-Edge Pictures, Isabel Einaudi Cardiff (Mills College, Oakland CA)

False Imprints, New Ways of Reading Work, Emma Studebaker (Mills College, Oakland CA)

The Design Evolution of the Eighteenth-Century English Wooden Common Press, Seth Gottlieb & Veronica Hebbard (Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester NY)

Satanic Knowledge: Milton and the Argument for Unlicensed Printing, Kalie McGuirl (Bard College at Simon’s Rock, Great Barrington MA)

Moderated by Sara Sauers, APHA’s Vice President for Programs, this is the first APHA conference to feature undergraduate paper presentations.  [Read more]

ISO: Ink Color Change

Via the contact form:

I am trying to determine the mechanism that caused eighteenth and nineteenth century red ink to turn black. Oxidation/sulphorisation? Did it happen in the bottle, in the ink pad, after application to paper or all three? Any help would be appreciated


Printers’ Devils

Charles Cuykendall Carter

Cover and first page for The Black Art.

Cover and first page for The Black Art printed and published by Goudy’s Camelot Press.


11:15 am-12:15 pm  saturday, october 8

Dianne L. Roman: The Devil Wore a Dress ♠  Steve Matteson: Black Art to Blackletter: Frederic Goudy’s First Foray into Print and his Last Word in Type Design

The typeface designer Steve Matteson and Dianne L. Roman, a doctoral student in printing history, gave presentations on printers’ devils both celebrated and unknown. Matteson spoke on the first and final works of typographical superstar Frederic Goudy (1865–1947), Roman on a number of nineteenth-century American women whose contributions to printing have been largely underrepresented by historians.  [Read more]