Interviews with Fine Printers from California: Read Transcripts of These Fascinating Interviews Online Now

Each time I return to the Regional Oral History Office’s fine-printing page, I’m astonished at the rich series of transcripts of interviews with fine printers from California — and grateful for the farsightedness of the people who initiated these interviews back in the 1960s.

Interviews were carefully researched and tape-recorded, then transcribed; now the transcriptions are available to be read online, on Kindles, and downloaded as pdfs, among other formats.

Interviewees include

  • Dorothey and Lewis Allen
  • Valenti Angelo
  • Brother Antoninus (William Everson)
  • Sheldon Cheney
  • Herbert Coggins
  • Mallette Dean
  • Edwin Grabhorn
  • Jane Grabhorn
  • Robert Grabhorn
  • Sherwood and Katherine Grover
  • Carroll T. Harris
  • James D. Hart
  • Quail Hawkins
  • Haywood Hunt
  • Lawton Kennedy
  • Sandra Kirshenbaum
  • Wolfgang Lederer
  • Oscar Lewis
  • David Magee
  • Walter Mann
  • William J. Monihan
  • Clifton and Lois Rather
  • Ellen Shaffer
  • Albert Sperisen
  • Jack W. Stauffacher
  • Edward DeWitt Taylor and
  • Adrian Wilson

Most interviews were conducted in the 1960s and 1970s but the program continued to 2001. (It would be great to think that the program could be carried forward — and that other regions would take the trouble to initiate a similar program.) Most transcriptions run to 100 pages or more, so the interviews are deep. Some are illustrated. The photo above was included in the Adrian Wilson transcript.

A division of The Bancroft Library, the Regional Oral History Office preserves the history of the San Francisco Bay Area, California, and the Western United States. By conducting carefully researched, tape-recorded, and transcribed interviews, ROHO creates archival oral histories intended for the widest possible use.

Now go spend some time on ROHO’s Books and Fine printing page.

Fine printing in California is a very large and colourful topic — reason enough make it the focus of a special “California” issue of Parenthesis, due out in October, 2010.

This will be a special expanded issue of Parenthesis and will feature interviews, essays, book reviews, photo spreads, illustrations and more — all dealing with the work of book artists and fine printers from the Golden State. If you’re not already a member of the FPBA, now is the time to join. Full details here.

— Paul Razzell

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