Friday, February 7, 2014

The Roxburghe Club of San Francisco

The Roxburghe Club of San Francisco kicked off its 85th year of fellowship on September 17, 2013 with cocktails and dinner at The University Club, the first meeting led by the new Master of the Press, Wade Hughan, who is assisted by the new Printer’s Devil, Stephen Zovickian.  Our speaker was Peter E. Hanff, Deputy Director of the Bancroft Library (University of California, Berkeley), and a fellow Roxburghe member.  His talk, "Curiouser and Curiouser:  How the First Edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland happened to be published in New York rather than London," delighted his audience of book collectors, all of whom relished Peter’s enthusiastic explanation of the mystery.  Printer Member Marianne Hinckle prepared the announcement for the meeting, which included an illustration of Alice herself taken from a proof-print pulled from the original wood block for the 1865 edition.

On October 15, we met at the City Club of San Francisco for our customary evening of cocktails, fine food and elucidation.  Our speaker for this evening was fellow member David Lance Goines.  David, an artist and the proprietor of the Saint Hieronymus Press, has also been interested in letter form for many years.  Years ago he designed a typeface, called the “Constructed Roman Alphabet,” according to the classic method, with a straight edge, a compass, and a keen eye.  He spoke about how he developed the typeface, including those tricky ligatures and characters with descenders on which one could run a downhill race.  Printer Member Wesley B. Tanner prepared the announcement for the meeting, which included a beautiful representation of the ampersand so constructed.  Printer Member Richard Seibert also prepared a beautiful keepsake for those attending the dinner—a poster-sized display of the Constructed Roman Alphabet. 

On November 19, we met again at the City Club of San Francisco.  Our speaker for this evening was Susan Snyder, who has been at the Bancroft Library for 24 years, currently as Head of Public Services.  She spoke on "Illustrated Diaries: Marking Time Beyond Words."  Her talk featured “Beyond Words,” a collection of excerpts from fifty illustrated diaries housed in the Bancroft Library.  These selected diaries span two hundred years of adventure and contemplation, from the records of eighteenth-century Spanish explorer Pedro Font to those of a young David Brower first encountering the wilderness.  Susan explained how these unfolding stories reveal as much about the times in which they were written as they do the diarists’ particular inner worlds.  Printer Member Seibert prepared the announcement for the evening, which included a graphic reproduction of one 18th-Century diarist’s drawing of Cape Horn, recorded aboard ship during the journey.

On December 17, we will meet for our annual “Printers’ Gala” at the splendid new rooms of The Book Club of California.  Several of our Printer Members will present examples of projects they have completed this year, including Andrew Hoyem, Marianne Hinckle, Jonathan Clark, and Patrick Reagh.  We will also have for display a beautiful book recently designed and produced by Printer Member Wesley Tanner.  Our Printer Members have also prepared keepsakes for distribution at this meeting.  Libations and victuals, of course, will be a part of the evening.  Printer Member Pat Reagh prepared the announcement for the evening, which whimsically depicts us Roxburghe members in our true character as dingbats gathered around the hand press.

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