Published September 4, 2013

Prior to the advent of photocopiers, short run quick print, email, and “social media,” the local letterpress (job-shop) was the primary producer of the vast majority of materials for mass communication.  “The printer was a necessary actor in any number of community actions—from church bulletins to wedding announcements to commercial advertisements,” explains Master Job-shop Letterpress Printer Garrett Queen. “The job-shop was responsible for the printing of a wide swath of social interactions that escaped the threshold of journalism.” Garrett was first exposed to traditional printing techniques in high school, when he had the unique opportunity to apprentice with some of the last of the true trade/job printers on a Vandercook letterpress. For the past fifty years, Garrett has continued to work at mastering a process that was in many respects perfected in the 1450s. Thanks to him and to others devoted to the perpetuation of the craft, it continues to thrive today. For the past several years, Garrett has been the Program Coordinator and Printer in Residence at the VFH’s own Virginia Arts of the Book Center (VABC), where he has been an invaluable resource to many who have come to learn the craft, including his gifted apprentice Lana Lambert.


Learning Experience

Virginia History in Song

What can songs teach us about history?