The SP Century


There was a time, before New York City was founded in the 1950s, that the hub of publishing and graphic design was in Boston. When Goudy said that all the old guys stole the best ideas, all those old guys were Bostonians. This book celebrates the centennial of Boston’s Society of Printers, the oldest honorary society of its kind in the US. (And the oldest graphic design organization in the country.) Founded in 1905 by such luminaries as Updike, Rogers, Henry Lewis Johnson, Carl Purington Rollins, and William Dana Orcutt, the Society’s dedicated membership over the years has included the likes of Dwiggins, Ruzicka, Benson (3 of them), Stinehour, Abbe, Zapf, Hofer, Baskin, and Carter.

Anyway, the book’s ten original essays cover unusually broad ground for such a publication, not only delving into the Society's history and Boston's, but also into more philosophical terrain, examining questions such as the definition of printing itself, the political and sociological worlds of some prominent members, and the grand-scale game of “musical chairs” played by those who have called themselves “printers” over the past hundred years. An essay on type and lettering design among the SP membership and its circle is especially rich, comprising interviews with leading practitioners and including information on these crafts that cannot be found elsewhere. A review of a century of meeting announcements is a microcosmic history of American graphic design and printing techniques in the 20th century.

  • Editor: Scott-Martin Kosofsky
  • Authors: Lance Hidy, Jean Evans, Eleanor M. Garvey, James E. Mooney, Barry Moser, Katherine McCanless Ruffin, Darrell Hyder, Al Gowan, Victor Curran
  • Size: 6 × 9 inches
  • Pages: 268
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Society of Printers with the Boston Public Library and Oak Knoll Press, 2005