Pierson
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MAY 13, 1958 A Wayzgoose and meeting were held in Pierson College, whose Chief Printer, Duncan M. Moodie, Jr., '59 E, presided as Master of the Chapel. Mr. Kerr announced the establishment of a prize, given in memory of Mr. Lohmann, "for the best printing produced by undergraduates in one of the college presses," the competition to begin in the fall. An informal address was given by the Master-designate of Pierson, Quincy Porter, a life-long working printer with his own press, who related that one of his early-childhood jobs was a card advertising his printing services and stating that all work would be "done well if done at all."

An all-star press from the later years of the 20th century, until this year mothballed and waiting for a new generation, Pierson is the perfect example of why Yaleís undergraduate printing environment has survived and prospered through most of the twentieth century. The Pierson Press was founded in 1948, and had the good fortune to operate in a college whose successive Masters were, in many cases, enthusiastic letterpress printers themselves. For its first two decades, Piersonís shop occupied a typical basement location. In 1970, however, then-Master (and letterpress printer) John Hersey decided to focus much of his energy and budget on creating a showplace press designed by Charles Moore of the Yale School of Architecture under the watchful eye of Pierson Fellow Alvin Eisenman, Professor at the Yale School of Art and Typographer to the University. Located in a former squash court adjacent to the college library, the John Hersey Printing Office has the distinction of being the only two-story press on campus, and the only one situated on an upper floor.

The Pierson Sun continued to shine on the Press as a parade of enthusiastic undergraduate printers held sway throughout much of the 1970ís and 80ís, turning the shop into one of the most active features in the college. In 1978 alone, over 40 Pierson students signed up for the intensive apprenticeship classes run by the collegeís Senior Printers, and a dozen more enrolled in a credit-bearing seminar in the Art of the Book taught by Pierson Fellow and noted designer Howard Gralla. During this period, Pierson Fellow Frank Altschul donated the equipment and type from his renowned Overbrook Press to the college and the Connecticut Printers Corp. donated a remarkable cache of foundry type. Pierson was thus graced with not only an impeccable proof press to join the existing Colts Armory, but also hundreds of full cases of exquisite foundry type. In support of the Press, former Master Hersey donated annual prizes for the best printing at Pierson during the year.

By the late-1980ís, however, the last activist generation of student printers had graduated, a new Master was installed who had no personal experience with the Press, and the Pierson Press slipped into relative obscurity.

Update

The Pierson Press has by far the largest and most stunning shop in town, being located in a converted squash court in Pierson Tower. It has two excellent presses, an lovely Vandercook SP-15 from the Overbrook Press, and the largest Colt's Armory platen press on campus. It also has the best collection of type, thanks to several donations in the 1970s, and the best in-shop archives. However, for the past several years, it has had no student printers, having slowly faded into desuetude since its glory days as the most active press on campus through the 1980s. Now, however, with the enthusiastic support of Master Goldblatt, and the interest, enthusiasm and financial contributions of a host of Pierson Fellows and printing alumni (including Howard Gralla, David Rose, Michael Boyle, Charles Altschul, Richard Cacciato, Natalie Yates, and others), Pierson will be roaring back into life this year. The shop is now in great shape thanks to work by various alums, the presses are being fine-tuned thanks to Greg Timko, and the printshop lighting is being rewired thanks to Master Goldblatt and a generous Pierson Fellow, and a new Chief Printer, Jennifer Stock, has taken enthusiastic charge of the Press.