Programs > Fellowship Program
The Mark Samuels Lasner
The fellowship, named for the first donor of the fellowship, was started in 2002. In January 2008 APHA named this program the "Mark Samuels Lasner Fellowship in Printing History" and designated the winners of the competition as "Mark Samuels Lasner Fellows."
From 2003 to 2007, funding for the fellowship depended on an individual donor. To ensure the permanence of the Mark Samuels Lasner Fellowship in Printing History, APHA is actively engaged in raising an endowment. Our goal is a $50,000 endowment to provide a $2,000 annual award. To donate to the fund, download the pledge form.
Each fellowship competition is announced in the autumn preceding the period of the award, and the recipient announced at APHA's annual meeting.
David Shields for his proposal, "A Handlist of 19th & 20th
Century Wood Type Specimen Books"
APHA is pleased to announce the 2012 Mark Samuels Lasner Fellowship is awarded to David Shields for his proposal, “A Handlist of 19th & 20th Century Wood Type Specimen Books.”
Most of you will know David’s work with the Rob Roy Kelly American Wood Type Collection through his talks, his articles (including one in our own Printing History [n.s. no. 7, Jan 2010]), and the extensive web site he has created for it ((http://www.utexas.edu/cofa/rrk/).
As a first step towards his grand, ambitious project, the Conspectus of Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Wood Type, David is working on a comprehensive Handlist of Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Wood Type Specimen Books, an exhaustive bibliography of all known wood type manufacturers’ catalogs.
To date, he has developed a working bibliography of nearly 140 wood type specimen books and brochures published in the nineteenth and twentieth century. This number nearly doubles the only other list of wood type manufacturers’ catalogs: Kelly’s bibliography in American Wood Type.
David will use his fellowship for travel to archives and collections (both public and private) he has not already visited for this project. And then, David will publish his Handlist of Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Wood Type Specimen Books. This will be a very useful addition to the literature of type specimens, not only for David’s next project, his wood type Conspectus, but for other scholars of typography and printing history.
The committee was convinced by the interest of the project, the strength of the proposal, and David’s previous work in the field. The Handlist will be a publication which APHA can congratulate itself for supporting.
Gwido Zlatkes on Underground Printing in
Communist Poland, 1976–1989
APHA is pleased to announce the 2011 Mark Samuels Lasner Fellowship is awarded to Gwido Zlatkes.
Gwido Zlatkes is now a reference librarian at the University of California, Riverside, Special Collections & Archives. Back in the late 1970s, however, he was involved with experimental theatre, and got swept up in the Solidarity Movement, as a journalist and as an editor and publisher.
In his proposal entitled: “‘Our Gestetner keeps on turning’—underground printing in communist Poland 1976–1989.” Mr. Zlatkes writes:
In the 1970s and 1980s, Poland saw a “paper revolution,” that is, one fought, and won, with (printed) paper rather than guns and bullets. Breaking the communist state’s monopoly on information and restoring free circulation of information and ideas began as pages typed on onionskin with carbon paper and passed around among friends. By the end of 1980s, it evolved into a sizable underground industry. Publishing houses … released several dozen titles per year and developed their own clandestine printing shops and networks of distribution. …. The print runs, as well as the quality of the output, varied vastly from 50–100 copies to 50,000 and more, and from slim books of poetry printed on a "ramka" (the simplest silk-screen printing) to the then top of the line Xerox color print with pages of photographs and professional binding.
Printers, the “black revolutionaries,” are the unsung heroes of this revolution. While virtually all historical writing on Poland under communism pays tribute to (and abundantly quotes from) underground publications, there is very little information on their actual production. What information exists is mostly focused on the editorial side. Printing techniques, the kinds of equipment used and access to it, the organization and conditions of work, obtaining supplies, innovations and inventions, distribution procedures and networks, etc. have not been systematically studied. At present, they are mostly in the memory of the “perpetrators.”
Mr. Zlatkes will use the APHA Fellowship money to travel to Poland this year to gather information and record interviews with some of the “founding fathers” of independent printing in Poland, concentrating on the technical aspects and details of underground printing. Because he knows the language, is acquainted with some of the pivotal figures, and is familiar with the various technologies of printing involved, he is an ideal candidate to execute this project.
The committee was swayed not only by the strength of the proposal and the skills of the proposer, but by the project’s urgency – collecting history which has not been documented (even the presses’ products are scarce, as so many were clandestinely created and dangerous to own), while the participants can still tell their tales. And the focus on printing technologies makes this a highly appropriate project for APHA to support. It also shows that APHA is listening to its own call to save the printing history of the 20th century.And so we all look forward to hearing and reading Gwido Zlatkes’ account of the underground printing movement in communist Poland which will surely prove to be an important contribution to printing history.
The 2009 Winner
Jacob W. Lewis for research on Charles Nègre
APHA is pleased to announce the winner of the 2009 competition. Jacob W. Lewis for his proposal, entitled "From Repetition to Reproduction: Charles Nègre in Pursuit of the Photographic." will be the Mark Samuels Lasner Fellow for 2008. The Fellowship Committee's citation follows:
Mr. Lewis is a graduate student pursing a Ph.D. in art history at Northwestern University. His dissertation examines the work of French artist, inventor, and photographer Charles Nègre (1820-1880). Mr. Lewis is studying a photogravure printing technique that was patented by Nègre to print camera-made images in ink pulled from an intaglio plate, a history that has been ignored by the art history community in favor of Nègre's role as an art photographer. Mr. Lewis writes: "Though today we consider photography a reproductive medium first and foremost, reproducibility was neither inherent nor logical to photography in its infancy [...] I seek to explain how photography shifted from a flexible set of practices that gained currency among early photographers to an industrial mode of reproduction, though not without resistance from amateurs like Nègre. My focused research on printing history investigates Nègre's conflicted role at the foundation of what Walter Benjamin has called "technological reproducibility." Far from endeavors toward purely mechanical reproduction, Nègre's gravures show that early photomechanical reproductions sought to fuse traditional and handmade printmaking with mechanical processes. The photogravure's status as a hybrid object made by hand, developed by chemicals, and printed by mechanical means compels a reexamination of the history of the photomechanical reproduction prior to its modern ubiquity. Specifically, I investigate Nègre's role in the Duc de Luynes competition (1856–1867), which sought to award an inventor for the most permanent and commercially viable photomechanical technique. Nègre lost to the chemist Alphonse Poitevin (1819-1882), but material related to the protracted contest reveals much about the social meanings of photography and reproducibility, and charts the wide shift from amateur to industrial science in nineteenth-century society. My focus on Nègre's work and that of his contemporaries is to argue for the photographic illustration – rather than the photograph – as the key technology which codified reproducibility as native to photography as well as symptomatic of modernity."
Mr. Lewis will travel to Paris in September and October of 2009 to research prints and archival material preserved in the collections of the Société Française de Photographie and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, where he will explore evidence related to Nègre and the Duc de Luynes competition. Mr. Lewis will also survey the archive of Nègre's technical notes, journals, and contracts housed at the Musée d'Orsay. He also plans to examine original gravure plates preserved by the Chalcographie du Louvre and the BNF in order to study Nègre's technique.
Currently, there is no dissertation in English published on Nègre, despite his prominence in museum collections and histories of Second Empire photography; we look forward to the results of Mr. Lewis's work.
The 2008 Winners
Pablo Alvarez and Keli E. Rylance
on Alonso Víctor de Paredes
The 2008 Fellowship was held by Pablo Alvarez and Keli E. Rylance. The Fellowship Committee's citation follows:
Pablo Alvarez of the University of Rochester and Keli E. Rylance of Tulane University were chosen as this year’s recipients of the Fellowship. Their proposal is to analyze one of only two known extant copies of Institución y origen del arte de la imprenta, y reglas generales para los componedores (Institution and Origin of the Art of Printing, and General Rules for Compositors) written by Spanish printer and compositor Alonso Víctor de Paredes, ca. 1680. This text pre-dates Moxon’s Mechanic Exercises by about three years. Alvarez and Rylance will examine the copy of Paredes’ text at the Updike Collection at the Providence Public Library in preparation for comparison of the two texts. The other known copy is at the Biblioteca General e Histórica de la Universitat de València (Spain). Their goal is to publish a scholarly bilingual edition of the Institución following the high standard set by Herbert Davis & Harry Carter in their 1958 edition of Joseph Moxon’s Mechanic Exercises on the Whole Art of Printing.
The committee was impressed by Alvarez and Rylance’s commitment and careful consideration of the challenge in bringing an obscure text to light, we liked the international scope of the proposal, and its contribution to printing history.
The 2007 Winner
Renzo Baldasso on Erhard Ratdolt
The 2007 Fellowship was held by Renzo Baldasso. His proposal entitled, "Erhard Ratdolt and the Visual Dimension of Early Printed Books" seeks to establish how graphic representations by Ratdolt and other 15th century printers shaped new reading habits as well as the approach of readers to texts.
Renzo Baldasso is currently a PhD candidate at Columbia University in the Department of Art History. He has published numerous articles, conference papers, and reviews focusing on early scientific illustrations and diagrams.
The Committee found this project compelling in that Baldasso aims to "[reconsider] the pioneering efforts and achievements of early printers that defined the visuality of the printed book, setting it apart from that of illuminated manuscripts and hand-finished printed books." Baldasso’s education in science, history of science and art history makes for an interesting background and promises informed scholarship. He will use the Fellowship award for a one month residency in Washington, DC, to conduct research at local repositories.
The 2006 Winner
Paul Shaw on W. A. Dwiggins
The 2006 Fellowship was held by Paul Shaw. The fellowship goes to support Mr. Shaw's research on American designer, artist, calligrapher and illustrator William Addison Dwiggins (1880-1956) whose biography he is writing. There is no full-length, comprehensive biography of Dwiggins (WAD) and the standard bibliography lacks more than 150 items which his research has uncovered. WAD was incontrovertibly important to the history of American design and typography. Mr. Shaw writes:
“Dwiggins was a book designer, commercial artist, type designer, illustrator and calligrapher/letterer. He wrote extensively on various aspects of the graphic arts and, privately, created an entire marionette theater. In all of these fields he was an influential figure. Through his work for Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Dwiggins brought the high standards of fine printing to mass market books. Similarly, with his type designs for Mergenthaler Linotype, he attempted to put machine composition on a par with foundry type.”
Although Dwiggins is best known for his work in these two fields, his career as a commercial artist from c.1905 to the end of the 1920s is equally deserving of attention. He was a leading figure in the transition from commercial art to graphic design, coining the latter term in 1922 to describe the changed nature of the business by that time. His work in advertising was summed up in Layout in Advertising (1928). As a commercial artist Dwiggins was highly revered by his contemporaries for his illustration, his decoration and his lettering. In the 1920s he developed a unique form of stencil illustration and decoration with Art Deco overtones. Independently of the English Arts & Crafts movement, he pioneered broad-pen calligraphy in the United States. His later lettering, despite echoes of Caslon and Bodoni, was often idiosyncratic. Combined with his stencil designs they made his mature work uncategorizable: neither pure Art Deco nor Bauhaus modern nor classical. With their mix of satire and common sense, Dwiggins’ writings—especially An Investigation Into the Physical Properties of Books (1919), Towards a Reform of the Currency, Particularly in Point of Its Design (1932), and A Technique for Dealing with Artists (1941)—were a sharp contrast to the earnest manifestoes and dull treatises of his contemporaries. In addition, for his own enjoyment, Dwiggins wrote fantasies and plays. The latter provided the basis for his private marionette theater. His marionette designs were applauded by specialists for their revolutionary method of articulation, and, more importantly, they inspired the M-Formula he used to design typefaces during the 1940s.
Mr. Shaw expects to include much previously unpublished biographical material, particularly from WAD's childhood and his early career as a commercial artist. He further plans to complete his bibliographical research on WAD this summer.
The 2005 Winner
Lance Hidy on the Boston Society of Printers
The 2005 Fellowship supported Mr. Hidy's research on Boston's Society of Printers. The Society is celebrating its centenary this year with a special volume. The fellowship, providing an award of up to $2,000 for research in any area of the history of printing, will be used by Mr. Hidy research the Society's role in perpetuating classical design while also embracing modernist ideas. Mr. Hidy's proposal explains his purpose and the Society's importance to American typographical design:
“Classical design implies "a long established style of acknowledged excellence". This contradicts a fundamental principle of modernism which grew out of the Bolshevik revolution, insisting on a symbolic break with the past. While this repudiation made sense for many Russians, and for designers living in war-torn Europe or emigrating to America, it was less appealing to American designers and printers who revered the classical tradition of Ben Franklin and Isaiah Thomas. [....]
“However, rather than rejecting modernism, the classical-leaning SP members tended to support a pluralist view, with modernist ideas from members such as W. A. Dwiggins and Carl Zahn commingling with the classical ideals of D. B. Updike and Roderick Stinehour. At the same time, modernism met with less resistance elsewhere, winning over The American Institute of Graphic Arts and numerous other institutions where design was taught and promoted.
“...[T]he prevailing premise of twentieth-century graphic design histories ... tell the modernist story in detail, while omitting, or touching lightly, the endurance of classical design.”
Mr. Hidy's research on the Society intends to bring greater balance to the history of twentieth century graphic design.
The 2004 Winner
Susanna Ashton for work on
William Stanley Braithwaite
Susanna Ashton, Assistant Professor of American Literature at Clemson University, held the 2004 APHA Fellowship for her project “Impressions: William Stanley Braithwaite and Constructions of Type.” The Fellowship will be used by Dr. Ashton to complete her current book project, Bound: Black Men as Book Men, 1820-1920. The first part of Ashton's book deals with the close connections that developed between printing and slavery in the United States. Her first chapter entitled “Stereotypes,” studies “slaves who labored under printers in the 18th century and how the 'wonders of print' came at an especially vexed price for slaves living in the pre-Civil War America, not because of its inaccessibility but because of the way books were often considered more sacred and consequential than the humans who produced the labor to print them.”
Subsequent chapters deal with the Post Civil War era and the legacy of tension over the role of print that slavery had left America. She considers bibliophiles and authors Charles W. Chesnutt, Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois and the various ways reconstruction fueled a new generation of African Americans ready to reassert control not only of book, but of print as both a material and an imagined phenomenon. The APHA fellowship will help her complete research and writing of her final chapter on the black printer, poet, and editor William Stanley Braithwaite. Ms. Ashton describes this part of her book:
“William Stanley Braithwaite trained with a printer and a publisher in the late 19th century, and grew up to be a poet, an editor and a literary critic. But what interests me most, as key to understanding his work and his role in American culture, was his work as a printer, publisher and book trade professional. He founded what was arguably the first black-owned publishing company, B.J. Brummer and Co. in 1922 and it is this intimate knowledge of books, print, type and the material production of books that shaped his literary work. For in Braithwaite I see the historic tension between African Americans and books, reworked for the 20th century. No scholars of Braithwaite's work have put him in the tradition of African-American printing and book culture. My study, which will merge literary and historical analysis, will attend to how he connected his work with the material and with the imaginative book.”
Dr. Ashton will use this APHA fellowship to research the ephemera produced by B.J. Brimmer and Co., and to examine Braithwaite's printed books and letters.
The 2003 Winner
John A. Lane on Dutch type
John Lane, an independent scholar located in the Netherlands, held the 2003 Fellowship for his research on the type specimens of the Voskens/Maapa Foundry. Mr. Lane wrote in his proposal:
“In 1641 Bartholomeus and Reinier Voskens set up their Amsterdam typefoundry. Both moved to Germany in the 1650s, but Bartholomeus returned by 1668. His son acquired the Vallet and Blaeu foundries (both derived from that established by Nicolaes Briot ca. 1612) and his grandson cut types to 1710. From that time until A.G. Mappa bought it, the foundry added little new material. It had about 150 types by about 20 punchcutters.