Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Bromer Donation Makes Big Impression

Mary Flannery, David and Anne Bromer, and Kit Jenkins

As part of their ongoing philanthropic mission relating to art and the printed word, Anne and David Bromer have donated a working letterpress printshop to Lynn, Massachusetts-based RAW Art Works. In the first year since its unveiling, the printshop has welcomed nearly 335 students.

A young printmaker in the RAD Printshop

Now in its 28th year, RAW Art Works provides an environment where underserved youth from the area are encouraged to learn and grow through art and creativity. With a staff of art therapists and professional artists, the programs challenge their students “to change negative patterns while giving unrelenting support to reach what may seem unattainable.” For 25 years, RAW focused its attention on expression through combining language and the visual arts; in 1999, they introduced the medium of film and now annually screen films at the Peabody Essex Museum, as well as other film festivals regionally, nationally, and even internationally.

The opening reception unveiling the printshop

Anne and David, with John Kristensen, who co-created the printshop, at
one of the two Vandercook presses

Long-time supporters of the RAW mission, the Bromers felt that a letterpress printshop made sense to the organization’s already-established programs in the visual arts and film. According to Anne, they saw it as “the third leg of a tripod,” as a form of communication, self-expression, and a means of finding one’s self in the arts. Given their background as booksellers specializing in finely printed books, the letterpress angle had perfect synergy. “We decided we wanted to give kids access to the world of letterpress and to the book arts, a world that has given us so much joy and satisfaction in our lives.”

David and John Kristensen print a broadside

David proudly showing off his finished broadside,
with printshop co-creator and teaching artist Eli Epstein

It is the Bromers’ hope that the printshop, which has had a very positive impact on the RAW community, will become the anchor for an expansion into other areas of the book arts. Anne envisions “RAW kids making paper. I can see a book bindery. We can’t predict now what will come in the future, but I know it’s going to grow!” David agrees, adding that “very few kids have the experience that RAW’s kids now do. This new world has been opened for them.”

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Printing in the Footsteps of Giants

Printing in the Footsteps of Giants
by Philip C. Salmon

Last October, I traveled to Rochester, New York, for the official unveiling of the newly-restored Kelmscott-Goudy Albion printing press at the Rochester Institute of Technology. My presence there was meaningful on a variety of levels, the most apparent was the role I played in securing this historic press for RIT. 

But on a more personal level, I felt as if a circle had been completed in my own career as a bookseller. My involvement in the acquisition of the very press on which William Morris printed the great Kelmscott Chaucer brought me back to 1996, when I was working as a cataloger for a bookseller in New Hampshire and had the good fortune to assist in the preparation of the catalogue of Jack Walsdorf’s third Morris collection. It was from this small beginning that my interest in the world of fine press printing and book arts took shape. 

On this mild October evening, Steve Galbraith, curator of the Cary Graphic Arts Collection at RIT, recounted the thrill ride of the auction rooms and the challenges of getting the 3000-pound press to Rochester from New York City. He was followed by associate curator Amelia Hugill-Fontanel, who spoke about the process of restoring the press. After the initial presentation, the audience was invited to the print room in the Cary Pressroom and we were given the opportunity to pull a commemorative broadside featuring woodcuts of Morris and Goudy by Steven Lee-Davis

I was able to print a couple of broadsides for myself, and in the process of pulling the bar on the old Albion, I became a momentary part of this great press’s ongoing history.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Visit us at the Library History Seminar XIII Showcase

Bromer Booksellers will be exhibiting in the vendor showcase at the Library History Seminar XIII, taking place this year on August 1st at Simmons College in Boston. Registration is required to attend the seminar presentations, but the showcase is free and open to the public, so we hope you will visit our booth in the College Center of the Main College Building (300 The Fenway, Boston) between 2:30 and 5:30pm.

Along with a varied selection of books about books and printing history, we will be bringing a fine group of fine presswork from across New England, a small, but choice selection of work by W.A. Dwiggins, several new books on paper, and, of course, miniature books.

For more information about the seminar, the topic of which is Libraries: Traditions & Innovations, and to register, you can visit their website here, and we look forward to seeing you at the showcase!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Announcing our new website!

We have been hard at work collaborating with the fine folks at Bibliopolis to upgrade our website, bromer.com. The new site launched today for your book-viewing pleasure and has a responsive design so that you can browse on any device. Going forward, we will be adding new and interesting content, so please keep checking back!