Amateur press clubs have always been a part of the hobby. They
existed in urban centers before the formation of a national
association. They have been instrumental in keeping participation
and interest at high levels.
Before the 1930's they were mostly literary and social gatherings.
The Blue Pencil Club thrived for years before moving from Brooklyn
to the expanding metropolitan New York-New Jersey suburbs. San
Francisco around 1900 was an active literary center; among its
members was a promising young writer: Jack London.
Cleveland had a number of active clubs in its time, usually
literary groups, but was also noted-as a publishing hub. Famous
names: Anthony Moitoret, William Dowdell, Warren J. Brodie, Harry
Martin, Irving "Mac" SinClair, Tim Thrift, Sam Loveman.
However, it took the Amateur Printers Club to stir enthusiasm after
the NAPA doldrums of the late 1920's. Vincent Haggerty started the
APC as a group to discuss amateur journalism and hobby printing.
In 1933 this club initiated the idea of a convention daily with
the appearance of the
But it wasn't until Burton Crane became involved that the meetings
became active group participation printing sessions. Weekend
meetings, originally in the New York area, spread from Boston to
Washington. At the great 1941 Cleveland convention the attending
APC printers (Crane, Harold Segal and Sheldon Wesson) wrote,
linotyped and printed
The Moving Finger,
possibly the most substantial convention paper ever undertaken.
In 1951, the first year of its second reincarnation, APC members
produced 85 amateur journals.
With the passing of Haggerty and Crane, the torch was passed to
Segal, the Wessons, the Victor Moitorets, William Haywoods and
Alfred and Ralph Babcock, with Al Fick, George Trainer, Rolfe
Castleman joining the active ranks and Edna Hyde McDonald, Albert
Lee, Roy Lindberg, L. Verle Heljeson and Thomas B. Whitbread
among those attracted to the spinning circle.
The decline of the APC in the 1970's is noticed. Some APC
gatherings have been miniature NAPA conventions. Attendance,
often in the twenties, has at times gone over thirty. Some key
members have moved from the area, others do not have the space to
accommodate a meeting. Recently gatherings have been held on New
Year's eve at the home of Harold Segal and in the summer at the
New active groups have developed in the area of metropolitan
Washington, D. C., where members meet twice yearly to print
The Suncoast club in the Tampa-St. Petersburg section prints
Only on Sunday
during its periodic get-togethers. In Denver the group has
literary sessions and selects an editor for each issue of the
Columbine Amateur Press Club's
Colorado Roundup. Denvaria
is another journal that printer Columbines produce on occasion.
Southern Californians gather socially, print segments of
at their own shops; and stirred up enthusiasm to sponsor a San
Diego convention in 1974.
Recent innovations are journals produced when two or more amateurs
are rubbed together. More a memento of the visit than a lasting
piece of literature, some of the spark of the occasion often
glimmers in the four pages. Prominent in this category, Victor and
Trophee des Alpes
Willametta and Martin Keffer's
and certain issues of Ralph Babcock's
While none ever set new literary or typographic pinnacles, they
encourage activity and renew lagging interest.