J. Ben Lieberman papers
Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
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Educator, editor, author, amateur printer, and proponent of the private press, J. Ben Lieberman is widely regarded as the father of the twentieth-century chappel movement in the United States.
Jay Benjamin Lieberman was born November 17, 1914, in Champaign, Illinois. Lieberman grew up in Indiana and attended Benjamin Bosse High School in Evansville. He received a B.A. with honors in political science and philosophy from the University of Illinois (1935), where he was the editor of the student newspaper, the Daily Illini. From 1935 to 1936, he did graduate work in economics, political science, and philosophy at Columbia University. Lieberman also worked for several years at theEvansville Courier.
Commissioned in the U. S. Navy in 1942 and assigned to the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Lieberman served as director/officer-in-charge of the Informational Services Division and editor of the monthlyNavy magazine (later renamed All Hands). He also authored the Navy Editors' Manual (1945).
Having completed military service in 1946, Lieberman was next employed by Washington State University in Pullman as the director of publication. In 1948 he took a position with theSan Francisco Chronicle where he worked for five years, including a position as assistant to the general manager. During his years at the Chronicle Lieberman founded The Herity Press (1952) and received his Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University (1952).
After leaving theChronicle in 1953, Lieberman worked as coordinator for communication media at the Contra Costa Junior College District for two years. While working in the district he taught Journalism 21 (Introduction to Printing) at East Contra Costa Junior College (1955) and earned a secondary teaching credential for California from the University of California, Berkeley. In 1955, he joined the Stanford Research Institute (now SRI International) in Menlo Park, California.
In 1957, he founded the Moxon Chappel in San Francisco, the first of the modern chappels in the United States. Borrowing the term from early English usage, Lieberman defined a chappel as simply "a club, society or informal group of personal printers who live close enough to be able to attend meetings in each other's homes in turn."
Lieberman moved to the East Coast in 1957 and became a public relations associate for General Foods Corporation, in White Plains, New York. By the early 1960s he was a professor at the Columbia University graduate schools of journalism and business, and in 1967 he was employed by Hill and Knowlton, Inc. as senior education counselor and associate director of the education department. In 1970, he was promoted to vice president and served as associate director of the youth and education department until his retirement in 1976.
Continuing his passion in promoting the private press movement and expanding on his concepts of "simple printing," in 1959 Lieberman founded Popular Printing Inc., (incorporated in Connecticut) to promote private printing by providing simple and inexpensive printing equipment. He held several patents for simple printing devices, including the Tympan-pack printing press and the six-toggle printing press. Although the company was out of business by the end of the 1960s, Lieberman continued to promote "simple printing" through publications and by founding chappels.
During the 1960s Lieberman was instrumental in the founding of various chappels in New York, including the New York Chappel and Westchester Chappel. At the first meeting of the Westchester Chappel in 1960 he invented the "prop card," short for proprietor's card (as opposed to the press card.)
In 1973, he founded and was the first president of the American Printing History Association, receiving the fifth annual award from the association in 1980. He was also the chair of the International Goudy Centennial Committee and subsequently founded and was the first chair of the Goudy Society. He was a board member of the American Institute of Graphic Arts, as well as an active member of the Typophiles, the Private Libraries Association, the Amalgamated Printers Association, the Graphic Arts Education Association, and the Type Directors Club.
Beginning in the 1970s, Lieberman also maintained a commercial press, the Myriade Press, which published books on typography and printing, such asTypographic Variations by Hermann Zapf.
Ben Lieberman acquired the Kelmscott/Goudy Press (Albion No. 6551) from George Van Vechten, Jr., and formally inaugurated the press at his home on January 31, 1961, on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Kelmscott Press. On June 26, 1962, at a joint chappel meeting in New York, Lieberman affixed a liberty bell to the press and declared, "As long as the private press wears liberty as her crown, the people are free."
Lieberman was the author ofPrinting as a Hobby (New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 1963) and Type and Typefaces (New Rochelle, New York: The Myriade Press, 1978), which was originally published as Types of Typefaces and How to Recognize Them (1967). He also wrote numerous articles and press releases and a musical comedy, which the Westchester Junior League produced.
J. Ben Lieberman died September 19, 1984, in New Rochelle, New York, where he had made his home since 1968. Following his death, in 1986, friends of Lieberman in association with the American Printing History Association endowed the J. Ben Lieberman Memorial Lecture in his honor.
Biographical information supplied by Jethro K. Lieberman and resumes found in the collection.
Elizabeth Koller Lieberman was J. Ben Lieberman's lifelong partner in private press publishing and in the promotion of printing. She was co-proprietor of the The Herity Press and maintained with Ben Lieberman the International Register of Private Press Names.
Elizabeth Koller Lieberman was born October 10, 1914, in Champaign, Illinois. Though she and Mr. Lieberman both were born in Champaign, they first met in college. They were married on July 4, 1941.
Mrs. Lieberman worked atAdvertising Age in Chicago, Illinois, for four years after college. After marriage, she held a variety of part-time positions until her two children were raised. She then worked for several publishing houses in New York as a copy editor in the 1960s and 1970s, including Cowles and William Morrow.
Drawing from the International Register of Private Press Names that she maintained, she edited a list of press names,The Check-Log of Private Press Names. The Myriade Press published the check-log annually beginning in 1960. She also prepared the index for the 1994 Oak Knoll reprint of Maurice Annenberg's Type Foundries of America and Their Catalogs.
Elizabeth Lieberman died in the Bronx, New York, on January 21, 2001.
Biographical information supplied by Jethro K. Lieberman and resumes found in the collection.
The J. Ben Lieberman Papers, acquired in 1998, comprise 66 linear feet of files and oversize boxes, which reflect some of the accomplishments of educator, printer, and self-described "generalist" J. Ben Lieberman and his wife Elizabeth Koller Lieberman. The collection reflects the lifelong passion of the Liebermans for popularizing personal printing and their leadership in the modern private press movement in America. Organized in twelve series, the papers document the Liebermans' personal and professional printing projects, the social and professional networks of printers and typographers, printers' chappels, type specimens, commercial type directories, and other trade ephemera. The collection is doubly rich for documenting the collaboration of printers who learned from each other and shared their expertise and enthusiasm, as well as for providing exhaustive reference files related to technical aspects of the twentieth-century printing trade.
Ranging in dates from 1902 to 1997, with the bulk of the material dated between 1945 and 1984, the files consist of a wide variety of printed material. Printed formats include magazines, newspapers, posters, prop cards (proprietor's cards), greeting cards, books, galley and page proofs, broadsides, keepsakes, invitations, menus, prospectuses, type specimen sheets, calendars, stationery, clippings, forms, manuals, catalogs, brochures, reports, announcements, book covers, and ephemera. The Liebermans received many of these printed items from proprietors as a prerequisite to registering their private press names or from commercial print-related companies.
Additionally this collection includes correspondence, photographs, negatives, contact sheets, paper samples, bills and receipts, mock-ups, notes, a design portfolio, stereotypes, electrotype plates, minutes, a corporate seal, bylaws, membership lists, applications, histories, and phonograph recordings. Other formats, such as lithographs, etchings, a charcoal drawing, and watercolors, are related to the small collection of artwork accumulated by Ben Lieberman.
Among the Liebermans' contributions to popularizing personal printing were their registry of press names, the publication ofThe Check-Log of Private Press Names, the invention of the prop card (proprietor's card), and the founding of the modern chappel movement in the United States. The records track each of these contributions, providing an early proposal and bylaws for the first chappel (Moxon) founded by Lieberman in 1957, as well as copies of the published check-log.
Elizabeth Lieberman was registrar for the registry of press names and the editor of the check-log. The registry of press names generated a substantial file of private press ephemera; one of the strengths of this collection. Over twenty linear feet of examples of printing by private press proprietors, mainly in the United States, but including some examples from Great Britain, are available for research.
Publications bearing the Liebermans' private press imprints, The Herity Press and the Ioxis Division of Herity Press, both represented in the collection, were devoted to serving the personal press and chappel movements. The Herity Press produced many of their keepsakes, announcements, booklets, and other ephemera on their Kelmscott/Goudy Press (Albion No. 6551) acquired from George Van Vechten, Jr. First used by William Morris to print his KelmscottChaucer, Frederick Goudy brought this press to the United States for his Village Press.
In addition to participating in many chappels, Ben Lieberman was active in numerous print-related organizations and founded several. The files chronicle Lieberman's efforts in forming the American Printing History Association and the Goudy Society, as well as his early leadership as president and chair, respectively, of these two organizations.
Ben Lieberman's passion for and advocacy of what he termed "simple printing" is obvious among records of his writing, speeches, teaching, and exhibitions. Lieberman believed that "simple printing" was not only a creative outlet as a hobby but a powerful tool for literacy and international development. In an attempt to make printing equipment and supplies universally and cheaply available, Lieberman invented several simple printing presses and founded of a company, Popular Printing, Inc., to sell printing supplies and small presses.
Noted as an authority on print and typography, Lieberman collected extensive subject files (on print and graphic arts topics), files on printers, files on type and reproduction processes, and a collection of type specimen sheets. These files and the research they represent demonstrate Lieberman's interest in the history of print, particularly technology and type design. This research informed his speeches and his writing, particularly his books,Type and Typefaces and Printing as a Hobby. Lieberman's experiments with type design are illustrated by a mock-up for a typeface called "upstroke" that is found in the first series.
Lieberman's writing also extended to reports and articles. For example, Lieberman, considered an authority in the United States on freedom of the press, wrote the article on the subject for EncyclopediaAmericana.
The files on cold type, photo-processes and twentieth century reproduction methods (Series VIII) illustrate the services and products available during the mid to late twentieth century to practitioners of printing. The brochures, catalogs and printed material sent to Lieberman offer a snapshot of what was on the market and demonstrate many of the processes, including cold type, offset lithography, gravure and rotogravure, and screen process printing.
In the ninth series and scattered through out these papers are files which originally belonged to O. Afred Dickman, longtime advertising production manager forThe New York Herald Tribune. Many of the older type specimen catalogs and commercial type directories, as well as some of the paper samples originally belonged to Dickman. As a longtime friend and associate of Ben Lieberman, Dickman's files were absorbed into the Lieberman papers.
Detailed descriptions of the material accessible in this collection are available in series notes that begin each series in this finding aid. These notes offer a range of dates for the material in that series, describe the arrangement of the material, list the types of material found in the series, and further elaborate on the contents.
The J. Ben Lieberman Papers are a testament to most of the roles served by Lieberman, from journalist to administrator, from international development practitioner to teacher, from printer to advocate. Some aspects of his career, such as his faculty appointment at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and his public relations work are only mentioned in the papers.
The strength of these papers is the legacy of twentieth-century personal printing movement, nurtured by Ben and Elizabeth Lieberman, and sampled for posterity in this collection.
Boxes 1-66: Shelved in ANNEX MSS record center cartons
Boxes 67-72: Shelved in SPEC MSS oversize boxes (24 inches)
Boxes 73-75: Shelved in SPEC MSS oversize boxes (32 inches)
Processed by Ryan L. Roth and Anita A. Wellner, 2005. Encoded by Thomas Pulhamus, March 2010. Further encoding by Lauren Connolly, August 2015, and Tiffany Saulter, December 2015.
- University of Delaware Library Special Collections
- Finding Aid Author
- University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
- Finding Aid Date
- 2010 March 24
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open for research.
- Use Restrictions
Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library, https://library.udel.edu/static/purl.php?askspec
Personal and Professional Papers consists of material that documents many of the wide range of printing activities to which the Liebermans devoted themselves. Subseries I.1. contains the files of the Liebermans' private press imprints, The Herity Press and the Ioxis Division of Herity Press, including businesses correspondence, promotional files, photographs, type specimens, and of course many of the press's publications, such as editions ofThe Check-Log of Private Press Names.
Subseries I.2 consists of only three folders of material related Lieberman's commercial press, Myriade Press. The two projects represented are galley proofs and book covers for Lieberman's book,Type and Typefaces, and copies of press parts lists that Myriade Press printed for the press equipment company, Chandler & Price.
Subseries I.3 and I.4 consist of a small sample of ephemera printed by Lieberman's children, Lina and Jethro Lieberman.
The files in subseries I.5 document the development and advocacy of "Simple Printing" a concept developed by Lieberman to serve as a teaching technique for children and adults in the United States and developing countries. Some of the project objectives included supporting literacy programs, improving of local communication media, encouraging local printing industries, and providing tools for supporting agency programs. The files include summaries of his ideas, articles and papers he wrote as an advocate of the idea, research material supporting the concept, as well as drafts of sections for a book on "simple printing." Subsequently much of the material outlined for this book was used in Lieberman'sPrinting as a Hobby.
Subseries I.6 consists of the files of Popular Printing, Inc. (PoP), a company founded by Ben Lieberman with the assistance of investors in 1959. PoP was organized to provide a means for popular, simple and inexpensive printing; to design, manufacture and distribute equipment for that purpose; to constitute a source for supplies to be used with that equipment; and ultimately, to enfranchise the quality and leadership position in printing equipment and supplies for education, recreation, occupational therapy and smaller business use.
The files includes correspondence, samples of printed instructions and announcements distributed by the company, and commercial literature from Chandler & Price, who manufactured the Pilot Press, a small platen press marketed by Lieberman. Information about the Liberty Press, a simple homemade wooden hand printing press developed by Lieberman for PoP is also available.
Subseries I.7 consists of material related to written work by Ben Lieberman. Lieberman authored several books and full-length client reports, includingThe Communication Approach to Technical Assistance, The Navy Editors' Manual, Types and Typefaces, and Printing as a Hobby. He also contributed to Dictionary of Political Science, professional articles on education, political science, communication, graphic arts, and public relations, as well as newspaper reporting. The subseries includes preliminary files and production material related to his book, Printing as a Hobby and drafts or printed articles he wrote.
Most of the files in subseries I.8 Exhibitions relate to Lieberman's organization of the "Chappels and Personal Printing: a Modern Folk Art, USA" in 1963. Subseries I.9 consists of two folders of material related to courses taught at East Contra Costa Junior College in 1955 and a graphic arts course for General Foods Corporation in 1958. Subseries I.10 includes prospectuses, catalogs, and book lists sent by book clubs, publishers, and antiquarian book dealers for Lieberman's consideration.
The final subseries organizes miscellaneous personal material, such as articles and notes written about Lieberman, clippings and travel brochures, photographs (including two of Richard Nixon), and a collection of artwork acquired by Lieberman. The artwork includes an original charcoal drawing of Ben Lieberman, as well as signed prints by William
Contains correspondence, hotographs, negatives, contact sheets, galley and page proofs, paper samples, keepsakes, bills and receipts, mock-ups, type specimen sheets, calendars, books, invitations, menus, book covers, stationery, articles, notes, clippings, photocopies, prospectuses, lists, tear sheets, forms, lithographs, etchings, charcoal drawing, and watercolorsPhysical Description
5.3 linear ft
Includes correspondence, bills and receipts, notes, documentation for work by Lina Lieberman (daughter) for the press
Promotional file for the press, simple printing, and the check log, including correspondence, two photographs: one of Lina Lieberman and other of Ben Lieberman
Nine photographs, some taken by Guy Dobson, includes one of Ben Lieberman.
Includes Elizabeth and Ben Lieberman
Mock-ups of the "upstroke" typeface designed by Ben Lieberman
Written by Art Goldsmith
Written by Jessica Dumes Lieberman
Includes keepsakes printed by other private presses
Also called Ioxis Press
Myriade, which was Lieberman's business press, publishedAmerican Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century by Mac McGrew, issues of The Check-log of Private Press Names, Goudy's Type Designs by Frederic Goudy, Typographic Variations by Hermann Zapf, and Lieberman's Types and Typefaces.
Includes galleys and book covers.
Some printed as the Etaoin Shrdlu Press
Material toward a book on "Simple Printing," 1958-1967. Most of this material relates to Lieberman'sPrinting as a Hobby. Includes page proofs for some portions of Printing as a Hobby. See also subseries I.7 for the files related to Printing as a Hobby.
Includes a photograph of a press, printed material, and notes
Includes correspondence, membership cards, certificates, programs, and a proposal for curricula
Most of this material relates to Lieberman'sPrinting as a Hobby. Includes page proofs for some portions of Printing as a Hobby. See also subseries I.7 for the files related to Printing as a Hobby.
Includes a list of the investors in the company, Lieberman's resume, summaries of the objectives of the company, and printed material
Information about this simple homemade wooden hand printing press developed by Popular Printing, Inc. and for which Lieberman held the patent.
Includes announcements, equipment descriptions, and instruction sheets for the lay of type cases, and for printing with amateur presses, such as The Liberty Press.
Chandler and Price manufactured the Pilot Press, a 6 x 10 inch platen press recommended by Lieberman inPrinting as a Hobby and in PoP literature. Myriade Press printed parts lists for Chandler.
New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. and Oak Tree Press, Ltd., 1963.
Includes notes, bibliographic and printed material
Printed information and writing by Lieberman
Typescript and copies
Typescript and print
Lieberman wrote several articles forThe Black Art, including "The Modern Chappel Movement" and "The Liberty Bell on the Kelmscott/Goudy Press." This folder includes typescripts for each of these, as well as correspondence.
A photocopied typescript of "revised draft" for a possible speech
Lieberman occasionally contributed news items toPrinting News.
Negatives, contact sheets and 30 photographs of private press printers. Includes images of Elfriede Abbe (Abbe Press), Charles Klensch (Underground Press), James Eckman (Doomsday Press), Arthur McClure (Art Press), Don Drenner (Zauberberg Press)with girl scouts learning merit badge book binding, Ten Fingers Press, and unidentified printers and presses.
Lieberman was employed at General Foods (1957-1959) as a Public Relations Associate.
Lieberman received prospectuses, catalogs, and book lists from numerous publishers, books clubs, and antiquarian book dealers. This material was used for bibliographies on printing and book collecting.
Untitled printed etching of a woman gazing at stars – signed
Untitled printed etching of a still-life of fruit w/pineapple – signed
13 printed pages
2 Untitled lithographs (both are an image of cage with prisoner pulled by oxen) - both are signed
"Rosheim in Alsace" - Greeting send by Craig Champney Smith - printed etching
"San Francisco Skyline" "Telegraph Hill from Fishermens Wharf"
print of engraving/illustration - signed
Wells Fargo Building - Columbia - Edition 100 - print - signed,
Fire House #1 - Columbia - Edition 100 - print
"De Re Militari, 1472" - #34/50 - print of engraving
printed proof of etching - Untitled [woman in museum]
Flowers - print - #102/195
"Ben Lieberman" - charcoal drawing - "Paris Vieux Colombier"
Madonna and child on parapet - 1663 – proof/print
"Monhegan Island" - "Christmas '33"
On the verso is written: "Best Wishes for the Xmas "Lou."
"Paris-Notre Dame…" - watercolor
Two black and white photograph of Nixon
Correspondence, photographs, minutes, brochures, printed ephemera, corporate seal, posters, catalogs, announcements, magazines and journals, bylaws, membership lists, reports, applications, calendars, and phonograph recordings.
Arranged alphabetically by the name of the organization. Educational institutions, museums and libraries are organized separately at the end of the series.
Ben Lieberman was not only active in many print-related organizations; he was the founder of several. He founded both the American Printing History Association and the Goudy Society. Lieberman's files reflect the beginnings of both of these organizations, including minutes for first gatherings and photographs of the incorporation signing for the Goudy Society.
Ben Lieberman served as a board member of the American Institute of Graphic Arts; consequently his files include board minutes, correspondence, as well as AIGA publications. Lieberman was also an active member of the Typophiles, the Private Libraries Association, the Amalgamated Printers Association, the William Morris Society, the Graphic Arts Education Association, and the Type Directors Club. The files related to these groups include some correspondence but predominantly printed information and ephemera. This series concludes with files of printed material and an occasional piece of correspondence related to educational institutions, libraries, and museums with which Lieberman had some connection.Physical Description
5 linear ft
Includes 6 photographs of incorporation signing
Includes a photograph of a group attending the September 1978 Typocrafters meeting in Salem, New Hampshire
Includes three 33 1/3 rpm phonograph records: "The Sound of Type," (2 copies) and "The Sound of Lettering," both conceived and recorded by Tony Schwartz for the International Typographic Composition Association."
Includes two photographs of Edmund A. Stanley, Jr., Peter Stanford, and Roger Campbell
16 photographs of members of the summer chappel encampment, including images of Ben Lieberman.
3 group photographs of Goudy members, includes the Liebermans, the Wronkers, Cordes, Speckters, Haywoods, and others.
Arranged by location from the inquiry originated
Correspondence, photographs, announcements, invitations, stationery, booklets, clippings, posters, broadsides, artwork, and printed ephemera
The series is organized in four subseries:
1) Files of private press ephemera (arranged by alphabetically by the name of the private press or individual)
2) Christmas cards from private presses (arranged chronologically)
3) Bundled Private Press Ephemera (maintained in original bundles)
4) Miscellaneous private press ephemera (journals arranged alphabetically)
Subseries IV.1 Files of Private Press Ephemera was formed largely from samples of printed work sent to the Liebermans by private press proprietors. The samples, along with a completed application and a prop card (proprietor's card) fulfilled the requirements for registering a press name and listing in The Check-Log of Private Press Names, published annually by the Liebermans.
Among the private presses represented are established presses such as Michael Tarachow's Pentagram Press, John Anderson's Pickering Press, Arthur Rushmore's Golden Hind Press, and Robert Jones's Glad Hand Press. In contrast were the presses operated by Lieberman's children, Jethro Lieberman's First-Hand Press and Lina Lieberman's Etaoin Shrdlu Press and At the Sign of the Lurking Lycopodia.
The files consist of correspondence, samples of printing by the presses, photographs, and information about the particular press. Most of the correspondence refers to the registration of a press or the duplication of a press name, but other matters includes business related to chappel meetings or events. In some cases, a longer correspondence reflects a friendship developed between Lieberman and the proprietor of a press.
The second subseries, Christmas cards from private presses, consists of Christmas cards sent to the Liebermans by private press printers. The cards, filed separated from other private press printed ephemera by Lieberman, are arranged chronologically and include an occasional photograph or a letter from the family.
The third subseries IV.3. Bundled Private Press Ephemera is a collection of bundled material from the Amalgamated Printers' Association and the National Amateur Press Association. Organized in the original mailed envelopes, some of which are marked "gleaned" or "to be gleaned," the bundles contained samples of printed private press ephemera. Member submissions were distributed regularly through a designated mailer and each piece submitted bears a membership number that identifies its printer.
Subseries IV.4. Miscellaneous private press ephemera consists of printed publications, journals, and miscellaneous ephemera from the 1950s to the 1980s. An unfoldered collection of miscellaneous printed journals, most likely gleaned from bundles distributed by the National Amateur Press Association and/or the Amalgamated Printers' Association comprise the first half of this subseries. A large sample has been grouped alphabetically, to which is appended a smaller collection of unsorted journals.
The final box of this subseries consists of miscellaneous ephemera and printed material, such as prop cards and prospectuses, as well as some general correspondence and reference material.Physical Description
20.2 linear ft.
Includes a photograph of Greer Allen and son John, n.d.
Includes a photograph of Robert Brooks
Includes six prints from Bewick engravings (numbered)
Includes proofs of original artwork by Graham
Includes a small typographic composing stick in an envelope
Includes 13 photographs of Duerr and others
Includes 9 photographs taken at a party at John De Pol's home
Includes photograph of Jane Field
Includes a photograph of Sherwood Grover
Includes a photograph of Antonucci
Includes a photograph of William Haywood
Includes a photograph of McGrew and Ernest Lindner
Also includes Halcyon Press
Includes a photograph of Fridolf Johnson
Includes a photograph of Willard Morgan
Includes original signed and numbered prints by Norton
Includes four photographs
Two folders of samples
Two folders of samples and correspondence