Wednesday, March 16, 2011

St Louis Letterpress Society

In October 1989 we attended our first St. Louis Letterpress Society meeting. The newly formed book arts group had met just a few times before we heard about it. Now we’ve been members for over 20 years.

Membership in St. Louis Letterpress Society is refreshing in its informality. There are no dues, no officers, no boards, and only the most casual of business meetings. Anyone interested in the book arts, including letterpress printing, calligraphy, paper marbling, bookbinding or typecasting is invited to a quarterly meeting followed by a potluck dinner in a member’s home. Over the years we’ve hosted St. Louis Letterpress Society a number of times. Our small house fills to capacity with area people who love handmade books. It’s an exciting and fun experience that generally inspires us to print!

St. Louis Letterpress Society programs over the years have ranged from tours to talks to guest speakers or demonstrations. There have been demonstrations by paper marblers, typecasters, bookbinders, and stone engravers, as well as speakers on fine press books, paper, ink, or printing history. Attendees sometimes come from miles away. There’s camaraderie, good food and talk, and the opportunity for those newly interested in the book arts to learn more. Below are a few St. Louis Letterpress invitations from over the years:

Though small (less than 60 members) St. Louis Letterpress Society has been a fairly active group. Most years we’ve produced a cooperative annual booklet, and sometimes a group calendar as well. We’ve hosted exhibits, brought speakers in from other areas, and even had a float in a parade! It’s been a lot of fun and a chance to cultivate some wonderful friendships. It’s helped us to become better printers, and has given us a network of support in our creative endeavors.

So if you have the chance to get together with people in your area who love the book arts – I would highly recommend it!


  1. Do you have to have a letterpress to join? What if you don't have any experience in any of the stuff you talked about, can you still join just because you might like it?

  2. No press or experience are necessary -- anyone interested in learning more about the book arts is invited to be a part of St Louis Letterpress Society. The organization has no dues or formal membership, and you don't have to live in St Louis if you're willing to drive here. Simply attend a meeting, and if you like what you see, ask to be put on the mailing list!