Collection RG 21 - Archetype Press records

Identity elements

Reference code

RG 21

Name and location of repository

Level of description

Collection

Title

Archetype Press records

Date(s)

  • 1940-2009 (Creation)

Extent

6 linear feet (17 boxes)

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Biographical history

Established in 1989, Archetype Press at the South Campus is a unique creative resource for students and the community that continues the tradition of letterpress printing technology. Archetype’s collection of rare American and European metal foundry type, wood type and ornaments—originally belonging to Vern Simpson’s legendary typesetting shop in Hollywood—is the largest in California, and one of the largest of any design school in the country. The extensive metal and wood type collection resides in 2,500 antique wooden drawers. Students learn to set and print type on an impressive set of printing presses: nine Vandercook proof presses, a Chandler & Price platen press, and a Heidelberg Windmill press.

The contemporary educational setting at Archetype Press, under the direction of Director Gloria Kondrup, is an experimental typographic workshop in which students study the prototypes of digital letterforms. After learning the rudiments of letterpress, Archetype Press students participate in a collaborative book project. Past publications have addressed the works of traditional and contemporary writers, language and typography, as well as relevant cultural and social issues. To date, Archetype Press has published over 40 collaborative books.

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Scope and content

This collection consists of documents, such as award certificates given to Archetype Press, project planning records, and open house invitations. There are some examples of student work, notably pages from an unpublished project of Robert Bly poems.

Some publications prior to 1989 are not technically from the Archetype Press, but are still included here, as precursors to similar projects that would eventually be produced by the Press and that department.

Also of note in the collection are two boxes of examples of presswork from Vern Milton Simpson Typography from the 1940s – 1970, using the same type that are at the Archetype Press.

System of arrangement

Series 1: Administrative Files
Series 2: Student Work
Series 3: Publications
Series 4: Ephemera
Series 5: Vern Milton Simpson Typography

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Copyright held by Art Center College of Design (Pasadena, Calif.) except for copyright of the Vern Simpson Typography examples or of Robert Bly poems used in the student project.

Digital materials and catalog records are made available for educational and research purposes only and cannot be reproduced, distributed, or published without written permission from Art Center College of Design.

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