Printing Exhibit and Moveable Type
Before our era of texting and tweeting, news traveled through printed materials. To celebrate the history of moveable type and colonial-era technology, the Newport Historical Society will offer a printing exhibit in the Newport Colony House on October 15 and 16, 2011 and will host Kyle Durrie, of Power & Light Press, in the traveling exhibition “Movable Type”.
The exhibit, Cases and Types: The Lives and Works of Printers in Early Newport, will celebrate the history of the James Franklin Press—housed at the Museum & Shop at Brick Market, 127 Thames Street, Newport, RI—and feature the diverse range of documents that were printed on the press. Documents include early newspapers, including two of the oldest papers in the country, Newport Mercury and Rhode Island Gazette, almanacs from the 1750s to the early 19th century, broadsides, discourses and sermons, advertisements, pamphlets and other official documents printed for the colony of Rhode Island. “This was not only the first press in the colony,” explains Allison Horrocks, Newport Historical Society intern who is preparing the exhibit, “but also the only press in the area for several decades.”
Although the press is often referred to as the “Franklin Press,” several families of note in Newport owned and used the press. This exhibit, which will include facsimile copies, offers us the chance to talk more about these families, and, in particular the widows (Ann Franklin and Ann Barber) who carried on the printing business after their husbands’ death in a time when female printers were rare, if not entirely unusual.
In conjunction with the exhibit, the Newport Historical Society will host a traveling demonstration and exhibition by Kyle Durrie titled “Moveable Type.” Ms. Durrie, the proprietor of Power & Light Press, brings letterpress to the people through demonstrations of traditional hand-set letter block printing, all from a fully functional mobile print shop built into the back of an old delivery truck.
Kyle Durrie, the proprietor of Power & Light Press, has been printing since 2006. She got her start through classes, self-study, and apprenticeships at Blue Barnhouse (Asheville, NC) and Wolfe Editions (Portland, ME). Kyle received her BA in 2002 from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME with a focus in drawing and printmaking and, in 2004, attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, ME. She has also done residencies at the Vermont Studio Center (Johnson, VT), the Contemporary Artists Center (North Adams, MA), and the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum (Two Rivers, WI).
Power & Light Press is based out of Portland, OR, and is spending most of 2011 on the road with “Moveable Type”.
Cases and Types will debut the weekend of the weekend of October 15th and October 16th. Visitors can also see the exhibit during the guided site tour of the Colony House and the Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House at 11:3am on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays through October, and on Saturdays at 11:30 in November. The tour departs from the Museum & Shop at Brick Market, 127 Thames Street, and costs $12 per person, $5 for children ages twelve and under. Admission is free on October 15th, October 16th and December 1st.