Celebrating One Hundred Years of Amateur Journalism
NAPA WEST goes to press at Playa del Rey
Jim Broadston instructs new printer Madelyn Hickey in the art of type setting while Larry Redmon composes his copy in the stick.
Former NAPA Presidents Harold Ellis (left) and Hyman Bradofsky (center) confer with Glenn Engebretsen on the momentous issues of the day.
NAPA WEST Chief Matt Kelsey at controls of the Heidelberg.
COVER Illustration: Elynor Willat. Printing: Gale Sheldon.
Photos by Matt Kelsey
Printing by commercial offset.
Captions by Gale Sheldon
Whatever happened to a thing called courtesy?
by Gale Sheldon
Time was when most people treated one another with civility. Politeness, consideration and courtesy were the norm. Not so today. “Tell it like it is,” the modern watchword, divests us of all responsibility to another’s feelings. Be blunt, matter-of-fact, say what we really feel, pull no punches, spare no feelings. Holding back our true emotions will cause irreparable harm.
This prevailing attitude seems to encourage self-centeredness, even selfishness. Only what “I” feel is important. Or maybe it is the reverse: selfishness leads to discourtesy and a lack of civility. At any rate, the attitude has revealed itself in the hallowed halls of amateur journalism.
More and more a person can wake up one morning to find his name on a slate of officers for one of the organizations, though he’s never heard so much as a whisper from the back-room politicians. Not that any evil intent is involved. Much of this slate writing has an air of desperation about it. It does not suggest that you are the most qualified for the position, only that you appear to be available and may not refuse for fear of appearing ungrateful. If you turn down the offer, you are the one who is lacking in consideration for your fellow.
Admittedly, many wrongs were committed in the “good old days,” but the courtesy of asking a person if he would be willing to run for office was certainly not one of them.
NAPA WEST Spring Meeting Graphics…
(Typeprints on the sands of Time)
Be It Known That:
Twenty stalwart NAPA members braved a sunny warm Southern California day and conviviated at the Playa del Rey home of the Engebretsens. Not only that; they ate, drank, talked and thoroughly enjoyed themselves! All of this, I did also.
Thor Willat, spring, A.D., 1976
Attested to by (xp) Harold Ellis.
Here it is, Sunday, March 7, 1976, a beautiful warm, sunny, refreshing day, with Santa Monica Bay full of sailboats. Our genial NAPA hosts, the Engebretsens, Sally and Glenn, have just had a potluck luncheon for all the NAPA-WEST members.
Now we are at Glenn’s “Village Print Shop” and I am setting my first stick of type, thanks to Jim Broadston’s patience.
Madelyn Eastlund Hicky
Impressions of Our First NAPA WEST Meeting
by Willis and Dorothy Hutchison
Brillian sunshine, parking on a steep hillside street, a dazzling ocean view with many sailboats in sight from every window of the Engebretsen home, meeting congenial new people and finding that some of them know other people we know, a delicious buffet lunch, visiting an interesting printshop where some members set type for the next NAPA WEST, visiting with bookbinders, librarians, writers, printers – both commercial and hobbyists – and persons from many fields of endeavor ranging in age from 13 to ? – all this and more too – made up our attendance at our first NAPA WEST meeting. We look forward to the next meeting with anticipation of renewing acquaintances and getting new ideas!
Liddle Calls From Florida
Yes, amateur friends, Fred Liddle does have a telephone. And he must have paid his bill because he called cross-country to tell us he wished he were in Southern California instead of Florida. At least that’s what crackled across the line to me, though Harold Ellis, Hyman Bradofsky, Glenn Engebretsen, Larry Redmon and Matt Kelsey may have heard differently. – Gale Sheldon
It was a beautiful day and sailboats filled Santa Monica bay. We were celebrating at Glenn and Sally Engebretsen’s housecooling. Those from farthest away arrived first – Gale S. and Willis and Dorothy Hutchison. Edgar X. and Lucy F. came next. Jim Broadston brought the Lesters as Larry and Winnie R. were arriving. Matt K. brought his sisters, Jane and Martha. Madelyn (setting type across from me) and her husband Joe Hickey, a writer who made up a roster for us, came in with xps Hyman B. & Harold E. – from near and far again. Neither last nor least, Lewis H. also celebrated. The late Thor W. had reasons for his lateness. – Larry Redmon
A varied group of amateur journalists are meeting for the Engebretsen’s “house cooling.” Composing in the stick is not the easiest thing in the world to do. I can’t think of anything else to say besides “thanks” to the Engebretsens. – Matt Kelsey
Is it Eastlund or Hickey?
by Madelyn Eastlund Hicky
One evening in November the phone rang and the voice at the other end said, “Madelyn Eastlund?” “Yes,” I replied. “This is Glenn Engebretsen. Are you also Madelyn Hickey?”
It seems Glenn was composing some type for an article Ann Vrooman had written and she had mentioned the name Madelyn Eastlund. He had met a Madelyn Hickey at Matt Kelsey’s house. Which was right?
In February Jim Broadston called and said, “Madelyn Eastlund?” and to my “Yes,” he said, “I thought you were Madelyn Hickey.”
And therein lies the confusion of a woman who has two names – the question, “Which are you?” had come up before. Also, “Why don’t you put Hickey instead of Eastlund on your work?” “Are you a woman’s libber?”
Maybe you’ve been wondering, too! You see Madelyn Hickey as a member of the NAPA but Madelyn Eastlund is the one who gets into print. Part of it is my fault. Usually, when I join a group involving writing, lecturing or printing I am listed as Eastlund – sometimes I slip up. Not that that solves the problem if I attend a meeting with my husband Joe Hickey, though – there again, is it Madelyn Eastlund or Madelyn Hickey?
The truth is that I was born Madelyn Eastlund, only child of John and Madeline Eastlund. I wrote. More than anything I wanted to be a writer. I also vowed that I would always write as Eastlund since there was no one else but me to carry on the family name. My folks had no sons and my uncle had no children. It was up to me to keep Eastlund alive.
Well, I was published. Madelyn Eastlund made it! Since 1959 I’ve been published under that name. My professional name is Miss Madelyn Eastlund. In private life I’m Madelyn Hickey, Mrs. Joseph Hickey or “Lyn” Hickey.
Madelyn Eastlund is the writer. Madelyn Hickey is the wife and mother. Whichever last name, its Madelyn: one person! And after all, haven’t you ever heard about one person with two names – like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?
Just call me “Lyn!”
The Old Ghost Town
by Betty B. Miller
Once a desert oasis
For the weary traveler,
The gold seekers.
The stagecoach stopped
Bringing passengers from the east,
To mingle and merge
With the town residents –
Until they left,
One by one.
This old ghost town…
Like sun bleached bones,
Lies upon the scorching sands;
Of the Mojave Desert.
by Hyman Bradofsky
An important rule of rhetoric for amateurs is that requiring the use of short sentences wherever possible. If there is one fault of which amateurs are most guilty it is the use of long, cumbersome and involved sentences. A short analysis of the philosophy of sentence usage may be helpful.
At the outset it should be remembered that the human mind, like the human body, can hold its breath, so to speak, only for a limited time. The human mind has difficulty with sentences which contain more than thirty to forty words. Business experts place the limit in business correspondence at fifteen words to a sentence – over that limit being considered objectionable. It is often necessary to use long sentences; but the amateur should remember that the difficulty in the mind of the reader increases almost with the square of the number of words used.
Back of this matter of sentence length lies a fundamental principle in human psychology. The sentence is the natural unit of thought, words are the artificial units. Thought operates not by words but by ideas, that is by sentences. In reading, the eye picks up one word after another until the idea is conceived and born in the mind; then the mind forgets the separate words and only the idea remains. Or, to put the matter another way, the words are the chaff out of which the mind must winnow and save the grain, which is the thought. As we read a page of print the thought passes into the memory in the form of an idea and not as a group of words. The proof of this latter statement lies in the fact that the mind will readily turn back into words the precise meaning of what has been read; but not into the same words unless they have been laboriously learned by heart.
When considered from this point of view the reason for short sentences in the work of the amateur becomes at once obvious. When the amateur uses long and involved sentences the reader’s mind is fully engaged in saving the grain from the chaff; it cannot concentrate on its main duty of assimilating and digesting the meaning conveyed. In a long sentence the mind must carry the meaning of each separate word through to the end. The reader is forced to break the sentence, so to speak – while the mind catches up but fails and gives us the chase. Of course, such delay – and more particularly such failure – works disaster on the real meaning of the writer.
The method of achieving short sentences is by giving the matter attention in the first instance. The fundamental cause of long and involved sentences is ill-digested thought. The person who uses them habitually is the kind of person who starts to speak or to write before his thought is fully developed in his own mind. The person who writes clear sentences is the person who hammers out his thought to a finished product in his own mind before passing it on to the reader. If the writer will carry on the “finishing process” in his own mind, or with a blue-pencil, he will save the reader a heavy burden and will probably save himself from being misunderstood.
by Lewis A. Hildreth
The giant 747 taxied to the runway. Its silvery skin glared and glinted yellow shafts of sunlight. A penetrating whine radiated from the craft. On the main runway now. EEEEEN. The Pratt-Whitneys pierced the air. Inside one could feel the seats softly vibrate, but no noise. Outside jets screamed in an angry fallsetto. Brakes are released and the plane gradually picks up speed then rises. Billowing black cones of smoke roll over the oily blacktop. Black greasy tumbleweeds nervously twitch and cruddy beer cans rattle beyond the grimy chain link fence. The passengers sink into spotless, plush, white velvet covered seats. Another successful takeoff.
by Lewis A. Hildreth
My joints were aching from the hard days work, but my mind was in heaven. I was sitting not more than four feet from a rough wooden structure, still smelling of wet paint, that they called a stage. A slight breeze made the strung up multicolor lights sway. Beyond the lights bright stars twinkled. The brilliant winter constellations. At Woodstock tonight rock stars, THE WHO, were going to radiate their own particular light.
EEEEEE bitta, bitta, BOOM, bitta, bitta, BOOM SLAM – eeenng…. The opening number. Heads began to bob with the beat. The heavy sweet smell of marijuana filled the air. BOOM, bitta, bitta, BOOM…, the strong beat shook your guts and teeth. Blinding blue-white strobes made staccato flashes. Wild burnt orange shadows writhed like old time movies. BOOM, bitta, bitta, BOOM, bitta, bitta… a thousand hours it seemed, then… Whang, clomp, sween…. The crowd roared. Clenched fists flailed the vibrating air. I got up feeling numb and dumb. I was drained.
Wearily, I wandered home. I slumped on the bed. After a long while I begin to hear the familiar sounds. The house clicks. A leaf falls. Click tick. I thought I heard a drop of water drip. Just once. Distantly comes a faint drone of traffic. It seems to waver and shift in volume. Perhaps for the same reason the stars twinkle. Laying back I see the bright stars of winter through the window. Diamonds on black velvet. A cosmic explosion in slow motion. What would that sound like? Unanswerable question. Enough musing. Got to stop going to those rock concerts. Hate crowds and noise.
Amateur Journalism in San Gabriel
by Matt Kelsey
The Willow Dale Press – 1879 is the interesting and attractive story of an early amateur paper. Written by Carey Bliss, printed by Pall Bohne, and published by Dawson’s Book Shop, it is a limited edition book (132 copies) with the accompanying high price. But it is worth it: original issues of the amateur paper are in each copy.
The Willow Dale Press started as a monthly 5×6 inch paper. It was published in San Gabriel (now San Marino), Cal. by 13 year old Florence Carter and her 10 year old brother Nathaniel. The first issue appeared in January 1879, bearing an annual subscription rate of 20 cents.
The July 1879 issue, number seven, featured a size change to 7×9 inches. The editors explained that a poem from A. F. Kercheval had convinced them to enlarge the paper.
“Tall oaks from little acorns grow,”
And all that sort of thing, you know,
Then why may not the little Press,
Some day expand her modest dress,
Like a woman with a flowing trail,
Like a vessel spreading wide her sail;
Warm nurtured on San Gabriel’s breast,
Aspire to light and sway the West,
E’en as the East the mighty Herald,
The Times, the Tribune, or the Wor-ruld,
Go on! Go on my little chicks,
And deftly wield your little “sticks,”
And still to loftier heights aspire,
Your motto, “Onward! Upward! Higher!”
The paper continued until the end of volume one in December when the editors planned to “suspend for a time.” The suspension proved to be permanent, leaving the San Gabriel Valley without a local paper of any sort. This void remained until the Pasadena Weekly Union began some four years later.
The last half of the book is devoted to a summary of other early amateur journals in California. The author concludes that the “fad of amateur journalism” had passed.
By far the most interesting aspect of the book is the original Willow Dale Press in each copy. It seems Mr. Bliss, the author, was acquainted with the daughter of Nathaniel Carter. Miss Carter was able to supply enough original issues to illustrate each copy.
Carey Bliss is a friend of my father, so when he autographed the book, he added two more Willow Dale Presses. Now I have issues one, seven and twelve. Muchas gracias, Mr. Bliss!
Though only 20 pages, this essay is attractively bound in book form. Anyone interested in early amateur journalism would do well to obtain a copy.
Vote for a New Direction
by Sally Engebretsen
On the invitation to the California members to attend the NW Spring meeting we said; “NAPA can use some new directions, some new dimensions. Let’s talk about it on March 7th.” That topic could take months to cover adequately, but we did come up with the first New Direction we think that NAPA should take after Philadelphia – Northwest!
NAPA has convened in the northeast (Portland, Maine 1954), in the southeast (St. Petersburg 1973), in the southwest (San Diego 1974). Now we have a chance to prove to our northwestern members that NAPA believes in equal opportunity.
Jack Hageman, known to bundle readers as “The Garret Grouch” has turned out to be no grouch at all, but a genial and friendly man, though a bit daring; he has offered to be the host and ringmaster for the 1977 NAPA Convention, our 102nd, in the city of Kennewick, Washington, where he happens to be the mayor.
When apprised of the invitation NAPA WEST voted unanimously to recommend Kennewick as the 1977 Convention City. But to make certain that Jack would know what he was in for, Gale Sheldon was asked to inform him of the problems and headaches connected with running a NAPA convention.
Jack doesn’t frighten easily; having read the grim news from Gale, he reaffirmed his invitation, and NAPA WEST does hereby nominate and highly recommend Kennewick. It is part of a tri-city group (the others being Pasco and Richland) with a combined population of about 120,000. It is served by Air-West from Spokane, Seattle or Portland, and by Amtrak and Greyhound from just about anywhere. Members of NAPA WEST have promised to stand by Jack and help him wherever needed.
Let’s get into our second hundred years in a new place, with new enthusiasm, and if we so wish, with a new spirit. The greater potentials of amateur journalism are still unfound. Perhaps we may find some clues in the northwest.
by Glenn Engebretsen
Since my reportorial credibility was doubly challenged in the March National Amateur, I have asked Sally to write of NAPA WEST’s Convention City nomination (see above). You can trust her as she was present at the discussion, and as yet she has not been added to the cabal’s hit list.
Editor Boys should have edited his “correction” of my historian’s report more carefully. He suggests that you read the text of the items in question. Please do.
You will see that our present Art. XII – every word of it – will be removed (just as I reported). What will “remain” is at present in Bill’s proposed amendment, nowhere in Art. XII. Jake Warner’s charge is more than mere quibbling; it will be answered in the next bundle. Please stand by.
For Printers Only:
A Ben Franklin Press
by Gale Sheldon
A replica of the old English Common Press, the kind used by American printers at the time of the Revolution, will be manufactured in volume this year. Built to two-thirds scale and completely operable, the press is being produced by the American Printing History Association.
A prototype was built in the summer of 1975 from plans based on existing models of the original English Common Press, and it has passed all performance tests. It has already survived a workout by thirty Staten Island fifth-graders! It is faithfully accurate to historical details, and will be accompanied by a package of necessary accessories.
With an 8 by 12 chase, the full form can be printed in two “takes” like the original. It weighs 160 pounds and assembled measures 57 by 22 by 46 inches. The American Printing History Association is seeking sponsors for the project, particularly schools, libraries and museums which are related to printing and the graphic arts.
In fact, even you can become the proud owner of one of these priceless heirlooms, complete with an accessories package, for a mere $600.
NAPA WEST gang gets into action at home of Glenn’s “Galley West”
(L to R) Ed Fielding, Ron Lester and Joe Hickey swap sea stories, old army tales, and other lies.
Typesetters Larry Redmon, Madelyn Hickey.
Left Photo: Lary Redmon (left) and Jim Broadston at the typecases.
Right Photo: Gale Sheldon, seated, in a serious discourse with Willis Hutchison, new member from San Diego.