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Beside the Go-Ahead Press of Riverside

Time To Close Up Shop!

ALTHO currently extending all across the USA from Canada to Mexico, as well as to Tokyo, Australia, and England, the little realm of Amateur Journalism is indeed a small world. After my first dozen years in it nothing should surprise me; yet I am amazed frequently at how often the paths of amateurs as scattered as the Moitorets, Macauleys, Batchelders, and Babcocks happen to cross.

Five years ago an enthusiastic youngster of 73 rejoined the ranks of the active publishers with the Rip Van Winkle issue of The Go-Ahead. That stimulant started him gathering a hobby printshop about the same time that a pessimistic army sergeant began liquidating the Scarlet Cockerel Press. Frank Roe Batchelder cannily picked up the cream of those metal assets (finally deciding against buying my press, however). Later, at the ‘43 Columbus NAPA convention I had the pleasure of meeting Frank, and, after the war, stopped by to see him at his Riverside home.

The visit to his well-furnished amateur printshop was a delight – the sort of envious inspiration only an ambitious amateur printer can appreciate fully. But circumstances were not conducive to rebuilding a similar Ivory Tower of my own then.

Time intervened, and (as in the case of all too many of our leading amateur printshops recently) dictated disposal of Frank’s dream shop. Thanks to The Fossils and the Batchelder family this equipment has been saved to be dedicated to Amateur Journalism. To have been chosen to go ahead with the Frank Roe Batchelder press and outfit, “to carry on the best AJ traditions,” is probably the nicest and most satisfying compliment yet paid this editor.

And so, before welcoming home the old equipment (and its prolific progeny) may we pause to turn out these last pages from the Go-Ahead Press of Riverside, Connecticut. “The Past Is Prologue.”

Tony Moitoret has been spending weekends remodeling his cellar into the amateur printshop deluxe: knotty pine, ceiling-to-floor bookshelves, built-in type cabinets, and a long working counter. He plans to start the new year right by setting type for his next Tick-Tock.

And now who turns up in Boston (thanks to General Electric’s policy of rotating test engineers among its branch factories) but another ex-Long Islander, Bob Smith.

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In a recent communique fuehrer Heins accorded NAPA members the privilege of voting “Ja” this summer in the selection of Uncle Charley Shattuck for President…. Or else!

For the bigger little boys who have outgrown their meccano sets may we suggest taking apart a half-ton 8×12 C&P press (into component parts small enough to lug down two flights of stairs by yourself) and then re-assembling and re-adjusting the parts four months later when you’ve forgotten what goes where. The wonder of it all: it works! Tho somewhat drunkenly – at high speed, not being bolted down to this uneven concrete floor.

Revisiting one scene of the Columbus Day ‘41 conclave Messrs. Smith and Babcock recently jaunted up to the Sage of Woburn, who is now retired and pining to devote some of his 24 hours a day leisure to operation of the Will Bates Grant press and type which he acquired in 1945. An offer to demonstrate the art of printing early in June was enthusiastically accepted by Mike.

Mailer Roy Lindberg is an eager-beaver, but his amendment proposals for laureates and Mailing Bureau regulations are sourer than a Democrat after a Republican landslide. We’ll vote No on all amendments until something better than the present clutch is hatched.

All Around The AJ Circuit

Jack Coolidge, hospitalized in San Diego this summer with polio on his way home from Mexico, is now back in Milton, Mass., planning a paper.

Vic Moitoret, at Navy behest, has deserted Rowena & Carolyn to paddle about in Hawaiian waters on the carrier “Valley Forge.”

Robie Macauley, after a month at Grand Rapids, has moved on to teach at the University of Iowa. George Macauley’s mother died shortly after the Detroit convention while Charles was still in Central America. A new O-Wash-Ta-Nong is started.

The Cut Bureau Manager, beside begging halftones from several amateurs, has just ordered nine new cuts of NAPA ex-presidents for use in the projected new volume of Ahlhauser’s “Ex-Presidents.”

Morning papers mentioned inflation in Japan but overlooked that new hydrant in Tokyo. There are now three Wessons instead of two. And young S.P. had better warn his Pop that it’s only about two years until he’ll be into the type and ink.

To amateur printers curious two-year olds are more deadly than the female: Not to touch! Stop it!… Put that down!… No!… Keep your hand – Oh, %¼[* Only solution: Fence in the sanctum – and padlock it.

Rumor has it that Hyman Bradofsky is hunting a printer for another large Californian.

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This issue of Weaker Moments, No. 21, appears in some of the Frank Roe Batchelder types formerly used in Weaker Moments and The Scarlet Cockerel. Edited and set in December 1947 by Ralph Babcock and printed by tyro Bob Smith May 8, 1948, in joint celebration of his arrival in the Boston area and reactivation of the Go-Ahead press (formerly of Riverside, Connecticut) which has sunk to the sorry status of a cellar printshop in Watertown, Mass., hereafter known as The Scarlet Cockerel Press.

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