OKIANA is a composite word coined to identify a group of hobby printers from Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana who met in Cincinnati March 24, 1973. The OAPG instigated the meeting. They are a well organized, active group. The attendees from Ohio were Ruth & Bill Boys, Wil & June Margeson, Ethel Morris, Edith Dornbirer, Frank Egner, Ruth & Bob Hill, Ilo Fisher, Eric Boys, and Rich Powers; from Kentucky, the Ralph Gausepohls, Celia Marks, Bob Baris, & J. Hill Hamon; and from Indiana, Dick Ulrich, Dale Stedman and Herb Harnish.
This was the first time I had visited with more than one other hobby printer at a time, and the get together was most enjoyable. I can see why Bill Boys is the chief catalyst and chelating agent in the NAPA, OAPG & VAPA. His enthusiasm is genuine and contagious. Dale Stedman demonstrated the chalk-plate method of making line cuts in a stereotype mold, and Herb Harnish displayed an entire notebook-catalog of sample lines of impressions from his huge collection of unusual and antique types. Some had brought samples of their hand-created books. Dick Ulrich gave me a copy of his new book Phantasmagoria, an incredible collection of the most mind-boggling, non-book title pages you can imagine. His soft voice and easy manner belie the high level of his creative ability: his is an unusually active press. But, I was completely unprepared for what Ethel Morris had to show us.
My press is a busy one. I’ve always got a galley of type to print, and usually a couple to distribute, and am eternally setting type. But I am a complete sloth and laggard when compared with Ethel Morris. With only enough 10 point Century expanded type to set two pages (24 pica lines, 38 lines per page, plus folios and running heads) she has set and printed five books on her Kelsey 6×10 hand press! On bond paper! Books mean 250-300 pages, too! And, she taught herself bookbinding from a fifty-cent Boy Scout pamphlet and has bound them all. She is such a small lady compared with the muscular printers I know. She probably has to put her entire weight on the handle to get the type into the paper. My comment was,“But you know that you can’t print a type form that large on a Kelsey 6×10!” She replied that some stupid engineer had once declared that according to all then-known engineering principles, “Bumblebees can’t fly.”
We continued our printer talk through a prepared lunch, and into the early afternoon. Bill Boys turned auctioneer and I acquired a workable, small proof press, something I had needed for some time. I feel that the meeting was profitable and enjoyable, and well worth doing again.
The Les Adieux, Opus 81a, c-minor Piano Sonata of Beethoven musically chronicles the farewell, absence and return, to Vienna, of Crown Prince Rudolph, his student and sponsor. The “les retour” of the Whippoorwill Comment to the bundle is marked, less immortally, with this 16th version of my small paper. Amateur Journalism, however, is timeless and knows no rigid schedule. Fred Beyer’s Press Time recently returned to the bundles in fine style after a hiatus of 17 years! So, my one year furlough was probably not noticed.
Set in Caslon types and distributed to friends in the AAPA. This issue is also being sent to the active members of the NAPA via the new Limited Circulation Bundle, and to the OAPG.
J. Hill Hamon, at the Whippoorwill Press, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601.