Museum of Printing Acquires Charles Francis Library
NORTH ANDOVER, MA—August 2, 2011—The Museum of Printing announced it has acquired the Charles Francis collection of printing for display. The museum, an ideal location for industry events and parties, will have an exhibit of the Francis Collection beginning in 2012.
Origins of the Collection
From the 1880s to the 1930s, the Charles Francis Press was one of the largest American printers. The Francis Press was the major tenant in the Printing Crafts Building (461 8th Ave. in New York City), now 5 Penn Plaza and the first building designed for multiple printing industry tenants. Symbols of historic printers are still present above the main entrance.
With fellow printer Theodore De Vinne, Francis helped to establish the predecessor to PIA and wrote several books on printing company management. He collected books and artifacts about printing history which he donated to the New York School of Printing, which was also a tenant. In 1956, the school moved into its own building on 49th Street and 10 Avenue and was re-named New York City High School of Communication Arts.
Most of the library was packed in boxes and stored away for 50 years. In 2006, RIT Professor Frank Romano and a small team of volunteers organized the collection. The City of New York has converted the building to a Gateway School for technical subjects and print was reduced to one small set of courses.
The city gave some of the Francis Bibles and other personal items to Fordham University and the balance to the Museum of Printing, including the large brass memorial to Charles Francis. Letterform expert Paul Shaw acquired certain duplicates on art and design. One of the items is a commemorative book signed by every student of the school on the 80th birthday of Fred Goudy.
About the Museum
The Museum of Printing (located in North Andover, MA) preserves the past of printing for future generations to understand the impact of printing on today’s world. Showcasing a large collection of letterpress tools and presses, the museum is also proud home to the only collection of historic phototypesetting systems in the world. The 25,000 square-foot museum is also home to one of the largest collections of print-related books, ephemera, and typeface art. The museum contains two 90-foot galleries, a large lobby, a library, and access to the library’s four floors of archival stacks making it an ideal educational field-trip destination for local school systems. For more information, go to www.museumofprinting.org.