The Tampa Book Arts Studio and the entire Florida letterpress community feel a deep sense of loss at the passing of Hal Sterne on October 2, 2010. We at the TBAS had appreciated his books and contributions to the field for decades when we finally met him in 2008, with a visit to his printshop in Sarasota. Hal welcomed us with warmth and wit and we all enjoyed the many treasures and anecdotes we found in every corner of his shop.
Hal’s enthusiasm was infectious, and it was nowhere more in evidence than when he talked about Vandercooks, whether it was the favorite model SP15 in his shop that had gone wandering for years before it found its way back to Hal to roost or offering tips about making adjustments or improvements to another model. He was proud of having helped save the stock and records of the Vandercook Press/Vandersons Company and of his role in owning Vandercook for a time; he enjoyed telling how he had bought the Kelsey Company, which fit in the back of his car by the time he purchased it. And he enjoyed discovering and sharing details of printing history and equipment of all kinds.
Hal encouraged us to participate in celebrating the Vandercook Centennial, and it led us to invite Paul Moxon as well as Hal to the Tampa Book Arts Studio for talks and a workshop to observe the landmark occasion. Though of course he didn't need an introductory course himself, Hal was the first to enroll in Paul's Vandercook Workshop, and he helped make the weekend delightful and memorable.
We mourn the loss and celebrate the contributions of our friend and “neighbor” Hal Sterne. You can find more details of his life and accomplishments at this link: