Wednesday, April 25, 2012

With Great Thanks To Leland Hawes

The Tampa Books Arts studio would like to thank retired Tampa Tribune columnist and longtime hobby printer Leland Hawes for his recent donation of his collection of letterpress equipment.

Studio of Leland Hawes
Included in the gift is an 8 x 12-inch Chandler and Price New Series Press, four type case cabinets, more than 80 type cases filled with foundry type of various faces in several sizes, more than 100 old graphic engravings mounted on wood or metal bases, several sets of decorative initials, galleys, leads and slugs, and miscellaneous auxiliary supplies for letterpress printing.

Leland has been editing and printing seriously since he joined the Florida Boy Editors in 1940, when he was twelve years old.  He produced the "Flint Lake Diver" on a mimeograph about twice a month for the next two years, selling subscriptions to neighbors and relatives in Thonotasassa for five cents a month. In 1942 he joined the American Amateur Press Association (AAPA), a national group of printing enthusiasts who publish and circulate journals among themselves. That year Leland also founded his own journal, "The Gator Growl," and it recently passed the 150-issue milestone.

He took the plunge into letterpress printing in the early 1960s with a Sigwalt tabletop press, and in 1966, when he heard that Gene Hancock had a Chandler and Price press for sale, he bought it.  He remembers the day that Gene moved it into his garage using a combination of pry bars and pipes.  

Though Leland sometimes referred to the press as “that monster in my garage," he seemed to have tamed it. Two young local printing enthusiasts, Dave Tribby and Jerry Thomas, gave him tips and coached him on how to operate the press. He used it to print “Only On Sunday,” the journal of the Suncoast Amateur Press Society (or “SAPS”). Local members included Fred Liddle, Jack Bond, Picot Floyd, and Frank Spear. Friends from other parts of Florida, like Sheldon and Helen Wesson and J. Ed Newman, would attend meetings when they could.