The Grabhorn Institute
The Grabhorn Institute was formed in 2000 in order to preserve and perpetuate the use of one of the last integrated typefoundry, letterpress printing, and bookbinding facilities as a living museum and educational center. A nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, it is the owner of Arion Press and M & H Type.
Grabhorn Benefit Dinner with Dana Gioia and Stan Washburn
April 24, 2012 is the date of the Grabhorn Institute Annual Spring Benefit Dinner with poet Dana Gioia and painter Stan Washburn as honored guests. In the gallery at Arion Press, with cocktails, tours of the production facility, and a sit down dinner. Tables at $10,000, $5,000, and $3,000. Individual tickets at $500 (program listing) and $275. Read more and reserve online.
In December 2007, the non-profit Grabhorn Institute assumed stewardship of the fine printer and publisher Arion Press and the typecasting and typesetting business M & H Type. The three branches are co-occupants of the letterpress printing facility in the Presidio National Park in San Francisco and are open to the public Monday through Friday. The combined operation has a staff of fifteen. Of their total revenues, 32 percent is contributed income from Grabhorn Institute supporters and 68 percent is earned income from publishing, printing and design commissions, type sales, and related services. The 2009/2010 budget for Grabhorn Institute-sponsored public programs in preservation and education was $386,712.
The historic printing facility, located in the national park in the Presidio, is open free to the public Monday through Friday (10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) for gallery exhibitions. See Exhibitions.
Public demonstration tours of the letterpress printing shop, bookbindery, and typefoundry are held every Thursday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. or by prior arrangement. Tours last approximately an hour and a half. There is a charge of $7.00 per person, with special rates for groups and evening hours. For reservations call the Grabhorn Institute at (415) 668-2548 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
e-mail Summer program for college book arts students scheduled for August 2012.
The Grabhorn Institute paid apprenticeship programs are designed for those interested in long-term employment and not for a temporary or transitional experience. They provide training in the crafts of typography, letterpress printing, bookbinding, and type casting. Apprentices learn while working on book publishing projects, contract jobs, and type production.
PRINTING & BOOKBINDING
TYPECASTING AND FOUNDRY WORK
Arion Press is not accepting applications at this time.
We wish we could accommodate all the talented and dedicated people who would like to come here to learn book making with us. Currently, we have two apprentices and two journeymen who have completed apprenticeships in the type foundry and two journeymen in the bindery who also completed apprenticeships. These people are also receiving training in the composing room and pressroom from a typographer/printer. We have a master typecaster and a master bookbinder, both part-time, who continue training in their departments. For the present we are not taking on any new apprentices. This situation could change in the future. If you should come to San Francisco, we would be happy to meet you and show you the facility during one of our weekly public tours on Thursday afternoons at 3:00 by reservation. The charge is $7 per person.
Events & Lectures
Events take place in the gallery and frequently sell out. Please call or email to make a reservation.
Thursday, June 28, 2012, 6:00 p.m.: Poet Diana O’Hehir reads from her new book, Walk Me to Schenectady. Refreshments from 5:00 p.m. She is the author of seven volumes of poetry, five novels, and founder of the Creative Writing Program at Mills College. RSVP: 510-647-8841 or email@example.com. Sponsored by Depot Books and the Grabhorn Institute.
Forthcoming Events (dates to be announced): Special Collections Librarian Mark Dimunation of the Library of Congress on “Recreating Jefferson’s Library”; Poetry critic and Stanford University professor emeritus Marjorie Perloff, biographer of poet Frank O’Hara, on O’Hara’s major poem Biotherm, with an exhibition of artist Jim Dine's illustrations for Biotherm, and the participation of Dine and art critic Bill Berkson; Andrew Hoyem on the work of Bruce Rogers, considered the greatest American book designer.
Wednesday, November 16, 6:00 p.m.: How Music Looks: The Printed Page a talk by composer and scholar Charles Boone about revolutionary ideas, beginning in the late 1950s, about the relation of musical notation to the music it represents. Sound and visual examples will abound. Reception beginning at 5p.m.
Tuesday, October 11, 6:00 p.m.: Screening of the documentary film Making Faces: Metal Type in the 21st Century. Making Faces is a fascinating design documentary by Richard Kegler that captures the personality and work process of the late Canadian graphic artist and type designer Jim Rimmer (1931-2010). 45 minutes.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011, 6:00 p.m.: “Charlotte Salomon’s Life or Theater?: A Multimedia Artists’ Book,” a talk by Stanford visiting professor Mary Felstiner on the life of this Nazi-era artist. Working at a feverish pace over two years, the 24 year old refuge documented her Berlin girlhood of the 1920s and 1930s in 1,300 paintings combining image, texts, and musical notation. Three hundred paintings are on view at the Contemporary Jewish Museum through July 31. Felstiner is the world authority on Charlotte Salomon and was awarded the American History Association Award for her 1994 biography of the artist. A reception begins at 5 p.m. RSVP required: (415) 668-2548 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Sponsored by the Grabhorn Institute with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011, 6:00 p.m.: Poet and translator Robert Pinsky. A reading from his recent work and historical selections by former United States Poet Laureate and author of the current Salon “Poem of the Month” feature. RSVP required: (415) 668-2548 or email@example.com. Charge at the door: $10 per person. Refreshments from 5:00 p.m. Sponsored by the Grabhorn Institute with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011: Grabhorn Institute Annual Spring Benefit Dinner. Special guests will be photographer Michael Kenna and Dallas art collector Marguerite Hoffman. In the gallery at Arion Press, with cocktails, tours of the production facility, and a sit down dinner. For ticket prices and details: call the Grabhorn Institute at (415) 668-2548 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or read more about the special guests and the benefit and reserve online.
Thursday, March 10, 2011, in New York City: Exhibition “A Landmark Don Quixote: Books, Prints, Drawings for the Arion Press 2010 edition with artist William T. Wiley,” The Queen Sofia Spanish Institute, 684 Park Avenue, New York. Opening reception, 5 to 8:30 p.m., and lecture, 6 p.m., with William T. Wiley, translator Edith Grossman, and publisher Andrew Hoyem. Exhibition runs through April 20. Lecture RSVP required: email@example.com. Co-sponsored by the Americas Society.
Friday, February 25, 2011, 5:00 to 7:30 p.m.: “ARTseed Students Interpret Don Quixote” Reception and exhibition of work by students from diverse San Francisco backgrounds at the Presidio 2010 summer art camp run by ARTseed. After watching the Arion Press production of its edition of Don Quixote, students made their own Quixote-inspired collages, prints, and puppets on display here. RSVP required: (415) 668-2548 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Sponsored by the Grabhorn Institute with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010:"Sidney Paget’s Sherlock Holmes: Conversation with the Collector" on Tuesday, October 26, 2010. Book collector Glen Miranker will discuss Paget and his association with The Strand Magazine, Sherlock Holmes, and Arthur Conan Doyle. The talk begins at 6 p.m., with refreshments from 5 p.m. RSVP required: (415) 668-2548 or email@example.com. Sponsored by the Grabhorn Institute with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Monday, October 4, 2010: "The King James Bible and the Resonance of American Prose (Melville to Hemingway and Faulkner, Cormac McCarthy and Marilynne Robinson)", a talk by Robert Alter, Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature, University of California, Berkeley. Alter is author of The Bible as Literature and translator of Genesis, Psalms, and Daniel. Monday October 4, 2010, 6:00 p.m. Refreshments from 5:00 p.m. RSVP: 415-668-2548 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Robert Alter’s Pen of Iron: American Writers and the King James Bible available to be signed. Sponsored by the Grabhorn Institute with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010: Exhibition and Reception for Grabhorn Fellows. 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Artist books by the 2010 Fellows will be displayed in the gallery, with a program of comments by the student artists.
Tuesday, April 27, 6:30 p.m. Grabhorn Institute Spring Benefit Dinner with guest of honor Julie Mehretu. Acclaimed American artist Julie Mehretu will be honored at the annual dinner benefiting the non-profit Grabhorn Institute on April 27 at Arion Press. The Benefit is a sit-down dinner for 140 held here in the Arion Press gallery, preceded by cocktails in the pressroom and tours of the production areas. It is known for the excellence of the food and wine, the wit of the artist's remarks, and the brevity of other speeches. For reservations or information call the Grabhorn Institute at (415) 668-2548 or e-mail email@example.com, or read more about the artist and the benefit and reserve online.
Friday, April 30: Jungian analyst John Beebe and others from the San Francisco Jung Institute on “Publishing Jung’s Red Book after Nearly a Century”. Co-sponsored by the Grabhorn Institute and the National Endowment for the Arts. Seating is limited; more information will be posted.
Monday, March 1, 2010. Celebrating the publication of Don Quixote, illustrated by William T. Wiley, with a cocktail reception and a slide lecture on illustrated editions of Cervantes by Dr. Charles Faulhaber, Director of the Bancroft Library: "The Iconography of Don Quixote: A Tour of 350 Years of Printing History", and remarks by artist William T. Wiley. Talk and exhibit supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Gleeson Library at the University of San Francisco.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010. Celebrating Lewis Mitchell, Master Typecaster, on his sixty years of employment at Mackenzie & Harris, aka M & H Type, from 5:30 to 7:30. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the type foundry and pressroom; 1802 Hays Street, The Presidio, San Francisco. Co-sponsored by the Grabhorn Institute and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Monday, October 26, 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. Eric Karpeles, artist and author of the acclaimed new study Paintings in Proust, will give an illustrated talk entitled "My Book is a Painting: How Paintings Informed the Making of Proust's Great Novel". Refreshments at 5:00 p.m., talk at 6:00. Seating is limited, so reserve early. R.S.V.P. 415-668-2548 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Sponsored by the Grabhorn Institute with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Monday, September 21, 5:00 p.m. Inner Light Books publisher Charles Martin talk, “Quaker Publishing: Reviving Lost Classics for the 21st Century”. Inner Light Books publishes books by and about Quakers and books that examine Quaker values. Reception at 5:00 p.m., talk at 6:00 p.m. Sponsored by the Grabhorn Institute with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Friday, August 14, 5:00 p.m. Closing reception and exhibition for the 2009 Grabhorn Fellows, a group of ten outstanding book arts students from around the country, selected by the College Book Art Association. Held concurrently with an exhibition and discussion of the Fellows' artist books in the gallery.
Wednesday, April 22, 6:00 p.m. Grabhorn Institute Spring Benefit Dinner with guest of honor Stephen Shore. The annual benefit is a sit-down dinner in the Arion Press gallery, preceded by cocktails in the pressroom and tours of the production areas. This year's guest of honor was renowned New York photographer Stephen Shore. In 2004, Shore illustrated the Arion Press edition of Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence with thirty-four photographs.
Wednesday, March 11, 5:00 p.m. Talk by noted historian Fred Kaplan, "Abraham Lincoln as a Writer". Professor Kaplan is the biographer of Mark Twain and Henry James and the author of the recent Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer, which is cited as among the latest reading of President Obama. Reception at 5 p.m., talk at 6 p.m. Celebrating the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth. Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Book Club of California, and the Brick Row Book Shop.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009, 6:00 p.m. Book artist and cultural critic Johanna Drucker on "Writing as a Printer, Printing as a Writer". Drucker is the Bernard and Martin Breslauer Professor of Bibliography at UCLA. Her scholarly work includes Sweet Dreams: Contemporary Art and Complicity (2005) and Graphic Design History: A Critical Guide, with Emily McVarish (2008). On display will be a number of Drucker's artist's books with her own writing and images. Sponsored by the Grabhorn Institute with support from the Book Club of California and the National Endowment for the Arts.
2008 Grabhorn Events
Tuesday, December 9, 2008, 5:00 p.m. Celebrate the 400th anniversary of John Milton's birthday (9 December 1608 - 8 November 1674). At 6:00, Andrew Hoyem gives a lecture on “Milton's Paradise Lost Regained”. An exhibition of early and special editions of Paradise Lost, Milton's great work, will include the Baskerville edition as well as the Arion Press typographic limited edition, with commentaries by Blake scholar Robert N. Essick and Milton scholar John Shawcross, and accompanied by our William Blake portfolio. Sponsored by the Grabhorn Institute with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Sunday, October 12, 2008, 6:00 p.m. Novelist Diane Johnson signs and reads from her latest book, Lulu in Marrakech. Johnson is the author of the introduction to the Arion Press edition of The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. Sponsored by Dutton Books.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008, 6:00 p.m. Double-feature screening of legendary films of plays by Samuel Beckett.
See event photos.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008, 6:00 p.m. William Stout on “Collecting Frank Lloyd Wright”, an informal talk by architect and publisher William Stout, with a viewing of rare items from his personal collection of books and graphics by and about Wright. Sponsored by the Grabhorn Institute with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Book Club of California. See event photos.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008, 6:00 p.m. The annual Grabhorn Institute Spring Benefit Dinner. With honored guest William T. Wiley, who has upcoming retrospectives at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., and at the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. See also the special offering of Wiley prints and a drawing.
Tuesday, February 26, 6:00 p.m. Helvetica screening. The documentary by Gary Hustwit, released in 2007 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the type's introduction. Supported by the Book Club of California, the San Francisco Center for the Book and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Friday, January 4, 2008, 5:00 p.m. The premier showings of The Household of Robert Duncan and Jess: An Intimate Portrait of a Legendary Home, a documentary by Christopher Wagstaff and David Fratto, and an excerpt from Peekaboo Flicks, home movies made by Jess, 1981-91. Sponsored by the Grabhorn Institute with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Book Club of California.
2007 Grabhorn Events
September 10, 2007, 6:00 p.m. Printing by R. R. Donnelley is the subject of a talk and display. Chicago printing scholar Kim Coventry gives an illustrated talk on the history of R. R. Donnelley, founded 140 years ago and now the nation's largest printing operation, as part of the Grabhorn Institute Lecture Series.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007, 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. Opening reception for the exhibit “Pj’s on the Qt: selected Tangrams / more pieces to the puzzle”. Tangram is the limited edition press of Jerry Reddan, longtime printer for Arion Press, and has published many wonderful small books of poetry and prose by prominent writers including Jim Dodge and Barry Lopez. The exhibition is sponsored by the Grabhorn Institute and supported by The Book Club of California and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007, 6:00 p.m. Award-winning author Adam Hochschild with an illustrated talk entitled “Twelve Men in a Print Shop”, marking the two hundredth anniversary of Britain’s abolition of the slave trade. The abolition campaign was launched in James Phillips’s print shop in George Yard, London, on May 22, 1787, an event not seen in the anniversary film Amazing Grace. Adam Hochschild is author of Bury the Chains, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for History, and the PEN USA Literary Award for Research Non-Fiction. His appearance is sponsored by the Grabhorn Institute, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Book Club of California, the English-Speaking Union, and PEN USA.
Tuesday April 24, 2007, 6:00 p.m. The Grabhorn Institute Spring Benefit Dinner. Guest of honor: artist John Baldessari. A celebration benefiting the Institute's programs in the history of printing, the art of the book, preservation, and education, including apprenticeships in typecasting, printing, and bookbinding.
March 19 to April 18, 2007. “Jill Oriane Tarlau: Embroidered Bindings.” An exhibition of 22 bindings using rare and luxurious materials by internationally renowned bookbinder Jill Tarlau. Sponsored by the Grabhorn Institute and the Book Club of California with support from the National Endowment of the Arts.
The Grabhorn Institute supports two apprenticeship programs for Arion Press and M & H Type, which provide training in the crafts of typography, letterpress printing, bookbinding, and type casting. These programs are designed to lead to long-term employment. Apprentices learn while working on publishing projects, contract jobs, and production for the two divisions. Read more.
San Francisco is home to a rare survivor from the era of printing from metal: a complete, traditional bookmaking facility that includes the last fully functioning typefoundry in the nation. It is one of the few places in the world where one can see, under one roof, the entire process by which a book is made: from design, casting of type, printing, illustration, and binding. It is comprised of two entities, the Arion Press, a leader in the contemporary fine-press movement that traces its lineage back to 1920 and the illustrious Grabhorn Press, and M & H Type, begun in 1915 with equipment that came to San Francisco for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, some still in operation.
Together, Arion Press and M & H Type employ skills and equipment from every era of printing, but especially letterpress printing. Much of the equipment is of historic value: Monotype typecasting machines, twelve printing presses, a full book bindery, and a vast collection of typefaces and tools passed down from such illustrious San Francisco printers as John Henry Nash and the brothers Edwin and Robert Grabhorn. This equipment is still working and in use.
Such an assemblage of tools, type, and equipment, if dispersed, could
never be reassembled. Yet dismantling this facility seemed inevitable in
1999, when Arion Press and M & H Type lost the lease on a 10,000 square-foot space on Bryant Street in the South-of-Market area,
a result of the influx of dot-com companies into San Francisco. While the business revenue was sufficient to continue publishing activities in smaller quarters,
it was not sufficient to re-house the entire historic factory and to keep it intact in the decades to come. These preservationist responsibilities required ongoing
Therefore, the nonprofit Grabhorn Institute was formed in 2000 to preserve this historic printing resource and ensure its continued use for the benefit of society. Its immediate objectives were support for the move to new quarters in the Presidio of San Francisco and configuring the building to allow public access while setting up an organizational and financial structure for public programs at the facility. Its ultimate objective continues to be the facility's evolution into an educational and cultural center and a living, working museum.
We were extremely fortunate in being chosen as a cultural tenant at the new national park in the Presidio of San Francisco. An architecturally striking 1928 industrial building was renovated for our operation. It is the Presidio's steam plant near the park entrance at Lake Street and 15th Avenue. Our move there began in February 2001 and brought us within a mile of the spot where some of our vintage typecasting equipment was first displayed at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915. As a cultural tenant, we are expected to invite public access. In turn, the Presidio's publications and public relations operations promote the cultural and educational activities at our facility.
In November 2000, our historic assemblage of equipment was designated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as part of "the nation's irreplaceable historical and cultural legacy" under its Save America's Treasures program. We share this honor with such significant Bay Area sites as the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, the stained glass windows in Grace Cathedral, and the Angel Island Immigration Station. This designation has encouraged widespread support for the Grabhorn Institute.
According to National Trust president Richard Moe, "While preservation has traditionally focused on historic buildings and sites, the Save America's Treasures program encompasses culturally diverse documents, artifacts, and even industrial equipment, such as the recent official project designation for the Grabhorn Institute's hot-metal typecasting and letterpress printing operation. Few such operations exist today, and it richly deserves the visibility that the Save America's Treasures program will bring." Moe added that it is "especially gratifying to learn that [the Grabhorn Institute] will now be housed in the historic Presidio."
The Grabhorn Institute received its nonprofit 501(c)(3) designation from the Internal Revenue Service in November 2000. Its tax identification number is 94-3363125. It is named in honor of the Grabhorn brothers, Edwin and Robert, who established their press in San Francisco in 1920 and were the most prominent fine printers in the country for more than forty years.
Andrew Hoyem, Ex-officio
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Philip Bowles, Chairman and Director
Diana Ketcham, Secretary and Director
William P. Barlow, Jr., Treasurer and Director
Nancy Abbey, Director
William T. Buice, III, Director
Leslie Berriman, Director
Kevin King, Director
Helyn MacLean, Director
Wilhelm Oehl, Director
Paul L. Wattis III, Director
Roselyne C. Swig, Director Emeritus
Diana Ketcham, editorial and program director
Lyssa Black, office manager and bookkeeper
Gerald Reddan, master printer and typographer
Lewis Mitchell, master typecaster
Leif Erlandsson, master bookbinder
Blake Riley, printer
Sarah Songer, bookbinder
Rochelle Youk, apprentice bookbinder
Brian Ferrett, typecaster
Christopher Godek, apprentice typecaster
Mark Sarigianis, apprentice typecaster
Thomas Gladysz, sales and marketing
Kaelyn Davis, administrative assistant
The Grabhorn Institute is a nonprofit organization that was formed in 2000 for the purpose of preserving and continuing the use of one of the last integrated typefoundry, letterpress printing, and bookbinding facilities, and operating it as a living museum and educational and cultural center. As a 501(c)(3) organization, contributions are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. To make a secure online donation now, please click here, or you may print, fill out, and mail in a contribution form with your donation.
Building 1802 in the Presidio is marked on the map below in yellow. Click on the map for a larger view or click here for a map of the entire Presidio (note: this map does not reflect current construction).
Directions: We are located just inside the Presidio entrance on 14th Avenue off of Lake Street, on the Richmond/Sea Cliff southern side of the Presidio. Once inside the entrance, proceed to the stop sign in front of the Public Health hospital. To the right of the hospital is a tall smokestack, which is Arion Press, building 1802. Turn right at the stop sign onto Wedemeyer and follow the road up and around to the left, where it becomes Hays Street. Parking is available in front of our building and around the small public park on Brown Street and Belles Street (see map).
From downtown: Go west on California Street to Fifteenth Avenue, turn right and continue across Lake Street, enter the Presidio, and proceed as above.
For questions, suggestions, or to discuss making a contribution to the Grabhorn Institute, please contact Andrew Hoyem or Diana Ketcham at:
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