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Elm Tree Press Records

 Collection
Identifier: mss-070

Scope and Content Note

The Elm Tree Press Papers reflect the Rudge-Dothard-Teagle period of operation; they span the years 1942-1970. Of this period, the Teagle years, 1957-1971, are the most fully represented. Nothing of the Dana family ownership is contained in the collection. It is arranged in 3 series.

Series I, which is the bulk of the collection, consists of job order tickets, 1942-1966. The tickets are arranged numerically from JO #2 (there is no JO #1). The numerical arrangement is also a chronological arrangement. Carton 1 contains a master card file which lists jobs alphabetically by customer and several notebooks listing jobs by order number. The job tickets carry such information as customer's name, type of job, cost of job, and they contain a mock-up, samples of the finished product and sometimes correspondence between printer and customer.

Series II - Office Papers is broken into six subseries: (1) Accounting contains summary financial statements, ledger sheets, petty cash books and other financial records. These files are arranged by type and are listed individually in the inventory below. (2) Payroll consists of payroll books, payroll sheets, and individual record cards. These items are arranged by type and are listed below. (3) Taxes is largely composed of state and federal tax forms; there is some tax related correspondence and printed matter contained as well. This subseries is arranged either by tax form or type of material. (4) Bills and Receipts cover the years 1966-1968 and are arranged alphabetically. (5) Invoices cover 1966 only and are arranged alphabetically. (6) Special Files consists mainly of correspondence pertaining to specific company matters such as organization concerns, rent. These files are listed individually below.

Series III - Printing Samples is further divided into File Sets and Miscellaneous Printing Samples. The File Sets represent an entire production run produced for a particular customer over a number of years. These are for the most part booklets, magazines and pamphlets. (The file set of Weston Playhouse programs is complete save for the 1949 run which was destroyed by fire.) Miscellaneous Printing Samples consists of brochures or advertisements, a few pamphlets and booklets; these are arranged by company or type of item. See the inventory below. (Note: a number of these printing specimens are charred, partially burned and brittle.)

Dates

  • 1942-1970

Creator

Access

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Manuscripts.

Historical Note

The Elm Tree Press was established in 1907 by the Dana brothers of Woodstock, Vermont. Housed in what had for a century been the family's dry goods store, the Press combined the fine printing of literary and scholarly titles with practical, local job printing.

Edward C. and Joseph L. Dana supervised the daily operation of the Press; editorial and other assistance was provided by Charles Loomis Dana, a New York City neurologist and John Cotton Dana, librarian of the Newark (New Jersey) Public Library.

The fine printing of the Dana years consisted of translations of the classics, mainly of Horace, and titles on librarianship - such as "The Library and the Librarian" by Edmund Lester Pearson, "The Training of the Librarian" by Friedrich Adolph Ebert, and the hoax pamphlet "The Old Librarian's Almanack" - and Vermont topics, including "The Elm Tree Monthly", published from 1913 to 1918.

William Edwin Rudge bought Elm Tree from the Danas in 1942. Rudge had learned the trade from his father who owned and operated the Printing House at Mount Vernon, New York. After his apprenticeship, the younger Rudge and his brothers established a printshop in New York City; he later joined Yale University Press in New Haven, Connecticut.

While in New Haven, Rudge founded "PRINT, A Quarterly Journal of the Graphic Arts" with Robert L. Dothard of Brattleboro, Vermont. When Rudge bought Elm Tree the journal's headquarters was moved to Woodstock where it was produced until 1953.

Two of Rudge's partners in the Elm Tree Press, Philip Hofer and Ray Nash, were involved in fine printing and graphics: Hofer as director of the Department of Printing and Graphics at Harvard College Library, and Nash as director of Dartmouth's Graphic Arts Workshop. A third partner, Morris Cone, was president of the Hartford Woolen Co., Hartford, Vermont.

Elm Tree went bankrupt in 1950 and Rudge sold out to Robert L. Dothard. Frank H. Teagle, who had joined the company in 1946, acquired ownership in 1957. Teagle had learned the trade from his uncle, Frank B. Berry, of the American Type Founders Company and from Horace Carr in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1971 Teagle sold the Elm Tree Press to Jerome S. Anderson who had owned and operated the Island Press in the Virgin Islands.

Although some fine printing was done by ETP during the Rudge-Dothard-Teagle period (Wilkie Collins' "The Moonstone" and "The Woman in White", for example, printed for the Limited Editions Club) job printing became the mainstay. Over half the production of the fifties and sixties went to out of state customers. This work consisted of pamphlets, booklets, school bulletins - those for Deerfield and Andover winning printing awards during the Dothard years - newsletters or journals printed for national professional organizations such as the American Association on Indian Affairs. At the same time a steady stream of smaller jobs was turned out: letter, note and bill heads, programs, church bulletins, advertising circulars. Elm Tree's Vermont customers included the Woodstock Inn, the Woodstock Country School, Weston Playhouse, the Woodstock Congregational Church, Experiment in International Living, R.L. Dothard Associates and Wark Associates of White River Junction.

Several months after the Anderson purchase, fire broke out in the ceiling at the rear of the printshop. Boxes of type, specimen files and office papers were destroyed or damaged as a result. Anderson moved from the gutted Elm Street location to West Woodstock where he constructed a new building for the Elm Tree Press. In 1974 he sold the business to Roland and Paul Gagnon. Elm Tree Press is still in operation, owned and managed by Paul Gagnon.

Extent

100 Linear Feet (99 cartons, 2 boxes)

Abstract

The Elm Tree Press Papers reflect the Rudge-Dothard-Teagle period of operation; they span the years 1942-1970. Of this period, the Teagle years, 1957-1971, are the most fully represented. Nothing of the Dana family ownership is contained in the collection. It consists of 99 cartons and 2 archive boxes and is arranged in 3 series.

Location

Library Research Annex; contact uvmsc@uvm.edu for access.

Creator

Title
Guide to the Elm Tree Press Records
Status
Completed
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the University of Vermont Libraries, Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Silver Special Collections Library
48 University Place, Room B201
Burlington Vermont 05405 U.S.A. US
(802) 656-2138
(802) 656-4038 (Fax)