March 25, 2004
LEWISBURG, Pa. — An exhibit in the Special Collections Library of the Paterno Library at Penn State University celebrates the publications of the Press of Appletree Alley in Lewisburg, owned and operated by Barnard Taylor.
The press closed its doors in 2002 with the printing of a bibliography that highlights the work of a printer/publisher who sought to meet the ideals of a truly private press.
For 21 years, Appletree Alley was home to the printing shop set up by Barnard Taylor in 1981. The Press of Appletree Alley was a vital center for promoting letterpress printing and relief illustration.
It was a privately owned, independent, break-even establishment that enjoyed significant collaboration with Bucknell University, printing a yearly series of books by the Bucknell poet-in-residence, including Colette Inez, Maxine Kumin, William Matthews, Mary Oliver, Molly Peacock and Afaa Weaver. The books published by the press are now in the hands of collectors, libraries, and universities throughout the world.
Barnard Taylor established the press after many years spent as an artist and a graphic designer. His retirement as public relations director at the Geisinger Medical Center allowed him to become a full-time printer, and he set up his printing press in a converted two-car garage located on Appletree Alley.
Taylor provided the creative and artistic direction for the press, attracting others interested in the book arts to work with him in the achievement of his vision. For each book, the content, layout, paper, typeface, and the approach to binding were chosen by him.
As others — community members and student apprentices — expressed interest and were drawn into the work of the press, Taylor looked at the talents they brought and encouraged their artistic development in support of press activities.
The exhibit, curated by Sandra Stelts, features 36 books from the holdings of Rare Books and Manuscripts, as well as wood engraving blocks, preliminary sketches, and mock-ups on loan from Barnard Taylor. The Special Collections Exhibit Hall, 104 Paterno Library, is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. through May 30