June 27, 2005
Library announces publication of oral history,
exhibit, and reception celebrating Cowell Press
By Scott Rappaport
The University Librarys Regional History Project has
announced the publication of The Cowell Press and Its Legacy:
Former UCSC student Felicia Rice
in 1998 with her publication Codex Espangliensis: from
Columbus to the Border Patrol
Photo: Tony Grant
From left, Jasper Rose, William
Everson, and Jack Stauffacher at a reception in the University
Librarys Special Collections in 1976.
This oral history, conducted and edited by book-arts scholar
and UCSC alumnus Gregory Graalfs, focuses on the history and
impact of the legendary Cowell College press at UCSC.
The Cowell Press helped shape the careers and creative lives
of many UCSC students throughout its 30-year history.
Far more than a letterpress print shop where students
could make pretty books, the press was a laboratory to explore
the history of tangible words--whether printed, cut in stone,
or calligraphed, noted Irene Reti, director of the Regional
In addition, the influence of 20th-century literature
and visual art on typography was considered, as well as how
typography was concerned with design principles that can be
applied to film, architecture, and information design.
The new publication features interviews with fine printers
Jack Stauffacher and George Kane, who taught at the press, as
well as former students Aaron Johnson, Peggy Gotthold, Felicia
Rice, and Tom Killion.
The Cowell Press is a legacy of the unique and experimental
quality of the UC Santa Cruz campus--characterized by its early
use of evaluations rather than grades, the emphasis on close
teacher and student contact, and the Farm & Garden project,
Reti observed. The study of bookmaking--of how thoughts
and knowledge are communicated through the vital medium of a
book--fit well within the parameters of such a teaching structure
and the concept of the university envisioned by founders Clark
Kerr and Dean McHenry.
Selected works from the Cowell Press will be on exhibit at
Special Collections in UCSCs McHenry Library this summer.
A reception for the oral history publication will also be held
at Special Collections on Friday, July 15, from 3:30 to 5 p.m.
Admission is free and open to the public. For more information
about the reception or exhibit, call (831) 459-2547.
Copies of the oral history may be ordered from the Regional
History Project by contacting Reti at (831) 459-2847 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The publication is also available online at
library.ucsc.edu/reg-hist/index.html and is available for
viewing at Special Collections.
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