2010 AAPA Convention:  

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Concurrent Conventions Near Chicago

by Ivan Snyder and Dave Tribby

The American Amateur Press Association and the National Amateur Press Association made history by holding concurrent conventions on the same dates — Thursday, July 22 through Sunday, July 25 — and at the same site in the Chicago suburb of Elk Grove Village, Illinois.

Mike O'Connor took the unprecedented action of naming the site for the AAPA convention in August 2009, two months before he was elected AAPA president. Mike noted, "Barry Schrader is heading up the event for AAPA (and actually doing yeoman's work for both organizations in getting things set up). It'll be a first in that we'll be sharing facilities with NAPA." Barry worked with NAPA secretary-treasurer Bill Boys on convention planning.

Delegates from both organizations began arriving Wednesday afternoon. They checked in to the Chicago–Elk Grove Sheraton Suites and then found their way to the registration table and hospitality room.

NAPA members started their convention program Thursday morning, with the first of three daily business sessions mandated by their constitution. Twenty-one NAPA (including joint NAPA/AAPA) members were in attendance, plus one AAPA-only visitor. (In contrast to the NAPA, which must conduct its official business during its convention, the AAPA does business by mail and uses the convention for presentations on topics of interest.)

There were 38 in attendance at the Charlie Bush Chinese dinner on Thursday evening, held at the Peapod Restaurant just down the street from the Sheraton.

Convention chair Barry Schrader kicked off the opening session of the AAPA 2010 Convention at 9:06 am on Friday morning. After welcoming all the participants and noting several administrative details, he turned the podium over to President Mike O'Connor. AAPA officers giving reports

Mike asked each of the 19 persons present to give a brief introduction. He then asked the officers present to come forward and give their reports.

First VP Mike Coughlin described his efforts to recruit new members, including a poster (printed by Mike O'Connor) that was distributed to about 50 book arts organizations. He encouraged all members to share recruiting ideas with him.

Secretary-Treasurer Ivan Snyder distributed and then commented upon a 3-page report about AAPA finances and membership. So far this fiscal year (October 2009 to June 2010), the expenses of $3,804 were $91 ahead of income — and the deficit would have been much worse if there hadn't been $851 in donations. Membership has dropped from 260 to 246 during the same period.

Mike read a report from Official Editor Dean Rea, who promised to have full-color 40-page issues of AAJ during AAPA's 75th year. Dean will cut costs by making the volume only available on-line.

Board of Directors chair Lee Hawes noted there would be a special award during The Fossils' luncheon at noon.

Webmaster Dave Tribby noted that one glitch during the year — a report by a Hotmail user of receiving spam from AAPA — was successfully dealt with.

President O'Connor then handed out the results of a bundle survey he took about changing the AAPA logo. One of the responders turned in a logo drawn by Michael Silberman in 1971, and a number of delegates thought it was a good alternative.

Ron Hylton gave the first featured presentation of the morning: "ETAOIN is My Love." Ron learned how to run a Linotype in high school. He held a variety of positions as a professional printer until it became financially unviable in the late 1980s. At that Ron Hylton and Susan Petrone point he went into the mortuary business (he had done printing for 14 funeral homes and was comfortable with the business). He kept Intertype and Ludlow casting machines and two Heidelberg presses for his own printing needs. A few years ago he found AAPA on the Web, and after he met Ivan Snyder in nearby Portland he knew AAPA was the place for him. It gives him a reason to compose essays on the Intertype keyboard, just like old weekly newspapers. At the conclusion of his talk, he played a ten minute video showing his print shop.

During the second featured presentation of the morning, Susan Petrone went on-line and showed ten different Web sites that allow you to do things that you cannot do on paper. There are a lot of new tools available for communication, so she urged members to take advantage of these in addition to the ones we already use.

Because there was some time available at the end of the morning session, Ivan Snyder used Susan's computer to demonstrate how to access the AAPA 2010 convention photo album, the convention blog, and the AAPA online membership directory.

Both NAPA and AAPA were well represented among the 29 people who attended The Fossils Appreciation Luncheon at noon on Friday. Awards at The Fossils luncheon Following lunch, Lee Hawes announced AAPA secretary-treasurer Ivan Snyder as the recipient of the 2010 Russell L. Paxton Award. Fossil president Guy Miller described the Gold Composing Stick award, and introduced the previous recipient, Dave Tribby, who presented this year's award to Stan Oliner, NAPA's librarian and a Fossil director. (Stan is on the Golden Composing Stick committee, but had been kept in the dark as to his selection. He was the most surprised person in the room.) Convention chair Barry Schrader took the floor to announce a special award, an actual fossil bone mounted on a plaque, to be presented by both AAPA and NAPA presidents (Mike O'Connor and Jack Visser). George Hamilton then described the many activities of "Fossil of the Century" recipient Guy Miller.

Twenty-five AAPA and NAPA tourists braved the heat and toured the downtown Chicago area by bus on Friday afternoon. The first stop, the Chicago Tribune building, where banquet speaker and Tribune reporter Ray Gibson welcomed the visitors, has on its exterior bricks from famous buildings around the world. A short continuation of the bus trip brought the tourists to the Navy Pier Park. The final stop was a view of the Chicago skyline. Throughout the trip, the narrator on the bus pointed out the sites the bus passed.

Members of both groups gathered in the hospitality room Friday evening for relaxed visiting, typesetting, and the viewing of two videos. The first one, Typeface, was a feature-length documentary about the Hamilton Wood Type Museum of Two Rivers, Wisconsin. The second video was excerpts from the movie Seven Pounds, and extra clips from the DVD featuring the presses in that movie and Mark Barbour giving some information about those presses and other machines in the International Printing Museum in Carson, California.

The Saturday morning AAPA session started off with Bundle Stimulus Czar Joe Diachenko reviewing the campaign to stimulate bundle activity. The results have been encouraging as members heretofore unrepresented in our bundles—and some who have Joe Diachenko and Sky Shipley been silent for a long, long time—have caught the spirit, and produced interesting journals for the bundles. Joe's presentation also stimulated an active discussion about topics that might spark more bundle activity and how to assist those in the organization for whom printing a journal is a new and unfamiliar activity. Joe made the point that it is not that big of a project to put words onto paper for anyone with a word processing program. This does not need to take the form of a deluxe paper such as "Gator Growl" or "Oregun."

The next presentation was by former AAPA president Schuyler ("Sky") Shipley. Sky gave a brief history of the manufacture of metal type, including foundries that have been leaders in type casting, and the foundries active in casting today. His discussion then turned to his own venture in casting: how he got involved, the current status of Skyline Type Foundry, and the future outlook for type casting. In a nutshell, the future looks very encouraging to keep the art of letterpress alive.

President Mike O'Connor then took the podium to acknowledge the presence of former AAPA president Ed Carter and announce the two winners of the Marge Adams Petrone Limerick Contest. Only one of the submitters was present to receive an award: Tom Parson, the second place winner. Johanna presents Laureate Awards Mike then called on Johanna Shipley, chairman of the Laureate Committee, to announce this year's Laureate Awards. Several winners were present to receive their certificates: Michael Coughlin, Peter Schaub, Arie Koelewyn and Lee Hawes.

Following a brief break, the partition between the NAPA and AAPA meeting rooms was folded back in preparation for a discussion among the combined group. The theme centered largely on the feasibility of having concurrent conventions. One prominent concern: with AAPA and NAPA sessions being conducted concurrently, those with membership in both groups were forced to decide which sessions to attend. Both groups could have benefited from being present at the other group's sessions. Some suggested "staggering" the sessions—alternating between NAPA and AAPA. (There did not seem to be any serious consideration given to Sky Shipley's suggestion to hold the sessions in the bar so that all would be staggering.) Members of both groups participated in the discussion, and it is hoped that this year's experiment and the resulting discussions will be a significant step toward achieving greater cooperation between the two groups. Auction action

The Saturday afternoon combined NAPA-AAPA auction went smoothly, even with new paperwork required to note how the proceeds from each item would be split among AAPA, NAPA, and the seller. The work of eliciting bids from the audience alternated between NAPA auctioneer Dave Warner (assisted by daughter Alice Brosey) and AAPA auctioneer Sky Shipley (assisted by wife Johanna). Kay Schrader, Bill Boys, and Ken Faig kept records of bids and accounts payable. Over 100 lots were sold during two and a half hours of bidding, raising a total of $1,850. AAPA received $786.50, NAPA $725.80, and sellers $337.70. Delegates at AAPA/NAPA 2010 conventions

At 5:30 pm, the group pictures were taken in front of the hotel. By the time the photo shoot was finished, it was about time for the banquet to begin.

After the meal, Barry Schrader introduced our speaker for the evening, Ray Gibson, an investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune. Barry noted Ray's strong interest in the Civil War and then presented him with a framed page of an 1860s edition of the Chicago Tribune — containing the news reports of the Battle of Harper's Ferry. Ray spoke about the practices of journalists: how they worked with each other, the changing customs and dress code throughout the years, and some examples of political shenanigans that have been exposed by investigative journalism.

Closing remarks were delivered by the presidents of each association. NAPA's Jack Visser held up a cut showing a train with passengers having a party and a banner "Party Special." Jack felt this convention has been a Special Party — an historic meeting bringing together the two major branches of amateur journalism, people who practice the hobby with spirit and devotion. AAPA's Mike O'Connor noted both associations face the common problem of recruiting new members and developing new leaders. Both have similar bundles, Official Organs, and conventions. The main difference is the way business is done. The stalwarts in the associations have grown up with the unique traditions of each group. Changing those traditions may be tough, but will refusing to change lead to our end?

Sixteen participants were available Sunday morning to make the hour-long drive north to the Platen Press Museum in Zion, Illinois, which is owned by Paul Aken. Platen Press Museum Paul had a two-color Vandercook cylinder press set up to print posters, and a Columbian hand press upon which members could print a souvenir that included an 1890s woodcut. He had cast commemorative convention slugs on his Ludlow, and individual Linotype slugs with each person's name. The museum was chock full of all kinds of presses, typecasters, Multigraph equipment, composing sticks, books, and just about everything else associated with letterpress printing.

Bill Boys hosted lunch at the nearby Stone Creek Grill for the museum visitors and also its staff. After the meal, Paul talked to the group about his museum and answered questions.

Those attending the convention: Gary Bossler, Bill & Ruth Boys, Marc & Alice Brosey, Ed Carter, Joe Diachenko, Sean Donnelly, Ken & Carol Faig, George Hamilton, Lee Hawes, Ron & Liz Hylton, Lisa Brandstetter Holt, William Justice, Michelle Klosterman, Arie Koelewyn, Michael Langford, Jiyani Lawson, Jon McGrew, Guy Miller, Mike O'Connor, Stan Oliner, Tom Parson, Stan Pekala, Susan Petrone & Ella Daugherty, Peter Schaub, Barry & Kay Schrader, Jack & Maurine Scott, Sky & Johanna Shipley, Harold Shive, Ivan Snyder, Dave & Liz Tribby, Jack Visser, David & Melody Warner, Jake & Leah Warner, and Tom Whitbread.

Read more details of the 2010 AAPA Convention in comments posted to the AAPA Information blog, and view over 100 photos in the 2010 convention photo album. You can also view over 200 photos in Gary Bossler's ChicagoCon2 album.

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