2011 AAPA Convention:  

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75th Anniversary Celebration in San Francisco

by Ivan Snyder and Dave Tribby

Members of the American Amateur Press Association gathered in California's San Francisco Bay Area to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the group's founding. Convention headquarters was the Crowne Plaza Hotel, located just south of San Francisco International Airport in Foster City, but convention activities, organized by convention co-chairs Dave Tribby and Steve Robison, were held from San Francisco to San Jose.

Thursday evening activities On Thursday, June 30, eighteen AAPA members and spouses kicked off the convention with the traditional Charlie Bush Chinese dinner, held at the 5 Joy Chinese Restaurant in Foster City. The authentic Taiwanese fare was plentiful--dishes just kept coming and coming! After the meal, delegates crossed the street to take a stroll along San Francisco Bay.

Getting ready The first official session got underway Friday morning. Members had a chance to look over a variety of presses brought by Steve Robison. Most prominent was a treadle-operated Pearl, but he also had many table-top presses. Steve also provided the convention's podium, which was made from a type cabinet.

After a welcome by Dave Tribby, everyone in attendance introduced themselves. Among the revelations: George Hamilton joined AAPA in 1948, giving him 63 years in the organization; but Dean Rea joined in 1942, and has been a member for 69 years.

Ivan Snyder handed out official submission forms for the Marge Adams Petrone Limerick Contest. Jack Scott, Mike O'Connor, and Greg McKelvey agreed to judge.

Officer reports were next. President Mike O'Connor led off by reading a report from first vice president Mike Coughlin. Secretary-treasurer Ivan Snyder's report included a handout detailing association income and expenses plus membership statistics. Dean Rea concluded with his official editor's report.

Friday morning activities In the first feature presentation, "Business Ventures in Printing," Matt Kelsey described his book publishing and letterpress printing businesses. Matt is proprietor of Liber Apertus Press, which republishes out-of-print books. He told how he got into book publishing, and described what is involved in getting a book to market. Several impressive volumes were passed around for members to examine. Matt also passed around wedding invitations and business cards--another of his business ventures. Most of his clients for the latter line come from his Matthew Kelsey, Printer website.

Following a brief break, Mike O'Connor presented "AAPA's Future: Increasing the 20." The title refers to the "80/20" rule--the adage that in a typical organization 80% of the work is done by 20% of the members. Mike emphasized his points using a PowerPoint slide presentation that included the results of two on-line surveys of members he recently took. At the end of his presentation he offered this recap:

The talk concluded with a group discussion on how to increase that 20% of members who are active in the AAPA.

Mike's presentation was a natural lead-in for the next feature: a discussion by Dean Rea and Mike about "Pixels in a Pica World." Examples were given of members who are publishing electronically--without presses, paper, or ink. The late J. Hill Hamon pioneered electronic publishing with his Whippoorwill E-Comment. Florida member Hugh Singleton and New York member Dave Griffin continue contributing to the AAPA's E-Journal Archive. Some discussion ensued in the limited time, contrasting electronic amateur journalism with the traditional printed media, and how the AAPA can go about living in both worlds. Dean is editor of the online Author's Bazaar to which both AAPA members and non-members contribute. Mike formats Author's Bazaar and publishes it to a website. He divulged some of the secrets to make this feature as attractive as it is.

Friday afternoon activities The afternoon's activities gave two glimpses of local pursuits in the "real world" via a field trip to San Francisco. First was a tour of Arion Press and M & H Type, led by Matt Kelsey, a former Arion Press employee. Stops there included an exhibition of books published by Arion Press over the years, the pressroom where books are printed, the bindery, and the type foundry where metal type was being cast. Bryan, operating a Monotype Composition Caster, and Dave, operating a Thompson Caster, answered questions from the group as they showed us the operation. Arion Press proprietor Andrew Hoyem talked to the group and answered questions at the end of the tour.

After a drive through San Francisco traffic, the next tour was of the San Francisco Center for the Book. There were two printing projects underway--both on Vandercook presses, and both using Photopolymer plates. There were many type cases and presses available for printing projects.

Saturday morning activities The first presentation on Saturday morning was Peter Schaub's "Memories of Amateur Journalism." Peter joined AAPA in 1965 but as is often the case, life happened; he became busy with other pursuits, and his amateur journalism career--including AAPA membership--was dropped. He rejoined early in 2008, after finding our website, and has become active again. Peter reviewed his participation in ajay as a member both of NAPA and AAPA. His PowerPoint presentation showed copies of his amateur journal, "The Novelty Pressman," which he published as a 16-year-old prep school student. He described interactions with the Wesson family (who lived a bus ride away), receiving letters of encouragement and advice from long-established members, and the joy of attending conventions.

Next on the program was "The Great Debate" between Dean Rea and Ivan Snyder. The old die-hard printers argued AAPA current affairs while setting type from California type cases. During the conversation, they tried to offend almost everyone in attendance--and some who were absent--with their wisecracks. Their final conclusion: the AAPA has something to offer those who are interested in amateur journalism, and the members in turn can offer a lot to the AAPA.

Steve Robison introduced the next presentation: a description of Bay Area Book Artists given by Karen Cutter (Steve's wife) and Linda Stinchfield (who, with her husband Kim Hamilton, joined AAPA at the convention). Karen and Linda showed off BABA members' creative and colorful hand-crafted creations, most of which are very limited editions.

After lunch, Marjorie Wilser, Dave Robison, and Tom Goglio discussed the San Jose Printers' Guild, each from a unique perspective. Their talks and the pictures shown whetted AAPA members' appetites for the visit to History Park on Sunday.

Auction George Hamilton officiated at the auction Saturday afternoon. George not only kept the audience entertained, but the auction turned out to be very successful: proceeds totaled $900! Even so, quite a few AAPA and Guild members escaped with valuable items at truly bargain prices.

Members gathered in the hotel atrium at 5:15 for a group photo, then went on to the pre-banquet social hour.

After dinner, Dave Tribby took to the podium to thank those who helped make the convention a success: President Mike O'Connor, who lined up the out-of-town speakers; all of those speakers, plus the ones who added "local flavor" by describing Bay Area activities; his co-chair Steve Robison; but most of all their wives, Liz and Karen. Maurine Scott interrupted Dave to thank him for his leadership of the convention, which led to a round of applause. Dave next read a message to the convention from "Mr. AAPA," Lee Hawes, who has attended most conventions since 1946 but could not make this year's.

Saturday evening activities Laureate judge George Hamilton announced the 2010-2011 winners, and handed certificates to those who were in attendance: Ivan Snyder, Ron Hylton, Dean Rea, Len Carrick, Greg McKelvey, and Jiyani Lawson.

Mike O'Connor announced the winner of the Marge Adams Petrone Limerick Contest: Susan Petrone--who happens to be Marge's daughter. She won with this entry:

There once was a printer named Liddle
With bad jokes he always would fiddle
    He'd set to type
    Anything he could swipe
How he found it was always a riddle
Mike presented AAPA Stalwart awards "to relatively long-term, current members who have exhibited, over time, that extra effort to promote amateur journalism and the AAPA." The awards, in alphabetical order, went to Leland M. Hawes, Jr., Fred Liddle, Dean Rea, Jack Scott, Ivan Snyder, and David Tribby. Mike also announced the 2011 Russell L. Paxton award for service to amateur journalism, given by The Fossils, will go to AAPA's Ken Davis, publisher of Ken's Lightsome Journal.

The featured speaker for the evening was none other than George W. Hamilton, who spoke on "The Next 75--Get More out of Ajay!" George joined AAPA in 1948 and has a vast knowledge of ajay affairs. The audience became involved as George invited all to tell someone seated next to them some fact about themselves quite apart from their printing or ajay activities. George's point was there are many fascinating but unknown facts about each of us, and how much more fun life could be if we began to discover them.

All that remained after adjournment was more interaction up in the Hospitality Suite, and that went on until close to midnight.

Sunday activities The 2011 convention's final day, Sunday, July 3, included two activities: a visit to History Park in San Jose and a visit to Dave and Liz Tribby's residence and Handset Press.

Arriving members found an abundance of sunny San Jose weather, with just enough shade and breeze to stay comfortable. After a picnic lunch, members meandered over to the Printing Office where Guild members Dave Robison, Marjorie Wilser, Kim Hamilton, Tom Goglio, Steve Robison, and Dave Tribby played host to the visitors. Dave R. demonstrated one of his Multigraph presses, set up to print in Braille. Marjorie demonstrated the F. M. Weiler "Liberty" jobber press--with no throw-off lever. Some members ventured away from the Print Shop to enjoy other features of the park, including a ride on the trolley line.

A short drive brought the group to the home of Dave and Liz Tribby in Sunnyvale. With the purchase of Charlie Hinde's Bean Creek Press in 2003, Dave has an abundance of type, borders, dingbats, and all the other stuff needed for letterpress printing.

In attendance at the convention: Pat Buder, Len & Bette Carrick, Tom Dinan, Raven Erebus, Tom Goglio, George Hamilton, Kim Hamilton & Linda Stinchfield, Ron & Liz Hylton, Matt Kelsey, Jiyani Lawson, Greg & Sally McKelvey, Mike O'Connor, Susan Petrone, Noelle Powell, Dean Rea, Dave Robison, Steve Robison & Karen Cutter, Peter & Connie Schaub, Jack & Maurine Scott, Bob & Mardi Siekmann, Ivan Snyder, Allen Stump, Dave & Liz Tribby, and Marjorie Wilser.

Read more details of the 2011 AAPA Convention in comments posted to the AAPA Information blog, and view over 160 photos in the 2011 convention photo album.

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