2003 AAPA Convention:

2003 AAPA Convention

by David M. Tribby

The 2003 convention of the American Amateur Press Association was held June 5 through 8 in Tampa, Florida, chaired by Lee Hawes and Fred Liddle. Members, family, and friends from across the country gathered at the Doubletree Hotel to discuss hobby issues, honor award winners, catch up with old friends...and make new ones.

About thirty were on hand Thursday evening for the first event of the weekend: the Charlie Bush Chinese dinner, held at Hao Wah.

By the next day, Linda Donaldson had digital pictures of the dinner, plus more shots from the hospitality suite, posted to the Web. She updated her site throughout the weekend, the first time an ongoing AAPA convention received Internet coverage.

Friday, June 6

The main program got underway Friday morning with a welcome from Fred Liddle. He invited each person to tell who they were.

Following the introductions, Lee Hawes called on officers to give their reports.

Dave Tribby and Les Boyer discussed AAPA on the Web. Dave reviewed AAPA's Web presence going back to 1994, noting how the site evolved from a simple recruiting page to one with more content, primarily about letterpress printing. Les estimated the pool of available letterpress printers is fairly small, and there must be many more desktop publishers. He would like to see desktop publishing referenced on the home page, backed up by content that desktoppers would find interesting. Dave agreed with Les's assessment, and called for volunteers to help put a new section together. An interactive discussion followed, with Susan Petrone volunteering to help reformat AAPA's site, and Les agreeing to write a page on desktop publishing.

Ivan Snyder closed out the morning session with a description of the Portland, Oregon, Independent Publishing Resource Center, a grassroots organization that facilitates small publishers by providing access to resources and tools...including a small letterpress shop.

After lunch, Lee Hawes introduced two bibliophile experts from the Tampa area. Jay Dobkin explained his long-term fascination with putting together book collections, and his ability to find treasures at garage sales and book stores. Richard Mathews, of the University of Tampa Press, described the evolution of the Peter Pauper Press.

Following a short break, Tom Whitbread discussed the poetry of Al Fick and provided dramatic readings of several poems. Tom noted the poetry is direct--the opposite of inflated. Al includes keenly observed, incisive details.

J. Hill Hamon and Fred Liddle offered suggestions on ``how not to run out of copy.'' Anyone who can sit down and have a conversation in person should be able to translate those same thoughts to the printed page.

The last event of the afternoon, an ajay quiz prepared by Les Boyer, challenged participants to match 20 quotes from the bundle with a list of publishers and publications. Dave Tribby won the prize--a jar of orange marmalade--with a perfect score of 40.

Friday evening's dinner was a Spanish buffet at Valencia Garden restaurant.

Saturday, June 7

Lee Hawes kicked off the Saturday session at 9am by introducing long-time friend Jim Anderson, a native Floridian and professional printer. Jim fulfilled a long-held dream to show the creative side of the printing trade when he opened the Olde Mill House Gallery and Printing Museum in Homosassa. He shared letters from some of the student visitors, who explained what they learned when visiting the museum.

Hugh Singleton and Bob Hodges related their impressions upon returning to amateur journalism after a prolonged absence. Both joined as teenagers, showed some activity, dropped out when they went into the armed services, then rejoined in the past couple of years when they rediscovered the association. Hugh found AAPA to be even friendlier now than when he left in the early 1950s: he received about eight welcoming letters when he rejoined. Bob saw decreased use of letterpress in the bundles, but said that electronic publishing can be just as creative.

Glenn Simpson described going from a hand-powered 6.5 by 9 Pilot press to a motor-driven 12 by 18 C&P. He and Shirley are fairly new printers, and were slowly building up their inventory of printing equipment when he visited a printer who was going out of business. After no other home could be found for the press, they decided it would fit in their garage. Using a big, powered press presents new challenges: paper feeding must accurately fit the rhythm of the press; the forms are much heavier; and cleanup is more difficult. But he noted the big press is much more precise than the small one.

Susan Petrone, the final morning speaker, talked about ``The mouse and the composing stick: Learning printing backwards.'' As a professional in communications and publications, she learned all about editing and design for offset printing and the Web. Recently, she took a Digital Letterpress class, where students turned a computer design into a magnesium plate that was printed on a Vandercook press. Since then, she has used foundry type and a small platen press to do some printing...and found that getting back to letterpress basics has given her a greater depth of knowledge than those who only use a computer. She closed with 11 reasons to learn handset type and letterpress.

Guy Miller, current president of The Fossils, Inc., welcomed people to the 100th annual Fossils' Luncheon. There was no official business (other than presenting the Hyman Bradofsky Memorial door prize to Jack Scott), and Fossils and non-Fossils were welcome to enjoy good conversation.

About 2pm, auctioneer Sky Shipley (assisted by wife Johanna) started the annual AAPA auction. Over the next 2 hours and 10 minutes, he moved over 90 lots of merchandise for a total of $1,032.


Delegates reconvened in the evening for the banquet. Lee Hawes noted there were over 35 members and guests in attendance at the convention. He announced the winner of the AAPA Ex-Presidents' Award for a new or revived paper: Robert and Jean Hodges (Typewriter Writes) were on hand to accept the applause and congratulations of their fellow members.

President Sky Shipley also had an announcement: Glenn and Shirley Simpson of Montrose, Colorado, have volunteered to host the next AAPA convention. The dates will be September 23 - 26, 2004.

Guy Miller spoke about The Fossils. The organization--known as ``the historians of amateur journalism''--is not tied to any particular ajay group. It sponsors the Library of Amateur Journalism and makes several recognition awards. Guy introduced Ronald Young, chair of the committee for selecting the recipient of the Russell L. Paxton Award for Service to Amateur Journalism. Ron described the accomplishments of the winner: our own convention chairman, Lee Hawes. Lee thanked Ron, and noted that Russ was host of the first AAPA convention that Lee attended in 1947.

On a lighter note, Lee announced that Sky Shipley placed first in the Limerick Contest, and presented him with a jar of orange marmalade. Runners-up were Shirley Simpson and Ivan Snyder. J. Hill Hamon proposed the competition be renamed the Marge Petrone Limerick Contest, in memory of its originator; the group concurred. The three winners:

The annual convention is here!
The room is alive with good cheer.
    Hospitality prevails--
    J. Hill's telling tales,
And Fred is in search of a beer.
Said a lady who does letterpress,
"I confess that I am in distress.
    My press went on the blink
    and threw globs of ink
It sure made a mess of my dress."
A printer in in Redding, named Len,
Prints more than ten normal men.
    But so as not to injure
    His apprentice, named Ginger,
He kept her locked up in a pen.

To close out the evening, Jack Scott described his observations from a recent trip he and Maurine took to New Zealand--including his recreation of a native dance.

Sunday, June 8

Nineteen hangers-on showed up for the Sunday afternoon picnic at the home of Fred & Betty Liddle, and seven were still on hand for the final event of the weekend, a pizza dinner at Lee Hawes' house.

Attendees (* indicates member): Jim Anderson*, Jack Bond*, Les* & Elaine* Boyer, Don Brady*, Dick* & Betty* Branch, Mike Daugherty & Susan Petrone*, Jay Dobkin, Linda Donaldson*, J. Hill Hamon*, Lee Hawes*, Bob* & Jean* Hodges, L.W.* & Twyla Lawson, Fred* & Betty Liddle, Richard Mathews, Guy* & Annabel* Miller, Mike O'Connor*, Bob Osmond*, Jack* & Maurine Scott, Sky* & Johanna* Shipley, Glenn* & Shirley* Simpson, Hugh* & Jean* Singleton, Ivan Snyder*, Sue Tihansky, Dave Tribby*, Jack Walsh, Helen Wesson*, Tom Whitbread*, and Ron Young*.

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