Have you ever walked by the giant iron printing press outside the Library and Airport Lounge and wondered exactly what it is and how it got there?! It is indeed a printing press, if that was your guess! It was made in Boston in the 1830s. Hampshire College President Greg Prince was here at the time we got the press, and the College was trying to develop a book studies program as well as planning a massive library renovation (which sadly never happened, although we were able to make some renovations to the Library recently as part of our Mellon grant to fund a Commons).
This press was at the UMass Renaissance Center, and they generously gifted it to Hampshire College. According to Hampshire Associate Professor of History, James Wald, the intention was to connect Hampshire College’s constant quest for innovation and experimentation with the developments of the past, to show it was part of a spectrum, so they thought the forward-looking library the ideal place to place a historic hand press.
We’re glad it’s here! If you are interested in the book arts or the history of printing, come talk to us in the library, and we can direct you to courses and faculty in the Five Colleges.