Paul Landacre’s Washington Hand Press

The Lindner Collection at the International Printing Museum has numerous gems of printing history. Some of those gems even tell an unique Southern California history. One such example is the Landacre Washington Press.

     The early origins of the press we call The Landacre Press are unknown (although false legend had it that Mark Twain himself printed on it). It was manufactured just prior to the Civil War in Cincinnati and made its way west to California on a wagon. What can be verified is that the press was discovered in 1929 in the famous ghost town of Bodie, California. According to biographer Anthony L. Lehman in his book “Paul Landacre: A Life and A Legacy” the press was found “standing rusted and caked with grime in a ramshackle barn that was being held together more by habit than by nails.” It was found by acclaimed editor and photographer Willard Morgan. Morgan left this press to his friend and fellow artist Paul Landacre in 1930.
Paul Landacre was one of the most acclaimed wood engravers of the twentieth century, known for his technical acumen paired with the artistic beauty of his illustration and prints. His prints are featured in prestigious museum collections throughout the world and his house is a Los Angeles Cultural Historic Landmark. Landacre spent months lovingly restoring and repairing the press that would become his constant companion for the rest of his working life. 

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