Texas Tech University

Letterpress Studio

Letterpress StudioThe Letterpress Studio is a workspace dedicated to the teaching and practice of handpress production and book history, located in room 307 of the English/Philosophy building. Our apprenticeship training program uses a combination of online readings and quizzes, and in-person demonstrations and exercises, to give students a responsible and comprehensive introduction to the practice of printing by hand. We welcome students, faculty, guests, and members of the Texas Tech and surrounding communities who wish to have a firsthand experience of the stages of book, chapbook, and broadside production by hand: typesetting, printing, folding, binding, etc.

The scope of the Letterpress Studio is both curricular and extracurricular: students in relevant book history and creative writing courses utilize the studio's training and resources for class projects; faculty from a variety of departments bring their classes to our space for workshops and demonstrations on printing history and practice; we use it to print broadsides for visiting and resident writers and artists, and to collaborate with Texas Tech's Fine Arts department and local arts organizations. Our goal is to work towards responsible, accessible printing-related outreach to local schools and community organizations.

Spring 2021 Open Studio Hours

Days Times
Monday TBD
Tuesday TBD
Wednesday TBD
Thursday TBD
Friday TBD

Cornel West poster printed and designed by Joya Mannan


Please direct all inquiries to letterpress@ttu.edu.

Our History

A few years ago, faculty and students of the English Department's specializations in Book History, Creative Writing, and Technical Communication, with the help of the English Department, the Department of Fine Arts, and of Texas Tech's Rare Books and Special Collections Library, began to assemble an assortment of materials and equipment associated with printing and bookmaking: pieces of moveable type, a small Adana tabletop press, binding frames, and other items. We found ourselves carting these items into our classrooms for demonstrations on the history of early modern book production, or examples of creative process for contemporary artists' books or letterpress publications. Our students embraced this hands-on approach to learning, and we soon realized that, with a centralized location for our printing and bookmaking efforts, we could develop a sustainable curriculum for teaching letterpress and the history of material texts. We found a room in the English Department building, and some old tables and chairs via Texas Tech's Surplus Department, and the Letterpress Studio was launched.

Letterpress in the Student Union BuildingIn early December of 2010, we acquired a working, nineteenth-century cast-iron Ostrander Seymour Washington Press, brought it to the department, and set it up with the help of many willing hands.

In January of 2011, George and Rebecca Fitzpatrick generously donated printing equipment and materials from the defunct Lubbock business, Deluxe Business Cards, which had been owned by Rebecca's brother Richard Marshall. Again with the help of many willing hands (and cars and pickup trucks!), we went over to the old shop on 19th Street and brought back tons of type, typecases, galley trays and cabinets, and many other treasures necessary for a working printshop.

Working with TTU's Rare Books and Special Collections Library, we received a Helen Jones Foundation grant that enabled us to purchase a replica Civil War campaign press, and more materials for the teaching of book history. We've also been given donations of printing equipment, paper, and other supplies from other individuals.

The Letterpress Studio is a work-in-progress: we are still collecting necessary equipment and supplies to one day make it representative of the complete process of handpress book production. Many of the things we need are old and hard to locate; many are also unwanted in today's climate of industrialized and electronic publication. Our resources for purchasing them are limited, so we welcome any and all donations—we are happy to haul away any unneeded printing equipment and supplies.Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader poem