UK Happenings

King Library Press Hammer International Book Arts Biennale welcomes printer Richard Kegler

black and white photo of Victor Hammer's hands working on a press
Photo courtesy of Wells College Library Archive of printer Victor Hammer.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 4, 2022) — Join the University of Kentucky Libraries’ King Library Press for the 2022 Hammer International Book Arts Biennale with letterpress expert and independent scholar Richard Kegler and his presentation honoring the legacy of prominent printer, Victor Hammer.

Kegler will kick off the weekend with the free public lecture, “Victor Hammer, The Man from Uncial” at 7-8:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11, in the Great Hall of the Margaret I. King Library Building. The next morning, Kegler will host “A Letterpress Workshop,” alongside King Library Press Director Paul Holbrook, Ph.D., running from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12.

Richard Kegler formed the independent digital type house P22 Type Foundry in 1994 and after starting the nonprofit Western New York Book Arts Center in Buffalo, New York, he became the director of the Wells College Book Arts Center in Aurora, New York. Kegler has spent his career combining an interest in traditional printing crafts with entrepreneurial initiatives. His current project Dry Inc. focuses on pre-digital letterpress printing technologies, typography and new printing tool development. Kegler is the co-author and designer of several books on typography and the producer of the documentary film: “Making Faces, Metal Type in the 21st Century.”

During Friday’s lecture, Kegler will be discussing research from his recent publication, “The Faces of Victor Hammer,” which has been heavily illustrated with materials from the Wells College Book Arts Center, including visual study recordings of Victor Hammer’s letterforms. This lecture will be a hybrid in-person/online event and will be supported in part by the Bibliographical Society of America, the oldest scholarly society in North America dedicated to the study of books and manuscripts. Register for the free Zoom event, here.

“I’m really excited about not only the upcoming events but also this chance to work more closely with an organization so closely aligned with our interests as a press. This will be the first time that the press will hold a hybrid event, so I am excited to combine both the excitement of an in-person gathering with the ability for those further away to join along in real time,” UK Libraries Rare Books Librarian Colleen Barrett said.

On Saturday, Kegler will present a collaborative hands-on letterpress printing workshop. The basics of traditional letterpress printing will be covered along with some experimental techniques toward the production of a commemorative poster for each participant to take home. The focus of the poster will be a topic chosen by the group and will be created using the flat bed cylinder (Vandercook) press with types and decorative printing blocks from the King Library Press Collection. No prior letterpress printing experience is necessary.

Advance registration is required for “A Letterpress Workshop with Richard Kegler.” Cost for the workshop is $45 per person and $25 for students. Workshop space is limited and requires reservation. Call Paul Holbrook at 859-608-9623 for more information or to reserve a space.

The Hammer International Book Arts Biennale was established in honor of Carolyn and Victor Hammer and their legacy to fine printing. Every other year a distinguished scholar or book artist of international reputation is invited to the Margaret I. King Library to lecture on printing, typography, illustration, bookbinding, graphic design or other aspects of book arts. An endowment fund has been established through the King Library Press, founded by Carolyn Hammer in 1956, which strives to continue the fine press tradition of Victor and Carolyn Hammer.

Founded in 1956, the King Library Press is among the longest-running presses on a college campus. Devoted to the tradition of fine printing, the press produces books and broadsides through typesetting, printing and binding, and hosts several lectures, workshops and other outreach events each year. Various opportunities to engage, intern or volunteer are also available. The press, part of UK Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center, is in the basement of the Margaret I. King Library Building.

The Special Collections Research Center at UK Libraries sustains the Commonwealth’s memory and serves as the essential bridge between past, present and future. By preserving materials documenting the social, cultural, economic and political history of Kentucky, the center provides rich opportunities for students to expand their worldview and enhance their critical thinking skills. Special Collections Research Center materials are used by scholars worldwide to advance original research and pioneer creative approaches to scholarship. UK Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center is the Archives, the Rare Book collection, the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, the King Library Press, the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center, the Bert T. Combs Appalachian Collection, the John G. Heyburn Initiative and ExploreUK.

As the premier research library in the Commonwealth, UK Libraries empowers lifelong learners to discover, create and connect by providing ever-expanding access to quality information and collaborating with academic and creative communities worldwide to advance knowledge, enhance scholarship and preserve the history and culture of the Commonwealth. More information about UK Libraries can be found on its website.

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