Yale Master Class: The Art of the Printing Press

Printed work from Davenport

Have you ever thought about how the Gutenberg Bible was made? Most people know that the Gutenberg Bible is stored in the Beinecke at Yale, but very few people have personally touched or operated a traditional printing press. Luckily, that can be changed at the Davenport College printing press!

The Davenport printing press is one of the best-equipped presses in the country, and especially well-run with the help of Annli and Les, a printing press fellow. As a Yale alum, Les has continually been involved with the printing press for a while now, so not only is he a great teacher, he is also practically a walking history book of Yale throughout the years. There is no better way to spend a relaxed Wednesday evening than learning about the art of printing with surprise anecdotes about Les’s time at Yale.

Les teaching printing course
Here’s Les!

Les show-and-tell
Show and Tell: great display of Les’s archive of papers and finished works

Aside from getting to actually design and make prints, there is also the surprise opportunity to venture into a secret (not really) passage in Davenport where there is a huge collection of different types of prints in a deceivingly large room.

Looking for letters
Picking through the drawers for the perfect letter

After the fonts are gathered, we get to actually assemble the designs with the help from Les’s demonstrations. These gems are all hidden around campus and every student is just one email-chain away from a new learning opportunity!

Printing demonstration
Print testing machine to see if the design comes out right

Final print
Final product!