John Kristensen Lecture

“The Book [Broadside, Bookplate, Business Card & Birth Announcement] Beautiful”

Clapp Library Lecture Room, Wellesley College
Wellesley, MA
Thursday, March 12, 2009 at 4:30 pm


For Immediate Release


THE AMERICAN PRINTING HISTORY ASSOCIATION is pleased to announce that renowned letterpress printer John Kristensen will deliver the 2009 Lieberman Lecture at Wellesley College. John will speak about his work at Firefly Press, located in Boston, MA, over the past 30 years. Kristensen is a master printer whose depth of knowledge in classic and modern typography is evident in every product of his press, from the simplest business card to the most lavish book. His distinctive and elegant designs have graced publications of colleges, universities, libraries, and foundations from across the US, as well as artists and noted bibliophiles. Every project demonstrates John’s practical scholarship in the history of printing, his skill with hot-metal typecasting equipment and with antique and modern presses, and his ability to give clients not only what they want but often what they did not know they wanted.


John Kristensen is also a mesmerizing speaker. During the academic year, he hosts demonstrations and lectures at the press for classes from colleges and universities in the Boston area. Kristensen is an active member of the Society of Printers, the Letterpress Guild of New England, and the Club of Odd Volumes. He is the Cruft Reader at the Boston Athenaeum and is a Warden at his church, St Peter’s Episcopal of Cambridge, MA.


APHA members were fascinated by John’s lecture “The Ivory Tower as Seen from the Shop Floor: A Printer Looks at Fine Printing, 1900-1949” ten years ago at our Century of Book Design conference at the Grolier Club. Come join us to hear about John’s own approach to the shop floor in his Lieberman Lecture “The Book [Broadside, Bookplate, Business Card & Birth Announcement] Beautiful.”


John Kristensen and his Firefly Press is the subject of a short clip produced by WGBH public television in Boston, available online at The video has consistently been the most popular YouTube video about letterpress printing.


The lecture will take place on Thursday, March 12, 2009 at 4:30 pm, in the Clapp Library Lecture Room, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA. A reception will follow the lecture. The event is co-sponsored by the New England Chapter of the American Printing History Association and the Wellesley College Library Book Arts Program, and is free and open to the public. For more information visit the APHA website,


About the Lieberman Lecture 
APHA’s Lieberman lecture, given annually at a different institution by a figure distinguished in the history of printing or the book arts, commemorates J. Ben Lieberman (1914–1984), founder and first President of the American Printing History Association. Past speakers include Sue Allen, Henry Morris, Richard-Gabriel Rummonds, Roderick Stinehour, Jack Stauffacher, Johanna Drucker, John Randle, G. Thomas Tanselle, Claire Van Vliet, and Paul Needham. For the information about the Lieberman Memorial Lecture visit the APHA website, or contact the Vice-President for Programs, Alice Beckwith programs@

About the American Printing History Association  
Founded in 1974, the American Printing History Association encourages the study of printing history and related arts and skills, including calligraphy, typefounding, typography, papermaking, bookbinding, illustration, and publishing. APHA promotes research and scholarship through conferences (held in a different location each year), fellowships, publications (a scholarly journal, Printing History; a quarterly newsletter; and books), and the annual Lieberman lecture. We recognize distinguished achievement in the field of printing history through annual Individual and Institutional awards. In addition, regional chapters sponsor active programs of lectures, field trips, and other opportunities to meet fellow APHA members on an informal basis.

2 thoughts on “John Kristensen Lecture”

  1. You might ask Stephen Crook at the Berg Collection NY Public Library Steve is Executive Secretary of APHA and if he does not know where the press is he might be able to direct you to some one who will.

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