List 11: Edwin Bliss Hill

List 11: Edwin Bliss Hill

Al Lowman, in his thorough and beautifully produced book (by the Holmans), Printing Arts in Texas, describes the unique setting in which the pioneer Texas printer, Edwin B. Hill (1866-1949) worked his craft:

”The first Texas printer of the twentieth century to achieve typographical distinction lived amid the adobe-textured squalor and irrigated cotton fields at Ysleta, a few miles downstream from El Paso.”

Hill began printing at his childhood home in Michigan on a hand press he acquired and then quickly upgraded via trade. He continued his hobby through seventeen years as a newspaper man in Detroit, making many connections that would influence his later printing, such as meeting Frank Holme and Samuel Arthur Jones. So, by the time he came to Ysleta in 1918, working for the US Reclamation Office in El Paso, he had laid the groundwork for what was to be his most productive years, printing some 150+ items In the small village. It was also during this period he gained the distinction of owning the oldest continuously operating private press in the United States, for which he had developed his recognizable ten-gallon hat printer’s mark.

For this list, we have referenced the John Myers Myers and Gertrude Hill Muir checklist published in American Book Collector, October, 1967, and adopted the formatting language which Hill used himself:

”A.  Brochures: These are pamphlets with a paper cover, usually of heavier stock than that used in the text.  The title alone is stamped on the cover; in no single instance is the author’s name noted unless it is part of the title…

B.  Leaflets: These are folded sheets of paper of two general styles. They may have a complete title page followed by one, two, or three pages of text; or they may have simply the name of he item on the outside.”

C. Broadsides: These usually take the form of either a block of type appearing on one side of an unfolded leaf, or of a double-spread on one side of a folded sheet.”