In April, 2017
Richard Minsky was Artist-in-Residence
RIT Cary Graphic Arts Collection. He printed
Vermont Vigilance and other works on the same
Albion handpress acquired in 1895 by
William Morris for his Kelmscott Press to produce the magnificent
Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. The
press was brought to the USA in 1924 by
artist and type designer
Frederic W. Goudy. The Minsky
residency was arranged by Dr. Steven K.
Galbraith, Curator of the Cary
Collection, and facilitated by Associate
Curator Amelia J Hugill-Fontanel. RIT
student Brendon Stowe assisted with the
K-G Albion Handpress
fictional four page pamphlet in It Can't
Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis
(1935), a novel in which a populist
president is elected in the USA and
becomes a demagogue. All laws were
made to benefit corporations. After
the 2016 election it became a
Vigilance is published by the
New Underground resistance on "an
old hand printing-press" stolen from
the basement of the newspaper office
where the protagonist was editor,
using 8 point type stolen a
pocketfull at a time. One way of
distributing the pamphlets was to
surreptitiously insert them into
Vermont Vigilance printed on the Kelmscott-Goudy
is not a reproduction, since the
original never existed as a real
artifact. It is set in typefaces
that were popular at the time the
story takes place (1938): Old
English for the masthead, 8 point
Times New Roman for the body, and
Goudy Sans for the headlines.
The content of this pamphlet
combines some text from the novel
with some created by Minsky. There
are two editions: six copies are on
newsprint, signed on the blank last
and numbered 1 to 6, and 32 copies
on Mohawk Superfine 80# text signed
and numbered 1-32. An unsigned copy
inked lighter than the others on the
first page, is inserted into a first edition of It
Can't Happen Here. Copy No. 1
of both editions accompanies that
first edition of the book.
The Newsprint and Superfine editions
are split between Minsky and RIT
Cary Collection, with Minsky having
odd-numbered copies and Cary having
the even numbers.
5½" x 7¾". Three printed
pages. Edition of 6.
It Can't Happen Here
5½" x 7¾". Three printed
pages. Edition of 32.
by Sinclair Lewis
three copies of
This book was owned by
Dr. Robert Meador of St.
Louis, signed on the front
pastedown, and includes
penny postcard addressed to
him May 23, 1942 offering a
Meador genealogy, likely
used as a bookmark.
of It Can't Happen Here by
Sinclair Lewis. Garden City,
New York: Doubleday, Doran &
Copmany, 1935. Includes one
inserted, unsigned copy of
the newsprint edition of
Vermont Vigilance, printed
by Minsky on the
handpress at the RIT Cary
Collection, also copy No. 1 of
edition and copy No. 1 of
the Superfine edition. In a
custom box made by Minsky.
in a custom
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