Women have been involved in the printing and production of books in what became the United States since Elizabeth Glover established a press in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1638. After the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 forced her to flee the United States, Mary Ann Shadd, an African American woman, founded and published The Provincial Freeman, an antislavery newspaper, in 1853 in Ontario, Canada.
This exhibition celebrates the important history of women in printing and publishing by featuring ten women artists, illustrators, and printers currently working on the West Coast of the United States. Through individual efforts and collaborations, apprenticing and mentoring, they produce sometimes stunning objects that push our understanding of “the book” and the role it can play in questioning the world we live in and celebrating contemporary efforts to achieve a more just, inclusive, and diverse society.
The title of the exhibition, “A few words worn around the edges, pressed into something soft,” is a quote from Inge Bruggeman’s The Quickest Forever (2017).
The William H. Wright Special Collections Exhibition Area is located on the lower level of the Haas Family Arts Library (due to COVID 19 restrictions, exhibitions are currently open only to Yale affiliates authorized to be on campus).
Background image: Detail from Julie Chen and Barbara Tetenbaum, with text by Erik Satie. Ode to a Grand Staircase (for Four Hands). Berkeley, California: Flying Fish Press; Portland, Oregon: Triangular Press, 2001.