© photo by Mary Pape
Neil Shaver began collecting printing equipment
in 1958. He'd been interested in printing since taking a letterpress
class in junior high school. In 1978, he enrolled in Harry Duncan's
handmade book course at UNO and soon after began his Yellow Barn
Press. Since his retirement from the grocery business in 1980
he has published over thirty titles. Most of his books are about
books, collecting, or printing.
For those of us who are not commercial printers, but printers
by avocation, what can it be that moves us? And we can be so
serious about it too. So serious that we have a name for it.
We conduct what are known as "private presses." "Private"
presumably because we do it at home or in a location not noticed
by the passing crowd. But more likely "private" because
we are publishing only what pleases us. But for many of us there
is another aspect even more important. We are by desire devoted
to the letterpress craft. This is the craft now ushered out by
more modern methods. But we find a particular joy in handling
real type as opposed to hitting a key on a keyboard. The printing
presses we use are products of the recent industrial age, and
as you watch them in operation, even a layperson can understand
the mechanical principles at work. The ink and the paper give
us a certain joy. In short, we are doing something that provides
us with a real good time. - Neil Shaver, The Yellow Barn Press.