Fred & Barbara Voltmer



broadside
A Tribute to Fred & Barbara Voltmer, broadside, designed by Li Jiang, printed by Chad Johnson (2017)

On Saturday, February 25, 2017, a group of printers and friends of printing gathered at the San Francisco Center for the Book to celebrate Fred and Barbara Voltmer. Fred and Barbara have been encouraging and supporting letterpress printing in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond for many years. Fred has repaired, renovated, advised about moving, and played matchmaker between handpresses and prospective owners. And it was time to celebrate them and their generosity.

Li Jiang of Lemoncheese Press designed the tribute broadside that lists the institutions which own the Albion, Columbian, or Washington handpresses Fred has worked on.


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Chad Johnson presenting the broadside to Fred Voltmer, photo by Peter Hanff

Chad Johnson and Li Jiang printed the broadsides and everyone in attendance was invited to print their own as well. Chad is pictured above presenting the broadside to Fred and Barbara.


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Peter Koch with the broadside, photo by Peter Hanff

Peter Koch, above, admiring the Voltmer tribute broadside.


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Slide from Jeff Groves's talk, photo by Peter Hanff
Jeff Groves is a professor at Harvey Mudd College where, in partnership with Special Collections at the Claremont Colleges, he founded The First-Floor Press. He teaches the history of printing and letterpress printing in a class which fills up quickly every time it is offered. He discussed his relationship with the Voltmers and how they supported and inspired him as he acquired equipment and developed the press room over the years.

The slide pictured above shows Don and Kathi Fleming of The Golden Key Press in Orinda, California. The Voltmers introduced Groves to the Flemings who owned a 1911 Reliance printing press. Fred knew that Don's health was failing and that he wasn't using the press much and he insisted that Jeff meet him. Jeff met Don Fleming and was asked to write a proposal about how he might use the Reliance. Very soon after that meeting and just before his death in 2009, Don Fleming donated the Reliance to the Claremont Colleges. It is now an integral part of their printing program where it has found a new life as The First-Floor Press. Thanks to Fred Voltmer the Reliance continues to be usefully employed.


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Voltmer event attendees, photo by Peter Hanff
We all enjoyed hearing about Fred's relationship with Jeff and The First-Floor Press -- and we all could have told our own version of a "Fred" story.
 
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Voltmer event attendees, photo by Peter Hanff
The last slide of Jeff's talk featured this semester's class of smiling students standing around the Reliance. That was especially touching and a most appropriate sentiment.

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Grendl Lofkvist presenting t-shirt to Fred, photo by Peter Hanff
In addition, the Voltmers were recipients of APHA NorCal's Printer's Devil t-shirts and APHA SoCal's Albion coffee mugs.

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Voltmer event attendees, photo by Peter Hanff
Then there was lots of convivial mingling and refreshment in the lovely SFCB space.


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Food and flowers at the Voltmer event, photo by Peter Hanff


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Voltmer event attendees, photo by Peter Hanff

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Dorothy Yule's "Bridge of Thanks" for the Voltmers, photo by Peter Hanff
 
Dorothy Yule's fantastic paper-engineered Bridge of Thanks provided another impressive moment during an evening of friendship and goodwill which will not soon be forgotten.

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Barbara and Fred with the "Bridge of Thanks", photo by Peter Hanff

Above, Fred and Barbara enjoying Dorothy Yule's "bridge of thanks" (with APHA NorCal Vice President Alex Post distributing cheese cake in the background.)

Many thanks to photographer-extraordinaire Peter Hanff for documenting the evening for us all.



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