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Lewis Finch papers

Identifier: Lewis Finch papers

Scope and Contents

The Lewis Finch papers is a small collection of pamphlets, booklets, and other publications and printed items related to the processes of printing by small, privately owned presses. The collection, through correspondence and a variety of printed material, reveals a network of people around the United States and abroad who shared a common interest in and a love for books and "hobby printing." Correspondents include James D. Hart, Harold Hugo, and Will Ransom.

The Correspondence series is limited to one folder (additional correspondence is found in various folders of the Private Presses series) and refers entirely to his fine press work. Of note is Lewis Finch's card for admittance to a Trinity College Chapel service on November 3, 1940, commemorating the 500th anniversary of printing, where copies of the Gutenberg Bible and the Bay Psalm Book were exhibited during the service. The Ephemera series includes, among other items, sketches and notes by Finch and a group of programs presumably collected from various exhibits Finch attended.

The Printed Materials series is the largest and contains a variety of items, including bound print publications, oversized "type specimen sheets," as well as advertisements for local Hartford companies and organizations. Of interest are the type specimen sheets which illustrate the different fonts used in typesetting, and in some cases provide historical background. Also of note are the book catalogues and prospectuses, which lend insight into what titles were on offer by book shops and sellers at the time. This series also includes the paper, "Semantics, the New Precision-Instrument of the Advertising Copywriter" by Dr. Edward Pousland, Director of Publicity of the American Letter Company of Boston and later, Assistant Professor of Romance Languages at Trinity College (Hartford, Connecticut).

The Private Presses series includes correspondence between Finch and other private press owners, as well as printed items, or "keepsakes," produced by and exchanged among their presses. Of note is the file on Herity Press, which was owned and operated by Ben Lieberman and his wife, Elizabeth, both known as leaders in the modern private press movement in America. Ben Lieberman was the founder and first president of the American Printing History Association.


  • 1930-1968


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the John M.K. Davis Reading Room of the Watkinson Library, Trinity College Library, Hartford, Connecticut. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws when using this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Digital surrogates may be provided to researchers, in accordance with the duplication policy of the Watkinson Library.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information (e.g. social security numbers) in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.

Biographical / Historical

Lewis T. Finch was employed in the printing industry by The Case, Lockwood & Brainard Company in Hartford, Connecticut, but also was the proprietor of his own amateur press, The Cellar Press. He was a member of the Columbiad Club.


1 Cubic Feet (1 records center carton with letter-size file folders and 2 loose, oversized printed publications on top.) ; 1 box (16.25 in. x 13 in. x 10.5 in.) equals 1 cubic foot ("cubic foot" defined in SAA Dictionary)

Language of Materials



The collection is arranged by material type into four series:

Series 1. Correspondence Series 2. Ephemera Series 3. Printed Material Series 4. Private Presses

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Peter J. Knapp, Reference Librarian and College Archivist of Trinity College, collected many of these files during his tenure at Trinity from 1965 to 2014. Trinity Professor Glenn Weaver may have also collected some of these materials.

Related Materials

Columbiad Club collection, Watkinson Library, Trinity College, Hartford, CT

Separated Materials

Three large-format Kodak negatives bearing images of book pages were discarded because of significant heat damage. One print publication, Paper and its Performance by P.H. Glatfelter Co. was removed and catalogued in the Watkinson Library. Additional printed items were removed to the Trinitiana collection.

Physical Description

Three oversize items from the Printed Materials series were placed flat at the top of the container.

Processing Information

This collection has been fairly thoroughly processed, to the folder level, and all items have been re-housed in archival boxes. Rusty fasteners were removed and newspaper clippings were isolated with acid-free paper. Because the collection came to the library in no apparent original order, the processing archivist arranged like materials together to form series. Items were placed into acid-free folders; three oversize items were placed flat at the top of the container. Folder titles and date ranges were assigned by the processing archivist.


Guide to the Lewis Finch papers
Amy M. FitzGerald
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Watkinson Library - Archival Collections Repository

Trinity College Library
300 Summit St.
Hartford Connecticut 06106