Highlighting Private Presses from Wisconsin

May 31st, 2013

To accompany the multi-venue exhibit “Text Support: A Library Exhibit About Paper,” a small exhibit in the lobby of Memorial Library recently offered  a small sampler of output from some of Wisconsin’s innovative private presses, ranging from the early years of the 20th century to the early years of the 21st.

•Black Mesa Press, Madison, Wisconsin
•Centennial Press, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
•Juniper Press, La Crosse, Wisconsin
•Juniper Press, Madison, Wisconsin
•Midnight Paper Sales, Stockholm, Wisconsin
•Northeast/Juniper Books, La Crosse, Wisconsin
•Perishable Press, Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin
•Philosopher Press, Wausau, Wisconsin
•Quixote Press, Madison, Wisconsin
•Red Ozier Press, founded in Madison, Wisconsin
•Salient Seedling Press, Madison, Wisconsin
•Silver Buckle Press, Madison, Wisconsin
•Sutton Hoo Press, La Crosse, Wisconsin

All the works that were included in this display hail from the holdings of Special Collections. Susan Barribeau and Robin Rider, who curated the Wisconsin private press display, invite you to examine other examples of fine printing in the Special Collections reading room.

In this, the first in a series of posts about our private press holdings, we highlight the Black Mesa Press, founded in Madison in 1981 by poet Charles Alexander. The exhibit included three works from the Press:

Oppen, Mary. Mother and daughter and the sea: Poems. 1981. Our copy is no. 128 of 150.

Title page opening from Mary Oppen, Mother and daughter and the sea: Poems (Black Mesa Press, 1981). From Special Collections, Memorial Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Drachler, Rose, and Jacob Drachler. For witches. 1982. Our copy is no. 88.

Foldout page opening from Rose Drachler and Jacob Drachler, For witches  (Black Mesa Press, 1982). From Special Collections, Memorial Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Barrows, Anita, et al. The limits. 1982. The Libraries hold two copies: one in Special Collections, the other in the Kohler Art Library.

Front cover from Anita Barrows, et al., The limits ( (Black Mesa Press, 1982). From Special Collections, Memorial Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The Libraries’ holdings of Black Mesa Press run from 1981 to 1984. In that year Charles Alexander moved to Tucson, Arizona, where he established the Chax Press.