A self-taught printer, book designer, and craftsman, Jack Stauffacher has fostered a lifelong fascination with the craft of printing. He was only 16 years old when he established the Greenwood Press in 1936 in a small building behind his family’s house in San Mateo, California, and he had published a number of volumes by his late 20s.
In 1955 Stauffacher won a Fulbright grant to study for three years in Florence, Italy. There he met Giovanni Mardersteig and Alberto Tallone, who inspired Stauffacher’s deep interest in historic printing techniques and their relationship to place. He returned to the U.S. to teach at the Carnegie Institute of Technology before moving back to California to become typographic director at Stanford University Press.
Since the 1960s Stauffacher has been experimenting with repetitive inking techniques, all the while exploring the ways in which the mind, hand, type, ink, and paper come together. These explorations allow him to leave behind the rigidity and precision of traditional typography and embrace the medium’s potential for randomness and spontaneity.
“Jack Stauffacher describes himself as a printer. It is a somewhat deceptive term for us today. His use of the term connects him to a five-hundred-year tradition of the entrepreneur-publisher-designer-typographer-printer. Like the best who made up that custom, he possesses a love of type and printing and the ability to convey meaningful words and thought.”
-Chuck Byrne, “Jack Stauffacher, Printer,” 1998