J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Monday, August 08, 2011

A New Old Print Shop in Boston

Last week the Boston Globe welcomed the Edes and Gill print shop back to Boston—but only in its North End edition. So for the rest of us here’s Jeremy C. Fox’s profile of printer, reenactor, and sometime tour guide Gary Gregory and his new educational enterprise:
The sign outside this room just around the corner from the Old North Church reads “The Printing Offices of Edes & Gill,” and inside Gregory offers his best approximation of that historic colonial print shop.

Benjamin Edes and John Gill were the publishers of the Boston Gazette between 1755 and 1775, with Edes continuing for about another 20 years after the dissolution of their partnership. In their hands, the weekly newspaper was an important element in fomenting the American Revolution.

The recreated print shop is a collaboration between the Old North Foundation, which owns this building, and Lessons on Liberty, a nonprofit organization founded by Gregory that offers Freedom Trail tours. To prepare to run it, Gregory learned from master printers at Colonial Williamsburg and acquired two printing presses.

The larger press, which Gregory uses for demonstrations, is a reproduction of an English common press made for Colonial Williamsburg in 1949. The other, which is too delicate to use, was built between 1730 and 1750 and is one of four in the world that survive from that era.
Gary Gregory is welcoming visitors from Boston and points further afield through the summer.

Full disclosure: I’m on the Edes & Gill Print Shop’s “Executive Advisory Board,” which so far has involved no work at all. I’ve known Gary for years, and it’s exciting to see him make his dream of starting a colonial-style print shop into a solid reality.


Joan q said...

Can't wait to visit.

John L. Smith said...

Its nice to have Edes & Gill back in the neighborhood again, maybe complete with ads for Henry Knox's London Book-Store! Who knows? Its in the same category of happy for me when I heard ol' Sam Adams was brewing his family's beer again. (I know there's no real family connection, but let me ponder it, ok?):)

DebbieLynne said...

Is it wheelchair accessible? (You surely know I want to go!)

J. L. Bell said...

This print shop is in the Clough House, owned by Old North Church, which should have information about accessibility.

Charles Bahne said...

There is a low sill (about 3 inches) at the entrance. Just inside the front door, you make a sharp turn to the left and go through another door. I don't know how wide that second door is.

DebbieLynne said...

Thanks, Charles. My husband and I are both wheelchair users (power wheelchairs, to boot), so I don't think we could manage it. Having a background in journalism, I would have enjoyed visiting it, but it's obviously not for us. Thanks for saving us a trip through the North End (not a wheelchair-friendly section of Boston).

Charles Bahne said...

Debbie Lynne, why don't you contact Gary Gregory directly? There's an e-mail link at the bottom of his website [bostongazette.org]. I'm sure he could work something out, knowing your interest in the subject. For example, maybe he could put a temporary ramp up, which is what the Paul Revere House does to let wheelchair users enter the first floor.

DebbieLynne said...

I visited Edes & Gill Friday. Even blogged about it!


J. L. Bell said...

Thanks for sharing your experience, DebbieLynne! Your question has cued me to think about access more when I visit historic sites.