The Caxton Press was launched on 10 June 1935 by John Drew and poet/typographer Denis Glover to publish New Zealand literature. Leo Bensemann had a long and fruitful association as a designer and illustrator with Caxton. Most of the decade’s best writers were first published by the company. Caxton Press tells the story on its website:
THE CAXTON CLUB was a colourful group of students, writing enthusiasts and amateur printers which operated a small printing press in the basement of the University Clock Tower, Worcester Street, in the early 1930s. In 1935, renowned New Zealand literary figure Denis Glover, together with a partner, borrowed £100 for a new press and formed The Caxton Press. They set up in an old wooden shop at 129 Victoria St where they stayed for fifteen years.
In 2013, Central Library Peterborough hosted A Caxton Miscellany – a Christchurch Art Gallery exhibition (see our photos). And in a timely echo, The Art of the Dust Jacket – another most excellent Christchurch Art Gallery exhibition at Central Library Peterborough – is running from 30 May to 14 July 2014). No doubt many titles are from the Caxton Press.
One of the gems of our digital collection are The Group Catalogues, 1927 — 1977 as printed by Caxton Press. You can see their exquisite work closeup.
More on the Caxton Press
- A Caxton Press set on DigitalNZ
- Search our catalogue for Caxton Press, Leo Bensemann, and Denis Glover.
- Peter Simpson. Bensemann, Leo Vernon, from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 5-Jun-2013
- Caxton Press – History on their website
- A Caxton Miscellany Christchurch Art Gallery exhibition (our photos)
- Caxton Press exhibition The art of ordered plainness exhibition at Reed Gallery, Dunedin Libraries
- Home and Building, Volume 18 Number 1 (June 1955) The Caxton Press by Brian Bell, NZETC The New Zealand Electronic Text Centre