The Caxton Press is 80 today. It 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.
A Caxton Miscellany, Saturday 16 February 2013. Flickr: CCL-2013 -02-16-IMG_3708
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 in these digital copies.
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