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John Cumming Private Press

Overview

Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Publication Materials

Financial Materials

Correspondence

Oversized

Miscellaneous



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John Cumming Private Press, 1876-2008 | Northern Illinois University

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Collection Overview

Title: John Cumming Private Press, 1876-2008

Predominant Dates:1963-1999

ID: RBSC/SPX/014

Extent: 3.0 Linear Feet

Arrangement: Series I contains Publication Materials, Series II consists of Financial Materials, Series III is Correspondence, Series IV is Oversized, and Series V includes Miscellaneous materials.

Date Acquired: 12/08/2008

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The John Cumming Private Press papers consist of printed (paper-based) published materials, financial records, correspondence, oversized materials, and miscellaneous materials.  The collection is divided into series based upon format.  Series I contains Publication Materials such as publication drafts of his books and materials printed by his private press, such as advertisements and programs.  This series is ordered by title apabetically and then by date if no title was given.  Series II consists of Financial Materials including invoices, purchase orders, receipts, and checks.  Series III is Correspondence between John Cumming and buyers/sellers, acquaintances, and friends.  Within this series there are also many letters pertaining to book orders.  Some of the author's correspondence was sent electronically via email, so the electronic documents are in the author's SFWA finding aid folder titled under their name and identification number.  The printed hardcopies can be found with the rest of their boxed correspondence.  Series IV materials are Oversized and are located in the Special Collections Oversized area.  Lastly, Series V contains miscellaneous materials related to his private press, such as newspaper articles, supply brochures, and background research for his books.

Collection Historical Note

John Cumming was born in 1915 in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts and he grew up in neighboring Worcester.  As a young boy, John already had an affinity for books and newsprint, coming from a long line of type engravers.  As a young man John worked as a sports reporter for the Worcester Telegram and Gazette.  John went to Eastern Michigan University on a track scholarship and later graduated.  He was soon employed with the Detroit Public School system as a journalism teacher and later a high school counselor.

While teaching, John went back to college and earned his Master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Michigan.  In 1961, John became the Director of the Clarke Historical Library.  In the years that John was the Director, he helped the library’s small collection grow, procuring rare books and creating a comprehensive assemblage of materials.  After twenty-one years as Director, John retired in 1982 and spent more time on his hobbies.

John had received a printing press from his parents at the age of seven and this hobby would grow to bring him notoriety as a small publisher.  John used a nineteenth century Chandler & Price platen press to print his books.  Each book took about a year to complete and two to three hours to hand set one page.  John was also an author of many books and journal articles that were published elsewhere.

John passed away in 2010, leaving behind his wife of more than seventy years, Audrey Marie Severance, two sons, Robert and John, and four grandchildren.

For more information about John Cumming and his Private Press, please visit https://www.cmich.edu/Pages/default.aspx

Administrative Information

Repository: Northern Illinois University

Access Restrictions: no restrictions

Use Restrictions: no restrictions


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series I: Publication Materials],
[Series II: Financial Materials],
[Series III: Correspondence],
[Series IV: Oversized],
[Series V: Miscellaneous],
[All]

Series III: Correspondence
Box 1
Folder 1: Correspondence between Cumming, buyers, and acquaintances, Jan 19-Oct 18 (no year given)
Folder 2: Correspondence between Cumming, buyers, and acquaintances, Sep 26, 1961-Aug 21, 1967
Folder 3: Correspondence between Cumming, buyers, and acquaintances, Jan 11, 1968-Dec 19, 1968
Folder 4: Correspondence between Cumming, buyers, and acquaintances, Jan 2, 1969-Dec 2, 1969
Folder 5: Envelopes, Sep 11, 1969, Dec 11, 1975, 1979, Aug 15, 1979-Oct 27, 1980, no date
Folder 6: Correspondence between Cumming, buyers, and acquaintances, Feb 4, 1970-Dec 26, 1973
Folder 7: Correspondence between Cumming and Glen Adams of Ye Galleon Press, Jun 22, 1971-Nov 30, 1972
Folder 8: Correspondence between Cumming, buyers, and acquaintances, Jan 13, 1972-Dec 14, 1976
Folder 9: Correspondence between Cumming, buyers, donors, and time capsule 2000 [all packaged together], Apr 26, 1972, May 6, 1999
Folder 10: Correspondence between Cumming and Glen Adams of Ye Galleon Press, Aug 7, 1973-Dec 19, 1989
Folder 11: Correspondence between Cumming, buyers, and acquaintances, Jan 10, 1977-Dec 26, 1979
Folder 12: Correspondence between Cumming, buyers, and acquaintances, Feb 12, 1980-Dec 28, 1980
Box 2
Folder 1: Correspondence between Cumming and booksellers/acquaintances [packaged together], Oct 14, 1980, Dec 17, 1987, Oct 9, 1990-June 20, 1998
Folder 2: Correspondence between Cumming, buyers, and acquaintances, 1981, 2-12, 1981-July 26, 1983
Folder 3: Correspondence between Cumming, buyers, and acquaintances, June 1, 1984-June 6, 1985
Folder 4: Correspondence between Cumming, buyers, and acquaintances, Jul 2, 1985-Oct 20, 1989
Folder 5: Correspondence between Cumming and Glen Adams of Ye Galleon Press, Jan 15, 1990-Nov 24, 1995
Folder 6: Correspondence between Cumming, buyers, and acquaintances, Feb 3, 1990-Nov 11, 1999
Folder 7: Correspondence between Cumming and Glen Adams of Ye Galleon Press, Jan 5, 1997-Oct 21, 1999
Folder 8: Printed email between Lynne Thomas & Cumming regarding adding his papers to the collection, 10-23-2008
Folder 9: Printed email between Lynne Thomas & Cumming regarding adding his papers to the collection, 10-29-2008
Folder 10: Printed email between Lynne Thomas & Cumming regarding shipment of his books/papers, 12-12-2008
Folder 11: Correspondence between Cumming, buyers, and acquaintances, no date

Browse by Series:

[Series I: Publication Materials],
[Series II: Financial Materials],
[Series III: Correspondence],
[Series IV: Oversized],
[Series V: Miscellaneous],
[All]


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