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John Cumming Private Press


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Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Publication Materials

Financial Materials




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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


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],

Series V: Miscellaneous
Box 1
Folder 1: RSVP form for a Gathering of Western Authors Booksigning, Oct 14 (no year given)
Folder 2: A Short Trip North [newspaper clipping, photocopied for research], Apr 28, 1876
Folder 3: Pallida Mors [poem by William Mohrmann], Oct 1, 1912
Folder 4: Various notes, Dec 27, 1967, no date
Folder 5: Printer supply booklet, small advertisement, two envelopes, and Quickset Inks brochure, Oct 1970, no date
Folder 6: Book lists of Ye Galleon Press, 1972-1973, 1975-1976, 1986-1988, 1990-1992, 1997-2001
Folder 7: Of Chief Justice Hosmer, to the 1st Grand Jury of the 1st Judicial District 1864 [publication draft of pioneer document by Yale University Printing Service], Christmas 1975
Folder 8: Regnery Gateway booklist, Spring 1981
Folder 9: Advertisements for the Mark II Microfilm Reader, Jun 15, 1981
Folder 10: Yale Alumni Magazine and Journal [vol 45|no 1], Oct 1981
Folder 11: Book reviews in the Western Historical Quarterly [page 341-342], July 1984
Folder 12: Timothy Hawley Books: Press Books and Books About Books Catalogues [no 11-17], 1985-1986
Folder 13: Beyond This Place There Be Dragons [book review by LeRoy and Jean Johnson] 7 pages, Apr 1985
Folder 14: Adhesive numbers that went with a Kodak slide tray, 1986
Folder 15: Announcement for the 3rd Annual Michigan Publishers Exhibit, Oct 3, 1987
Folder 16: Mount Pleasant Historical Society Meeting Minutes, Oct 4, 1988
Folder 17: Central Michigan University - Toward Century II [meeting minutes], July 13, 1992
Folder 18: A Whaling Voyage in the Pacifiic Ocean and Its Incidents [book cover printed by Ye Galleon Press], 1998
Folder 19: Photocopy of John Cumming Private Press booklists [3 copies], no date
Folder 20: Printer Publishes the 'Old Way' [newspaper article about John Cumming in CM Life], no date
Folder 21: Book Focuses on MP's 'First Teacher' [newspaper article in the Sun about John Cumming], no date
Folder 22: Envelope [student's permanent record file|empty], no date
Folder 23: 3 tickets to Golden 'C' Banquet and an envelope addressed to George [Petredean], no date
Folder 24: Print by Ye Galleon Press, no date
Folder 25: Book cover printed by Ye Galleon Press, no date
Folder 26: To Cariboo and Back in 1862 [publication draft by Ye Galleon Press], no date
Folder 27: Journal of an Overland Journey to Oregon [1849] [photocopy of front page of document], no date
Folder 28: New English Canaan or New Canaan: Containing an Abstract of New England [1637] [photocopy of front page of document|2 copies], no date
Folder 29: Advertisement for McGregor Refillable Container System, no date
Folder 30: Information on Chulucana Pottery with purchase of piece [2 copies], no date
Folder 31: The Gap in the Buchcanan Revival: the Utah Expedition of 1857-1858 [photocopy of article] page 36 to page 46, no date
Folder 32: Page of edited manuscript [title unknown] page 15, no date
Folder 33: List of printing materials on permanent loan, no date
Folder 34: The Gold Rush: Letters from the Wolverine Rangers to the Marshall, Michigan Statesman 1849-1851 [book reviewed by Reg. P. Duffin] 4 pages, no date
Folder 35: The Pilgrimage of Temperance Mack [book review by Dorothy B. Duffin] 3 pages, no date
Folder 36: Private Press books - an annual checklist data sheet [blank], no date
Folder 37: Book List, no date
Folder 38: Suggested subjects for sketches, no date
Folder 39: Private Press of John Cumming book list, no date

Browse by Series:

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

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