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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Bill Jackson Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1955-1995
Creator: Jackson, Bill (1917-2003)
Extent: 3.00 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0809
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Proprietor of the Four Ducks Press and the Groundhog Press. This collection is comprised of output from these two presses, as well as a few pieces of correspondence and some photographs and brochures.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs: Box 2

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.


Preferred Citation: Bill Jackson Papers, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman

Bill Jackson was born in Chickasha, Oklahoma on July 14, 1917. He attended the Kansas City Art Institute to learn drawing, where he took classes in painting with Thomas Hart Benton. He was working for Ted Hawkins in Oklahoma City when Hawkins heard about jobs at McCormick-Armstrong in Wichita, Kansas and got jobs for both of them. During World War II Jackson served in the United States Navy Reserve as a chief in the Seabees from 1942 to 1945. He married Elinor Wolf on November 21, 1941. They had two sons, Mike and Doug.

At McCormick-Armstrong Jackson worked as a staff artist and worked his up through the ranks to assistant director, ending by becoming the head of their typographical design department. He also worked at Wichita State University, designing some of their publications. He retired from Wichita State in 1982.

His interest in printing extended into his private life, and he started two private presses in his home and other locations in Wichita: the Four Ducks Press and the Groundhog Press. The Four Ducks name, quoting from Jackson himself is from its geographical location: 2222 (i.e. four ducks in poker parlance) Rivera in Wichita, Kansas, USA. (Four Ducks Press, n.d.) His first publication from Four Ducks Press was Ladle Rat Rotten Hut, the story of Little Red Riding Hood told in other, but similar sounding words, written by H. L. Chace in 1940. This little book sets the tenor of the press, for most of his material is light-hearted and amusing, but serious in its pursuit of excellence.

Bill Jackson died September 30, 2003.

This collection is made up of the products of the printing life of Bill Jackson, including works from the Four Ducks Press as well as the Groundhog Press. Included are books, pamphlets, booklets, and brochures produced on letter press printers and linotypes, most with linoleum cuts by Jackson. Some contain calligraphy by Jackson. Most are bound by Jackson as well.

Browse by Series:

  • Box 1:
  • 11 x 11 from A to Z at the 4DP
  • APA 615
  • 'Aitch'
  • And Thus It Came To Pass That the Child Was Named . . .
  • Annual Report. The Four Ducks Press - 1959
  • Annual Report. The Four Ducks Press - 1961
  • Annual Report. The Four Ducks Press - 1962
    Two copies
  • Annual Report. The Four Ducks Press - 1966
    (The "High-on-the-Hog" report)
  • The Ballad of Yukon Jake by Edward E. Paramore, Jr.
  • Bear This In Mind
  • The Behavior and Confession of William Disney, Esq.
  • Bill Jackson Had an Auto
  • Bill Jackson's Bibliographical Decameron
  • Bill Jackson's Calligraphic Autobiography
  • Bill "Vicious" Kraus
  • Book Collection and the Search for Reality by Jack Matthews
  • Bygones by Ann Willoughby
  • Cat A Log
  • The Cats at the Printing House at the Sign of the Four Ducks
    One with a slipcase
  • The Fabulous Iron Collection at the Printing House at the Sign of the Four Ducks
  • The Four Ducks Press
  • The Four Duck Press Forbal
  • From the London Evening News.
    From Jim Stewart, as a keepsake for the Arthur Machen Society
  • Half a Self Portrait by Wallis Menozzi
  • Harry Kurdian Reads a Paper to the Bibliophiles of Wichita on the Book Collection of Sir Alfred Chester Beatty
  • Indulgences
    Miniature accordion book
  • The Iron Collection at the Four Ducks Press
  • Ladle Rat Rotten Hut
  • Linobiography - 1986
  • Linobiography - 2000
  • Love Defined
  • Max
  • Maxie!
  • Box 2:
  • Michelle, Toto & The Girls
    (cover only)
  • Milton Glaser, Max Schaible
  • The Model Five Linotype & the Four Ducks Press
  • My Life With Types
  • The National Library of Mexico by Senor Jovita Zubaran
  • A Newly Printed Treatise on the Type Catalog
  • A Note on Poetry by Arthur Machen
    In three different bindings
  • "Oh, You're That Bastard That Does Those Books"
  • One Hundred Herbals
  • The Other Day I Was Shooting Pool with Fran Kentling
  • "Our Lifes are Frittered Away with Details. . ."
  • The Pain and Suffering Explained by Bill Jackson Connected with His Most Recent Operation
    Original calligraphy and watercolors
  • The Peabody Printing Museum
  • The R. T. Aitchison Collection of Old & Rare Books. Special Collections, Wichita State University
  • The R. T. Aitchison Collection of Vergil's Works at the University of Kansas Library
  • Ray Da Boll
  • Some Grand Old Men
    One copy with a slip case, one with a dust jacket
  • Some Reminiscences by Harry Kurdian
  • Stackolee
  • Susan Kraft Died December 1, 1985
  • Those Golding Oldies at the Four Duck Press
    In two different bindings
  • A True Story of the Revolting and Bloody Crimes of Sergeant Stanlas, U.S.A. Together with His Court-Martial and Execution, by Manly Wade and sent to the Bibliophiles Club of Wichita as a compensation for his not being able to attend the meeting.
    Includes a note from Wade about this; a booklet stapled in the center explaining this. Printed by Bill Jackson
  • A Type Book
  • WR (William Ransom)
  • The Young Lady From Niger
  • Box 2:
  • Annual Report - 1977
  • Bill Jackson, Prop., The Groundhog Press, Sings His Swan Song
  • The Groundhog Press Portfolio of Portraits Proprietors of Prestigious Private Presses
  • Groundhog Press Outstanding Award
  • The One Great Love of My Life
  • The Other Day I Was Shooting Pool with Fran Kentling
  • Box 2:
  • Items from the Oriole Press with clippings about its proprietor, Joseph Ishill
  • Items from the Pigeonhole Press and correspondence with Ray Dilley, that press's proprietor
  • Lucky Dog. Creekside Press. Linoleum blocks and cover by Bill Jackson
  • Box 2:
  • 9 Printers: An Exhibition of the Collected Works of Contemporary American Private Presses. Wichita Art Association Galleries, January 18-February 16 - 1970
    The Four Ducks Press is one of the presses featured. Portfolio of 21 photographs from the exhibit.
  • "The Four Ducks Press (A Private Press Profile)." The Missouri Library Association Quarterly. December - 1969
    Between pages 324 and 325
  • Jackson, Bill. "The Essence of Letters: The Father Catich Slates at Wichita State University." Letter Arts Review, Vol. 12: No. 4 - 1996
  • This is the Creative Agency. Brochure for McCormick-Armstrong Agency

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.