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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Cummington Press Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1947-1981
Creator: Cummington Press
Extent: .25 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0843
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Print specimens from the press of Harry Duncan; biographical essays about Duncan.

Access: This collection is open for research.

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


Preferred Citation: Cummington Press 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

Harry Duncan started the Cummington Press with fellow students at the Cummington School of the Arts in Cummington, Massachusetts. Over the years, the other students fell away but Duncan perservered. Paul Wightman Williams joined him in 1944 for what would become a twelve year collaboration. The press moved from Cummington to Rowe, Massachusetts, in 1954. After Williams was killed in a car accident in 1956, Duncan moved to the University of Iowa to teach and to continue printing books under the Cummington Press name. He bought a large house in West Branch, Iowa, and there established his press. (This house would later be bought by the Kornblums who started the Toothpaste Press there.) In 1973 he joined the faculty at the University of Nebraska, where he taught the art of book making. The books created were brought out under the auspices of the Abattoir Press. Harry Duncan died in 1997.

Harry Duncan Papers at Emory University

Browse by Series:
Series 1: GENERAL

  • Series 1: GENERAL
  • Box 1:
  • Fine Print, Vol. IV:No.1 January - 1978
  • Contains three articles about Harry Duncan and the Cummington Press
  • Print specimens, including Christmas cards
    3 folders

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

Personal Names:
Duncan, Harry

Corporate Names:
Abattoir Editions
Cummington Press

Small presses


Geographic Names:
United States -- Iowa
United States -- Nebraska