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Hatch Show Print: The History of a Great American Letterpress Shop Hardcover – 1 May 2001

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 166 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (1 May 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811828565
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811828567
  • Product Dimensions: 25.7 x 2.5 x 25.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 682,769 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


This is a book about Elvis and Jack Daniels. It is a tale of roadside circuses and itinerant minstrels, country music and rock 'n' roll. It is a fascinating story about rebirth and resurrection in the Deep South--of how a 100-year-old Nashville, Tennessee, poster shop struggled through hard times to become a modern-day design sensation. Throughout the 1920s and '30s, Hatch Show Print's colorful broadsides and posters were a ubiquitous roadside attraction throughout the southeastern United States. The shop's advertisements for baseball games, concerts, carnivals and other small town events were pasted prominently on everything from barns to brick walls and hung conspicuously in storefronts, bars and theater windows. Hatch Show Print could trace its origins back to Reverend William T. Hatch, a minister and northern businessman who moved to Nashville in 1875 with the hopeof cashing in on the city's thriving print industry. Hatch entered into business as a publisher, and following his death in 1879 the Reverend's two sons took over the family business. Work was steady and by the turn of the century the shop began producing numerous broadsides--"show posters"--for plays, theater groups and vaudeville acts. In 1921, Will T. Hatch continued the family tradition. He often carved large, multicolor printing blocks by hand and this distinct style set Hatch's posters apart from other posters commonly designed only with commercial type. Will Hatch's timing was fortuitous--radio was a growing presence in America and the careers of entertainers that toured the South relied heavily on posters to spread the work. The buisness continued to grow and by the 1950s, the bulk of the shop's work was commissioned by Nashville's booming country music scene. Hatch produced posters for the likes of Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and even an upstart Elvis Presley. Fast-forward to the early-1980s. Increased competition, poor management and inexpensive offset printing threatened to put the letterpress shop out of business. Recognizing Hatch's unique history, Nashville's Grand Ole Opry stepped in to acquire the shop in 1986. To compete with desktop technology and the clean look of digital type, Hatch's posters began to emphasize the tactile qualtiy fo handset wood type, drawing upon their historical collection of battered typefaces and hand-carved printing blocks. Their rough-hewn design style was immediately recognized as unique--and authentic. Under the directorship of Jim Sherraden, the shop slowly rebuilt its business and in its current incarnation, Hatch Show Print enjoys widespread acclaim. The shop produces award-winning work for major music labels, book publishers and advertising agencies. They also print posters for an increasingly eclectic group of musicians ranging from REM to The Wailers, to Jewel. But despite their success, Hatch Show remains surprisingly accessible. In addition to the high-visibility projects, Hatch Show continues to take on the proletarian--the small clients and struggling bands that literally walk in off the street. This book reconstructs the shop's 130-year-old past, but cleverly avoids getting buried in nostalgia. It covers a diverse range of topics, from technical information about letter-press printing to Hatch's role in musical, cultural and design history, and also includes plenty of reproductions of posters that will make the typographer and designer's mouth water. The book is well-designed and well-photographed, and typical of Hatch's quirky, clever design style, the dust jacket of the book folds out into a full-size poster. The poster provides a nice sense of scale and helps give more meaning to the smaller reproductions in the book. Today Hatch Show Print is a working museum, its walls lined with an archive of oversized wooden letters and hand-cut engravings, and restrikes of historical posters. Their shop attracts tourists, visitors and the occasional graphic designer, many of whom make the pilgr

About the Author

Paul Kingsbury an award-winning author of several books and Deputy Director of Educational Research and Special Projects of the Country Music Foundation. All three authors live in Nashville. Jim Sherraden who has been the manager of Hatch Show Print since 1984. Elek Horvath a deputy at Hatch Show Print and is well-versed in its history, lore, and technical aspects.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The best of the best. If you have an interest in letterpress or graphic design this should be on your bookshelf. History of the shop and its staff.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 18 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Proud to be a Hatch Show Printer 21 Feb. 2003
By Bethany Primrose - Published on
Format: Hardcover
As a designer and printer at Hatch Show Print, this book makes me very proud. Our beloved Jim Sherraden, along with Elek and Paul did an absolutely amazing job collecting, archiving and compiling 123 years worth of incredible letterpress poster history. The images are simply stunning and the stories are engaging. This is a coffee table book that will spend more time in your hands than on your coffee table.
Buy the book and then stop by the shop located in historic downtown Nashville. Get a tour of the shop, see the posters, and have Jim autograph your book!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful collection of hundreds of years of poster design 20 Oct. 2001
By Delaney Gill - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Hatch Show Print: History of an American Print Shop is a pleasurable read of over a century's worth of poster design, but the accompanying images are what make this book. Chronicle Books has done an incredible job of reproducing this letterpress artwork while retaining all of the charms and details of this unique process. Definitely one of those books you can pick up dozens of time and find something with each new look. There is rumor of an expanded version to come in the future, unfolding more of this shop's extensive history and possibly a new chapter chronicling the more recent designs. I definitely look forward to that!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HATCH is an amazing place with amazing work. 19 Oct. 2001
By Brad - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I haven't received the book yet, but I can tell you that the work done at Hatch, both historically and today, is a piece of Americana rarely equalled. Author Jim Sherraden is an amazing artist and craftsman... and, I might add, an extraordinarily nice guy. He's printed several jobs for me and even let me hang around the shop on a couple of trips to Nashville. His personal paintings based on Hatch posters are nothing short of breathtaking. Buy the book and, if you get a chance, stop by the shop in Nashville. These guys are the real deal.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The shop that set the standard! 4 July 2005
By W. Creswell - Published on
Format: Hardcover
For generations woodtype was used because it was the most efficient way to produce posters quickly and cheaply. Few could forsee the woodtype "look" becoming a style all its own. Hatch Show Print is now the standard for woodtype printing and they have done this by essentially not changing a thing. Many print shops created posters, but only Hatch survived them all to come out on top. Their work is now seen on album covers, product packaging and of course posters. Hatch posters are the very definition of American country music and rock and roll. Nothing beats the sheer tactile quality of a poster produced by hand. This book is a must for designers and music afficianados. Despite being packed with classic posters I only wish this book was about twice as thick with every known Hatch poster included (this is probably unrealistic but I can always hope). Well worth the price of admission none-the-less!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Show poster art and the American entertainment industry 7 Sept. 2001
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Jim Sherraden, Elek Horvath and Paul Kingsbury's Hatch Show Print traces the evolution of show posters for entertainers, examining links between show poster art and the American entertainment industry from the early 1800s to modern times. Nashville's long-time Hatch Show Print is the focus of this examination, which blends a survey of popular culture with an examination of letterpress and print evolution. Exceptional.
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