Does anyone know of a comprehensive location to seek a listing of existing and historic press names? There used to be a registry of Private Press names maintained by Elizabeth Lieberman. But the last updated copy of that was done probably 20 years or so ago.

Just curious. It would be great for the newer people who are trying to select a press name to get a feel for those that are already out there, especially so they don’t suffer the embarrassment of selecting something already in active use.

I only mention this because I do note a Rectory Press here. The Reverend Will Eddy functioned as a private press under the name Rectory Basement Press for many years, but Will died more than a decade or so ago. The Rectory Press does not appear to be a conflict, but I would almost bet that whoever this is has never heard of Will Eddy. I have also noted a Horse & Buggy Press in the past year or so. Elrie Robinson functioned famously as The Horse & Buggy Printer for decades in Louisianna.

I have functioned as The Foolproof Press (starting as a fool with a proof press) for over three decades and have never heard of any others out there with a similar name. I am registered in what I believe was called The Check-list of Private Press Names.

I simply have no clue if anything exists out there anymore for people to refer to. It would be nice wouldn’t it?

Log in to reply   15 replies so far

Glad you asked. We knew Bill Eddy as his Rectory Basement Press was not far from us. I had the same thought when I saw mention of the Rectory Press. Briar Press has been given permission from the son of Ben and Elizabeth Lieberman to add the Check-log of Private Press Names to the Briar Press site. It will be a new section with expanded online options.

This has been in the works for a while, but now that we finally have parts of the new site up and running, we will be able to finish and upload new sections as time permits. Our design department will graduate from grad school in May, so after that time we should be able to make more progress in completng the Check-log and the other parts of the site.

Fantastic!!!! Thanks Elizabeth, glad to hear that Jethro is giving his permission for this great resource to continue. The only copy of the Check-log that I have is the ninth (and maybe the last???) edition that was printed in 1982. I had registered just after that edition was published.

I pulled it out of the library last night to browse through it. I do note that aside from Will’s Rectory Basement Press, there is also The Rectory Press listed from around 1880.

There is also a note in the introduction explaining the registration rules that states “The fact that a press name is now defunct does not make its name available for use by another press.” So, this should be an especially useful help for people trying to decide on a unique press name.

For those unfamiliar with this registry, there were thousands of names in the 1982 edition, so this should undoubtedly be the most comprehensive source for this kind of information.

Perhaps I should offer a word of explanation.
When I went about signing up for this site, I was asked for a user name. Since I am a priest, rector of a parish, and live in a rectory, and my printing equipment is in the basement, I chose the username “rectorypress.” That is not, however, the name I have used for my printing operation (I’ll be careful to check before I disclose that).
If my username is an infringement of some kind please let me know, and I’ll try to think of something innocuous.

rectorypress — No need to apologize. Both myself and Foolproof546 had the same recall when we saw your username and that brought to mind the question of press names in general. Certainly your use of the name rectorypress as a username, is not an infringement of any kind.

This is a really interesting topic, and I can’t wait to thumb (well, scroll) through the names as I come up wtih my own fun name for printing editions. I have one in mind and have secured the URL, but it’ll be good to cross-check against the directory before proceeding.

Speaking of press names, I’m looking into naming my press so I can start a business. I’m located in San Ffrancisco and i need some help in naming my press. Does anyone have any suggestions?

I’ve been looking into the etymology of my name for inspiration. Research your first (and last, if applicable) name and see if there’s some imagery you can tap into.

I am very glad to hear this news. I have been wondering about what happened to the press name registry. Looking forward to seeing it online here.

Where do we send the prop card to register our press name? When will the check-log be available online? Any resource we can look at in the meantime?

mmmauro - You will find answers to some of your questions at Keep an eye on this entry as the registry evolves.

What a great idea to have a register of private press names. Look forward to hearing more about it as it nears the time it’ll go on-line. If the good folks at Briar Press are reading, It’d be great to know whether the list will extend beyond the USA. I’d certainly want to check my press name and get it registered, even though its a system relying on honour rather than anh form or legal protection.

Hello edmontonn18 - A register of private press names is not our idea or a new idea. We are simply continuing a tradition that previously existed in print. See for a full explanation, and yes, the list does extend beyond the USA. The publication was also known as the International Register of Private Press Names, which will be its name when the register is on line at Briar Press. Stay tuned. We are making progress.

ahh I can’t wait for the list to go online. I’m very curious to know if the commercial shop I work at is on there or not. The shop was started in 1916. We have photos of the old shop with 3 or 4 Gold Ding Jobbers and wall of california cases!! Everyone is in bow ties and vests. I plan to scan and post it as soon as I can!

Updated. sorry double post

Press names? My C&P is named “Snapper” due to an unfortunate incident the former owner had with it. Luckily, his finger is still attached. It’s just a bit wider than it used to be.