Thanks Lewis

I just learned that Lewis Mitchell died recently. Lewis apprenticed at M&H Type in San Francisco, and worked over six decades there, with only a brief period at the newspaper in between owners at the foundry. Heck, he got an award for riding the trans-bay bus to work for 50 years. A reliable man.
After the foundry moved to its present location in the Presidio, he did not give up, despite an hour or two additional commute time, necrotic spider bites, respiratory disease, etc. It took a back injury while trying to repair the Elrod to force retirement.
He leaves many children and grandchildren, and even more customers and co-workers who will miss him.
Below, young Lewis in the big 1964 strike.

image: itu-picket.jpg


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Hear, Hear, he will be missed forever


Wow, sorry to hear that he’s passed. From everything I’ve hear, it was a national treasure.

I was amazed that, with all the rigid craft distinctions in the printing trade unions, the Typographical Union and the Electrician’s Union had an agreement for a qualified person in a large type shop to do electrical work. Of course it was Lewis doing all the electrical work at M&H.
For all we associate him with type-founding, he had a life in the outside world. He was an early scuba diver (almost left type to work for the first scuba company in SF), an abalone diver, ranch hand, Christian and strong family man.
I never once saw him lose his temper, and man, he could just talk his way out of almost any situation with a story, and he had many.

R.I.P. Lewis,
This is a good watch.
Vimeo The City Exposed: Typecaster for Life

You can see that video directly at

Another video was done by PBS News Hour during the production of The Arion Bible, in the old Bryant Street location:
You get a sense of the Lewis anecdote here.

Lewis was truly a gem. His knowledge of the Monotype was a constant source of amazement. He stuck with M&H through changes of ownership and the change from a commercial shop to that of a shop catering to hobby printers and the needs of the book work of Arion Press. I knew him for about 50 years of association with M&H. He always took the time to say hello, while keeping one eye on the office while we chatted. He attended one ATF conference at Harold Berliners and brought a large typesetting job with him for me that was Monotype set. M&H was also a co-host to another ATF conference in about 1998 and Lewis was center stage the day we descended on the place. I was dreading this news, but he led a life doing what he knew and loved and he did it so well. Fritz Klinke