Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Dunlap broadsides

Yale Univ. copy of the Dunlap broadside
This morning I walked from my brother’s place on Washington Square, down seventh street across Walnut to Chestnut to third street. His office is between 3rd and 2nd streets. Walking past Carpenter’s Hall, the statue of Washington outside, then further down, Franklin’s house. Could not help but think of the document, the declaration, the printed versions produced by the printer John Dunlap when he was just 29, the twenty something surviving copies, the simple printing and administrative work but such a great piece of documentation, a hasty overnight printing job so the story goes, a few copies showing folds, runny ink, a few skewed words. Did Ben, John, and Thomas supervise Dunlap that evening? Thinking of this image, I walked by a Kinko’s with a crowd in there waiting for printing and administrative assistants checking their watches to ensure they meet their deadlines, able to deliver their modern day broadsides to the conference room, how despite all the technological advances it still comes down to the product on paper and the people that make that happen…

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