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Sample Autograph Signature: Edwin B. Hill

American private printer and author. Although Edwin Bliss Hill (1866-1949) owned the longest running private printing press in American history, there is little information available about his life. He was born in Michigan and became an employee of the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation in Mesa, Arizona. Being a hobby printer, printing was not among his governmental duties. Since he began his printing in Arizona, he is often referenced as a "poineer Arizona printer." He was transferred in 1918 from Mesa to the Bureau's El Paso, Texas office bringing an Excelsior press with him. Purchasing a small Caxton press in Texas, he used the two to print some 200 pamphlets, folders, and broadsides, favoring excerpts from popular English and American authors. Texas also claimed Hill as one of its poineers by being its first printer to achieve artistic recognition. Hill's presswork is characterized by being tastefully executed without ostentation or pretension. Whether his restraint was intentional or limited by the availability of broader resources, he achieved typographical distinction using the means at his disposal. Most of Hillís publications were literary and bear his printer's mark, a cowboy hat, and the place of publication as Ysleta, Texas. However, some non-literary output has been found such as The Use of Turquoise Among the Navajo written by his daughter and published in 1929. Based on archived materials, Hill had extensive correspondence with his authors, as well as other authors and scholars. He may also have been something of a literary scholar himself base on the titles of the pamphlets he himself authored. He also wrote several books, the earliest being Range Tales: A Few Stories Based on Scenes and Incidents Inspired By the Arizona Country (circa 1916). Later, he published More Than A Memory (1936), The Ancient Wood, and Other Poems (1942), and Lone War Trail of Apache Kid: Last of the Old Apache Renegades which was co-authored with Earle R. Forrest and illustrated by Charles M. Russell (1947). In about 1934. he founded the Frank Holme Memorial Group dedicated to keeping his friend's memory alive. Holme (1868 - 1904) was a famous newspaper artist and writer, and later founded the Bandar Log Press, a small San Francisco private press which, like Hill, published limited editions with meticulous attention to the quality of the typography and printing. Hill occasionally published small one-page fliers and miniature books about Holme. His daughter, Gertrude Frances Hill Muir, was born in 1909 in in Phoenix, Arizona and became the Special Collections Librarian for Arizona State University, as well as an authority on southwestern archaeology and history.

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