"Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of History" letterpress print in a handmade frame - Walnut stain

"Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of History" letterpress print in a handmade frame - Walnut stain

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Regular price $ 145.00

This is available by special order.

You can request a different frame style, color or stain. Contact me to discuss timing and cost. (A frame with a walnut stain to match the interior of the buyer's home is shown here.)

This letterpress print is available immediately in black with small hints of red, and in a red aged finish.


Our exclusive print in a hand-made, one-of-a-kind frame. 

"The print is the result of a collaboration with The Red Door Press, a husband-and-wife letterpress shop whose owners are passionate about the history of printing and bringing letterpress printing to a wider audience. They spend weeknights printing and weekends looking for new presses and new type, and have amassed quite a collection of both.

We'd talked for a couple of years about working together on an exclusive print, and so I was excited when they contacted me last year about this very large antique eagle block they had acquired. I flew out to visit them and saw firsthand how striking it was. It's rare to have a block that is this large, and we knew it was something that, with the right text for the banner, would be perfect. (The block was created so that the printer could fill in the banner with the text of their choosing. More information on the engraver of the original image is below.)

After polling several people and posting on our Facebook page, a good friend came up with what we all agreed was the perfect message for the banner: 'Life, liberty and the pursuit of history.'

Fifty were printed, and a few minutes after I posted it online very late one night, someone bought one.  

I also wanted to make it available framed in way that was in keeping with the print and was made with the same care and attention given to the print itself. I started with wood from my house (c1780) that had been left after a new floor was put in many years ago. I cut, routed, shaped, and sanded it to come up with a unique profile, one that sets off the print, yet doesn't distract from it. As you can see from the picture, there is a slight bevel on the back that causes the frame and image to project from the wall.

It is framed with a museum-grade acrylic that is non-glare and offers UV protection. (Use a cleaner designed for acrylic, such as this one; do not use a standard glass cleaner.)

It is one-of-a-kind frame befitting this very limited, historic print.  

If you'd like to see additional photos, or are interested in me designing and building a different frame profile or finish, contact me. A frame made with a walnut stain to match the interior of the buyer's home is shown above, along with a black frame that is available now. It is a black milk paint (a traditional finish) with small hints of red that has been waxed and buffed.

Your purchase will also help us support local history organizations across the country."

Lee Wright  |  Founder  |  The History List  |  History Camp


 About the print

Printed exclusively for The History List by the Red Door Press using hand-set type on an antique press. On Cougar Natural 110 pound cover paper.

Frame: Made by hand from wood from a c1780 house.  Approximately 22" x 14"

Also available as an unframed print.

The image: An electrotype of a wood engraving by J. W. Orr. The artist's mark on the eagle says J W ORR NY. More on Orr below.

The plate is from sometime after the 1850s and was designed so that each printer could add the text they wished. 

Our addition, "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of history," expresses what so many of us who love history feel.

This print will make a striking addition to a home, school, or office. 

The engraver: John William Orr (1815-1887),  known professionally as J. W. Orr, was a prominent American wood engraver who drew many of his own illustrations and owned his own engraving and printing business.

He was born in Ireland on March 31, 1815, and was brought to Buffalo, New York in his infancy. In 1836, he completed his instruction in drawing and engraving in New York City under the distinguished William Redfield. He returned to Buffalo, where he practiced wood-engraving and published several illustrated books, including Orr's Pictorial Guide to Niagara Falls (1842), for which he designed and engraved the illustrations. He went to Albany, New York in 1842 as artist and engraver for The Country Gentleman and while there was awarded a gold medal for the best engravings of animals. In 1844 he settled in New York City, where his first employment was on Harper Brothers' Illustrated Shakespeare. It was not long before he had his own business, a wood-engraving and printing establishment at 75 and 77 Nassau Street, New York. An advertisement of around 1857 states that he specialized in "illustrated catalogues and ornamental show cards", and manufactured "illuminated envelopes". He died in 1887.

His son, Louis Herbert Orr, was a successful typographer.

Source: Wikipedia


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