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

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Regular price $ 125.00

Although this one was sold, if you're interested in me designing and building a frame for you with colors you select, contact me.


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 that is at least 100 years old. It came from our house, salvaged when the porch roof was repaired. 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. 

I cut, glued, sanded, and then painted with three coats of red milk paint from General Finishes, and two coats of General Finishes black milk paint, buffed with #0000 steel wool, and then applied wax, a traditional finish, buffing between each coat.

In the photos, you'll see the red slightly visible in some places. What you won't see are any miter cuts, unlike the frames you get in even high-end custom frame shops.

It is one-of-a-kind frame befitting this rare, historic print.  If you're interested in me designing and building a different frame, or a frame with other colors, contact me.

About the glazing

It is framed with standard glass. I did this to keep the cost down. However, I recommend a museum-grade acrylic that is non-glare and offers UV protection. If you would like this change, I'll be happy to replace the glass. The additional charge would be $40. If you would like it framed in Museum Glass, the additional cost would be $75. Museum Glass, a branded glass that is non-glare and includes UV protection, produces a great result, but is very expensive. I use the museum-grade acrylic for the conservation framing I do for the items in our house and am very pleased with the result. I think you will be, too.

Please let me know if you have questions about the frame and print.

I'd be delighted if this antique print, printed by hand by The Red Door Press and framed in a wooden frame made from 100+ year old lumber from our house, found a place in your home or office.

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: Handcrafted and made from 100+ year old wood. 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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More from this collection

Size Chest Body Length Sleeve Length
Small 38 28 9.25
Medium 41 29 9.5
Large 44 30 9.75
XL 47 31 10
2XL 50 32 10.25
3XL 56 33 10.5

Measurement Notes:
Sleeve length measured from shoulder edge.

Care Instructions:
Machine wash cold. Do not bleach. Tumble dry low.

Short-sleeves

Size Chest Body Length Sleeve Length
Small 38 28 9.25
Medium 41 29 9.5
Large 44 30 9.75
XL 47 31 10
2XL 50 32 10.25
3XL 56 33 10.5

 Long-sleeves

Size Chest Body Length
Small 38 28
Medium 41 29
Large 44 30
XL 48 31
2XL 52 32

Measurement Notes:
Sleeve length measured from shoulder edge.

Care Instructions:
Machine wash cold. Do not bleach. Tumble dry low.

Size Chest Body Length Sleeve Length
Small 20 26.5 24.38
Medium 22 27.5 24.63
Large 24 28.5 24.25
XL 26 29.5 24
2XL 28 30 23.75
3XL 30 30.5 23.5

Measurement Notes:
Sleeve length measured from shoulder edge.

Care Instructions:
Machine wash cold. Do not bleach. Tumble dry low.

Size Chest Body Length Sleeve Length
Small 31.5 26.5 6.38
Medium 33.5 27 6.63
Large 35.5 27.5 6.88
XL 38.5 28 7.13
2XL 41.5 28.5 7.38

Measurement Notes:
Sleeve length measured from shoulder edge.

Care Instructions:
Machine wash cold. Do not bleach. Tumble dry low.