This article was prepared by Mr. Scott Paradise at the request of the Andover Historical Society as a part of Andover's contribution to the Massachusetts Bay Tercentenary Celebrations of 1930. With the cooperation of the Andover Historical Society it is now being published by the Andover Press.
The photographs on pages 8, 10 and 12 are used by courtesy of Phillips Academy.
Harvard College was founded in 1636. Two years later Harvard imported the first printing press ever to be used in this country.
In 1778 Phillips Academy, Andover, was established. Some years later, the first principal of the Academy and co-founder of the Theological Seminary, realizing the magical importance of the press in the propagation of ideas, reorganized the existing printery to make Andover's institutions a more effective power in the educational and religious world, thus starting the press in Andover on its long and notable history.
The present Andover Press, building on noble traditions, is today, perhaps the best known school and college print shop in New England. The books from its presses are to be found in every state in the Union and in not a few foreign countries. Following is the story of its one hundred thirty-three years of growth.
IN August 1912 an old brick building was torn down which had stood for eighty years close to the Phillips Academy campus. It was the building connected with the famous Andover Printing House which one hundred years ago had done so much to make Andover Hill a theological and spiritual power throughout the whole world.
When Eliphalet Pearson, the first principal of Phillips Academy, for twenty years professor and sometime acting President at Harvard, returned to Andover in 1806 to propose the establishment of America's first theological seminary, there were two great aims which he wished to accomplish. The first was to create a stronghold of Calvinism, which might counteract the spirit of Unitarianism then spreading at Harvard. The second was to make the new seminary a place not only for acquiring but for improving the literature of theology, and especially to provide for the publication of learned treatises.
As early as 1798 Messrs. Ames and Parker had set up a printing press in Andover. Galen Ware was conducting it in 1810 , and in 1813, five years after the founding of the Seminary, this press was enlarged through the enterprise of Dr. Pearson and established on the second floor of the "Old Hill Store". This was an ugly, angular building built in 1810 near the present site of the P. A. E. Society House by Deacon Mark Newman who, though principal of Phillips Academy from 1795 to 1809, had now retired as bookseller to the Academy and Seminary folk, and publisher of religious treatises.
Eliphalet Pearson was indeed fortunate in the type of men he found to conduct his pet enterprise, one which was far to exceed his hopes in the production of a whole library of theological literature. Timothy Flagg and Abraham J. Gould, the two first proprietors, were both members of the South Church, the latter holding the office of deacon for twenty-three years. They were both in hearty sympathy with the aims of the theological institution their work was to serve, and regarded their press as a trust to be used in furthering religious faith. These estimable men set the lofty tone which was to survive as long as the old press endured, and which with the cooperation of the Seminary faculty was to give it such a high reputation in the educational and religious world.
A good illustration of the religious spirit which pervaded even the workmen in the organization appears in the story of Josiah B. Clough, for many years a compositor there and the father of the eccentric Miss Elizabeth Clough. Every Sunday morning he was seen to pass down Central Street at a regular hour, and piqued by curiosity, someone finally asked him the purpose of his weekly pilgrimage. Mr. Clough confessed that he went to pray on the steps of the Baptist Church, which was then closed, that services might be resumed. In 1858, after the "Great Awakening," his prayers were answered.
The new press was fortunate in having the first fonts of Greek and Hebrew type in America, and for years Harvard University had any necessary printing in the Greek type done in Andover. One of the first books published here was Professor Moses Stuart's Hebrew grammar. Naturally enough, Professor Stuart found that no one knew how to set Hebrew type, so he went to work to set it himself. An unusual picture he must have made, "tall, lean, with strong, bold features, a keen, scholarly, accipitrine nose, great solemnity of voice and manner," his air Roman, his neck long and bare like Cicero's, as he bent over the type cases in the little printing plant. Although he suffered acutely from dyspepsia, Professor Stuart was a tireless and productive worker, but when his malady interfered with his labors, his voice could be heard from his study, rising and falling in a wailing prayer for relief. We may well wonder if there were not occasions when, attacked by his uncomfortable illness and confronted with a task so exacting and unfamiliar, his prayers did not also resound from the windows of Flagg and Gould. At length Professor Stuart taught his compositor to do the work, and his Hebrew grammar, published in 1813 and the first printed in America, was for more than thirty years the standard among theological seminaries. Other outstanding books printed for local authors included Robinson's New Testament Lexicon, Porter's Rhetorical Reader, Stuart's Letters to Channing, and many other classical and religious works.
In 1821, Dr. John Codman, pastor of the Second Church in Dorchester, contributed $2,000 for the purchase of additional type to be used in printing the Greek and Hebrew tongues, and books printed from this type were inscribed as from the Codman Press. William Bartlet and others soon made similar contributions, and by 1829 the press had type for eleven Oriental languages besides Hebrew, and many books were issued there which could not have been printed at any other press in America. William H. Grey, an English compositor later working for the press was capable of setting type in all of these eleven languages.
Many a Seminary graduate carried the inspiration derived from the work of the press and of Professor Stuart with him to far off mission fields and allowed no difficulties of language to prevent the writing and printing of religious works. According to Professor Park's speech at the Centennial in 1878, Andover alumni had written scores and hundreds of volumes in the tongues of the Mahratta and Tamil, Arabic and Syriac, Armeno-Turkish and Arabo-Turkish, Chinese, Japanese, Cherokee, Choctaw, the various languages of Africa, and the islands of the seas. Fired by the same inspiration they had not only written grammars and lexicons, but had invented alphabets for languages where none existed before; they had not only written, but had printed the books they wrote; they had not only set the type, but had occasionally made the type with their own hands. With a note of justifiable elation Professor Park concludes, "There is no man now living who can read the alphabets of all the languages in which the alumni of our Seminary have published their thoughts."
No less impressive than its spiritual inspiration was the material output of the old Andover press. According to the calculation of Mr. Warren F. Draper, its last proprietor, the press published during seventy years separate titles, the aggregate of which would form 233 octavo volumes of 500 pages each. Of these more than one hundred were written by Andover professors and attained a circulation of 400,000. Dealers sold these books in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Oberlin and Chicago. Tracts printed over 100 years ago were sold through dealers throughout the country including what was then Michigan territory. But the brilliant wives and daughters of the professors were not to be left behind. Six of them issued books through the Andover press which had a circulation of at least a million. These women, among whom were some of the most popular authoresses of the day, were Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, whose husband was a professor at the Seminary, Mrs. Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Miss Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Mrs. Sarah Stuart Robbins, Mrs. Harriet Woods Baker, and Mrs. Margaret Woods Lawrence.
An amusing story bearing on the Andover press is told of an effort of the New York World to increase its circulation. In May, 1889, this journal printed in a single issue the entire text of the "Book of Enoch, a translation from the Ethiopic, published a few years ago in Andover."
"Send twenty-five cents for a three months' subscription to the World," the advertisement threatened; "otherwise you will have to send $1.75 to W. F. Draper, of Andover, in order to procure a copy of this lost book of the Bible, hidden for 1800 years."
We do not know what effect this naïve announcement had on the World's subscription list, but it inevitably resulted in several orders for the complete text with introduction and notes being received in Andover. After the press had remained in the Brick House over thirty years, Mr. Draper moved it in the late sixties to the Draper block at 37 Main Street where it remained until December, 1906.
However, the old press did not confine itself solely to publishing the work of Andover professors and their wives. From it the first tracts of the American Tract Society were issued and also the numbers of the Biblical Repository and the Bibliotheca Sacra and Theological Review, two religious periodicals which were popular eighty or ninety years ago. Also the first temperance newspaper in America, the Journal of Humanity; and Herald of the American Temperance Society was published in Andover from May 27, 1829. This paper was the organ of the American Society for the Promotion of Temperance, which had been founded in Boston in 1826, largely through the efforts of Dr. Justin Edwards, pastor of the Old South Church from 1812 to 1827, a trustee of Phillips Academy, and President of the Theological Seminary from 1836 to 1842. The Journal of Humanity lived for only four years. At this early stage of the temperance movement its circulation could not have been large, and it contained very little news to commend it to the non-temperance reader. Of advertisements, without which no paper can exist for long, it seldom printed more than a single column.
For twenty years thereafter Andover was without a newspaper, but on February 19, 1853, the first number of the Andover Advertiser appeared. This was "published every Saturday at the office of John D. Flagg, opposite Phillips Academy." (The Academy building in those days was the present dining hall.) Mr. Flagg's establishment was on the second floor of the Brick House, erected in 1832 near the present Phillips Gateway when the press had outgrown its old quarters, and which many Phillips alumni will remember as a boarding house run by Mrs. M. A. Toby. The size of the Advertiser was at first fourteen by eleven inches, and it consisted of four pages with four columns to a page. It was always said to be conducted by an "Association of Gentlemen." These gentlemen, who wrote on a variety of topics and under a variety of names, were the Hon. George Foster, Mr. Eastman Sanborn, and Mr. Moses Foster, the cashier of the Andover bank. However the first of the three did most of the work, and later conducted an Andover column in the Lawrence American. In May, 1855, Mr. Warren F. Draper, who the year before had bought the press, took over the paper from Mr. Flagg and published the Advertiser for eleven years, then sold it to the Lawrence American. The last number appeared on February 10, 1866.
Both Andover and the Andover press were always fortunate in the type of men who controlled the publishing house and Warren F. Draper, the last and most notable of the long line of names associated with it, carried on the tradition of the "Christian business man." He was a graduate of Phillips Academy in 1843, of Amherst in 1847, and began his studies at the Andover Theological Seminary, but failing eyesight compelled him to resign. In 1849, he entered the employ of Allen, Morrill and Wardwell, then the proprietors of the press, and in 1854 became the sole proprietor. Before he relinquished control in 1887, he had published more than 600 volumes, some of which had a very large sale. He accumulated during his life a considerable fortune, a large part of which he devoted to charitable objects, his total donations to Andover institutions amounting to over $100,000. His most generous gifts were to Abbot Academy, New England's first private girls' school, of which he was trustee and treasurer, but he also gave to Phillips Academy the Draper Prize Speaking Fund, Draper Cottage, and a scholarship. In March, 1904, the Andover town meeting passed a resolution of gratitude to Mr. Draper, who had done so much for the town, and who, on his eighty-fifth birthday, had sent $1,000 to the selectmen to be used for the benefit of the school children. In 1887, Mr. Draper sold the press to a corporation of Andover business men, of which John N. Cole was treasurer and business manager, and it at once established the present Andover Press publishing the Andover Townsman.
modern Andover Press
The plant remained in the Draper Building until December 1906, when it moved to its new home, the Press Building, where it still is. Since that date several additions have been made to the building and modern machinery has been constantly added to meet the ever growing requirements of the business.
The Andover press was a distinguished little plant a century ago, doing important work for the Seminary, Academy and Harvard. Today it prints for Phillips, Abbot, Harvard, Yale, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and numerous other institutions and commercial houses. It still is a distinguished, but much larger and more modern organization. Its present academic work is primarily for undergraduates.
Of the forces that made Andover in the last century a world-renowned center of religious and spiritual life, the old Andover press was no small part. Working in close cooperation with the theological professors, whom they resembled in their religious enthusiasm, the Andover printers did their share to spread Christianity to the far corners of the earth, and to inspire those who were working at home and in the mission field with fresh vigor. And perhaps not the least of their services was the stimulation they gave, by the recognition of feminine writers, to the development of woman's place in literature.