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A Short History of GPO

As part of its 125th anniversary commemoration in 1986, GPO published a series of historical articles in its employee newsletter, the New Typeline. The articles, by GPO Historian/Curator Daniel R. MacGilvray, focused on the Public Printers and how they responded to the social and economic forces impacting GPO and the printing industry between 1861 and 1980. Those paper publications included graphics, which this Web reprint does not.

This ten part New Typeline series was reprinted in Administrative Notes, in 1986-1987. Citations to the specific New Typeline and Administrative Notes issues are listed at the end of this series.

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  • Success to Printing

  • Long Time Coming, GPO

  • Our Doors Swing Open

  • Era of Reconstruction

  • Age of Electricity

  • Age of the Auto

  • President Harding's Legacy

  • The Years of Challenge

  • The Atomic Age

  • The Computer Age

  • "Success to Printing"

    The first in a series of articles commemorating GPO's 125th Anniversary, by Daniel R. MacGilvray.

    The name of Benjamin Franklin is linked to the United States Government Printing Office. Some GPO employees mistakenly tell newcomers that he was the first Public Printer of the United States. Visitors to the Government Printing Office are aware of his benevolent gaze from the Veteran's landing of Building One, where a reproduction of Jean-Antoine Houdon's classic bust looks down the marble steps at employees and patrons of the GPO Bookstore. Indeed, his spirit is very much a part of this agency which produces Government publications which make their way to libraries and individuals throughout America and to most of the nations of the world.

    To understand "the Franklin connection" with the Government Printing Office is to go back in time before GPO officially opened its doors on March 4, 1861. Benjamin Franklin's role in "The GPO Story" is rooted in pre-Revolutionary Colonial America.

    Born in Boston 280 years ago, on January 17, 1706, Benjamin Franklin was the youngest of 10 children. His father manufactured soap and made and sold candles. Young Ben began working with his father at the age of 10. Like many Boston boys, Ben wanted to go to sea and perhaps have a look at England, the home of his Quaker parents. His father was aware of this, and tried to apprentice his son to a nephew who made and sold knives. The terms were harsh, and Ben declared he would be a printer instead. So at age 12, he entered into apprenticeship in the printing business of his older brother, James Franklin, publisher of a weekly newspaper, The New England Courant.

    That 18th century world of printing which Benjamin Franklin entered consisted of many small family businesses. Colonial print shops were not very large and frequently sold stationery and books. All members of a family helped with typesetting and related chores. Presses were still wooden and modeled after the winepresses of Gutenberg's day. If a husband died, his widow and children carried on the business. Women printers were not uncommon. Indeed, the first printing press brought to North America from England to Massachusetts, the Cambridge Press, was set up in 1638 by Elizabeth Glover, the widow of the Reverend Joseph Glover. The act earned her the title, "Mother of the American Press." Franklin assisted the wife of a former partner, Elizabeth Timothy, and wrote that she "managed the business with such success that she not only brought up reputably a family of children but at the expiration of the term was able to purchase of me the printing house and establish her son in it." From the beginnings of American history, men and women have worked together in printing.

    There were many besetting problems that plagued colonial printers. England made it difficult to produce manufactured items in America. Type, foundry equipment, paper, ink, and presses had to be purchased at considerable cost from England. The young Franklin saw in Boston and Philadelphia rather crude wooden press printing. However, when he shipped away to London in 1724, he had a year and one-half to work at the trade and experience state-of-the-art printing. He worked for Samuel Palmer who was writing a history and manual of printing. He also worked for John Watts who helped William Caslon set up a type foundry that would influence the printed page for years to come. His curiosity took him to the James Type Foundry where he observed every step in that process. When he returned to Philadelphia in 1726, it was as a mature printer who understood the future direction that his craft was to take.

    Franklin's career as a printer led him from Boston to Philadelphia to London to Paris and home again before his death in 1790. He turned his hand to ink making and sold to printers a mixture of lampblack and varnish by the keg. He became an agent for the budding Pennsylvania paper mills and supplied printers up and down the Atlantic coast. While in Paris, he purchased foundry equipment and set it up in Philadelphia in 1775 for his grandson, Benjamin Franklin Bache. This foundry produced all kinds of types then in use, as well as Greek and Hebrew. Because of Franklin's efforts, other printers flourished.

    During his career, Franklin served as official printer to the colonies of Pennsylvania and Delaware. It was his responsibility to print the Government documents of his day. These included the proceedings of the respective colonial assemblies, as well as the laws they passed. One such work that is particularly well printed appeared in 1740, A Collection of Charters and Other Publick Acts relating to the Province of Pennsylvania. It is one of his many folio-sized documents, pamphlet bound. In this capacity, he well illustrates the pre- Independence pattern of colonial printing of official documents. He was a "Publick Printer" of his time, and is still a worthy model for Public Printers of today.

    The Franklin who looks down the marble steps of Building One at entering workers and people in quest of Government publications, wishes us well on our 125th Anniversary. We, in turn, wish him well on his 280th birthday. Had he been alive when the U.S. Government Printing Office came into being his attitude toward its creation and toward those who served as craftsmen may well have been similar to that expressed when he visited another printing establishment in 1757. At that time he was in London where he had worked as a young man. Although famous and much sought after in England, he searched out the old print shop where he had once worked. Timperley's Encyclopedta of Literary and Typographic Anecdote, recounts the event:

    During his visit at this time, he went to Mr. Watts' Printing office in Wildcourt, Lincoln's Inn- fields; and entering the press-room, proceeded to a particular press, where two men were at work: "Come, my friends, " said he, "we will drink together; it is now forty years since I worked like you at this press, as a journeyman printer. " A gallon of porter was sent for, and the three drank "Success to Printing!"

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    Long Time Coming, GPO

    The second in a series of articles commemorating GPO's 125th Anniversary, by Daniel R. MacGilvray.

    In world history, the year 1789 is remembered for the beginning of the French Revolution. That was also a year of peaceful beginnings in these United States following the American Revolution. It saw our first Presidential election and General George Washington chosen for our highest office. The first Congress of the United States under our new Constitution met in New York City on March 4, 1789. President Washington delivered the first inaugural address on April 30. On September 9, the House of Representatives recommended the Bill of Rights for adoption by the States. The first executive departments were formed: the Department of State, the War Department, and the Treasury Department. The Office of Postmaster General was created. The Federal Judiciary Act was passed providing for the organization of our Supreme Court; and on September 26, John Jay became Chief Justice of these United States.

    During that momentous year, the first mention of public printing occurs in a House recommendation that proposals be invited for "printing the laws and other proceedings" of the new Congress. By May, printers' petitions were being received asking to "be employed in the printing for Congress." Indeed, the House Journals for the first and second sessions were done by New York printers Francis Childs and John Swaine. The Senate's printing was done by John Fenno. The Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House were directed by a joint committee to have printed "600 copies of the acts of Congress and 700 copies of the journals." When Congress moved to Philadelphia in 1790, printers Childs & Swaine, and John Fenno, moved with them. There they were joined by Philadelphia printer Samuel H. Smith. Together, their firms produced the bulk of congressional printing from 1793 to 1800.

    An act of 1794 contained an appropriation for public printing. It provided "For the expenses of firewood, stationery, and printing work, and all other contingent expenses of the two houses of Congress, ten thousand dollars." For the same purposes, the act provided $2,261.67 to the Secretary of State; $4,000 to the Treasury Department; and $800 to the War Department.

    When Congress moved to the new capital of Washington in 1800, printers followed. President Thomas Jefferson encouraged printer Samuel H. Smith to make the move from Philadelphia. In 1801 Smith was printing reports of congressional debates in his Washington newspaper, the National Intelligencer. Three times a week the paper appeared. Its stenographers took notes in Congress and asked speakers to review them prior to publication. Lateness of reports was common. In December 1801 a proposal was made in the House by Virginia's Representative John Randolph to appoint a printer to the House. After lively debate, this was defeated and the work was left to enterprising local printers.

    Not until 1818 were the shortcomings of local printing addressed. Congress appointed a joint committee to "consider and report whether any further provisions of law are necessary to insure dispatch, accuracy, and neatness in the printing done for the two Houses of Congress. In 1819 the committee issued a report over the names of New Jersey Senator James J. Wilson and Pennsylvania Representative Thomas J. Rogers. It asked that Congress consider "the establishment of a national printing office (with a bindery and stationery annexed), which should execute the work of Congress while in session, and that of the various Departments of Government during the recess and should do all the binding, and furnish the stationery, for the Departments, as well as for Congress . . . The committee of opinion that such an establishment, under the superintendence of a man of activity, integrity, and discretion, would be likely to produce promptitude, uniformity, accuracy, and elegance in the execution of the public printing . . ." However, the time for reform was not propitious. Instead of a Government Printing Office and a Public Printer, the hasty resolution of March 3, 1819, provided that the House and Senate should elect their own printers, instruct how the work should be done, and say what price would be paid.

    The practice of electing House and Senate printers was to last until 1861. Between 1819 and 1846 these printers included Gales & Seaton, Duff Green, Blair & Rives, Thomas Allen, and Ritchie & Heiss. With the introduction of power presses, these firms were able to take advantage of Government rates slow to change. One firm, Blair & Rives, did so well that in 5 years it purchased its rented building, bought townhouses (including Blair House), and acquired country estates. In 1840, the House appointed a Select Committee on Public Printing and asked it to report on prices considered just and reasonable, the propriety of separating Government printing from newspaper publishers, and the practicality of a national printing office. One result of this investigation was a House bill which asked: "That there shall be erected . . . on some suitable spot in the city of Washington, to be selected by the President of the United States, a building of brick, suitable and convenient for a printing office, in which all the printing for Congress, and for the Executive Departments, and for the Post Office Department, shall be performed." Again, the bill did not pass, and Congress moved instead to a system in which printing should be done by the lowest bidder.

    Another result of the investigation begun in 1840 was a joint resolution of August 3, 1846, which called for advertising in local papers at the beginning of the last session of Congress and requesting sealed bids for Senate and House printing during the next Congress. The first local printers to undertake the contract were Cornnelius Wendell and Charles Van. Benthuysen. They took the contract at low rates, filled it, but lost money. The printing costs to the Government during the period 1846 to 1852 nevertheless amounted to $3,462,655.12, which was almost as much as had been expended between 1819 and 1846.

    This expense of printing for Congress gave rise to the act of August 26, 1852, which repealed the law of 1846. It provided "That there shall be a Superintendent of the Public Printing, who shall hold his office for the term of two years, who shall receive for his services a salary of $2,500 per annum, and who shall give bond with two sureties to be approved by the Secretary of the Interior, in the penalty of $20,000, for the faithful discharge of his duties under law. The said Superintendent shall be a practical printer, versed in the various branches of the arts of printing and bookbinding, and he shall not be interested, directly or indirectly, in any contract for printing and book binding, and he shall not be interested, directly or indirectly, in any contract for printing for Congress or for any department or bureau of the Government of the United States."

    A well-known citizen of Washington, DC, was selected by President Millard Fillmore in 1852 to serve as the first Superintendent of Public Printing. He was John T. Towers, a practicing printer who had learned his trade in the office of Duff Green, printer to the Senate in 1830. He later worked as a foreman for Thomas Allen, also a printer to the Senate. At the time of his appointment, Mr. Towers owned his own book and job printing firm. A committed trade unionist, he noted: "As far back as 1832, in the city of New York, I was a member of the first trades union in America, pledged to maintain the 10-hour system, and the principles sustained by me then as a journeyman printer have been and ever will be sustained by me as an employer." Mr. Towers served as Superintendent during 1852 and 1853. He went on to become mayor of Washington, DC, and died in 1857. Three more Superintendents followed prior to the creation of the Government Printing Office. They were: A.G. Seaman, 1853-57; General George W. Bowman, 1857-59; and John Heart, 1859-61. Meanwhile, the practice of electing House and Senate printers continued, but with oversight from the Superintendent of Public Printing.

    The new system was not without abuses; and in January 1860, three congressional committees were investigating all phases of public printing and binding. Fixed rates were a part of the problem. Advancing technology enabled some firms to take advantage of the rates. The election of House and Senate printers was considered a political plum, and majority parties received generous donations as a result. The elected House and Senate printers in turn farmed out jobs to working printers for a percentage of the profits. Binding, engraving, and paper purchases were similarly farmed out for a cut, and political donations were expected. The Select Committee on Public Printing reported overcharges to the Government of $750,000.

    The uproar produced a reform bill sponsored by Ohio Representative John A. Gurley, a former newspaperman, and chairman of the select committee. The bill called for the establishment of a Government Printing Office. After vigorous debate in the House, on May 31, 1860, H.R. 22 was passed, 120 to 56. The Senate went on to pass it on June 16, 1860, 31 to 14. To implement the bill, on June 23, 1860, Joint Resolution No. 25, authorizing the establishment of the GPO, was signed into law by President James Buchanan. It said that the Superintendent of Public Printing was "authorized and directed to have executed the printing and binding authorized by the Senate and House of Representatives, the executive and judicial departments, and the Court of Claims, and, to enable him to carry out the provision of this act, and he hereby authorized to contract for the erection or purchase of the necessary buildings, machinery, and materials for that purpose."

    Thus, on the eve of the Civil War, the greatest crisis to be faced by Americans since 1776, the time finally arrived for the realization of an idea often mentioned in the past. The United States Government Printing Office was about to be born.

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    "Our Doors Swing Open"

    The third in a series of articles commemorating GPO's 125th Anniversary, by Daniel R. MacGilvray.

    On the day that Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated President, March 4, 1861, the United States Government Printing Office opened its doors on H Street at North Capitol. The area was farmland gradually giving way to roads and buildings. Nearby Tiber Creek overflowed in wet weather, producing swamp and puddles, and gave rise to the neighborhood's nickname, "Swampoodle."

    Opposite the GPO was a notorious saloon operated by "Spud" Williams. Frequented by printers, it displayed a sign, "Show Up Room, When Congress Meets." Whiskey went for 8 cents a shot and was distilled locally for the saloon during the Civil War.

    An approaching visitor first caught sight of the tall chimney of the Engine House where a 40-horsepower engine supplied steam heat for the four-story main building. Press rollers were also manufactured here. A nearby Machine Shop housed a mechanic well known for his practical knowledge of machinery and his genius for invention. Stables were where the horses were kept when not transporting paper and finished printing. A Store House received and held paper. Some 40,000 reams of paper came in and went out of this building each year, each ream weighing from 45 to 50 pounds, containing 480 sheets of standard printing paper, 24" x 38".

    The main building had been designed by Edward Clark, the Capitol Architect, in 1856, and had first opened for business on November 16, 1857, when it had been owned by Cornelius Wendell, Printer to the Senate. On the first floor was a Wetting Room with troughs and equipment used for dampening paper prior to use, along with a hydraulic press to smooth it out. Here, too, was the Ink Room where lampblack and oil were mixed and clean ink rollers kept. However, it was the Press Room that commanded attention, with 23 Adams bed and platen presses as well as 3 Napier cylinder presses, all steam powered, moving with great regularity, tossing off nearly printed sheets. As many as 210 reams, or 100.000 sheets, were often printed here in a single day.

    On the second floor, a visitor found the walnut finished office of the Superintendent of Public Printing, with furniture of the period, a marble top walnut chiffonier, mahogany sofa, velvet carpet, etc. A walnut bookcase caught the eye, with its examples of finer Government printing, such as the Annual Message of the President to Congress, the Annual Report of the Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, the Report on the Exploration of the River Colorado of the West, and others. Adjoining this was the Business Office, where accounting took place. Nearby was the Proof-Reading Room, where printed copy was carefully scanned to eliminate error.

    The largest area of the second floor was occupied by the Composing Room, a spacious hall with 60 windows admitting needed light, but with gas fixtures for night illumination. There were 93 double stands, and the tools of the trade, including 160 composing sticks, 19 imposing stones, and 35,000 pounds of small pica. An enclosed area was set aside for executive printing, where work of a confidential nature took place without fear of premature leaks to newspapers.

    The third floor was devoted to the Bindery. In a large Folding Room, 200 young women were seated at tables where they rapidly folded printed sheets by hand. An Executive Binding Room contained two powerful cutting machines for trimming the edges of books, shears for cutting pasteboard, gas furnaces for heating gilding stamps, and many other useful tools. Adjoining this was the Ruling Room, where ruling machines applied faint red or blue lines to the many blank books used in the Federal Government.

    The fourth floor was a vast Store Room for printed books waiting to be bound. Above it, on the roof, flew two American flags, one at each end of the building.

    Over all of this, and some 350 employees, presided the newly appointed Superintendent of Public Printing, John D. Defrees. He was described by Dr. John B. Ellis as "a plainly dressed, quiet mannered man; a printer by trade." Actually, he was a great deal more.

    Born on November 8, 1810, in Sparta, TN, John Dougherty Defrees had a father hostile to slavery. To get away from it, the family moved to Piqua, OH, in 1818. At 14, John was apprenticed to learn press-work and typesetting. At 17, he was on the road as a journey man printer working in Xenia and Cincinnati, OH, and in Louisville, KY. At 21 with his brother Joseph, he established a newspaper in South Bend, IN. Two years later, he sold his interest and was licensed by the Supreme Court of Indiana to practice law. As an Indiana State Senator, he helped get a charter for a small college on St. Mary's Lake; this was to become the University of Notre Dame. In 1845, he purchased the Indiana State Journal in Indianapolis, hired such antislavery writers as Henry Ward Beecher (the father of Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin). Defrees soon became known as the most fearless, caustic, and brilliant political editor in the West.

    He was active in the liberal wing of the Whig Party, and was a delegate to Whig and later National Republican Conventions in 1848, 1852, and 1856. Many Republicans sought his advice and political support, including Abraham Lincoln. So it was not surprising when on March 23, 1861, President Lincoln appointed him as Superintendent of Public Printing to the newly opened U.S. Government Printing Office.

    Superintendent Defrees served through the Civil War years, and later in various capacities. His annual report for 1861 noted savings in excess of $60,000 over pre-GPO costs. His report of 1862 echoes the Civil War as he said, "The present struggle for the existence of the Government has greatly increased the quantity of blanks and blank books required, especially by the War, Navy, and Treasury Departments."

    In 1863, Lincoln responded to a request from his friend and advisor, visiting the Government Printing Office on October 24 at about 3 p.m. In typical Presidential fashion he walked through the plant accompanied by his appointee. In a letter, Defrees recounted an incident which happened.

    "A poor girl in the employment of the GPO had a brother impressed into the rebel service, and was taken prisoner by our forces. He desired to take the oath of allegiance, and to be liberated. She sought an interview with the President who wrote the note asking me to inquire into the facts, which I did, and the young man was liberated on the President's order."

    On February 7 of 1864, the Superintendent sent a letter of advice to President Lincoln. It asked, "Now, why not send a message to Congress recommending the passage of a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution forever prohibiting slavery in the States and territories?" Lincoln's prompt reply of February 8 said, "Our own friends have this under consideration now, and will do as much without a Message as with it."

    It was also in 1864 that Washington, DC came under a threat of Southern invasion as General Jubal Early's forces approached within 5 miles of the Capital. GPO employees were a part of what was known as the Interior Department Regiment. Printers made up Company F and bindery workers filled Company G. Hours were set aside for drill and instruction; and GPO was guarded at night. With the imminent threat, GPO volunteers took up defensive positions. When General Grant's forces repulsed the attack, printers and binders returned to work. These were the first of many veterans to play a role in our Nation's history and the history of the Government Printing Office.

    The year 1865 was tumultuous. It saw General Sherman's forces march through the South to the sea, Lincoln's second inaugural on March 4, General Lee's surrender at Appomattox, the assassination of President Lincoln, and the new Presidency of Andrew Johnson. President Johnson chose a new Superintendent of Public Printing, the man who had commissioned the four-story building on H Street and North Capitol, Cornelius Wendell. The post-Civil War period was underway.

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    Era of Reconstruction

    The fourth in a series of articles commemorating GPO's 125th Anniversary, by Daniel R. MacGilvray.

    The dozen years following 1865 are often referred to as "Reconstruction Years" in America's history because they witnessed a recovery from the destruction of the Civil War, as well as intense political arguments on reconstruction policies. For the Government Printing Office, "reconstruction" took a special form between 1865 and 1882. Repeated requests from our Superintendents of Public Printing, Congressional Printers, and Public Printers, gradually secured funds from Congress: in 1865 for a four-story addition at the west end of the main building; in 1871 for another four-story addition fronting on North Capitol Street; and in 1879 for a four-story fireproof building south of the main building. GPO also purchased a lot on H Street during 1880-81 and put up a stable and a second four-story fireproof extension west of the North Capitol Street section.

    Behind this "reconstruction" was an ongoing concern reflected in annual reports citing needs for adequate work space and safety. Typical was the concern voiced in 1869: "The building now occupied by the Government Printing Office has, under the increase of its business, become insufficient for its proper accommodation. Indeed, it is impossible now to crowd within its walls sufficient machinery and operatives to keep up with the demands made upon its resources, especially in the binding department . . . The buildings now used for the storing of large quantities of paper necessarily kept on hand are insufficient, inconvenient, unsuitable, and unsafe, and should be discontinued in their use for that purpose." Supporting arguments were marshaled from Edward Clark, Architect of the Capitol, who toured GPO in 1870 and stated in a letter that "prudence demands that measures should be taken to procure additional capacity, and that all heavy loads possible should be placed on the ground floor." Mr. Clark also helped in our reconstruction by providing a plan for outside fire escapes for which Congress appropriated $3,000 in 1878. These were described as "of brick and iron, and are very substantial, so that, should a fire occur in defiance of every possible precaution, they would afford additional and ample means of escape." It was in 1880 that fire extinguisher were acquired and workers instructed in their use. The theme of safety was already being woven into the fabric of GPO.

    The most noteworthy event of the peacetime years 1865-1882 was the acquisition by the Government Printing Office of the responsibility for the Congressional Record. During the early part of the century, reporting the debates and proceedings of Congress had been conducted by a variety of enterprising newspapers. One of these, the Congressional Globe, lasted longer than the others. It began reporting debates in 1831 as a semiweekly owned by Francis P. Blair, a Kentucky native and an ardent Andrew Jackson supporter.

    [Picture in the Typline edition, not included here - GPO's second Superintendent of Public Printing Cornelius Wendel, who served from September 1, 1866 to February 28, 1867.]

    He took another Kentuckian as partner, John C. Rives, a clerk at the Treasury. The Globe went weekly in 1833 and persisted with varying ownership to the 1870's. Costly to Congress, and subject to criticism in rival newspapers, its printing contract expired on March 4, 1871. Congress gave itself time to reconsider the matter and extended the contract for one year, at a cost of $400,000. This contrasted with the entire 1861 through 1871 cost of $744,117! Congress had the joint Committee on Printing advertise a proposed 6-year contract in 9 major cities for 4 successive weeks. After evaluating the bids submitted, Congress passed an amendment saying, "That until a contract is made, the debates shall be printed by the Congressional Printer, under the direction of the Joint Committee on Printing on the part of the Senate." The House voted favorably on the matter, and the JCP provided the new name, Congressional Record.

    [Picture, not included here - Almon M. Clapp served as GPO's Congressional Printer from April 15, 1869 to July 31, 18 76. At that time, the title was changed to Public Printer and Clapp served in that role until May 30, 1877].

    The first GPO produced issue of the Record appeared on March 5, 1873, in quarto form. Congressional Printer Almon M. Clapp noted, "The change in the form and style of this publication from that previously followed by the Globe was induced by a desire to secure comeliness, convenience, and economy for the work . . . The facilities of the Office are so extensive, that prompt publication of the proceedings and debates of any day's session, no matter how extensive or voluminous, will be assured the following morning without a peradventure, if the copy thereof is promptly furnished the Printer." Even though the Record was entirely handset (and would be until 1904), a standard of overnight publication was proudly maintained.

    It was during the post-Civil War years that the pattern of a Presidentially appointed Public Printer finally emerged. President Andrew Johnson appointed Cornelius Wendell as Superintendent of Public Printing; and he served GPO from September 1, 1866, to February 28, 1867. During his brief term, he averted a major printers' strike and instituted an 8-hour day and a 6-day week. Meanwhile, on February 22, 1867, a Congress at odds with President Johnson decided to elect GPO's top official, make him an officer of the Senate, and call him Congressional Printer. The Senate then went on to elect John D. Defrees, who served from March 1, 1867, to April 14, 1869. While serving as Congressional Printer, Defrees secured for GPO printing and binding for the Patent Office and the Commissioner of Customs. He was followed in the electoral process by Almon M. Clapp, a Connecticut native with many years of printing experience. Taking his post as Congressional Printer on April 15, 1869, he was to see Congress change its mind after the departure of President Johnson. In July of 1876, Congress repealed its earlier legislation and specified a Presidential appointment for GPO's top officer, with advice and consent of the Senate, and a title of Public Printer. On August 1, 1876, President Ulysses S. Grant appointed Almon M. Clapp as the first Public Printer of the United States. He was followed by a familiar figure' John D. Defrees, who was appointed by President Rutherford B. Hayes on June 1, 1877, as the second Public Printer of the United States. Defrees served until the spring of 1882. The pattern of Presidential appointment was now firmly established.

    Advances in printing technology did not go unnoticed by GPO's Public Printers and their predecessors. Indeed, by contracting for special equipment they were to contribute to an ever- improving state-of-the-art. In 1878, Public Printer Defrees wisely observed, "Improvements in machinery for the more rapid and economical manufacture of newspapers and books are constantly being made, and those who do not use them work to great disadvantage." One of his predecessors, Superintendent of Public Printing Wendell, had in 1866 secured for GPO the marvel of its day, a Bullock Perfecting Press. This was the first automatic, reel-fed rotary press which worked from stereotype plates, and printed on both sides of the paper. It had two printing and two impression cylinders. The paper was fed from the reel and was cut into sheets before it reached the impression. The sheets were then carried through the press by tapes and mechanical fingers. In an hour, the press could deliver 10,000 flat sheets printed on both sides.

    Defrees, himself, took a similar step in 1878 by contracting for the manufacture by Cottrell & Babcock of a specially designed Two-Revolution Cylinder Press. On the arrival of the first two of three, he reported to Congress: "Seeing no reason why the Government Printing Office should not avail itself of some of these improvements, two large presses, on which to print the Confessional Record and other work when not needed for that publication, have been put into it. More work can be done on these presses than can be done on 12 Adams presses and by the employment of one-third of the number of employees required by those presses."

    By 1882, GPO was on the eve of another revolutionary technological change. Noted under disbursements in the annual report for that year was the following: "Electrical plant, consisting of two dynamos, lamps, and all other necessary fixtures and labor, $3,839.69." GPO was entering the "Age of Electricity!"

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    "Age of Electricity"

    The fifth in a series of articles commemorating GPO's 125th Anniversary, by Daniel R. MacGilvray.

    Interestingly, in 1882 the Government Printing Office's first two dynamos and related equipment were charged to the "account of the Congressional Record." Earlier introduction of new technology, such as the Bullock perfecting press of 1866, and Cottrell & Babcock's two revolution cylinder presses of 1878, were sanctioned by the Joint Committee on Printing to enhance production of the Congressional Record. Not surprisingly, Public Printer Sterling P. Rounds noted in 1884: "The Edison system of electric light, which was introduced in the Record room by my predecessor (Defreees), has been extended to the press and document rooms, with very gratifying results. The light produced is cheaper than gas, far superior in all respects, and is much preferred by the employees. Connection has also been made between the electric light engine and the press room, so that in case of accident to the main engine there would not be a suspension of work in the press room."

    By 1895, Public Printer Thomas E. Benedict was faced with the increasing need to shift from steam powered presses to electrical power. He decided not to try to expand the existing electrical lighting plant, but instead to request a new one. He made his case as follows: "Electricity applied to machinery has been found to be not only very economical, but a great advantage and convenience. Its easy adaptation to the varying speeds required by printing machinery, its safety, and the ease with which it may be produced and controlled are all points in its favor. The belt-power system in use here was a continuous one, and when one machine was in operation every belt and pulley was set in motion, with consequent danger of fire from friction. Direct electrical power will permit the independent operation of any machine, either day or night, and will also allow machines to be placed in any part of the building without regard to lines of shafting. Besides these advantages, full protection is secured from any general stopping of machinery such as frequently occurred under the belt system." Progress was rapid; and, in 1896 Public Printer Benedict was able to say, "The Government Printing Office power and lighting plant is now for the first time such as will prevent interruption of its work by reason of the failure of any single source of power or lighting supply."

    A great deal of work by Public Printers focused on the buildings acquired in 1861, additions to them, modifications of them, and plans and justifications for new buildings. Of the structures that stood on the site bounded by H and North Capitol Streets, and Massachusetts and New Jersey Avenues, between 1861 and 1902, none survive. The oldest building still standing is located on the northwest comer of North Capitol and G Streets. Its foundation was dug beginning in 1899; and it was completed in 1903. The cost of the land, obtained through condemnation proceedings, was $190,028.06. The cost of construction was $2,429,000. A local architect, James G. Hill, was chosen; and the preparation of plans and construction was supervised by Captain John S. Sewell, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Assigned to H. K. Collins, Chief Engineer of the Government Printing Office, was the task of "planning, installing, and operating the steam power, the plumbing, ventilating, steam heating, and cold drinking water systems." Entrusted to the Chief Electrician, W H. Tapley, was the "duty of planning, installing, and operating the clerical system by which the motive power and lighting of the new and old buildings" were to be operated.

    The building was described as follows: "The new building fronts 175.3 feet on North Capitol Street, and extends 408 feet on G Street. The basement walls are of brick, and the exterior walls of red brick, with red sandstone and terra cotta trimmings. The outer walls of the court and the inner walls of the building are of whiteface brick, and all stairway and elevator walls and toilet rooms are of white-enameled brick. The building rises from the surface of the ground seven full stories, exclusive of basement and attic. The floor space is equal to 377,200 square feet, or about 10 1/2 acres . . . . Adjoining the basement is a fireproof vault for the storage of stereotype and election plates. Its dimensions are 175 by 20 feet on North Capitol Street, and 408 by 20 feet on G Street. It is located under the west pavement of the former street and the north pavement of the latter. It is estimated it has a storage capacity for 2,000,000 plates.

    "The first floor of the building is occupied by the press and roller divisions; the second floor by a portion of the folding division and the supervising and clerical force of the office; the third floor by the folding division; the fourth floor by the bindery; the fifth and sixth floors by typographical and proof divisions; and the seventh floor by the divisions devoted to job work, and the electrotype and stereotype foundry . . . . A pneumatic tube system for the rapid transmission of copy and proof to the various portions of the office has been installed, and is in successful operation . . . . In the loft of the building are located ventilating fans, operated by electricity, and the machinery for operating the carriers in the pneumatic tubes, the power being also furnished by electric motors. Provision has been made for eight elevators for passenger service, four freight elevators, one sidewalk elevator, and two form elevators.

    "The power, heat, and light for the old and new buildings is furnished from a plant which is remarkable for its efficiency and economy. It extends from Jackson Alley, in the north to G Street on the south. The steam is furnished from eight boilers of Scotch marine type, of 300 horsepower each, supplied with appliances for saving and reusing heat, and these furnish steam for operating four cross-compound condensing engines direct connected to electric generators. One of the engines is of 200 horsepower, one of 450 horsepower, and two of 800 horsepower each. The economy of fuel in the production of power, heat, and light by this plant is cause for marvel in the minds of experienced operators of motive power. With one minor exception each piece of machinery in both buildings is operated by a separate electric motor, and electric currents fire furnished day and night for more than 10,000 lights.

    "The most important consideration connected with the new building is that it is fireproof from basement to attic. The frame is of open-hearth steel, the window casing of iron, and brick and porous terra cotta protect columns, girders, and beams from expansion, fire. The structure is so substantial that heavy printing presses and other machinery are operated on the seventh floor without apparent vibration. A novel and useful feature of the new building is a plant for the supply of drinking water, without the accompaniment of ice, to all the operatives. Seventy-five drinking fountains are placed in convenient locations, supplied from tanks of filtered water in the basement, and the temperature of the water reduced to a palatable degree by passage through an ammonia plant."

    The men who brought the Government Printing office into the "electronic age" were three remarkable Public Printers: Sterling P. Rounds, from Illinois; Thomas E. Benedict, from New York; and Frank W. Palmer, from Illinois.

    President Chester A. Arthur appointed Public Printer Rounds on April 15, 1882. He served the Government Printing Office until his resignation on September 12, 1886. At the time of his appointment, the Nation was still reacting to the previous year's assassination of President James A. Garfield by a disappointed office seeker. This sad event gave great impetus to civil service reform legislation. On January 16, 1883, the Pendleton Act was passed which provided for a three-man bipartisan Civil Service Commission to draw up and administer competitive examinations for Federal jobs. Although covering only one-tenth of Federal employees, this was an important beginning which Public Printer Rounds implemented in the Government Printing Office. He noted the change in December, 1883: "The custom was for each Foreman to appoint or discharge at will; there was no record aside from the payroll, and it was simply impossible for the head of the office to know who was in his employ except as shown on the payrolls. I adopted the rule that the Public Printer, being responsible for the work of the office, should make all the appointments." A daily record of employees by states was introduced, along with a weekly report showing "appointments, resignations, deaths, transfers, etc.:' and made available to the Public Printer. As a result, said Rounds, "I confidently believe that the shorter hours of service, and better pay than prevails in outside offices, together with due care in selection and appointments, has resulted in making the force now employed in the Government Printing Office of such skill and efficiency as was never exceeded, if equaled, in any other printing establishment in the world."

    Public Printer Rounds was an energetic innovator. The problem of a mob scene on one payday per month was met by dividing the payroll into three sections and paying those listed on the 3rd, 8th, and 13th workday of each month. He renewed old wooden floors and installed new toilets. He abolished the older system of wetting and making ready calendared paper in favor of the more popular method of working dry paper that kept its gloss and finish. In the area of fire safety, he secured pumps, hoses, buckets, and fire escapes for the wooden buildings, as well as conducted regular fire drills. He recommended and obtained from Congress 15 days paid annual leave for employees, where there had been none. He also introduced, "A more comprehensive system of accounts, whereby a perfect record is made of every transaction. By opening new books and adopting an improved system of auditing, checks, and counterchecks, there is not a single transaction that is not fully shown, and there is a voucher for every item"

    President Grover Cleveland appointed Thomas E. Benedict to succeed Rounds on September 13, 1886. He served to May 6, 1889, and was later reappointed by President Cleveland on May 3, 1894, and served then to March 30, 1897. During his first term, with a work force of about 2,200, Public Printer Benedict recommended 30 days paid annual leave for employees, and secured it from Congress in 1888. He began the practice of having annual reports of division chiefs. He promoted the use of electrotyping and stereotyping in place of letterpress work. He noted craft workers were petitioning Congress for better wages, and went on record saying, "rates of wages as fixed by law are now insufficient." He also supported premium pay for nightwork, noting, "The rule allowing such extra pay is now universal in the printing trade." When he returned for a second term in 1894, it was to find a work force of about 3,600; and he set about implementing a reduction in force. Some 700 employees received a notice which read: "Being satisfied that the best interests of the public service and the efficient performance of the work of the GPO necessitates a reduction in the number of employees, it becomes my duty to direct the foreman of printing to inform you that your services would not be required after the day of this notice. Cashier will settle any balance of wages due you at the earliest possible moment convenient with the duties of his desk." This step prompted many workers to petition Congress for an extension of Civil Service. President Cleveland did just that on August 1, 1895, with an amendment on August 22, and "GPO Rules" were published, saying: "any male citizen of the United States not under 21 and any female citizen not under 18 may be examined for positions in the GPO." By 1896, Mr. Benedict felt new employees selected from certified lists were working as well as those previously appointed by Public Printers.

    Perhaps the most significant event to occur during the Benedict years, was the passage by Congress of the Printing Act of 1895. Long overdue, and a topic of need stressed by early Public Printers, codification finally took place. For the first time the apprentice system was recognized in law: "The Public Printer may employ any such number of apprentices, not to exceed 25 at any one time, as in his judgment will be consistent with the economical service of the office." But the real thrust of the Act was best described in the New York Daily Tribune for December 6, 1894: "Under its operation the cost of the public printing and binding will be materially reduced and a system established which will result not only in a more intelligent distribution of Government publications, but in placing copies of all of them in depositories throughout the country where they will be convenient of access to persons who may desire to consult them. The bill also provides for the distribution among public libraries and other depositories of the vast accumulation of old documents numbering nearly 1 million volumes which now occupy valuable space in the Capitol and elsewhere in Washington, and against further accumulations of the same sort." The Act also called for the appointment of a Superintendent of Documents who would "receive and care for all surplus documents in the possession of Government offices; assort and catalog them; supervise their distribution and sale; catalog and index monthly and annually all documents published; in fine, to render accessible to librarian and the public generally the vast store of Government publications." Mr. Benedict was quick to appoint the first Superintendent of Documents on March 26, 1895, a man "with superior practical ability and literary attainments," Mr. Francis A. Crandall, from Buffalo, NY, "a gentleman whose recommendations for the position were of the highest, and who possessed an additional qualification, viz, that he would have nothing to unlearn in order to carry out the evident intention of Congress to secure better methods and greater efficiency in the distribution of public documents." With Public Printer Benedict's departure in 1897, the Government Printing Office was approaching the new century electrified, under Civil Service, with a mandate in the new Printing Act of 1895, and with a Superintendent of Documents charged with getting Government publications into America's libraries and into the hands of its citizens.

    The Public Printer who was to take the Government Printing Office into the Twentieth Century was appointed by President Benjamin Harrison on May 7, 1889. Frank W. Palmer served to May 2, 1894, and was later reappointed by President William McKinley on March 31, 1897, and again served to September 8, 1905. During his first term, Palmer argued mightily in behalf of a new fireproof main building. But it was the 1893 collapse of Ford's Theatre that threatened many people in Washington, including some in Congress, and a great many in the wooden buildings of the Government Printing Office. Public Printers Benedict and Palmer stood as one on this issue, and Congress began to listen. It was also in 1893 that Congress gave up its long tradition of hand scribed bills, in favor of printing from type. On December 12, 1893, Public Law No. 1, of the 53d Congress, 2d session, became the first of many acts to be so printed.

    When Public Printer Palmer returned for a second term in 1897, it was to renew the struggle for the building; and by 1898, Congress appropriated money for the purchase of land. The Spanish American War came and went that same year, and provided the Government Printing Office with a new crop of veterans. The Document Division drew upon its 3 Years of experience to reorganize into six sections: Bookkeeping and Correspondence; Sales; Catalog; Library; Mail; and Stock. In 1899, Congress appropriated funds for equality of pay among printers, pressmen, and book binders; so that all might be paid 50 cents an hour, or $4 for an 8 hour day. Other crafts petitioned Congress, and on July 1, 1900, the same rate was granted to blacksmiths, carpenters, electricians, electrotypers, leather parers, machinists, plumbers, saw grinders, steam fitters, and stereotypers. Other pay increases that year allowed $3.50 a day for painters; and for women, $2.50 a day for directresses, $2 a day for gold workers, numberers, press feeders, sewers, and folders. It was from these workers that the initiative came for a "sick room" on the third floor of the old building. They provided a cot, blanket, and a small supply of donated medicine. The Government Printing Office provided the room, and in 1905 the first Medical Director, a former GPO employee. Before Mr. Palmer ended his term in 1905, he reported: "In June 1904, contracts were made by the Public Printer with the Mergenthaler Linotype Co. for the purchase of 46 double magazine typesetting machines, at a cost of $3,600 each, and with the Lanston Monotype Co. for 28 typesetting machines, at a cost of $3,150 each." This stride into hot metal technology engendered uneasiness among many employees, who feared machines would be used to replace them. They made their concern known to Congress, and on September 9, 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt relieved Mr. Palmer of the position he had held for over 13 years. But the future was arriving, and Public Printer Palmer had glimpsed it in 1901 when he observed, "in the event that the use of electric automobiles should prove more practicable than horses and wagons for transporting the products of the GPO the supply of the necessary electric currents for charging the automobiles could be furnished from the power plant of the new building." The "Age of the Auto" was getting underway.

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    The Age of the Auto

    The sixth in a series of articles commemorating GPO's 125th Anniversary, by Daniel R. MacGilvray.

    In 1901 a Public Printer suggested that automobiles might "prove more practicable than horses and wagons for transporting the products of GPO." Five years later, on January 26, 1906, another Public Printer made headlines: "Finds Horses too Expensive. Public Printer at Washington May Substitute Automobiles." The newspaper article went on to say: "He will confer with the President about it and will endeavor to get Congress to appropriate for the purchase of the vehicles." It remained for a later Public Printer to finally report in 1912: "The purchase and installation of charging panels and charging circuits in the new garage to accommodate the automobiles cost $1,289.56. During this fiscal year six electric trucks were purchased at a cost of $17,373. A greater part of the old traffic equipment was sold, six horses and two trucks being kept. During the first six months that these automobiles were in service the total cost of the combined garage, delivery, and stable sections was $18,145.60, indicating an estimated saving per annum of $12,196.90 over the cost of operating the delivery and stable sections in the previous year." Eleven years of effort, spanning the careers of four Public Printers, were needed to bring the Government Printing Office into the "Age of the Auto."

    The men who guided the Government Printing Office into the "automobile age" were four unusual Public Printers: Charles A. Stillings, from Massachusetts; John S. Leech, from Illinois; Samuel B. Donnelly, from New York; and Cornelius Ford, from New Jersey.

    President Theodore Roosevelt appointed Public Printer Stillings on November 1, 1905; and he served the Government Printing Office until his suspension by the President on February 5, 1908. Seldom has a Public Printer been such a center of controversy and national publicity.

    Stilling's background reveals his ambition. He began working in his father's printing office in Boston at the age of 14. He dropped out of high school at 16 to learn the business, and was steadily advanced by his father, E. B. Stillings, a prominent figure in the Grand Army of the Republic. Setting out on his own for Washington, DC, he soon became manager of the Printers' Board of Trade. Subsequently, he took a similar position in New York City. While there, a friend told him of the resignation of Public Printer Palmer, and remarked, "That's a position you ought to have." Stillings agreed, and made an appointment to meet President Roosevelt at Oyster Bay, NY. The President was impressed by his enthusiasm and knowledge of printing. He made some inquiries about this 200-pound, 34-year-old man. Endorsements were forthcoming: from Massachusetts Senators Winthrop M. Crane and Henry C. Lodge, as well as from numerous large printing firms. As a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason, and a member of the Mystic Shrine, Stillings did not lack in fraternal support.

    While awaiting confirmation, headlines appeared in The New York Sun for November 16, 1905: "Printing Office Scandal. Effort To Defeat Confirmation of Stillings. Oscar J. Ricketts, Late Acting Public Printer, Leads The Opposition, The Basis of Which Is Alleged To Be the 'Open Shop' Proclivities of Mr. Stillings. Confirmation took place without incident. However, the new Public Printer was to be followed by one storm cloud after another. During his term, Americans were to hear more about the Government Printing Office than at any previous time in its history.

    The person most responsible for bringing a spotlight of publicity to the Government Printing Office was President Theodore Roosevelt. Not only did he appoint Public Printer Stillings, but he gave him an order that brought him into the limelight. The Associated Press reported it on August 24, 1906: "President Roosevelt has endorsed the Carnegie spelling reform movement. He issued orders today to Public Printer Stillings that hereafter all messages from the President and all other documents emanating from the White House shall be printed in accordance with the recommendation of the spelling reform committee headed by Brander Matthews, professor of English in Columbia University. This committee has published a list of 300 words in which the spelling is reformed. This list contains such words as 'thru' and 'tho' as the spelling for 'through' and 'though.'"

    The press had a field day with the "reform spelling crusade" and editorials and cartoons abounded. The Supreme Court entered the fray and directed that its opinions should be printed in the old style. Finally, Congress had the last word when Representative Charles B. Landis of Indiana, Chairman of the House Committee on Printing, introduced a resolution on December 13, 1906: "Resolved, That it is the sense of the House that hereafter in the printing of House documents or other publications used by law or ordered by Congress, or either branch thereof, or emanating from any executive department or bureau of the Government, the House printer should observe and adhere to the standard of orthography prescribed in generally accepted dictionaries of the English language. The motion passed unanimously. The President let the Public Printer and the Nation know that the old style was reinstated.

    No sooner had this cloud burst, than another one appeared on the horizon. On May 30, 1907, Public Printer Stillings authorized a "reduction in force" and announced the dismissal of 204 employees, half of whom were journeyman bookbinders, and half of whom were women, mostly sewers and goldworkers. This action, the Public Printer said, was necessitated by changes in printing and binding regulations which caused a falling off of work. A special dispatch to the Rochester Chronicle of April 30, 1907, described the resulting impact: "Many pathetic scenes followed the receipt of the dreaded yellow envelopes by the women. A number of them could not refrain from shedding tears, while a few became hysterical. Several of them had worked in the printing office for years."

    The Public Printer brought on another storm by insisting on physical examinations for the elderly workers at the Government Printing Office. This is reflected in a news item for September 31, 1907: "The women employed in the Government Printing Office, especially those in the bindery, have entered the fight to have Public Printer Stillings deposed. Their grievance is a reduction of wages. One thing to which they object is the physical examination ordered by Stillings. Many of them are widows of Civil War soldiers and they know that they cannot hop, skip and jump in competition with boys and young men. They also object to the rigid surveillance to which they are subjected."

    Other acts of the Public Printer alienated women in the workforce. One which received a great deal of publicity was the removal of mirrors from work areas. One woman explained their need to a reporter, on April 27, 1907: "Yes, we had our own mirrors and they were necessary. In the main dressing room of each of the floors where the women work there is one mirror, but what could a hundred or more girls do before one mirror when everybody wants to leave as soon as the Government has had our day's work? Under the old order it took each of us but a moment to see how we looked and we could go out on the street feeling that we were presentable. From half past 4 o'clock until 6 each day is the only time we have in which to do our modest shopping, and it is a race to get to the stores before they close. Mr. Stillings evidently believes we should leave this building all frowsied up and looking disreputable. Well, we'll fool him, anyhow, for he cannot prevent our carrying little pocket mirrors and the shops will have a run on that article."

    Needless to say, the trade unions were also provoked. A headline in The Boston American for March 15, 1907, read: "Strike Threatened at U.S. Print Shop. The article went on to say: "Because they claim Public Printer Stillings is trying to supplant them with apprentices and unskilled men, the small army of stereotypers and electrotypers at the great government print shop are threatening a strike. At a special meeting a delegation was named to wait on Stillings and present their grievances." On July 22, 1907, the same newspaper reported: "Resolutions denouncing in vigorous terms Stillings' recent order fining proofreaders for overlooking errors were forwarded today to President Roosevelt and laid before the Department of Justice by Columbia Typographical Union No. 1. On October 17, 1907, the Central Labor Union of the District of Columbia passed resolutions "asking President Roosevelt to remove Charles A. Stillings from office."

    Public Printer Stillings viewed things differently from his critics. He expressed himself on June 24. 1907, before a Washington, DC gathering of photoengravers and electrotypers. A reporter noted: "Mr. Stillings said an effort was being made to place the Government Printing Office on a plane with the best printing establishments in the world. He described how he had found a more or less disorganized force of workmen in many lines; how he had made an attempt to place at the head of several departments experts in their several lines; how he had met with some opposition; how he had been misunderstood in some ways, but how at last it was becoming apparent that the Government Printing Office is not only abreast with the best establishments of its kind in the world, but the idea was beginning to appear that the true aim is to make it the model printing house of the world."

    However, the controversies which swirled around Public Printer Stillings prompted his suspension by President Roosevelt on February 5, 1908, and a subsequent investigation. The resulting Rossiter Report of February 29, 1908, was critical of expenditures relating to "cost, audit, and inventory systems," along with purchase of supplies and furniture amounting to $138,110. Criticism was also made of failure to properly train workers in the efficient use of new typesetting machines. Worker morale was found to be low. The report's conclusion stated that the Public Printer "had not been a good judge of men, but at the same time could not be accused of any intentional wrongdoing."

    President Roosevelt also appointed Public Printer Leech on June 9, 1908. He served the Government Printing Office during a period of transition for 6 months, until November 30, 1908. A veteran of the Government Printing Office, the new Public Printer had learned his trade in Indiana working for The Pantagraph. He came to Washington DC in 1889 as a compositor, later serving as a proofreader and foreman. When appointed by the President, he was serving as Public Printer of the recently acquired Philippines. As an honorary member of the Columbia Typographical Union, he had twice represented their members at meetings of the International. One of the first areas he examined as Public Printer was that of wages paid in the Government Printing Office. He authorized increases for linotype and monotype operators, as well as printers, bookbinders, proofreaders, and other occupations requiring special skill.

    During his brief administration, Public Printer Leech implemented a new system of accounting. The annual report for 1906 said of it: "By the accounting system is shown monthly the total cost of operation, daily the amount of wages earned, and at any moment the amount of purchases, the total expenditures to date, and the outstanding obligations." The system was considered to be of "comparative simplicity" and "logical arrangement." However, the workload proved too heavy for the Public Printer, and his doctor ordered him to rest. On December 1, 1908, he resigned. During his last day at the Government Printing Office, more than 1,000 employees met with him to wish him well.

    President Roosevelt's third appointee to the Government Printing Office, on December 1, 1908, was Public Printer Donnelly, a former president of the International Typographical Union. He served through the term of Roosevelt's successor, President William H. Taft, until June 25, 1913. The new Public Printer had been previously appointed by the President to a number of special commissions, and was well known to him. One of the Public Printer's early suggestions, made in his annual report for 1909, related to the eighth (or attic) floor of the new building. He observed: "The majority of employees of the Government Printing Office partake of the noonday meal in the workrooms in which they are employed. Food is carried into the workrooms in large quantities and distributed from convenient points This method is unhealthful and insanitary, increases the difficulty of keeping the office clean, and attracts insects destructive to certain classes of material." He went on to request authority to construct skylights in the roof and to use the area as a lunchroom. The Public Printer also set about securing new business. He was able to report on December 5, 1910: "In February we undertook the work of printing the postal cards. On this work many difficulties were met with, particularly owing to paper and mechanical troubles. At the date of the submission of this report, however, the work is up-to-date. The Government Printing Office printed in the month of October 156,834,000 cards." For the entire fiscal year 1911, he reported production of 1,280,895,840 postal cards! This particular legacy of Public Printer Donnelly is still a vital part of the Government Printing Office which in 1986 installed a new No. 8 Roland Man 5-color offset press for the printing of postal cards and passports.

    One unusual, but painfully significant, episode occurred in 1911. During the construction of a wall for the garage, the Civil Service Commission certified six bricklayers and one laborer for work on the project. After a few days on the job, the bricklayers let it be known that they wanted the laborer, a black man, removed from the project. When this was not done, they walked out. The Civil Service Commission then certified six new bricklayers, who happened to be black men. Some vociferous criticism was leveled at the Public Printer for refusing to dismiss the laborer, and for replacing the bricklayers who had left. The Public Printer clearly expressed himself on this matter, and was quoted by The Reformer (Richmond, VA), on November 11, 1911: "I am loyal to union principles when they stand for protection and for fair play to all concerned. Negro bricklayers work side by side with white bricklayers in the Washington and other Navy yards. I cannot see why in the case of the work to be done at the Government Printing Office, the white bricklayers should expect an exception to be made in their favor. There are 400 Negro employees in the Government Printing Office. Colored persons work in the various departments side-by-side with other employees in harmony and with great efficiency. I wish to declare with all emphasis that any employee of this department who tries to precipitate the devilish stricture of race prejudice will be immediately dismissed and will not again be employed!"

    Public Printer Donnelly's concern for the employees showed itself in still another farsighted way. He reported to Congress in 1911: "There are employed in the Government Printing Office more than 250 persons above the age of 65, and it would be of advantage to the Government to provide for the retirement of those who have given to the public service the best years of their lives and who may be unable to perform an average day's work. This could be equitably accomplished through the adoption of a plan which would in effect amount to an annuity to each employee upon arriving at the age of retirement or upon becoming disabled. The basis of such annuities should be length of service and the salary or wage received during their employment, which in the case of those who have been in the service for many years would meet their ordinary requirements during the remainder of their lives. Such a plan would result in saving a large proportion of the amount that it is conceded generally is now lost through the superannuation of employees, and would at the same time be an act of justice to the individual and a recognition of long and faithful service." Not until 1920 did the Civil Service Employees' Retirement Act take effect; and Public Printer Donnelly helped sow the seeds.

    On June 26, 1913, newly elected President Woodrow Wilson appointed a friend known to him in New Jersey, Public Printer Ford, president of the State Federation of Labor. He served the Government Printing Office and the Nation through the trying days of World War I, until April 4, 1921. One of his first acts was to obtain from President Wilson an executive order which allowed him to appoint a private secretary. He chose Joseph P. O'Lone, who had been treasurer of the New Jersey State Federation of Labor, and was prominent in the Knights of Columbus. The Public Printer then put his stamp of approval on the annual report of 1913. In it, his closing words addressed the wage question: "In conclusion I would recommend that the wages of compositors and bookbinders, now at 50 cents per hour, be increased to 55 cents per hour, also that bookbinder machine operators be increased from 55 cents to 60 cents per hour. It is estimated that the sum of $83,000 will be required to meet the increase in salary should this rate be granted by Congress." He was to repeat this same request in annual reports for 1914, 1915, 1916, and 1917. In his final report for 1920, he pointed out with some exasperation: "For the past two or three years only by promises of his utmost endeavor with Congress for relief has the Public Printer been enabled to retain sufficient efficient employees on the legislative rolls to take care of the ever increasing demands of Congress, the departments, and the general public. Within the past year the office has lost by resignation the services of many of its best paid and most efficient employees, and the good of the service impels this appeal to the Congress for a proper adjustment of these rolls ... Owing to the seriousness of the situation it is urgently recommended that Congress take favorable action so that the salary and wage rate in the Government Printing Office will compare with the salary and wage rate paid in commercial establishments doing similar work."

    Initially, Public Printer Ford set about promoting a number of health and safety measures. His annual report for 1914 mentions: "A 'rest room' has been installed on the fifth floor of the new building for women employees who may become exhausted during working hours. The room is under the supervision of the medical and sanitary officer. I consider it a very humane and necessary adjunct to the office." In 1915 he reported: "Realizing that the health of employees in the linotype section was being endangered by fumes and noxious gases arising from melted metal in the linotype pots, I installed a ventilating system in that section at a cost of $398. The installation of this system has resulted in a very material change for the better in the atmosphere of the room and the general working conditions." He also noted that: "All faucets were removed from drinking fountains throughout the buildings and replaced with bubbling fountains, at a cost $946.75; this replacement was a decided advance in sanitation." Public Printer Ford felt vacations were an important source of rest and renewal for employees. He expressed considerable satisfaction at a legal opinion on the subject: "A decision of the comptroller, dated February 15, 1915, definitely decided that employees of this office are entitled to leave of absence with pay for 30 working days each year. The decision was fair and just and in full conformity with law."

    Meanwhile, World War I had begun in Europe; and it was to have a major impact on the Government Printing Office. On the eve of America's involvement, in 1916, the value of the fiscal year's printing and binding (excluding that for the Superintendent of Documents) was $6,201,864.42. During the record breaking fiscal year of 1919, this product amounted to $12,774,712.34. The entry of the United States into the "Great War" produced a rush of orders in 1911. The Public Printer listed some of them: "Registration cards, 25,000,000; certificates of registration, 18,000,000; Manual of Courts-Martial, 100,000; Small-Arms Firing Manual, 100,000; Manual of Guard Duty, 100,000; Infantry Drill Regulations, 90,000; Liberty Bond posters in two colors, 1,000,000, with delivery in three days; Boy Scout posters in several colors, 4,000,000 with deliveries in a few days time; bulletin on home gardening, 1,000,000; and many other large quantities of bulletins on home economies."

    The War's impact altered the life at the Government Printing Office. In 1918, the Public Printer reported: "The number of women employed in the office now is far in excess of previous years; they have been assigned to many branches of work heretofore filled by men only, and show a willing desire to carry it through." Three 8-hour shifts made hectic the chores of maintenance workers: "The employees engaged in the upkeep of buildings and plant worked under considerable difficulty on account of the office being in operation almost constantly, and it being necessary that their work conflict as little as possible with productive operations." There were also security measures: "Secret and confidential publications, of which there were very many, were handled throughout the office under strict and ironclad regulations, preventing any premature publicity or any breach of the confidence of departmental officials." A peak of employment was reached in October 1918 when "the number of employees was 5,307." Despite this, there was considerable employee turnover: "The general average number of separations from the service has been approximately 200 per month, the two principal reasons given being those of better compensation in other places and draft into military and naval service." Finally, the end came; and the Public Printer observed: "The signing of the armistice on November 11, 1918, found this office in full swing on the largest output in its history. With practically all divisions running on three eight-hour schedules, the value of product was amounting to about one and a quarter million dollars a month."

    With peace came a profound political change. War weary Americans elected with 16,152,200 votes a down home printer, Warren G. Harding, who owned and worked in a small newspaper, The Star, in Marion, OH. That "Printer" President when in the White House turned to the Joint Committee on Printing for a new Public Printer. One was forthcoming who was to prove "President Harding's Legacy" to the Government Printing Office.

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    President Harding's Legacy

    The seventh in a series of articles commemorating GPO's 125th Anniversary, by Daniel R. MacGilvray.

    Strange are the ways of politics, Presidents, and printing. Since 1861, newly elected Presidents have chosen new Public Printers, or sometimes reappointed incumbents. The election of 1920 brought to America's highest office a printer by trade, a politician by choice, and a very trusting human being by nature. Warren G. Harding's taste for printer's ink began during the summer of 1876 in the small town of Caledonia in Marion County, OH. He was a lanky 12-year-old used to farm chores. With a young friend he ventured into the office of the Caledonia Argus. There, both boys became "printer's devils," sweeping the floor, running errands, feeding the presses, washing rollers, and distributing type into California job cases. Later that summer, when Hi Henry's Circus came to town, the editor got two free tickets. His "devils" threatened to strike unless taken care of. The good-natured owner, Will Warner, turned over the tickets and the boys were off to the circus. Towards the end of summer, perched atop a printshop stool, each boy began to set type in the time-honored fashion. One day, a lawyer brought in a brief that had to be set, printed, and ready the following day. The 12-year-old Harding worked into the night with Warner and completed the job. Before Warren went home, the old editor put into his hand a gift, a thin piece of steel, 21/2 inches long, a 13-em make up rule, the traditional symbol of a full-fledged printer. The boy was to cherish this memento for the rest of his life: while working at his own newspaper, The Star, as Ohio State Senator and Lieutenant Governor, as U.S. Senator, and as President of the United States.

    Perhaps it was President Harding's wish for sound advice that prompted him to turn to the Joint Committee on Printing. In any case, its Chairman, Utah's Senator Reed Smoot, suggested the name of George H. Carter, Clerk of the Joint Committee on Printing. This good advice was taken by the trusting President who appointed Public Printer Carter on March 31, 1921. Shortly after he was sworn in on April 5, 1921, a large photograph of the President as a working printer was presented to the Public Printer. Handwritten beneath it was this inscription: "To George H. Carter, with the greetings and good wishes of one printer and public servant to another. Sincerely, Warren G. Harding." This photo held a special place of honor in the Public Printer's office from 1921 to 1934.

    President Harding's appointee was a 47-year-old attorney, a Wisconsin native, who, like the President, had learned to set type and operate a job press while a young man in Iowa. He had been a member of the Newswriters' Branch of the International Typographical Union, but had eventually turned to law as a career. For the past 12 years, he had worked diligently for the Joint Committee on Printing. The Committee members thought very highly of attorney Carter. On receiving his letter of resignation, April 4, 1921, they entered a revealing minute in their records: "In accepting the resignation of Mr. George H. Carter after a service of twelve years as Clerk to the Joint Committee on Printing, the Committee desires to record in its minutes its deep regret in losing the services and cooperation of so capable and courteous an official. The Committee also records its appreciation of the fact that Mr. Carter's qualities have received substantial recognition through his appointment as Public Printer, a position in which his fine personal characteristics, his executive ability, his eminent good judgment and his unflagging industry are sure to bring him the success which all the members of the Committee wish for him in abundant measure."

    The newly appointed Public Printer spoke of his mandate, in his first annual report for 1921: ". . . the President simply but impressively instructed me to operate the 'big shop' on a strictly business basis, to stop waste and extravagances in the printing and binding as far as was within the power of the Public Printer, and to place the personnel of the office above all suspicion as to honesty and integrity." Carter was a man whose 12 years with the Joint Committee on Printing had provided him with unique insight into the workings of the Government Printing Office. He was now steward to the needs for Congressional printing and the lives of some 4,000 employees.

    Finding unexpended funds of $2.4 million available, the Public Printer decided to have the attic level of Building 1 repaired. He noted, "The roof was badly cracked in numerous places, thus occasioning many leaks, which constantly endangered the million dollars worth of typesetting machinery on the seventh floor." The GPO Superintendent of Buildings, Major Walter R. Metz, prepared plans which were submitted to the Joint Committee on Printing. They heartily approved. The outcome was the creation of "quarters for a much-needed photoengraving plant, a better location for metal and storage rooms, an adequate cafeteria, and suitable rest and recreation rooms for the employees."

    The employees responded by taking responsibility for the operation of the cafeteria and the carrying on of recreational activities. The annual report for 1922 records: "All the expenses of the cafeteria, including foodstuffs and wages, and of the recreation rooms, are paid by the association, the Government Printing Office providing only the space, fixed equipment, heat, light, and power ... Included in the equipment purchased by the employees with their own funds are two fine pianos, one a $1,600 concert grand, numerous cafeteria accessories and replacements, and paraphernalia for four complete bowling alleys. The association which manages these affairs is called the 'GPO Cafeteria and Recreation Association.' It was organized by voluntary contributions of $1 or $2 each by employees to a common fund for the purpose of securing a working capital to operate the cafeteria. In this way $4,497.75 was raised with much readiness and enthusiasm ... Every employee is entitled to the privileges of the cafeteria and the rest and recreation rooms whether or not he is a member of the association."

    One of the outstanding printing challenges which came to the Government Printing Office during the Harding years was the printing in record time of the Report and Minutes of the Conference on the Limitation of Armament. After the bitter experience of World War I, President Harding and other statesmen wanted to cut back on huge appropriations for military hardware. The President gave his full endorsement to a naval arms reduction conference held in Washington, DC, November 12, 1921, to February 6, 1922. The outcome was a genuine reduction, with nine treaties being drafted and signed, and Senate ratification for all of them. The report which helped make this possible was printed by the employees of the Government Printing Office. Public Printer Carter recalled: "This document made 910 printed pages, every line of which was set by the Government Printing Office in 20 hours. The first form of the fifty- seven 16-page signatures reached the pressroom at 10:30 a.m., and 1,500 complete copies were sent to the bindery by 5:30 p.m. of the same day. Paperbound copies were delivered to the President and Congress at 9:00 a.m. the following morning or 40 hours after the manuscript copy was received by the office. The printing was done on 23 automatically fed presses, which turned out 185,820 impressions, requiring 6,650 pounds of paper for the 3,260 copies issued." High praise came in a letter to the Public Printer from Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes: "I question whether any other printing establishment in any country could have performed the work done by the Government Printing Office, especially in consideration of the high standard of printing that was sustained throughout ... I trust you will accept my most cordial thanks for your assistance, and I wish you would also say to all the employees of your office how much their efficiency and unselfish devotion to duty added to the success of our labors during the conference."

    Steps were taken by Public Printer Carter to restore the apprenticeship program which had been discontinued for more than 35 years. The Civil Service Commission was sent a plan for examining and appointing apprentices. The Printing Act of 1895 had limited their number to 25; and the Public Printer suggested that this number should be revised upwards. Efforts were also made, as in previous postwar periods, to help veterans. The Public Printer observed that he was "heartily cooperating with the Federal Board for Vocational Education and the Veterans' Bureau in affording an opportunity for war veterans to receive vocational training in this office." He went on to speak of the veterans then employed by the Government Printing Office: "20 veterans of the Civil War, 124 of the Spanish War, and 289 of the World War--a total of 433." This was in a workforce of 4,096 as of June 30, 1921. The Public Printer also commented on the effects of the new Civil Service Employees' Retirement Act of 1920. As of July 1, 1921, "the total number of retirements was 179, of whom 123 retired at the age of 65, and 56 at 70 years ... It is apparent already that even the maximum retirement pension of $720 a year, which only 70 out of 179 received, is in many cases grossly inadequate compensation for employees who have devoted most of their lives to faithful service of the Government."

    The new Public Printer expressed pride in GPO's medical facility, "the first emergency hospital equipped by any Government establishment in Washington for the humane care of employees who may be injured or suddenly become sick in the service." He added, "On account of the overcrowded condition of the present small emergency room, an additional hospital room is being constructed especially for the treatment of women employees. This room will be equipped with every convenience of a hospital ward, including shower bath, and provided with three additional beds for patients."

    Like some of his concerned predecessors, Public Printer Carter was sensitive to the need for adequate wages. He singled out the Public Documents Division: "It is extremely unfortunate that the pay authorized by Congress for these indexers and cataloguers has been insufficient to obtain enough help for a number of years to keep this highly important work up to date. I have therefore made a special recommendation, through the Bureau of the Budget, that the number and salaries of cataloguers be increased so as to secure adequate and competent help to expedite the work of preparing catalogues for the use of the Government itself and the libraries of the country. This work is practically six years behind the requirements of the law, due to the inability of this office to obtain enough cataloguers at the prevailing low salaries." He also noted the good work being carried on by the Building Division, which then consisted of "an engineering section with 65 employees, machine section with 36 employees, electrical section with 75 employees, buildings section with 25 employees, carpenter and paint section with 25 employees, sanitary section with 70 employees, and watch section with 60 employees." He cited some of their productivity: "the general machine shop of the plant handled 12,500 jobs during the year, covering work of every description in the machine trade from ordinary adjusting to practically rebuilding printing-press machinery. The carpenter shop completed 12,986 jobs, including the use of 57,769 feet of new lumber ... The electrical section handled a total of 19,242 jobs, including all kinds of electrical repair work, from changing of lights and repairing motors to large installations. The engineering section completed 18,243 jobs, including steam-fitting, plumbing, air lines, pneumatic tubes, and general engineering work." He was pleased to share with the Joint Committee on Printing the pride he felt for workers in the Government Printing Office, as well as his concern for their betterment.

    Congress responded positively to Public Printer Carter's request for resuming the apprentice program in 1922 and expanding it in 1923. On its reintroduction, 162 young men throughout the United States took qualifying Civil Service examinations. A total of 118 passed and 25 were selected. Courses "were carefully prepared for the instruction of apprentices to qualify them as printers, pressmen, bookbinders, electrotypers, stereotypers, and machinists, each course covering a period of four years of intensive study and work." Congress accepted the Public Printer's request to be allowed to increase the number of apprentices. In an act of February 23, 1923, it authorized the training of 200 young persons for the skilled trades. Of the first class, 20 completed the 4 years and heard the Public Printer say with pride: "for the first time in nearly 40 years, the Government Printing Office was able to fill journeymen positions with qualified apprentices of its own training." The Class of 1933 captured the feelings of many apprentices when in its yearbook was expressed an "Appreciation" to the Public Printer, the Deputy Public Printer, and all concerned with their training: "To Mr. Carter, for his efforts in making possible our training through the establishment of the apprentice school, for his intense devotion to the cause of youth, and for his persistence in championing good citizenship among those studying the various crafts; to Mr. Greene, for his excellent supervision of the activities of this school; to our instructors, for their painstaking efforts to make of us capable craftsmen; and to the members of the alumni and other journeymen of the office whose encouragement and assistance have been of great value." The Public Printer followed his tradition that year of personally presenting graduation certificates in Harding Hall while the Government Printing Office Orchestra played in the background. Over the intervening years hundreds of young people have passed through these programs and become key employees who carry on the work of the Government Printing Office. From their ranks have come four Assistant Public Printers and three Deputy Public Printers.

    Public Printer Carter was active in the international community of printers. One consequence of this was visitors from abroad. These included Herr Franz Helmberger, Director of the German Government Printing Office; Kikuichiro Sakai, Chief Engineer of the Japanese Imperial Government Printing Bureau; and the Hon. Ezequiel Salcedo, Director of the Government Printing Office of Mexico. The Public Printer reported on his firsthand investigations overseas, in 1923: "Besides inspecting many printing and machinery works in England, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland, study was made of the famous Imprimerie Nationale in Paris (the French Government printing office), and the well-equipped printing works of the Czechoslovakian Government in Prague and of the Austrian Government in Vienna."

    Such international visits had benefits for each party. The Public Printer spoke of such a dividend: "One of the results of the investigation was the procurement by the Public Printer of the English method of nickeling stereotype plates. The Government Printing Office is now making nickeled stereos at less expense than it cost to produce the too-extensively used electrotype plates." Herr Helmberger was asked to address Government Printing Office apprentices in 1929, and revealed part of the Public Printer's impact: "I feel at home at this time, talking to you, young men, apprentices, neophytes in that greatest of all arts--printing. It is hard for me to realize that you are not really my own class of apprentices in the Reichsdruckerei in Berlin. In this connection, I wish to pay a just debt to your own Mr. Carter. It was he who was the real cause of my taking up the work of training apprentices in our office some five years since. During the early days of our acquaintanceship in Berlin it was his enthusiasm on the subject of training young men as general all-round printers that inspired me to again take up the work, after the lapse of some 20 years, during which time we had no apprentices ... I am confident, if you do your part here, you will be able to go on, either in the service of your Government or in commercial life, without ever bringing discredit to the craft or to our patron saint, Gutenberg. And so now I leave you with that ancient of benedictions, 'Gott grusz die Kunst' (God bless the Craft)."

    The hazardous state of the old buildings was also very much on Public Printer Carter's mind. He touched upon it in every annual report. Perhaps he summed up his concern best in 1922: "I can not allow this opportunity to pass without again warning Congress of this peril to the lives of more than 4,000 employees in a fire that would quickly destroy the world's greatest printing plant. Modern firefighting apparatus has been installed in various parts of the building, numerous fire alarms and escapes provided, and suitable fire drills arranged, but even with these precautions it is doubtful if all the employees could escape from the flames that would sweep through the old building like a tinder box." Some progress became possible with the passage of the Public Buildings Act in 1926, which authorized $50 million for the erection of Government buildings. The Chairman of the Building Commission happened to be the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Printing, Senator Reed Smoot of Utah. He approved the Public Printer's request of $1,250 million for a fireproof addition to the new main building. Situated on the west side of Building 1 and fronting on G Street for 112 feet, Building 2 conformed in style and height to the main building. A garage was also included. Excavation began on November 22, 1928, and by January 1, 1932, the new quarters were being occupied.

    To every Public Printer is given an opportunity to leave his impress on the style used in Government publications. This stems from an act of Congress passed on June 25, 1864, which provided: "The forms and style in which the printing or binding ordered by any of the departments shall be executed, the materials and size of type to be used shall be determined by the Superintendent of Public Printing, having proper regard to economy, workmanship, and the purpose for which the work is needed." To this end, since 1894 and through 1984, editions of Style Manuals with information and rules on uniformity of Government printing have been produced. Public Printer Carter noted in 1922 that 9 years had elapsed since the last revision of the Government Printing Office Style Manual. He observed that during those years, "the style of Government printing had seriously deteriorated in the meantime through lack of uniformity and careless disregard of the rules for good printing." The Public Printer set out to remedy this; and he created "a board of revision, consisting of seven of the best qualified craftsmen of the Government Printing Office." A complete revision was made and presented in manuscript to the Public Printer. He reviewed it and in turn submitted it to the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Printing. With the Committee's seal of approval, printing followed, and "The revised manual was adopted as the style to be followed by all departments and establishments of the Government on and after February 15, 1922."

    Public Printer Carter kept a watchful eye on the Style Manual, which underwent minor revisions in 1923, 1924, 1926, 1928, and 1929. He decided a new approach was needed to secure the cooperation of agencies in using what was really a "U.S. Government Publications Style Manual." To this end, "the Public Printer invited the heads of several Government departments and establishments to appoint representatives on an advisory board to cooperate with the permanent Style Board of the Government Printing Office in a complete revision of the Manual. In acceptance of this invitation, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of the Interior, and the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution kindly designated especially competent representatives to cooperate with the board of the Government Printing Office." The two boards "worked diligently for many months in assembling data, studying authorities, formulating rules, and making decisions for this comprehensive Manual which, it is hoped, will materially improve the style of Government printing, as well as effect necessary economies in copy editing and authors' alterations."

    The success of the comprehensive revision issued March 1, 1933, exceeded all expectations. The Style Manual drew world attention. In London, The Caxton Magazine wrote: "If the United States Government Printing Office can produce such a thorough and exhaustive guide as the one under review, surely some of the printing trade organizations in this country could equally well compile one that would meet with general acceptance." From Berlin, the Secretary for the International Bureau of the Federations of Master Printers wrote: "This useful book will be very helpful for my bureau, as it not only contains a wealth of information about the English language but also comparative tables of weights, measures, and typographical measurements used in different countries of the world." So popular and well accepted was the newly revised Style Manual that on August 10, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an Executive Order requiring that for all draft Executive Orders and proclamations, the punctuation, use of capital letters, orthography, and other questions of style, "shall conform to the most recent edition of the 'Style Manual of the Government Printing Office.' "

    To further enhance the usefulness of the Style Manual, Public Printer Carter commissioned a foreign language supplement of 166 pages of "transliterations, syllabications, and other information useful in the printing of more than 50 foreign languages." This was published during 1934 and proved equally popular. Under Public Printer Carter, the Style Manual became the touchstone for Government agencies concerned with better publications, as well as winning national and international recognition. This was fortunate, as the decade of the 1930's was one in which a great number of Americans began to seek out Government publications as useful and readable sources of much needed information.

    A landmark change in the depository library program occurred during the Carter years. When the program came to the Government Printing Office in 1895, from the Department of the Interior, until 1922, all publications deemed appropriate by the Superintendent of Documents were sent to all depository libraries. In the case of small public libraries, this was a considerable burden. The new Public Printer proposed in 1921 that Congress allow the depository libraries to select publications. Congress agreed; and on March 20, 1922, Public Act 171 provided "that no part of the appropriation for the Office of the Superintendent of Documents shall be used to supply to depository libraries any documents, books, or other printed matter not requested by such libraries." To implement this, Superintendent of Documents Alton P. Tisdel sent to depositories a "Classified list of United States public documents for selection by depository libraries, July 1, 1922." For the very first time, libraries were able to tailor their selections to the needs of their communities--a practice which continues to this day.

    Another step into the future involved improving job mobility for women. Public Printer Carter reported in 1922: "Special consideration has been given to the status of women employees, inasmuch as there are about 900 in the service of the Government Printing Office, comprising more than 22 percent of the entire force. Little or no recognition had been accorded the ability and industry of women workers in this office during all the past years. I therefore determined that, as far as it lies within my power, women employees should be granted the same opportunity and equal reward for service as the men who had heretofore monopolized all the supervisory and better paid positions in the plant. Accordingly, for the first time in the history of the office several thoroughly competent women workers were advanced to suitable supervisory positions, which they continue to fill with credit to themselves and to the Government."

    The Public Printer's concern for quality control was manifested in the creation of a testing section on February 1, 1922. He said of it: "This section has been equipped with the best and latest devices for the testing of paper and other materials used in the production of printing and binding. The section is in charge of one of the most efficient industrial engineers in the country, who has been given full authority to inspect and test all the products and stores of the Government Printing Office, and to engage in such other research work as may be deemed necessary from time to time to promote the best interests of the public service. With the organization of the testing section, new regulations were put into effect for the receipt, testing, and inspection of all materials, machinery, cuts, illustrations, paper, etc. These regulations provided a complete and thorough system for the inspection and testing of everything produced or used in the operation of this great establishment." This was an area of the Government Printing Office whose research results and special publications were sought after by printers at home and abroad.

    Public Printer Carter worked mightily to improve wages at the Government Printing Office. He argued the necessity for good pay in 1923, noting: "With the present wage scale as fixed by law it has been impossible to retain some of the best workers or to attract enough other properly skilled men to fill their places. During the year 269 printers, including 108 linotype operators, 64 compositors, 32 monotype keyboard operators, and 44 proof readers left the service of the Government Printing Office, some of them going reluctantly to accept higher wages offered elsewhere." He mentioned doing what he could where he could. "As far as it is within the power of the Public Printer, an effort has been made to readjust wages in the Government Printing Office to meet present conditions. In fact, during the last two years the compensation of 1,399 employees has been increased by $269,417 per annum. The rate of pay for approximately 35 percent of the employees--that is, pressmen, bookbinders, and printers--is definitely fixed by law and cannot be changed except by act of Congress."

    Carter boldly recommended a collective bargaining wage bill, a decade before the historic Wagner-Connery Act of 1935. Amazingly, he was able to report in 1923: "Near the close of the last session of Congress a law (Public, No. 276, approved June 7, 1924) was enacted authorizing the Public Printer to regulate and fix rates of pay for employees and officers of the Government Printing Office under certain conditions as to negotiation with the trades affected and right of appeal to the Joint Committee on Printing for final decision. The new wage law, known as the Kiess Act, accords with recommendations made by the Public Printer in his annual report for 1923 ... Much credit is due to the Senate and House Printing Committees for the success of their endeavor to end the ancient practice of Congress to fix the pay of printers, pressmen, and bookbinders at long and irregular intervals, and to establish instead the modern plan of collective wage bargaining for the various trades employed in the Government Printing Office. The Kiess Act is the first formal recognition by Congress of the right of collective wage bargaining and arbitration with Government employees. The law establishes also the principle of a minimum wage for certain trades. The Act may therefore be deemed a landmark in labor legislation."

    Wage negotiations followed between committees representing labor and management. But with good will on both sides and with the active participation of the Public Printer, agreements were reached. These were submitted to the Joint Committee on Printing which gave its prompt and unanimous approval. The pay of 3,800 employees was adjusted upwards. Afterwards, at a mass meeting of 3,000 employees in Harding Hall on December 31, 1924, the Public Printer was presented with the following resolutions of thanks:

    "Resolved, That we the employees of the Government Printing Office, hereby extend to the Public Printer, Hon. George H. Carter, our felicitations and best wishes for the new year;

    "Resolved further, That in meeting assembled we hereby desire to express our appreciation and thanks for the increase in compensation accomplished by termination of the wage adjustments, which result was made possible by the spirit of fairness in which the Public Printer met the committees of the various groups concerned;

    "Resolved further, That we are not unmindful of the interest shown by the Public Printer in the welfare of the employees of the office, as is evidenced by the establishment of a cafeteria and recreation hall, and the general betterment of working conditions, the office being now conducted under unexcelled sanitary and healthful regulations;

    "Resolved further, That these resolutions be suitably engrossed and presented to the Public Printer, and copies thereof be transmitted to the Joint Committee on Printing and the press."

    Major changes took place in the lives of Government Printing Office employees as a result of the "Great Depression" and the war clouds which loomed in Europe and Asia. To combat the depression, a series of Economic Acts were passed by Congress during 1932 and 1933. "Under the Economy Act of June 30, 1932, the Public Printer exercised the option of adopting a 5-day (40 hours) work week for the Government Printing Office, with a reduction of one-eleventh in the pay of employees which had been at the rate of 48 hours for a 44-hour work week under the Saturday half holiday law ... Another fiscal complication has resulted in restoration by the 1933 Economy Act of leave with pay which had been reduced from 30 to 15 days by the Economy Act of 1932 and suspended for the fiscal year 1933." Thus, economic crisis and Congressional legislation brought the Government Printing Office a 5-day week and reduced leave to 15 days. Another 1933 measure impacted on married couples. "As required by law in effecting reductions of personnel, married employees in the class to be reduced were first considered if the husband or wife was also in the service of the United States or the District of Columbia. In such cases, married couples were permitted to decide which one would resign from the Government service. During June, July and August, 111 married employees of the Government Printing Office were thus separated from service, and 122 other married employees were permitted to retain their positions in the Government Printing Office through the separation of the wife or husband from some other branch of the Government Service."

    With the economic troubles came another profound political change. During the national elections of 1932, worried and angry Americans elected with 22,809,638 votes a confident sounding New York Governor, Franklin D. Roosevelt, to be President of the United States. When in the White House, he began searching for the best minds of his generation. Eventually, in 1934, he found one to be his new Public Printer and to face with him the "Years of Challenge" which lay ahead.

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    The eighth in a series of articles commemorating GPO's 125th Anniversary, by Daniel R. MacGilvray.

    During the First World War, an American soldier stationed in St. Aignan, France, was reading the Stars and Stripes. He noticed a small announcement saying that experienced printers were needed by the weekly newspaper. The 28-year-old sergeant applied for a job; and in April of 1918 he found himself serving in Paris as supervisor of mechanical production for the Stars and Stripes.

    At that time, the newspaper had a circulation of 550,000 copies. It was published with the help of 200 soldier-printers at the Paris printing plant of the London Daily Mail. The Sergeant was soon also looking after distribution, mailing, and record keeping. A coworker said of him, "He handled any amount of detail and never got rattled. He can't throw 'em too fast, but he can field 'em all."

    On the newspaper's first anniversary, a humorous poem was published mentioning the sergeant by name. One verse ran as follows:

    "Mail, wrapping, typing, couriers-- his duties are a score,
    Whenever we can think of it
    we'll give him twenty more;
    I often wonder how one man
    can handle such a batch--
    When does this great executive
    get time to stop and scratch?
    Nothing neglected, nothing
    In the department

    Fifteen years later, during the depths of the "Great Depression," on June 27, 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed as Public Printer of the United States the former sergeant who had helped produce the Stars and Stripes, Augustus E. Giegengack.

    President Roosevelt's appointee was born in Manhattan on April 19, 1890. His father was a German liquor dealer who owned a small cafe. His mother was Irish and the daughter of a London printer. She had worked for printers before coming to the United States. "Gus," as he liked to be called, was one of nine children. At the age of 15 he was working as a bookkeeper for the American News Company. His mother advised him that a better living was to be made in printing. The very next year he became an apprentice in the composing room of the New York Commercial, a financial daily. By age 18 he was an apprentice linotype operator and joined the International Typographical Union, Local No. 6, then the largest of the printing unions. During his journeyman years, Gus worked for the New York World, the Hudson County Observer, and various other print shops. At age 25 he was serving as foreman for a printing plant in Brooklyn which produced mail-order catalogs. He was making $50 a week and supervising 300 employees.

    Following his service during the First World War, Gus returned to civilian life. He began by working as foreman of the composing room of the DeVinne Press which published the Century and St. Nicholas magazines. He became a half-owner of the Burkhardt Linotype Company, and partner in a firm which printed technical publications for McGraw-Hill. He married a Brooklyn schoolteacher, Margaret Morrison, and got elected President of the Typographical Association of New York, and of the International Association of Printing House Craftsmen.

    Upon the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Gus began to take steps to get himself considered for the position of Public Printer. He became active in New York's Rockville Center Democratic Club and got the organization to write in January 1933 to the President-elect advocating his selection, saying he was "a faithful worker of this club." He got the club to invite a friend of the President, the new United States Postmaster General, James A. Farley, to a testimonial dinner, with Gus as chairman. The Postmaster General got the distinct impression that Gus was a seasoned politician and an influential Democrat.

    Next, Gus founded a small organization and had a letterhead printed which read: "A.E. Giegengack for Public Printer, Graphic Arts Committee. Organized to secure the appointment of A.E. Giegengack as Public Printer of the United States." With these, he solicited backing from printing groups and well-known people. Eventually, he succeeded in getting letters from over 200 respondents, including the Typographers Association of New York, the International Association of Printing House Craftsmen, and the International Typographical Union, Local No. 66. These endorsements were brought together in a large red and gold bound volume which bore the title, "A.E. Giegengack for Public Printer. Endorsements." This was presented to the Postmaster General who passed it along to President Roosevelt. It had the desired effect. On July 2, 1934, Augustus E. Giegengack was sworn into Office, and on January 18, 1935, the Senate confirmed him as Public Printer of the United States.

    To the newly appointed Public Printer fell the task of introducing and seeing through the press the 1934 annual report of his predecessor, George H. Carter. In the introduction he noted that 30 percent of the area occupied by employees, equipment, and property was housed in old buildings. He stated, "Too strong emphasis cannot be placed on the serious danger to the lives of employees from fire hazard, possible structural collapse of heavily loaded old wooden frame buildings, and from the use of antiquated elevators in these old buildings... These conditions have reached a state of emergency where the Government should not further delay the demolition of dangerous buildings. They should be replaced with a modern building to safeguard the lives of employees and to provide the space needed to meet present urgent needs for future normal growth." The introduction was signed. "A.E. Giegengack, Public Printer."

    The following year, in a similar introduction under the heading, "New Building Project," the Public Printer was able to record: "With the hearty support of the chairman and members of the Joint Committee on Printing and the Director of the Procurement Division of the Treasury Department, an initial appropriation of $2,000,000, with a total limit cost not to exceed $5,885,000... for necessary land and construction of annex buildings for the Government Printing Office, including rights of way, furniture, moving expenses, rental of temporary quarters during construction, railroad sidings, alternatives to existing buildings, all necessary tunnels connecting proposed and existing buildings, demolition of existing structures, and all necessary mechanical equipment."

    Progress was swift. In his 1936 report, the Public Printer said that floor plans for a three-story GPO warehouse (Building 4) had been approved by him on October 29, 1935, and a contract awarded on October 2, 1936. Demolition of old buildings on the site began October 12th and excavation started on November 9th.

    In his report for 1938, the Public Printer was able to say: "The warehouse was completed and turned over to the Public Printer on February 4, 1938. It is a three-story and basement building of reinforced concrete, 467 feet long by 87 feet 6 inches wide. The load capacity of all floors is 500 pounds per square foot. There is a total new floor area of 129,139 square feet, of which approximately 100,000 square feet are being used for storage purposes." The cost of the site was $184,367, and of the building, $1,264,000. "Approximately 700 carloads of paper of 40,000 pounds each, making a total of 28,000,000 pounds, can be stored in the warehouse at one time ... In addition to the two railroad tracks on the third floor of the building there is also on this floor air-conditioning equipment for controlling humidity and temperature in the Postal Card and Money Order Section of the Presswork Division, which is located on the second floor. Ordinarily locomotives do not enter the building. However, provision for exhausting the smoke made by the locomotives that do enter is provided through a series of propeller fans in the roof."

    He pointed out with pride, "The warehouse is equipped with four freight elevators, each 7,500 pounds capacity, serving all floors from the basement to the third floor, with two larger elevators, each of 15,000 pounds capacity, which serve all floors and the underground tunnel which passes under North Capitol Street and will connect the warehouse with the new building now being built on the corner of North Capitol and H Streets, NW. The floor of the tunnel is approximately 30 feet below street level, it being necessary to pass under a large storm sewer in North Capitol Street. The tunnel has two lanes, thus allowing electric trucks, tractors, and trailers to operate as frequently as necessary in both directions at once without interference."

    Not quite so swift was the progress on the new eight-story structure to replace the original old building where GPO had first opened its doors on March 4, 1861. The bids for construction exceeded the money available. However, the Public Printer proved persuasive with the new 75th Congress; and they increased the total limit from $5,885,000 to $7,700,000. The contract was finally awarded on May 27, 1938. The cost of the site was $214,368, and of the building, $5,026,000. The old building began to come down on June 27th; and excavation commenced shortly thereafter. By February 1940, Building 3 was completed; and moving in had started to a net floor area of 481,975 square feet.

    Assignments to the new building were as follows:

    Basement-- 2/3 Storage, Power Plant, Storage Vault under North Capitol & H Street sidewalks, Stores Division.

    First floor-- 2/3 Storage, Power House, Entrance Lobbies, Guard Office, Display Room.

    Second floor-- 1/3 Paper Storage, Superintendent of Stores, Traffic Manager, Offset & Tabulating Card Sections.

    Third floor-- Job Composing & Press Sections, Job Composing Proof Room, Plate Vault Office.

    Fourth floor-- Main Press Room, Superintendent's Office.

    Fifth floor-- Hospital, Woodblocking Room, Superintendent of Platemaking, Finishing Section, Record Press Room, Patent Press Room, Patent Composing Room & Patent Proof Room.

    Sixth floor-- Electrotype Molding & Plating, Stereotyping, Plating Lockup Section, Hand Section, Linotype Section, Metal Melting & Storage.

    Seventh floor-- Photoengraving, Main Proof Room, Monotype Keyboard Section, Casting & Correcting, Superintendent of Composition.

    Eighth floor-- Executive Offices, Telephone Switchboard, Apprentice Section.

    Thus it was that on the eve of the Second World War, a major concern of Public Printers and employees for some 80 years had at last been met. For the very first time, everyone in the Government Printing Office worked in solid buildings that were not firetraps. This achievement of Public Printer Giegengack and all who assisted him came at the precise moment in history when the Government Printing Office and the Nation were to face their greatest challenge.

    Among the many significant acts of Public Printer Giegengack during the 1930's, perhaps none was to have so wide and lasting an influence as his effort to create a Typography and Design Division. This began in 1935 with the selection of Frank H. Mortimer as GPO's first Director of Typography. It was followed by a reorganization of the Layout Section of the Planning Division, "for the purpose of modernizing and improving the appearance of Government publications with the intent to create a greater demand therefor by the public."

    The twofold thrust of this move was to assist agencies in making their publications more attractive and to reduce costs to them. The first objective was quickly achieved, especially with National Park Service publications. A typical letter of 1938 noting the change read as follows: "May I offer my congratulations on the excellence of the booklet you have just prepared on Death Valley National Monument. This booklet, unlike many Government works, is elegantly developed, has excellent typography, and the photographs are of the finest, particularly the cover."

    The second objective involved obtaining a reduction in cost through changes in makeup and typographic detail. Four measures were followed: (1) "reducing the number of operations required for composition and makeup;" (2) "simplifying presswork and bindery operations;" (3) "adaptation of style and format to Government Printing Office production facilities;" (4) "employing a style for halftones that eliminates extra hand work in the engraving section." The bottom line was stressed by the Public Printer in 1939. He was able to point out two costs. The first was the total charges per page per thousand copies: 1937--$2.11; 1938--$1.51; 1939--$0.93. The second was the total charges per thousand copies: 1937--$80.34; 1938--$52.97; 1939--$27.01. For over half a century the work of employees in Typography and Design has brought letters of praise to the Government Printing Office and won awards for the excellent design of Government publications.

    When the Public Printer came to the Government Printing Office, he was surprised to find only one veterans organization. This was the United Veterans of American Wars which consisted of Unit No. 1 (white) and Unit No. 2 (black--the "Col. Charles Young Unit"). During 1934, the Public Printer was instrumental in organizing the Government Printing Office American Legion Post No. 33 (male), and in 1935, the American Legion Auxiliary (female--wives, mothers, sisters of veterans). Also, about this time, he encouraged formation of Government Printing Office Post No. 3874, Veterans of Foreign Wars. All the veterans groups were active in civic and patriotic functions. By 1937, the new Legion Post numbered 434, making it one of the largest posts in the District of Columbia. It was able to field a fully uniformed Government Printing Office Band. On September 21, 1937, led by their charter member, Public Printer Giegengack, the Post and the Band marched in a great American Legion parade down New York's Fifth Avenue. The Post also sponsored a free family picnic at Chapel Point, MD on July 24, 1939, and invited all Government Printing Office employees.

    The 1930's saw woven into the fabric of the Government Printing Office many of the patterns that later employees would take for granted. Group Life Insurance began on May 1, 1931. This was designed to pay death and disability claims. By 1939 there were 5,010 units of insurance in force amounting to $5,187,057. This was followed on May 1, 1935, with the introduction of Group Hospitalization. By 1939 some 1,629 people were members; and they paid 65 cents a month which provided 21 days hospital care and a 10 percent discount beyond the 21 days. A member could select any participating District Hospital. The 1930's were also the period which saw a charter granted on August 20, 1935, for a Government Printing Office Federal Credit Union. By 1939 it had 2,972 members holding shares worth $192,483.28, and outstanding loans of $159,652.37. Interest charged was 1 percent a month on unpaid balances.

    Another major push for greater safety at the Government Printing Office took place in 1939. At the Public Printer's direction, an Executive Advisory Safety Committee was formed. It was chaired by the Medical Director and made up of the Superintendents of Platemaking, Binding, Composition, Presswork, Stores, the Mechanical Superintendent, and the Chief of Delivery. It was charged with: (1) coordinating safety practices in the trades; (2) establishing shop safety committees; (3) preparing for the approval of the Public Printer necessary safety rules and regulations; (4) recommending methods for promoting safety-mindedness; (5) keeping records to conform with the Department of Labor's Division of Labor Standards; and (6) assisting and cooperating with the Interdepartmental Safety Conference.

    The key to the success of this effort was the creation of "shop safety committees." These consisted of the Medical Director, the foreman of the section, and a section employee elected by fellow workers. A shop safety committee's duties were: (1) to inspect the section; (2) to investigate the cause of accidents and take steps to eliminate them; (3) to provide safety instruction to new employees or those needing such instruction; (4) to report on the condition and use of safety equipment; and (5) to recommend new procedures and equipment to prevent accidents. In 1940, general elections were held throughout the Government Printing Office; and 60 workers were elected as employee representatives on the shop safety committees. Shop committee reports were forwarded to the Public Printer through the division superintendents.

    As always, Government Printing Office employees did their best to help others less fortunate than themselves. In a typical year, 1939, employees contributed $3,455 to the Red Cross, $22,201 to the Community Chest, and $2,262 to the Infantile Paralysis Fund. Other charitable and relief funds were also helped. In these endeavors, employees were "sincerely commended by the Public Printer."

    By far the most important achievement of the Government Printing Office during the 1930's was to assist in bringing about the revival of the American economy and to help millions of unemployed citizens. This was done through the printing of forms, pamphlets, posters, and books, requested by Federal agencies, Congress, the Supreme Court, and the President. It was also done by means of the unique distribution mechanism devised by Congress and carried on by the Government Printing Office: the Federal Depository Library Program, administered by the Superintendent of Documents. Daily this program was responsible for sending out to hundreds of libraries throughout the States the vital information which would make a difference in the lives of our people.

    On Sunday, December 7, 1941, Japanese naval and air forces made a surprise attack on the United States fleet based at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. That same day attacks were also launched on the Philippines, Guam, Midway Island, Hong Kong, and Singapore. On December 8, Congress declared war on Japan. On December 11, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States, which then acknowledged a state of war with those nations.

    The lives of countless Americans, and of Government Printing Office employees in particular, were profoundly affected. In 1940, on the eve of the Second World War, the Government Printing Office was housed in four fireproof buildings having a total floor area of 1,374,281 square feet, or 3 1/2 acres. Mechanical equipment included 126 slug-casting typesetting machines, 100 Monotype keyboards, 130 Monotype casting machines, 202 presses of all types, and 245 heavy machines used in the Bindery. Only a portion of the machinery was new; but all machines were in good working order.

    War-related orders began to flood the Government Printing Office. By the end of fiscal year 1941, the Selective Service had received 144,515,061 pieces of printing costing $286,164.62.

    The Treasury Department undertook a savings bond and stamp program which required 10 million advertising folders, 931,000 four-color posters, and 20 million stamp albums.

    It was apparent to the Public Printer as early as 1940 that the printing industry as a whole would need to be called upon to meet America's requirements in the event of war. With great foresight, Public Printer Giegengack called a conference of leaders in the graphic arts industry and met with them during the last week of March 1941. They discussed the threatening possibilities and agreed that a backup of commercial procurement would be the best course to follow. The Joint Committee on Printing concurred and issued supplemental rules and regulations on the purchase of printing under existing provisions of the new War Powers Act.

    A central aim of the Public Printer at the outset of the war was to get the employees of the Government Printing Office organized and trained to control commercial production, the scheduling of operations, and the assignment of equipment and paper, all as if the work were actually being done on North Capitol Street. This is described in his 1947 report, "Public Printing in War and Peace." "The 'partnership' between the Government and the industry resulted from meetings and conferences with leaders from principal printing centers. The Public Printer was not content with consulting only those who could come to Washington; he went out into the field to give the widest possible circulation to his proposed program. For example, he met in Chicago with the representatives from 17 Midwestern States for the purpose of outlining his plan. The groups appealed to become evangelists in turn. The Graphic Arts Association of Illinois, the Southern Master Printers Federation, the Associated Printers and Lithographers of St. Louis, the Typothetae-Franklin Association of Detroit, and the Graphic Arts Industry, Inc. (of Minnesota) collaborated in the preparation and distribution of a brochure on the subject of commercial cooperation in Government printing. An informal advisory committee of about 50 members, comprising printing trade association executives and other trade leaders resident in some 35 cities throughout the United States, was organized."

    The World War II years were hard on presses and on workers. The Public Printer saw a peacetime volume in 1939 of 6,599,935,832 printed copies with total charges of $18,238,045.10 soar in 1945 to 22,869,414,943 printed copies with total charges of $77,309,497.53. The "Big Shop" worked around the clock. An example of the impact of a rush job may be seen in "War Department General Order 29," announcing the death and mourning of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in April 1945. "Copy of the order, to be printed on a black-bordered page 5 7/8 x 9, was received at the Government Printing Office at 11:30 a.m., April 13. Type was set, proof submitted, and okayed proofs returned by the department at 12:35 p.m. In less than an hour 64 plates were processed in the foundry; the first 16 of these were imposed on the press by 1:40 p.m., and all by 2:35 p.m. Four presses were used for the run. At 2:10 p.m. the first lot reached the bindery, where they were drilled with 3 holes and tied in packages of 500, and at 2:30 p.m. 1,000 copies were delivered to the department. Successive deliveries were made during the next three hours: 20,000 at 3:30 p.m., 70,000 at 4:30 p.m., and the remaining 134,000 at 5:30 p.m. The order required 1,010 pounds of paper and made 450 packages, filling 25 cartons. The entire quantity of 225,000 copies was printed and delivered within 5 hours."

    A unique partnership of public and private printers helped America defeat its enemies. Workers from the Government Printing Office took part on the home front and on the battlefront to bring about a victory. In the Public Printer's 1944 Christmas letter to employees in the armed services, Gus said: "Don't hesitate to let those with whom you are associated in the service know that you are an employee of the Government Printing Office, as this Office has established a work record of which you, as an employee, can be justly proud. Your coworkers have printed and bound some of the most stupendous jobs in extremely short time. For fear of divulging military information I will not mention the names of any publications, but you in the field have seen the imprint of the Government Printing Office in all stages of the fight from the Training Manuals in camp to the bombing tables used over Berlin and Tokyo. Look for the imprint on all of your printed material."

    Our people in the service responded with letters of their own from overseas to the Public Printer on North Capitol Street. Typical are some of the following: From John D. Griggs, Rdm 3c., "In my line of work (Radar) I see much material printed at the Government Printing Office. It is with pride I inform my shipmates I worked there before entering the Navy. Though my period of employment there was short I can sincerely say I enjoyed every minute of it, and I hope to be able to return to work there when peace has again come to our Nation." From T.Sgt. Charles A. Bohlen, Jr. AC, "Things like your letter and the Xmas package can do more for morale than any other thing I know of. It's wonderful the way the G.P.O. is backing all the drives, such as the Mile of Dimes, A.R.C., and other organizations. That whole office is really on the ball, and always has been as long as I can remember." From Cpl. Eugene Washington, in New Guinea, "I received your letter. You don't know how it makes a fellow feel when he is a long way from home and someone has not forgotten the boys overseas. There are some of the boys in my company who used to be employed at the G.P.O. and they all thought it was a wonderful letter. We all miss the Office so very much and hope some day to come back to our jobs and loved ones and friends."

    A Christmas present from the home front to the battlefront consisted of a package containing the following: 1 pound of hard candy; 1 pound of salted peanuts; 1 package of playing cards; 1 pocket-sized novel; 1 cake of soap; 1 styptic pencil, 1 chapped-lip pencil; 1 pocket lighter; 1 pencil, eraser and leads; 1 memo book; 1 identification folder, 1 Christmas card.

    Of the 2,495 employees who left the Government Printing Office to serve in the Armed Forces, 63 gave their lives, and 139 were disabled and received disability compensation. As servicemen and women began to return, the Public Printer established the position of Veterans' Coordinator. He said of it in his 1947 annual report: "Our object was to insure a central and definite authority and source of assistance for veterans, with personalized service to each of them upon return to duty; to provide aid to veterans in channeling their problems through the proper line and staff divisions of the Office, and to render assistance in matters calling for contact with the Veterans' Administration or other Federal agencies... Administration of our veterans' policy is in the hands of officials who are themselves veterans and active members of veterans' organizations... Administrative and supervisory officials of the Office have been made familiar with our policy in order that they may cooperate; and they are cooperating." By 1947, 1,622 veterans of the Second World War had returned to work at the Government Printing Office.

    The Printing Industry of America, Inc., and Joint Committee on Printing Chairman Senator Carl Hayden, nominated Public Printer Giegengack to the Medal for Merit Board, in recognition of service rendered during the Second World War. The award was made by President Harry S. Truman on June 24, 1947. The citation read: "The President of the United States of America awards this Certificate of Merit to Augustus Edward Giegengack for outstanding fidelity and meritorious conduct in aid of the war effort against the common enemies of the United States and its Allies in World War II." To this, the Public Printer responded: "Although this certificate carries my name as the recipient of the award, I feel that I merely hold it in custody for the 7,000 employees of the Government Printing Office, and I am proud to accept it in their behalf. Their efforts made the award possible. It was they who made up the task force which accomplished the objective. Their share in the honor is greater than mine and my chief satisfaction today is that I have received this recognition as their representative."

    The Public Printer observed a shift in printing press technology growing out of the war years. In December 1945 he noted: "The progress made in the quality of offset printing which resulted during the war because of the urgent need for overnight production of many wartime jobs, has been so marked that the further growth of this method of production appears inevitable. Many of the overnight and otherwise rush war requests for printing could not have been met had not the offset method been employed. Offset printing demands have far exceeded the capacities of the Office despite the addition of several new presses to our equipment ... Printing by the offset process has enabled the Government Printing Office to make quicker deliveries of rush jobs and, at the same time, has resulted in savings in man-hours as well as reducing the cost of jobs to the departments and agencies. Consequently, continued increase in printing by the offset method is desirable." The immediate postwar years witnessed ongoing research and development of offset printing at the Government Printing Office.

    On March 9, 1948, the Public Printer sent his letter of resignation to President Truman. He explained: "I take this action because my duty to my family demands that I increase my income substantially above the salary fixed by Congress under a law passed 20 years ago... The Government Printing Office is a great organization and is doing a real job for the taxpayer. I leave it with reluctance and with sincere thanks to you for the opportunity you have given me to be of service and for your cooperation and support." The President replied the same day with a letter that began, "Dear Gus," and accepted the resignation effective March 9, 1948. He pointed out: "You have held the position longer than any other Public Printer. I know that in the future you will be able to view with a great deal of personal satisfaction your career in the public service. From my own experience in the Senate as a Member of the Committee on Printing and as Chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program, I am well aware of the confidence the members had in you as a loyal, efficient public servant who had the respect and support of the Committees and of the entire printing industry."

    So ended an era which saw America move from national to international concerns, and the Government Printing Office begin to shift from hot metal to offset printing. Public Printer Giegengack and the workers who had helped end the "Great Depression" and helped to win the Second World War had met the test of "The Years of Challenge" and entered "The Atomic Age."

    [ Back to the Top of The Page ]

    The Atomic Age

    The nineth in a series of articles commemorating GPO's 125th Anniversary, by Daniel R. MacGilvray.

    The men who led the Government Printing Office into the "atomic age" were four vigorous Public Printers: John J. Deviny, a Washingtonian; Raymond Blattenberger, a Philadelphian; James L. Harrison, born in Greer, SC; and Adolphus N. Spence II, a native of Alexandria, VA.

    In 1948, President Harry S. Truman appointed Public Printer Deviny on March 15. He was confirmed by the Senate on April 30, and sworn in by DC Municipal Court of Appeals judge Andrew M. Hood on May 6 in the Public Printer's office.

    Born June 19, 1882, the future Public Printer lived in the neighborhood of the Government Printing Office and was a graduate of nearby Gonzaga High School. He also graduated from Josephinum College in Columbus, OH, and later from the Washington College of Law in the Nation's Capital. His work career began at the Bureau of Engraving as an apprentice platemaker. There he spent his journeyman years and rose to Production Manager during World War I. In 1925, he left to become Director of Research and Publicity for the Miller Saw Trimmer Company of Pittsburgh, PA. During the Roosevelt years, he served as National Code Director for the Relief Printing Industry, and as judicial member of the Appeals Council for the Social Security Board's Bureau of Old Age Insurance. Early in his career, in 1919, he was cofounder of the Craftsmen's Movement, and served two terms as President of the International Association of Printing House Craftsmen. Well-versed in law, he was a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court and the DC Court of Appeals.

    After his swearing in before the assembled members of the Joint Committee on Printing, officers of local and international unions, representatives of printing trade groups, and others, he observed: "I hope and expect to carry on the very successful policies and methods developed by my distinguished predecessor. It shall be my aim to continue the production of public printing and binding in the most efficient, expeditious, and economical manner and to adopt new and improved methods as they can be developed. In this endeavor I shall need the full cooperation of the GPO's 6,500 loyal and competent employees. Since they have never failed in this before I have every reason for believing that I shall have such cooperation now."

    John J. Deviny already had 7 years of experience as Deputy Public Printer when he was chosen to succeed Augustus E. Giegengack in 1948. With great understanding he pursued policies and procedures that were well-established. This meant that he regularly met with the Joint Committee on Printing to review the purchase of quantities of paper. It also meant that he met with trade union representatives during periods of wage negotiations. Very successfully he carried on the day-to-day operations of Public Printer. When he finally retired on February 28, 1953, at the age of 70, it was with 41 years of Government service. Reflecting on his youthful beginnings as a platemaker, he remarked: "Back in my apprentice days, I would have traded my chance of becoming Public Printer for 10 cents."

    The Korean War occurred during his term and with it an upsurge of Defense printing. Related to this was a concern with civil defense which touched the lives of employees. The Production Manager reported in 1953: "Civil Defense shelter areas have been marked off in the four central buildings and the day force joined in a city-wide Government buildings alert on December 12, 1952. All employees reached shelter without incident in less than 5 minutes, the goal set by Federal Civil Defense. Night employees have all been led to the shelter areas provided for them and will participate in the next city-wide alert."

    The ongoing concern with safety was reflected in the report of the Superintendent of Binding for 1953: "I am happy to report that the lost time accidents in the Bindery for the year just ended shows a decrease of nineteen percent. We will make every effort to show a greater decrease in accidents with an eye to their complete elimination in the coming year. The Bindery uses many potentially dangerous machines. We must be ever vigilant and alert, we must constantly check our machinery for new safety devices, and we must be sure that all safety features and rules are followed to the letter. Supervisors have been cautioned to see that their Sections follow safety regulations." The Medical Director observed some preventive measures: "The health service for the Office of Civil Defense Program is now in progress. Approximately 50 people on the day shift have been trained in first-aid. Classes for the night shifts will commence in the fall and a number of employees will also be trained in light rescue work by the Federal Civil Defense Administration."

    Other tasks went along as usual. There were improvements, as the Foreman of the Main Press Section observed in 1953: "The new and modern lighting system in use in Main Press for the last six months has proven very satisfactory, especially on the night shifts, as the system enables the pressmen and supervisors to see the work clearly without shadows, having also tendency to help produce a better grade of printing with less eye strain. There were also visitors, as the Foreman of the Main Press Section noted that same year: "In the past fiscal year, we have had several visitors from abroad and also from our own country connected with the art of printing. In each instance, we were pleased with their remarks as to production, quality of work, cleanliness of our pressroom, and the orderly manner in which our method of procedure is handled."

    One of the more lasting contributions of the Deviny years was the addition of three Cottrell presses. In 1953, the Production Manager expressed his pleasure with the result: "In 1949 when authority for the purchase of 3 new presses for the production of the Congressional Record was requested by the Public Printer from the Joint Committee on Printing certain economics in production were anticipated. Our experience with these machines to date indicates that the savings over the years will greatly exceed original estimates. This is made possible by the savings on income-tax printing which alone is exceeding our original yearly estimate of economics." But if the Deviny years were undramatic in their pattern of gradual improvements, there was excitement on the horizon.

    Occasionally, a new Public Printer takes office amid winds of change. Public Printer Blattenberger was swept into the Government Printing Office during a raging storm. To his great credit, he rode it out and guided the Office into more peaceful waters.

    The fall of 1952 had witnessed the first Presidential election in two decades which brought a Republican into the White House: former Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Western Europe, General Dwight D. Eisenhower. The new President looked for successful men in the business community to direct Government agencies. He found one in Raymond Blattenberger. Born in Philadelphia on January 19, 1892, he had begun working as a press feeder at the age of 14. In 1917 he joined the Edward Stern Printing Company, of that city, and rose to become executive vice-president. He was also a founder of the Printing Industry of America, Inc.

    No sooner had Public Printer Blattenberger gone on the payroll April 28, 1953, than his phone started ringing. Surely he would want to fire a lot of people and appoint the caller, or the caller's son, or friend, or brother, to a fine job with the Government Printing Office? The new Public Printer chose not to be hasty. Although his Deputy Public Printer, Philip L. Cole, happened to be a Democrat, and even though a very prominent Republican Senator from Indiana had a friend who wanted Mr. Cole's position, the Public Printer showed he had a mind of his own.

    He told a reporter on August 8, 1953: "They don't like me because I won't take out certain key people. But what I'm trying to do is cut costs, to run an efficient shop as economically as possible. That's what I understood I was to do when the President appointed me. I didn't seek the job and I didn't want it. Now that I've got it, I'm going to concentrate first on saving money. When I came into this shop I had to have someone who knew something about it. Mr. Cole has made a career of the GPO. He's been here almost 30 years and is eligible for retirement in September."

    Needless to say, this did not endear the Public Printer to the Senator from Indiana, who happened to be Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee which had recommended his confirmation. Nor did the appointment of his Superintendent of Documents, Roy B. Eastin, Jr., to the position of Executive Assistant to the Public Printer, win friends, except at the Government Printing Office. Rumors flew that Mr. Eastin was the nephew of former Democratic Vice President Alben W. Barkley, and a Democrat to boot. Mr. Eastin told the same reporter: "I am not a relative of Mr. Barkley. I am not a Democrat. I have never attended a Democratic meeting. If anyone says I'm a Democrat, I'll sue."

    The Public Printer stuck to his guns-and to a long-standing GPO tradition that says Public Printers have a "Big Shop" to look after, and not a political plum tree to shake. It was not surprising, however, that by so doing Public Printer Blattenberger made some powerful enemies. It was not long before a very well-publicized Wisconsin Senator was directing his attention to the Government Printing Office.

    This turn of events began on August 10, 1953, in a closed-door session of the Government Operations subcommittee which questioned ten witnesses. The subcommittee was down to two, some being out of town, and three Democrats having resigned in protest of the methods of Chairman Senator Joseph R. McCarthy (Republican-Wisconsin). With his colleague, Senator Everett M. Dirksen (Republican-Illinois), a bookbinder's political beliefs were questioned. The bookbinder had brought his own attorney and answered all questions.

    Later, Public Printer Blattenberger and Deputy Public Printer Cole were called in for questioning. Senator Dirksen commented to a reporter on this: "We are now quite certain that a substantial amount of confidential and secret and top secret work has been processed and published in the main Government Printing Office. We spent the whole time exploring the possibility of any persons so inclined of purloining a secret document and transmitting it to hands where they should not be." The reporter asked of both Senators if there was any evidence that any documents had actually been improperly removed? "I can't answer that," replied Senator McCarthy. "It is the wrong time to ask," echoed Senator Dirksen.

    Shortly thereafter, on October 5, 1953, the Public Printer touched on these events as he addressed a convention of the Printing Industry of America: "I have been on this job as Public Printer just about five months, and in many ways it seems more than five years. In fact, it seems so long that I have difficulty remembering those happy carefree days when I attended meetings such as this as the representative of a private printing firm. At that time, I thought there were many problems facing my firm, myself, and the printing industry, but now I look upon those days as the 'good old days.'

    "As you know, I have been busy, among other things, in placing the Government Printing Office under tight security regulations and checking into the backgrounds of the employees in search of possible Communists and other security risks. I want to say right here and now that my experience has been that the vast majority of Government employees are loyal, hardworking citizens who, as a group, are greatly abused. It is indeed unfortunate that the great body of our public servants must suffer because of the actions of a tiny minority.

    "I must confess that my respect for the Government employee has greatly increased in the last five months. The Government has done a great deal in the way of training its own key people, and in my estimation, it will need to do even more in this direction in the future. The Government lags far behind industry in the payment of salaries to key supervisors and officials, and with conditions as they are, it will soon be virtually impossible to get people in private life to give up their private jobs to come to Washington to work for the Government."

    The Public Printer had ample opportunity to work with people at the Government Printing Office and on Capitol Hill. Together, they were able to achieve through modernization a 5 percent reduction in the cost of printing--the first such in 20 years. That was in 1954. The following year there was added good news: "Increases have been given to all craftsmen and a 7 1/2 percent upward adjustment has been made in the salary of all administrative employees." At the end of his term in 1961, Public Printer Blattenberger and his team of administrators had been able to return $13 million dollars to the United States Treasury. A revolving fund had been established and a business-type budget made a part of the fabric of the Government Printing Office. Offset and letterpress divisions had been reorganized, and faster, more efficient equipment installed. Having come into office with winds of change, and noting the election of President John F. Kennedy, the Public Printer raised his sail and resigned on January 20, 1961. At a Harding Hall Testimonial Dinner on February 8, 1961, he was given a fond farewell.

    During 1961, President John F. Kennedy appointed Public Printer Harrison on March 15. He was confirmed by the Senate on the next day; and he was sworn in on March 17, Saint Patrick's Day.

    Born June 3, 1906, the Public Printer passed his youth in Greer, SC, and Gastonia, NC. His father was supervisor in a textile factory. Majoring in journalism, young Harrison had as his hobbies both photography and printing. When he came to Washington, DC, at the age of 22, his first work was as a draftsman at Fort Belvoir. Later, he started as a clerk with a grocery chain and soon became a manager. In the 1930's, he worked for the Census Bureau as a mapmaker, then as supervisor for the agricultural census. In 1938, he was a Monopoly Investigator for the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce. During the Second World War he served with the Office of Price Administration. His experience as a Government administrator was brought to the attention of Senator Carl Hayden who was looking for a new staff director for the Joint Committee on Printing. In 1949, Harrison was chosen and served for 12 years in that capacity before being appointed to be Public Printer of the United States.

    James L. Harrison brought with him a dozen years of invaluable experience with the Joint Committee on Printing. He had known the two previous Public Printers quite well and was acquainted with many of the problems relating to the Government Printing Office which had been discussed in Committee meetings. He had a good sense of where the Government Printing Office was going, as well as where the Committee wanted it to go. To this knowledge, he was soon to add insight of his own.

    Ongoing modernization of printing equipment and procedures runs like a theme through the history of the Office. Not surprisingly, Public Printer Harrison carried this forward with the installation in 1967 of the Linotron system. It produced page photocomposition at high speed under control of a magnetic tape which was computer generated. Exposed film pages were treated in an automatic film processor which used chemicals to reverse the image into a film negative suitable for offset platemaking. It was the heart of a system of keyboards, photo units, input and output converters, which was placed in production on October 2, 1967, and later augmented.

    Such technical modernization coupled with internal reorganizations helped the Public Printer to raise the volume of annual business from $97 million when he began his term, to over $203 million when he ended it. His accomplishments were recognized widely and he was the recipient of awards. In 1962, the White House called upon him to carry greetings from President Kennedy to the Second Asian Printers' Conference held in Kyoto, Japan. During 1965 and 1968, he carried President Johnson's greetings to the Third Asian Printers' Conference held in Manila, Philippine Republic, and to the Fourth Asian Printers' Conference held in Taipei, Taiwan. In a tribute to his abilities, one writer said of him in 1970: "He has deliberately fashioned channels of communication directly into his office--channels available to every employee. Never in the history of the GPO has the agency head been so accessible."

    It was his concern for modernization that led Public Printer Harrison to seriously consider a new site and modern structure for the Government Printing Office. With support from the Joint Committee on Printing, an area of Bolling Air Force Base in Anacostia was inspected-but the Air Force decided not to relinquish the property. Next, on March 2, 1966. joint Committee Chairman Carl Hayden authorized $2 1/2 million to be available from the General Services Administration "for necessary expenses, for site selection and general plans and designs of buildings for the Government Printing Office, pursuant to the Public Building Act of 1959." Committee members present voted 4 to 1 and "approved the proposal of the Public Printer that a portion of the National Training School property be used as a relocation site for the Government Printing Office." This, too, became unavailable. A third site was then considered, some 82 acres of Penn Central Railroad land off the Beltway at the John Hansen Highway. When land values suddenly rose, that possibility also vanished. The final site considered was located between T Street and Rhode Island Avenue, NE, adjacent to what is now the Rhode Island Avenue Metro Stop.

    The Public Printer spelled out his reasoning for the move in a letter to District of Columbia Commissioner Walter E. Washington:

    "Our output consists of finished printing, blank paper, scrap paper, documents, and the usual waste materials. Recently we surveyed truck traffic here and learned that in excess of 200 trucks were handled in a 24-hour period--chiefly during peak traffic periods. Conducting such an activity in the heart of a crowded urban location is inconvenient, costly, and difficult.

    "But this is only a minor part of our problem. Only half of the 18 to 20 freight carloads of paper can be accommodated at our warehouse across North Capitol Street from the main building.
    The Washington Terminal track elevation is at our third floor level. Here skids of paper are offloaded and dropped to interim storage locations by elevator. When ready for use, they are again elevator-dropped to the sub-basement of this warehouse, power-trucked through a tunnel under North Capitol Street and again raised by elevator as many as six floors to production areas.

    "The other half of our rail paper receipts must be taken 17 miles away in Franconia, Virginia, where warehouse space is rented from General Services Administration. After being unloaded and temporarily warehoused there, the paper is reshipped by contract motor carrier in order to place it in the Government Printing Office proper where it, too, is yo-yoed until it arrives at the floor level where it is needed.

    "Our paper inventory averaged from 50 to 60 million pounds last year. Obviously, repeated handling and rehandling this enormous amount of paper causes a great deal of unnecessary expense."

    Despite the many reasons for it, opposition to the proposed move mounted. District of Columbia officials saw a possible loss of jobs. Many employees set in their ways were reluctant to see a change. Columbia Typographical Union No. 101 went on record against the move. Suddenly, the Public Printer announced that he intended to retire in March 1970, and would leave the matter to his successor. Somewhat wearily, he told the members of the Joint Committee on Printing that "the Government Printing Office was a manufacturing concern and he was not envious of the man who would be selected."

    On February 18, 1970, President Richard M. Nixon appointed Public Printer Spence. He was confirmed on March 13 and liked to recall that he was sworn in on April 1, "April Fool's Day."

    Born November 24, 1916, Spence worked during his teens as an apprentice in a small print shop. He was journeyman at age 18 and went on to work in a wide variety of commercial and governmental printing and binding operations. During 1942, he was commissioned in the Navy and served 2 years with Admiral Halsey as his Photo Intelligence Officer in the South Pacific. He was awarded the Bronze Star with Combat V, the Navy Unit Commendation, and the World War II Victory Medal. The years 1945-46 found him Officer-in-Charge of establishing and operating the Naval School of Printers and Lithographers. Afterwards, he worked with the Department of the Navy in organizing a central service to manage its publications and printing program. He shaped this into the Navy Publications and Printing Service with 36 offices worldwide. He was then asked to consolidate printing services for the Defense Department, where he implemented a uniform scale of prices for in-house production, a standard system of cost accounting, and production control. He became a recognized authority on modern printing management and graphic communications techniques before being chosen as Public Printer.

    Public Printer Spence wasted no time in addressing what had become a newsworthy issue. His first press release of April 1, 1970, spoke of establishing "immediately an Office of Congressional and Community Affairs," which he said would be responsive to Congress, the local community, and the press. He went on to say that the Joint Committee on Printing had recently conducted an extensive Federal Printing Study. "Out of this has come a major decision to place the impetus in Government on the commercial procurement of printing... So. before I make any decision on new or improved facilities, I feel that we must determine what effect increasing the percentage of printing done commercially will have on GPO's operations." In a second press release, on April 3, 1970, he added, "Before any change is made in the location, or the size, and in fact, of the concept of this office, I am arranging that a study be made jointly by the Industry and Government, of the requirements of this office."

    The next problem the Public Printer addressed was a thorny one. During the weeks preceding his being sworn in, a major shift had occurred in labor relations. As the 1970 Annual Report put it: "The point at contention was revision of the formula used for nearly 23 years to determine craft wages. Activism took the form of composing craftsmen refusing overtime work at the outset. As steps were taken by the Office to buy composition from commercial sources in order to meet Congressional requirements, a full-scale 'sick-out' among compositors developed. Pickets and sympathizers appeared at GPO's entrances. The incidents were brought to an early end after a personal appeal by the Public Printer who pledged a complete review of the existing wage formula." One observer of these dramatic events vividly recalled the throngs of marching workers carrying informational signs to the Capitol steps, and returning for a mass meeting which filled to overflowing the basement of nearby Saint Aloysius Church. There, like a scene out of Frank Capra's film, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," a small balding man entered the basement, waded through the crowd, and spoke to the workers. He told them he was their new Public Printer, Nick Spence, and he would appreciate it if they would give him a hearing. Quiet descended. He told them he knew they were angry, perhaps rightfully so. But, he was new on the job as Public Printer and would like them to give him an opportunity to bring to their concerns his fullest consideration. Now, would they join their Public Printer in walking back over North Capitol Street to the Government Printing Office and helping to get out the Congressional Record? A roar of cheers went up and the compositors and their coworkers, every one. escorted "their" Public Printer back into the Office.

    Almost at once the new Public Printer set about restructuring the internal management organization of the Government Printing Office. As he did so, and positions became available, he recruited from Naval printing colleagues who brought an enthusiastic perspective to getting tasks accomplished. On December 15, 1970, he announced a major reorganization which was to have lasting effects. It involved the appointment of two Assistant Public Printers, for Operations and for Management/Administration, with a regrouping of functions in a chain of command structure. It also involved having the following report directly to the Public Printer: the Special Assistant for Systems Analysis, the General Counsel, the Assistant for Community Affairs, the Director of Equal Employment Opportunity, and the Director of Audits. Considerable reorganization took place in almost all other areas. The central purpose was that "Changes were made to bring into usage modern managerial and systems approaches and to bring related activities under common supervision." This was to prove to be a far-reaching contribution of the Public Printer.

    On June 8, 1970, speaking before the 84th annual convention of the Printing Industries of America, Public Printer Spence announced the make-up of the new Government-Industry Study Group. It consisted of eight well-known printing industry people and four representatives from Government. The group's charge was twofold: (1) "To determine what production now done at the GPO is susceptible to commercial procurement;" and (2) "to align the GPO equipment, production methods, and physical plant to do best that work which must be done in-house." The outcome of this effort was a report of March 15, 1972, entitled: "Report to the Public Printer by the Joint Government-Industry Study Group." Some 41 recommendations were made covering eight key areas: (1) Space; (2) Equipment; (3) Materials Handling; (4) Procurement-General; (5) Procurement-Specific Items; (6) Procedures; (7) Organization & Training; (8) Public Documents Department. This report was also to have a far-reaching effect as a point of departure for future plans and developments.

    Tragically, the sudden and unexpected death of Public Printer Spence on January 11, 1972, did not allow him opportunity to guide his many far-sighted efforts to their fullest realization. But, as one writer wisely observed in the 1972 annual report: "Having served less than two years as head of this agency, Mr. Spence had made his professionalism and personality felt in every operation of the Government Printing Office. He brought a new management style to the Government Printing Office and while he fell before many of the programs he had instituted reached fruition, his redefinition of management and production objectives will serve the Government Printing Office well in the years ahead."

    Between 1948 and 1972, many changes had taken place in the Government Printing Office. One, which began in a small way with a new type of machine which itself kept changing, was to give its name to the coming era, "The Computer Age."

    [ Back to the Top of The Page ]

    The Computer Age

    The tenth in a series of articles commemorating GPO's 125th Anniversary, by Daniel R. MacGilvray.

    The two men who guided the Government Printing Office into "the computer age" and new technologies were concerned Public Printers of Irish background: Thomas F. McCormick, from Massachusetts; and John J. Boyle, from Pennsylvania. Because Public Printer McCormick quickly chose his Production Manager, John J. Boyle, to be Deputy Public Printer, both were to work together to bring technological change into the Government Printing Office.

    It was on January 16, 1973, during the trial of the Watergate defendants, that President Richard M. Nixon appointed Public Printer McCormick. The Senate Committee on Rules and Administration held its hearing on the nominee January 31. He was then confirmed by the Senate on February 8; and he was sworn in at the Government Printing Office March 1, 1973.

    Thomas Francis McCormick was born February 20, 1929, in Gardner, MA. He attended schools in his hometown, and went on to Worcester, MA, where he graduated from Holy Cross College with a B.S. "cum laude" in business administration. Following this, he served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy from June 1950 to July 1953. While there, he graduated from Naval Intelligence School and served as Division Officer, Deck Watch Officer, Air Controller on an escort carrier, and Intelligence Officer of a Tactical Air Control Squadron. Released as a lieutenant (jg.), he began his business career with the General Electric Company as a Financial Management Trainee. He served in a wide variety of corporate positions and, in December 1967, was appointed General Manager of the Maqua Company, a 400-employee, $6.5 million dollar printing firm owned by General Electric. Two facets of his business experience were especially noted during the hearing on his nomination: "Expansion of a training and development program for personnel from minority groups leading to the development of journeymen status personnel and improvement in the minority employment percentage;" as well as his being deeply involved "in the fields of computer and electronic technology, both of which are currently bringing about many changes in the printing industry."

    Problems were in the air even as Public Printer McCormick approached his confirmation. At the hearing, Committee Chairman Howard W. Cannon of Nevada observed, "I have received a letter from Senator Javits on this matter, and it contains a lot of complaints that have been filed with him, letters of complaint against the Government Printing Office, so if Mr. McCormick is confirmed as the Public Printer, I shall send these over to him, and let him respond to them, and see if he can correct whatever conditions brought about those complaints." Some of the problems were mentioned to Senator Cannon in a letter from the President of the Special Libraries Association: "The Association's Government Information Service Committee reports that complaints have been received from individual members across the country regarding GPO delays and errors in handling orders, claims and credits, subscription problems, recent material being out of print, quality of indexing in the Monthly Catalog, and the availability of depository libraries as well as bookstore services." As if this were not enough to warn away a nominee from the post Senator Lowell P. Weicker, Jr. of Connecticut described as "a very difficult job, and a thankless one," another critic was heard. The Executive Director of the Information Industry Association went on record regarding involvement with the new space-saving technology of microforms: "We feel that microform technology has a great deal to offer the government in the dissemination of government information. We encourage the Public Printer to begin experimenting with applications appropriate to specific areas of government materials. But we do not believe the Government Printing Office should microrepublish anything it has already published in paper, nor do we believe it should republish in paper anything it has already published on film." These, and other problems would be addressed by the Public Printer and the employees of the Government Printing Office in days to come.

    The "computer revolution" at the Government Printing Office was already underway when Public Printer McCormick took the helm in 1973. Indeed, the first annual report to mention "electronic printing" had been published 10 years earlier and noted: "On March 11, 1963, two Linofilm keyboards and a photo unit were placed in experimental production. Seven operators were placed in training in maintenance at the factory. Some 480,000 ems of composition were keyboarded and processed on the photo unit by the end of the fiscal year." Behind this simple statement lay a model agreement between labor and management for the retraining of hot metal workers in the new technology without loss of status or salary.

    By 1973 the Linotron system, installed in 1967, was rolling on. A superintendent of the Electronic Photocomposition Division singled out a particularly outstanding job: "Linotron photocomposition for the U.S. Patent Office totaled 299,135 pages for fiscal year 1973. This total includes 280,299 pages of Patent Specifications, 16,086 pages of Official Gazette, and 2,750 pages for the Annual Index of Patents. An average production of 5,700 pages per week or 1,140 pages per day was required to accomplish this workload."

    Meanwhile, in 1973, the new Data Systems Service, which had pioneered a decade earlier in computer applications as a part of Finance and Accounts, announced that it had processed 61,316 computer jobs, had completed 120 new computer programs and had 275 more in process, along with many other computer related tasks. Its workforce numbered 142, including 28 computer programmers.

    Later, when the Public Printer was succeeded by his Deputy on November 1, 1977, the total conversion of the daily Federal Register from hot metal to photocomposition was taking place. On January 9, 1978, the first issue entirely printed from photocomposed text was produced. At about the same time, the entire text of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), approximately 70,500 pages in 141 volumes, was converted to an electronic data base. Besides these milestones, another was noted: "The Linofilm machines were removed from service after 15 years of productive use, having been made excess to our needs by the acquisition of more advanced equipment." This was reported by the then Superintendent, Electronic Photocomposition Division, Joseph E. Jenifer. New technology was being replaced by still newer technology.

    Another "revolution" had been slowly taking place at the Government Printing Office. It involved the upward mobility of men and women of differing ethnic backgrounds, and some with physical handicaps. This social change was accelerated during the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson who felt the Federal Government was not moving quickly enough. His policy was reaffirmed on August 8, 1969, by President Richard M. Nixon who signed into law Executive order No. 11478 which outlined areas of responsibility for affirmative action to achieve equal employment opportunity. The Government Printing Office already had a "Plan of Action" which it now revised to "insure equal opportunity in employment to all qualified persons; to prohibit discrimination in employment because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; and to promote full utilization of work force. The 'Plan of Action' establishes and implements procedures for recruitment, maximum utilization, training, promotion, and supervisory performance which will help make a reality of this policy."

    An outgrowth of this effort was the appointment of the first Equal Opportunity Officer and the beginning of EEO counseling services. Shortly thereafter, in 1971, the first Federal Women's Program Coordinator was appointed; and in 1973 a Spanish Program Coordinator also became a part of EEO. Many special employee educational programs were sponsored by EEO to help implement the "Plan of Action' and to convey awareness of opportunities for upward mobility at the Government Printing Office. Good community relations were also a part of EEO's mission. A memorable manifestation of this took place in 1973 when the EEO staff took part for the first time in a joint effort with the GPO Cafeteria, Recreation, and Welfare Association to sponsor "A Community Children's Day" for some 350 local children. This was to become a traditional part of GPO's annual Christmas Program.

    Public Printer McCormick lost no time in addressing the problem areas cited at his hearing by Senators Cannon and Weicker, Jr. For the most part, these fell under the management of the Assistant Public Printer (Superintendent of Documents). They involved the Depository Library Program and the Documents Sales Service. The heart of the matter was a lack of modernization in the face of an increasing demand for services.

    For a starter, the appropriation of funds for Documents which in fiscal year 1972 had been $14,829,900 was boosted in 1973 to $29,762,000. The number of full-time employees went from 700 in 1972 to 1,247 in 1973. Review of the proposal to sell and distribute publications in microform was begun. An "office-excellence" program was started which involved renovation and new furnishings. Bookstore site selection criteria were developed and new fixtures secured. Design studies were undertaken aimed at an automated order processing system. Steps were taken to automate production of the Monthly Catalog. Data Systems Service joined in support of these efforts and brought the computer to bear in the creation of a Publications Reference File on-line and in microfiche. Stenciled mail lists were automated. The Depository Library Council to the Public Printer, consisting of 15 documents librarians, was formalized. This was done "in response to the need for contributions from the library community in the effective implementation of the Depository Library Program, and the need for a consulting source on such subjects as micropublishing and legislation." The capstone was a Systems Task Force established by the Public Printer "to promote a total, integrated, automated administrative/operational system capable of handling incoming mail, order taking, order processing, order dispatching, subscription services, deposit accounting, bookstore operations and sales analysis, along with their related financial activities and inventory data and controls."

    To further implement these and other changes, on July 20, 1975, Public Printer McCormick appointed his Director of Materials Management, Carl A. LaBarre, as the new Superintendent of Documents. A retired Navy captain, with a "can do" reputation, the new Superintendent brought a wealth of experience in managing large, complicated activities.

    Another key appointment by the Public Printer was his prompt selection of a new Deputy Public Printer. On July 24, 1973, he chose John Joseph Boyle, a native of Honesdale, PA, where he had been born January 25, 1919. As a young man he had worked in a job shop and on a rural weekly newspaper. During World War II he served in the U.S. Army's First Armored Division in the North African Campaign. He was captured in North Africa and spent 2 1/2 years in German prison camps. Following the war, he worked in the composing room of a city daily and in a large printing plant. His GPO career began in 1952 as Proofreader. He was then 33 years old. From there he was chosen as Technical Assistant to the Superintendent of Composition. He gained valuable experience as the Production Manager's representative on the Scheduling Committee where he obtained a broad picture of the production capabilities of the Government Printing Office. He became Superintendent of Photocomposition Division. He was next made Deputy Production Manager and then Production Manager with total responsibility for management of production operations. It was at this point in his 21-year GPO career of ever widening experience that he was chosen for the Office's number two position.

    During the McCormick years, not only were problems being addressed but employees noticed many visible changes. Congestion in the main buildings was relieved by leasing space elsewhere. In 1974, the Library, Depository Distribution, and Statutory Stock Distribution Divisions were moved to Alexandria, VA. The following year, the 4th and 5th floors of Union Center Plaza were leased and occupied by Documents Sales, Documents Support, and Data Systems Divisions, along with the Superintendent of Documents. Sales documents storage was moved to a 180,000 square foot warehouse in Laurel, MD that same year. The Systems Task Force achieved the consolidation of mail operations from 13 different locations in 1974 to one modern facility on the ground floor of Building 1. And the passing of an era was noted in 1977 when the oldest press in the Government Printing Office, "GPO No, 1," was retired. It was a web press purchased in 1897 from R. Hoe and Company for $15,940 and had been in continuous use until 1974. Fortunately, it found a home in Fairfield, NJ at the Horowitz Museum of Bookbinding and Graphic Arts.

    One of the smoothest transitions in GPO's history took place following the election of President James E. Carter. On September 28, 1977, the President announced accepting Public Printer McCormick's resignation and his nomination of John J. Boyle as Public Printer. A hearing was held October 19 and 26, and on October 27 the Senate confirmed the new Public Printer. Mr. McCormick noted that he had resigned "to accommodate the transition to the new administration." He also said, "I encouraged Jack Boyle to become an active candidate for the job, and I am pleased that he is President Carter's choice to become the 17th Public Printer of the United States. I am very proud of the accomplishments of the Government Printing Office during the past four years, and it is with great sadness that I leave the fine people of the Office." On November 1, 1977, Public Printer Boyle was sworn in by a GPO employee, the Reverend Floyd H. Gayles, of Personnel Service.

    At his hearing, the future Public Printer shared some of his concerns: "I plan to devote a major portion of my management effort to reducing the cost of Federal printing by applying new technologies and increasing the productivity through better work methods, better tools, better training, and decreased administrative costs. I will continue to make the Government Printing Office a leader in the use of new technologies.

    "I will strive for resolving the labor problems and improving the working conditions for all employees by improving our communications and dispelling fears of being out of a job because of technological improvements.

    "We presently have an affirmative action plan for improving the promotional opportunities of our minority employees and women which I support and will strive to improve. The GPO has made many advances in the improvement of the position of minorities and women as well as our handicapped employees, but work remains to be done and we will not rest on past performance.

    "The Depository Library Program has been improved considerably in recent years, and I believe in complete support of this program because of its importance to the Government and the public in the dissemination of information."

    One besetting question of new technology with which the Public Printer grappled amid a welter of conflicting advice concerned the use of microforms in Sales and in the Depository Library Program. Logically, this new technology promised savings to taxpayers and to the Government Printing Office. The community of Depository Librarians was quick to perceive this and advocated microform use through its representatives on the Depository Library Council to the Public Printer and through various Government Document Roundtable groups. To gain further advice, Public Printer Boyle authorized the formation of the Public Printer's Council on Micropublishing, with a membership from public and private sectors. After listening carefully and considering all ramifications of the microform question, and with the backing of the Joint Committee on Printing, the Public Printer proceeded to utilize microfiche for Sales and the Depository Library Program. One result of this was revealed by Superintendent of Documents LaBarre in 1979: "During this reporting period there has been a total of 20,500 documents converted to microfiche for a total of 5.7 million copies distributed to Depository Libraries."

    During the Boyle years computerization continued. 1977 saw the construction of new plant facilities for the Electronic Photocomposition Division. Some 50,000 square feet encompassing most of the 7th floor of Building 1 was transformed by GPO work crews. That same year journeymen from the Composing Room took 13,142 hours of training programs. The following year the number of video keyboard operators tripled; and all were obtained through internal training classes. An Interactive Page Makeup System was installed in 1978 which allowed an operator to arrange text matter in complex page formats on a video screen. After a page was completed it was automatically merged with the rest of the text data for the job. A report in 1979 noted, "The proportion of Congressional work diverted from metal-type to photocomposition processes increased sharply during the year. The bulk of committee hearings are now being photocomposed, and all Congressional bills have been converted to electronic processing."

    When Public Printer Boyle chose to retire on February 29, 1980, a Presidential election was in prospect. At the Government Printing Office there was a general feeling of moving into "the computer age" and of being wisely guided. Jobs might change, but workers would not be fired because of new technology. Conditions seemed to be improving quickly in some areas, too slowly in other. More employees were hopeful than discouraged. Little did anyone realize that "a time of turmoil" was approaching.

    [ Back to the Top of The Page ]

    Citations: First Printed in New Typeline;
    Reprinted in Administrative Notes
  • Success to Printing
  • New Typeline, Jan., 1986, vol. 2, #1 p. 6
    Administrative Notes v07-n6-4/86, pp. 14-15
  • Long Time Coming, GPO
  • New Typeline, Feb.-Mar. 1986, col. 2, #2, pp. 6-7
    Administrative Notes v07-n7-5/86, pp. 8-9
  • Our Doors Swing Open
  • New Typeline, April 1986, vol. 2, #3, pp. 3-5
    Administrative Notes v07-n09-6/86, pp. 20 + 21
  • Era of Reconstruction
  • New Typeline, May 1986, vol. 2, #4, pp.6-7
    Administrative Notes v07-n10-7/86, pp. 3-4
  • Age of Electricity
  • New Typeline, June-July 1986, vol. 2, #5, pp. 6-8
    Administrative Notes v07-n6-4/86, pp. 4-5; continued in v07-n13-8/86, pp. 7-8
  • Age of the Auto
  • New Typeline, Aug. 1986, vol. 2, #6, pp. 4-7
    Administrative Notes v07-n18-11/86, pp. 4 - 5; continued in v07-n20-12/86, pp. 10-12
  • President Harding's Legacy
  • New Typeline, Sept.-Oct. 1986, vol. 2, #7, pp. 14- 19
    Administrative Notes v08-n01-1/87, pp. 17- 20; continued in v08-n01-1/87, pp. 7-9
  • The Years of
  • New Typeline, Jan.-Feb. 1987, vol. 3, #1, pp. 8-13
    Administrative Notes v08-n09-5/87, pp. 15-18; continued in v08-n13-6/87, pp. 11-13
  • The Atomic Age
  • New Typeline, March- April 1987, vol. 3, #2, pp. 10-13
    Administrative Notes v08-n14-7/87, pp. 11- 13; continued in v08-n15-8/87, pp. 11-13
  • The Computer Age
  • New Typeline, May-June 1987, vol. 3, #3, pp. 10-12
    Administrative Notes v08-n17-9/87, pp. 9-12

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