Robert R. Reid

October 2018 marked the celebration of Robert R. Reid’s ninety-first birthday. He has been designing and printing for over eighty of these years and has always been regarded as a pace-setter. It started with a Christmas gift of a toy printing press when he was nine, which led to the production of business cards and other ephemera and a newspaper for the family. The Fraser Mines Vindicated; or, The History of Four Months appeared in 1949, months before he graduated in commerce from the University of British Columbia. For Fraser Mines, Reid set the type, printed the work by hand, marbled the papers (some blue, some red) for the binding and published it. This was the first substantial private press book in Canada.

The following years saw Reid designing for Grant-Mann, a Vancouver printing company, and printing and teaching design at the Vancouver School of Art. Later came a European study tour, and thirteen years at McGill and its University Press, where he produced such monuments of fine printing as The Lawrence Lande Collection of Canadiana in the Redpath Library of McGill University: A Bibliography (1965). He then moved to New York and later to New Haven to continue his work. In 1998, Reid returned to Vancouver and began to design and print for the Alcuin Society, and others. He now creates work electronically. His latest project is an ongoing series of broadsides for the Collective for the Advancement of Unified Studies in the Visual Arts (CAUSA). Reid’s latest book project was the design for Yosef Wosk’s Five Blessings and a Dare, published in 2018. Multiple blessings are richly deserved for one who has so inspired us with his work.

—Chester Gryski

The Devil's Artisan would like to acknowledge the generous financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.

Robert R. Reid Magnify

Robert R. Reid

Credit: Yukiko Onley