Place and Imprint: San Francisco: Peregrine Press, Porpoise Bookshop and Henry Evans, Printmaker, 1948-1990.
Condition: A detailed description is available via pdf on our website on the catalogues page.
Book ID: 28466
Physical DescriptionThe Peregrine Press, the Porpoise Bookshop and Henry Evans, Printmaker flourished in San Francisco between 1948 and 1990, under the stewardship of Henry Evans, his wife Patricia and their daughter Judith. Shortly after World War II, Henry Evans (1918-1990) established an antiquarian and secondhand bookstore in San Francisco, under the name H. H. Evans, Bookseller, which within a few years was one of the largest bookstores of its kind on the West Coast. In 1950 Evans purchased a nineteenth-century Washington handpress and dedicated himself, with the assistance of his wife, to producing iconoclastic and avant-garde books of poetry and art under the imprint of the Peregrine Press. In 1952 they combined the Peregrine Press and their book business under the name of the Porpoise Bookshop, which became a multifaceted, unique business, unlike any bookstore San Francisco had previously seen: it was an antiquarian and secondhand bookstore, an art gallery, a letterpress printer, publisher and fine printmakers. It published culinary books, children’s books, poetry, bibliography, botanical works and artists’ portfolios. It promoted unknown artists who would have otherwise struggled to get their work into print, including Robert Quick, Mark Luca, Mel Fowler and Rick Barton; it supported the San Francisco renaissance by publishing the work of Robert Duncan, Jess Collins, Kenneth Rexroth and others; and all the works it published, whether art or literary, were original; there were no reprints. The Porpoise Bookshop and Peregrine Press was a prototype for many who would follow the same dream of owning a bookshop that simultaneously served as a small press publisher and letterpress printer; it was an inspiration and progenitor of the small press and artist book movement that would become firmly established in the 1960s and beyond in California. The Porpoise Bookshop closed in late 1963, and Henry Evans took the skills he learned as a printer of other artists’ works to become a distinguished printmaker himself. He became widely known for his distinctive botanical prints. This is the only collection of its kind in private hands.