tribute: Alexander S. Lawson 47
Author, educator, historian
and typography authority Alexander S. Lawson, a mentor to thousands
of RIT printing students from 1947 to 1977, died May 6, 2002,
in Sun City, Fla.
S. Lawson '47
fascination with the entire graphic arts process and its craftsmen
began at age 16 when he went to work as a copy boy for the New
York American. Following his service in World War II, Al Lawson
entered RIT. After receiving his diploma in 1947, he was asked
to teach hand composition. His work experience, his rapport with
GIs and his initiative in researching the history of printing
and typography made him a perfect choice for the job.
Mr. Lawson led the
School of Printing faculty in publishing books and articles. Among
many works, his labor of love was The History of
the School of Printing written at the request of Dr. Mark
Guldin, dean of the College of Graphic Arts and Photography. The
volume was published under the Press of the Good Mountain label
in 1987 on the schools 50th anniversary.
His interest in a students
project about Frederic W. Goudy led Professor Lawson to urge the
RIT Board of Trustees to purchase artifacts from Goudys
estate. Had it not been for his efforts, RIT would not have the
Melbert Cary Collection of rare books. Consequently, Mr. Lawson
was the first person to hold the Melbert Cary Professorship.
of his son Doug, Mr. Lawson traded his stick for a computer at
age 82 and continued his work under the name Dingbat Press. His
wife and proofreader, Evelyn, was treated to a full two-year
course and became resident computer repairman.
His parting message
to all his friends was that he did not want them to mourn, but
instead to drink a toast to him and to celebrate the many years
This tribute was written
by Howard Hansen 67 (printing), president of the Museum
of Printing, North Andover, Mass. Hansen is also owner of Hansen
Brothers Printing Co., Stoughton, Mass.
If you would like
to support the new Alexander S. Lawson Publishing Center or the
Alexander Lawson Graduate Scholarship, please contact Deborah
McKinzie in the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences at 585-475-2128
or send e-mail to email@example.com.