Jack Stauffacher

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Jack Werner Stauffacher (December 19, 1920[1] – November 16, 2017) was an American printer, typographer, and fine book publisher. He taught at Carnegie Mellon University, University of California, Santa Cruz[2] and San Francisco Art Institute.


Stauffacher was born in San Francisco, California in 1920. In 1936, he established the Greenwood Press, named after the street on which it was located, in a small building that he and his father built behind the family home in San Mateo, California. His first books appeared when he was in his early 20s.

In 1955, he received a Fulbright grant for three years of study in Florence, Italy. There he met master printers Giovanni Mardersteig and Alberto Tallone, whose work and ideas influenced him profoundly.

After his return to the United States, he became assistant professor of typographic design at Carnegie Mellon University. His work led to the formation of the New Laboratory Press. He went on to become typographic director at Stanford University Press and to teach at the San Francisco Art Institute.

In 1966, he reopened the Greenwood Press in a building at 300 Broadway in San Francisco and resumed producing books and limited editions such as Albert Camus and the Men of Stone (1971). In 1967, he was commissioned to redesign the Journal of Typographic Research, later renamed Visible Language. The typographic composition he used for its cover was used for many years and became something of a design icon.

Stauffacher was added to the distinguished list of AIGA medalists in 2004. Several of his experimental compositions using wood and metal type are in the permanent collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Stanford University Library, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Much of his life and work is documented in the book A Typographic Journey / The History of the Greenwood Press published by the Book Club of California in 1999. He was the subject of an article and his work featured on the cover of the groundbreaking Emigre magazine in 1998.

His brother, Frank Stauffacher, ran the pioneering "Art in Cinema" cinema series at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art from 1946 to 1954. Stauffacher died in November 2017 at the age of 96.[3]


  1. ^ Stauffacher, John. "California, Birth Index, 1905-199". familysearch. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Tom Killion: A life in color". UC Santa Cruz News. Retrieved 2018-06-18.
  3. ^ Jack Stauffacher, typographer and master printer, dies at 96

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