OBIT: Robert R. Reid (1927–2022)
January 24th, 2022
By Alan Twigg
“As for computer-generated type and the personal computer, an association would have been as unthinkable as making love to a porcupine.” — Geoff Spencer on Robert R. Reid
Once hailed as “Letterpress Man personified,” the venerable Robert (Bob) Russel Reid (at right) has died in Vancouver due to complications arising from Covid.
The story of how someone born in Medicine Hat came to be revered as arguably Canada’s first internationally renowned typographer and book designer begins with his family’s move to Vancouver in 1936. That year, when he was nine, his uncle bought him a tin printing press for Christmas after Robert had seen it on display at the Hudson’s Bay department store and been intrigued.
Although this little press was only a toy, he printed share certificates in the ‘RR Printing Company’ that were sold to family and friends in order to buy more rubber type for his miniature newspapers. By age fourteen he had graduated to operating a handpress for letterpress printing. At Kitsilano High School, Robert became a commercial printer by printing business cards for his classmates, having already joined the National Amateur Printing Association to learn what other amateurs were doing.
Legend has it that Reid was climbing some stairs to the Reading Room in the University of British Columbia Library in 1947 when he noticed two finely-printed, rubricated pages in a display case and decided he wanted to emulate it. Two years later, upon his graduation from UBC, Reid produced his first book—an original reprint of the first non-governmental book by a B.C. author, The Fraser Mines Vindicated, written by the opportunist Alfred Waddington. The choice of such an obscure title was not his. The suggestion came from the venerable UBC librarian Kaye Lamb who went on to become the Dominion Archivist of Canada. Reid spent one summer re-typing Frazer Mines on a typewriter and a friendly librarian named Ann Smith rounded up all the books she could find for him on printing.
It should be noted that Waddington, in his 50s, had little know-how about gold mining but he wanted to make money off of the newly-arrived gold seekers. His book was printed in Victoria in 1858—about 100 years before Reid had his epiphany climbing the stairs at UBC Library.
According to Nigel Beale:
Once he had his text, Reid spent many more months hand-setting the type for what turned out to be a hundred page book, beautifully printed on his Platen press in two colours. As the colophon puts it, the book was:
“Handset in 12 point Caslon old style and printed two pages at a time on Hurlbut Cortlea antique paper with an 8 x 12 foot-treadled platen press. Marbling was executed by the printer and it was bound by hand at the shop of Mr. M. I. Sochasky.”
Reid set about selling 110 copies for $10 each. There was a ‘Printer’s Note’ at the outset:
“Fine books have literary value, and they have commercial value, but it is their value as works of art which distinguishes them from other books. This intangible, aesthetic quality is not easily obtained. The designer’s use of binding materials, of type, of paper and of inks all contribute to a feeling of luxuriousness and of fineness. There is another element: personality, without which a book is lost. It results from the designer imparting something of himself — his love for fine books, his consequent sincerity of purpose, his grasp of the elementals of the printing craft — into his books. This book then is an attempt in that direction. Its designer is not insensitive to the charms of a fine books and trusts that a little of his personal interest and enthusiasm has found its way into this volume.”
The print run sold out. Most sales were to Americans. For his efforts, Reid’s version of The Fraser Mines Vindicated (1949) became the first book from Canada to win a Rounce and Coffin Club Award design award.
Clearly, Reid was venerating printing rather than content. These days Waddington is mostly mentioned as the man responsible for instigating the so-called Bute Inlet Massacre. As a would-be land developer hoping to build a faster route to the Cariboo goldfields, via Bute Inlet, Waddington kick-started the so-called Chilcotin War of 1864 by sending surveyors into Indigenous territories. Mt. Waddington, located at the head of Bute and Knight Inlets, is still named after him.
[W.K. Lamb’s suggestion that Waddington’s text was the first B.C. book was not entirely correct. The first-ever, published-in-B.C. book was David Cameron’s less-than-inspiring The Rules of Practice and the Forms to be used in the Superior and Inferior Courts of Civil Justice of Vancouver Island, published a month earlier by the Victoria Gazette.]
After graduating from UBC, Reid worked at various jobs before he bought his own platen press and opened Graphos Press, his own printing and design shop, in 1951. Generally, he provided his design services for free. Clients included architects and galleries, as well as some university students who wanted to produce their own, short-lived literary magazine, PM. One of those students was his wife-to-be. Reid soon married Felicity Pope and they would have four children: Michael, Anthony, Nicholas and Quincy. The first two issues of PM are collector’s items because they feature Bert Binning silk screens.
The business was purchased in 1955 by Grant-Mann, a larger company in Burnaby that wanted to secure Reid’s services. But Reid left in order to teach typographic design and printing at the Vancouver School of Art where he became a member of the Canadian Royal Academy.
In 1952, Reid was sharing a printing space with the painter Takao Tanabe, who set up his own press and produced books and printed ephemera. As a B.C. Centennial project, Tanabe, Felicity and Reid joined their talents to reprint 275 copies of F.G. Claudet’s Gold: Its Properties, Modes of Extraction, Value, Etc., an obscure, 32-page pamphlet that had been printed in New Westminster by the Mainland Guardian in 1871. Francis George Claudet is responsible for the rarest coins of British Columbia—a mere handful of precious silver and gold $10 and $20 coins that were minted in 1862.
Reid began to pay the bills by working as a typographic advisor for the University of British Columbia, designing various university publications that were frequently printed by Morriss Printing, crossing paths with Bill Reid, sometimes collaborating with Czech-born graphic artist George Kuthan while designing B.C. Library Quarterly.
After George Woodcock arrived in Vancouver in 1956 and declared his new city was a “literary desert,” Woodcock accepted the job of founding editor for the audacious quarterly Canadian Literature, founded in 1959—and Reid was its graphic designer. Working with the cosmopolitan anarchist Woodcock brought Reid into more varied contact with writers and other artists. That same year, Reid and Felicity produced their own version of a classic B.C. non-fiction title entitled The Journal of Norman Lee.
The English-born cattleman Norman Lee remained a fixture in the Cariboo, living at Hanceville on the Chilcotin Plateau, until his death at age 77 in 1939. Lee left behind a self-illustrated manuscript, completed around the turn of the century, about his doomed cattle drive. Eileen Laurie of CBC Radio interviewed Lee’s widow, in 1954, in conjunction with a province-wide program that broadcast authentic stories by B.C. pioneers. The following summer Laurie and her husband visited the Lees’ log house and store where she read Norman Lee’s journal. Laurie received permission from Lee’s widow to read excerpts on her CBC program Party Line and agreed to serve as her agent. After Felicity Reid heard Eileen Laurie read excerpts of Lee’s journal on the CBC, Bob Reid approached Howard Mitchell of Mitchell Press with a proposal to co-publish Klondike Cattle Drive with an introduction by SFU English professor Gordon R. Elliott, who grew up in Williams Lake and had visited the Lees’ ranch in the summers. This B.C. literary classic appeared in 1960; since republished in 1991 and 2005.
At the urging of Carl Dair, Reid successfully applied for a Canada Council grant to visit type foundries, printers and papermakers in Europe & the UK in 1962, returning to Montreal where he became the in-house designer for McGill University Press, generated his second private press—The Redpath Press—and he once redesigned the Montreal Star newspaper.
Notable Reid-connected books from this period include Le Passé Vivant de Montréal / The Living Past of Montreal by Eric McLean, Paul Roussel, and R. D. Wilson (1964), the Lande Bibliography of Canadiana (1965 – sometimes described as Reid’s magnum opus), Anatomy of the Brain and Nerves by Thomas Willis (1965), and Portrait of a Period, a book of Notman photographs (1967).
According to his friend and admirer, Rollin Milroy:
“For the next decade he oversaw not only the academic publications but also undertook numerous special projects printed in-house under his direction, the most noteworthy perhaps being the monumental Lande Collection of Canadiana: 950 copies printed on a variety of special papers from Europe, filled with facsimiles of early Canadian printing, all custom bound in leather from England.
“In 1976 he moved to New Haven and launched a successful career as a freelance book packager for major publishers, while also maintaining his own personal print shop for creating broadsides and other fine printing projects. It was there that he met the love of his life, Terry Berger, with whom he lived and worked until retirement in 1998 took him back to Vancouver. The separation did not diminish the love affair.”
While living in the U.S., Reid and his partner Terry Berger produced a limited edition comic book titled Pixie Meat, featuring the work of Gary Panter, Charles Burns, and Tom De Haven. He also printed five broadsides for pleasure, including poems by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg.
Bob’s second act in Vancouver started soon after his return. While he no longer had his own printing equipment to play with, he soon found himself among the latest generation of young people interested in typography, printing and design. He collaborated on a number of publications over the next two decades, and undertook his five-volume autobiography and other works full of the bold graphics and playful typography he enjoyed.
Having saved copies of World War II newspapers for 50 years, Robert Reid also designed and authored The Front Page Story of World War II (D&M 1994), a collection of Vancouver Sun, Vancouver Daily Province and Vancouver News-Herald front pages from World War II.
“The Sun’s beginning is interesting,” he wrote. “Founder Robert Cromie was private secretary to Colonel J.W. Stewart, a powerful political figure who had to leave town over some construction contracts. Cleaning out his effects, Cromie found some worthless stock in the Vancouver Morning Sun, a bankrupt Liberal Party newspaper. Rather than throw it out, he used the stock to take over control of the paper, then bought another evening paper, the World, in 1924, and merged them into The Vancouver Sun. With The World he got the building at the corner of Beatty and Pender that became the famous Sun Tower. A stylish man who entertained lavishly, Robert Cromie died tragically of a stroke in 1936 at the age of forty-nine. Two sons, Don and Sam, took over and published the Sun during the war years.”
Back in Vancouver, Reid also used electronic means to make books for The Alcuin Society and others. These included Dorothy Burnett, Bookbinder (2007), Duthie Bookmarks (2008), Takao Tanabe, Sometime Printer (2010) and The Innocence of Trees by David Bellman (2010).
An avid golfer with a 10 handicap, a model train enthusiast and a stamp collector, fifth-generation Canadian Bob Reid was beloved by many. To mark his 80th birthday, friends and colleagues organized Reidfest at SFU’s Harbour Centre in November of 2007 attended by the likes of Charlie Mayrs (Reid’s student at the Vancouver School of Art) Peter F. McNally (McGill), Rollin Milroy (Heavenly Monkey and publisher of Reid’s Leaves: A Bibliography of Books from the Private Press of Robert R. Reid, published in Vancouver from 1949 to 1962 …) and Takao Tanabe (Periwinkle Press).
That year, Yosef Wosk also facilitated the creation of the Robert R. Reid Award & Medal to be managed by the Alcuin Society, to recognize Canadian contributions to the book arts—after it was first accepted by Reid himself. Ten years later, McGill University hosted an exhibition of Reid’s typography and printing.
In a private letter in 2014, he wrote, “When you’re young it’s a good idea to learn several skills that serve you throughout your life. When you’re ‘good at’ a couple of things it helps your self respect, and certainly you get respect from others. Bill Clinton improved greatly in people’s opinion when we learned that he played the saxophone quite well. It humanized him. I became quite a good golfer and was Junior Club champion for a year at Marine Drive Golf Club and I loved playing bridge too, so that I felt good about myself. Being good at what you do for a vocation is expected of one, but if you can throw a few other abilities into the mix, it means a lot. A great ‘regret’ I have is not learning to play the piano, as I would always have enjoyed it. And I wish I had been better at Ballroom dancing, like the Samba, Rumba and Fox Trot. Women love dancing and really appreciate a man who can keep up with them as a partner, and couples dancing well together are always so joyful that it’s a pleasure to watch them. The important thing in life is to like oneself, first of all (so many people don’t) and being good at a few things helps.”
Some of the Robert Reid-related books displayed at Reidfest were:
Reid, Robert R. (editor). The Front Page Story of World War II (D&M 1994).
PRINTER/PUBLISHER/DESIGNER (selected titles):
Waddington, Alfred. The Fraser Mines Vindicated (The Private Press of Robert R. Reid, Vancouver, 1949).
Claudet, F.G. Gold (Robert Reid & Takao Tanabe, Vancouver, 1958).
Lee, Norman, The Journal of Norman Lee, 1898 (Robert and Felicity Reid, Vancouver, 1959).
Kuthan, George. Kuthan’s Menagerie (The Nevermore Press, Vancouver, 1960).
Newlove, John. Grave Sirs: John Newlove’s Poems (The Private Press of
Robert Reid and Takao Tanabe, Vancouver, 1962).
Watters, Reginald Eyre. British Columbia: A Centennial Anthology (McClelland and Stewart Limited, Toronto, 1958).
Ormsby, Margaret. British Columbia: A History (Macmillan, 1958).
Haig-Brown, Roderick. The Living Land: An Account of the Natural Resources of British Columbia (The Macmillan Company of Canada Limited, Toronto, 1961).
Logan, Donna. Journalism in the New Millennium (Vancouver: Sing Tao School of
Journalism, University of British Columbia, 1998).
Hammerstein, Ingeburg von & William Shakespeare. Drawings of Nudes accompanied by the “Dark Lady” Sonnets (Privately Printed at Vancouver, 2004).
Takao Tanabe: Sometime Printer (Alcuin Society $185), a limited edition of Tanabe’s work as a letterpress designer, edited by Robert Reid
Given on an occasional basis, The Robert R. Reid Medal for Lifetime Achievement in the Book Arts in Canada recognizes lifetime achievement or extraordinary contributions to the book arts in Canada. The inaugural award was presented to Robert R. Reid at the Reidfest celebration in 2007.
The Robert R. Reid Medal Recipients
2018 | Robert Bringhurst
Presented April 4, 2019, in Vancouver
2017 | Denise Lapointe & David Carruthers,
La Papeterie Saint-Armand
Presented June, 2018, in Montreal
2015 | Rod McDonald
Presented June 6, 2016 in Vancouver
2014 | Jan & Crispin Elsted, the Barbarians
Presented June 8, 2015 in Vancouver
2013 | William Rueter RCA MGDC
Presented March 21, 2013 in Vancouver
2012 | Stan Bevington
Presented March 30, 2012 in Vancouver
2011 | Glenn Goluska
Presented at a private ceremony in Montreal in the spring of 2011
2010 | Jim Rimmer
Presented to the Rimmer family at the SFU Library/ Alcuin Society talk
on October 21, 2011
2009 | Frank Newfeld
Presented on October 3, 2011 at the Arts and Letters Club in Toronto
2007 | Robert R. Reid
Robert received the inaugural honour at Reidfest November 16, 2007; the medal was presented at the Alcuin AGM in Vancouver June 13, 2011
Robert R. Reid designed and printed an enormous range of titles from his variously-named private presses, starting with The Basque Sheepherder and the Shepard Psalm (1955), as well as Kuthan’s Menagerie (1960) and Grave Sirs: John Newlove’s Poems (1962). The final production by Robert Reid was a collection of original art by Rahel Wosk in 2021 entitled A Modern Madness. [Illustrated cover shown below]
Reidfest: An Evening to Celebrate Robert Reid — his typography, graphic design and letterpress printing & presentation of the first Robert R. Reid Award for Lifetime Achievement in Book Arts in Canada
Remarks prepared by Yosef Wosk for the feature event of the Alcuin Society gathering for the Friends of Simon Fraser University Special Collections Lecture, November 16, 2007
Meeting a Remarkable Man
I will speak tonight on Meeting a Remarkable Man, a man of letters and heart, of critical eye and demanding standards; a man who knows hot metal and warm wood, textured papers, marbled mixing, ten thousand fonts and an ocean of inks. Robert Reid is certainly one of the most versatile and prolific print designers anyone has ever met, an authentic pioneer who has produced everything from limited edition masterpieces to evanescent ephemera as well as keepsake broadsides, captivating advertisements, an abundance of newspapers, multiple journals, and a million packaged books for major publishers. With one foot firmly stationed in the classical mechanics of the printing arts, he has also excelled in the modern era of digital design and, you can be assured, on his desk right now are the workings of the next to-be-published dream.
Here is a man who collects widely, shares forever, teaches always and who creates with the insatiable mind of Genesis. He drinks and smokes and loves the company of friends; his presence is gentle and soul deeply comforting.
We are indeed fortunate to have this most unique man in our midst, someone who, in Japan, would be recognized as a Living National Treasure. Perhaps that is what we are doing here this evening: recognizing you, Bob, in spite of your genuine humility, so that we, too, may be inspired to do our best and most dedicated work for time-out-of-mind. You have touched on eternity and she has blessed you in return.
Bob Reid, as we all know, is not just an artist of the book but also an artist of a man. Over the past number of years, Bob compiled a beautiful multi-volume, limited edition, memoir and catalogue raisonné of his work entitled Printing: A Lifelong Addiction. “Addiction” is a strong word and could be a troubling one were it not that this predisposition was a vision to beauty, to texture, to form and design.
It was printing and the book arts that first attracted me to Robert, but I soon learned to appreciate his other lifelong addictions (at least the ones that can be spoken about in public): his passions for golf and a series of collections—especially ephemera that he, ironically, has immortalized through his many publications; his love of jazz, cars and model trains; his dedication to culture, a faith in humanity that ebbs and flows with tomorrow’s headlines but that is deeply rooted in his sense of social justice; his enjoyment of good conversation, devotion to family and loyalty to friends. I saw in Robert Reid someone who was genuine and enthusiastic, curious, kind and caring; someone who was always reading and sharing ideas; an original thinker, a true lifelong learner.
His kindness as a friend or neighbour, as a husband, a lover, father and brother, is felt by all who have encountered him in the various chapters of his long and prolific life. Do not imagine, however, that it has always been an easy journey: tragedy was no stranger to his door. And yet, here is a man among men, a mensch in our midst, whose generosity of spirit and always-enthusiastic creative genius is obvious to anyone who stands in his humble presence for even a short time.
Bob, The Alcuin Society is about to bestow its first award for lifetime achievement in the book arts in Canada, but first, in order to give us even greater perspective, and, in a way of celebrating your eightieth birthday, I would like to review the year of your birth, 1927
I always knew that ‘27 was a momentous year—half-way between the War to End All Wars and the next great conflagration that changed human history forever—but now we can attribute another milestone to that year: the birth of Robert R. Reid. To better appreciate what the world was like when you were born, to better understand the series of massive changes that you have lived through, I have gathered some comparison events that occurred in 1927:
In science and transportation: The first commercial transatlantic telephone service was inaugurated between New York and London; Lindbergh completed the first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic and Pan Am Airways launched the first scheduled international flight; it was the last year for the Model T Ford which was sold at a clearance price of $290 per vehicle; Philo T. Farnsworth, then only 21, succeeded in transmitting an image through purely electronic means—this led to what later became known as the television.
In entertainment and the arts: The iconic Vancouver theatre, the Orpheum, was built; the Oscars were first awarded; Fritz Lang’s Metropolis premiered and the era of talking pictures arrived with the screening of “The Jazz Singer” and Al Jolson’s opening prophetic words: “Wait a minute! Wait a minute! You ain’t heard nothin’ yet!”; work on Mount Rushmore began; Duke Ellington opened at the Cotton Club in Harlem, and Hermann Hesse completed “Steppenwolf”. Le Corbusier proposed a functional design for the new League of Nations center in Geneva: the jury of traditional architects was shocked and disqualified the design on the grounds that it was not rendered in India ink, as specified.
In sports: The Harlem Globetrotters played their first game; Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs and one of the greatest Yankees teams-ever swept the World Series in four games; Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan, two of Bob’s heroic exemplars, were both 15 years old, and golfers in South Carolina were arrested for violating the Sunday Sabbath laws.
In politics: The U.S. and Canada established diplomatic relations independently of Great Britain; Hitler held the first Nazi meeting in Berlin, Stalin became the undisputed ruler of the Soviet Union and Mao Tse-tung led a peasant uprising in Hunan Province. Sacco and Vanzetti were executed.
Among those who share 1927 as a birth year are Stan Getz, Sidney Poitier, Erma Bombeck, Neil Simon, Harry Belafonte, Bill Haley, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Rostropovich, Joseph Ratzinger aka Pope Benedict XVI, Theodore Maiman, physicist and inventor of the first laser (who lived his last decades in Vancouver), Andy Warhol, and finally, R.D. Laing, the Scottish psychiatrist, who summed up our time when he observed that “We live in a moment of history where change is so speeded up that we begin to see the present only when it is disappearing.”
Bob, you were only nine years old, at Christmas-time, when you found your first printing press—tin with rubber type—in the toy department of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Your life and art evolved through the early Abbotsford Years; the various Vancouver iterations including The Basement Private Press, The Graphos Press, typographic advisor to the editorial committee at the University of British Columbia, Grant-Mann, teaching at the Vancouver School of Art, and then the very productive years at your home Private Press in Burnaby. These were followed by the classic Montreal Years as in-house designer for McGill University Press and the subsequent quarter-century New York and New Haven experiences before returning home to Vancouver in 1998.
And now—almost seventy-one years to the day of being given your first press—you stand here in the presence of your friends, family and peers, in the witness of master printers and “gently mad” bibliophiles, those whose passion embraces “the noble craft of printing,” those who know, like the mystics, that every word can create a world if only properly expressed in the great chain of being: spirit to breath, mind to matter, ink to paper.
You were born with a gift that you then cultivated like a diligent gardener. Granted a glimpse of the heart of heaven, your art came to reflect universal archetypes in the cradle of a page.
May you, our friend and mentor, be blessed to continue this most favorable obsession for many healthy years to come.
It is now my distinct privilege to present to you—the first recipient of this eponymous honour—The Robert R. Reid Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Book Arts in Canada. Over the next few years, this award will be recognized as the most prestigious prize for printing, design and publishing in Canada. It could not have been named after a more deserving role model, a true exemplar of the art.
 In his introduction to The Fraser Mines Vindicated—recognized by Library and Archives Canada [www.collectionscanada.ca/presses/t15-410-e.html] as the earliest example of true private press printing in Canada—Reid penned: “Fine books have literary value, and they have commercial value, but it is their value as works of art which distinguishes them from other books. This intangible, aesthetic quality is not easily obtained. The designer’s use of binding materials, of type, of paper and of inks, all contribute to the feeling of luxuriousness and of fineness” (The Private Press of Robert R. Reid, 1949).
 Addiction is a constant, insatiable search, something that can only be temporarily sated, often with pleasurable but negative consequences, before demanding our compelling attention all over again. William Dana Orcutt once asked:
Where is the Perfect Book to be found? In the words of the author or in the heart of the reader? In the design of a type or in the skill of the typographer or the binder? In the charm of the paper or in the beauty of the illumination or illustration? It must, of course, be in the harmonious combination of all of these. . ..
The word perfection has no place in our language except as an incentive. To search for it is an absorbing adventure, for it quickens our senses to perceive much that would otherwise be lost. If perfection could become commonplace, the Quest would end—and God pity the world! Until then each of us will define the Perfect Book in his own words, each of us will seek it in his own way (In quest of the Perfect Book: Reminiscences & Reflections of a Bookman, Boston: Little, Brown & Company, 1926).
During his Graphos Press years—when his printing shop was the only avant-garde press in Canada, printing on his two platen presses at 1004 West Pender Street in downtown Vancouver, with a phone number that was simply Marine 6712—Bob wrote of a similar extra-dimensionality in his work: “In printing,” he said, “there is type, ink and paper. In Fine Printing, there is type, ink, paper and . . . DESIGN.”
And again, in his Introduction to The Fraser Mines Vindicated (privately printed by Reid in 1949), he wrote: “There is another element, personality, without which a book is lost. It results from the designer imparting something of himself—his love for fine books, his consequent sincerity of purpose, his grasp of the elementals of the printing craft—into his books.”
This man, Bob Reid, has a personality that pours from his depths and onto the page. There is not a false bone in his body; not a misplaced letter on the page.
 I first met Bob soon after he returned to Vancouver (1998) when he was invited to give a lecture discussing aspects of his life’s work at Simon Fraser University. The indomitable Ann Cowan, founder and then director of The Writing & Publishing Program, had organized a lecture series featuring masters—local and international—of the book arts.
 Friends, too, are loyal to him, especially his delightful love and inspiring muse, Terry Berger, who surprised everyone when she secretly flew in from New York to celebrate the Reidfest.
 This endnote is a bonus for Bob the tobacconist and inveterate collector: 1927 was also the year that Pez candy originated in Austria as a breath mint for cigarette smokers. The name came from “pfefferminz,” the word for peppermint in German. And what could be more of a collectible than the irresistible Pez dispensers?
 While you, Robert Reid, grew up to become one of North America’s premier book designers admired by thousands of appreciative souls, these three men and their malevolent accomplices were responsible for the deaths of over one hundred million people in a forty-year period.
 Nicholas A. Basbanes, A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books, New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1995; Basbanes, Among the Gently Mad: Strategies and Perspectives for the Book Hunter in the Twenty-First Century, New York: Henry Holt and Co., 2002.
 “The noble craft of printing has been the foundation of Western civilization and has attracted to its bosom some of the finer members of the human race. I know that I have never met a printer I didn’t like, and leave this book as testimony to the thrill that every printer gets from his craft of printing type on paper” (Robert Reid, statement at the beginning of Printing, A Lifelong Addiction: A Nostalgic Trip Down Memory Lane, Volume I, privately printed at Vancouver, 2002).
I met Bob quite recently, in early 2018, when as the Head of the University of Manitoba Archives we had the opportunity to display some of Bob’s recent works for CAUSA. Bob was so friendly I began to correspond with him and learn something of his fascinating life and his many enthusiasms. I always looked forward to reading his pithy comments on contemporary life and reading his booklets on movies and movie stars. My life was richer for his being in it.
We are so very sorry to hear of Bob’s death. He was one of Nature’s enthusiasts — and enthusiasm of his sort is a rare commodity. He inspired everyone he came across with his delight in books and printing, and in the discoveries which good work could bring to the soul and the heart, as well as the stimulus to thought which such work always brings. His own work, as designer and printer, has a brio and verve which distinguishes it from the more sober and plodding work which abounds. At Barbarian Press, we have felt Bob to be a mentor and friend, and we will miss his cheer and the pleasure of his bright and fascinating conversation. Bless him. Crispin & Jan Elsted
A fascinating article with so many details of Bob’s life. I would be most interested in knowing the name of the author. Also ne notable project not mentioned here is the 1958 BC Centennial Anthology.