Monday, June 6, 2022

Typography: John Henry Nash

John Henry Nash was born on March 12, 1871, in Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada. The birthdate is from the California Death Index at Wikipedia named his birthplace. 

In 1895, Nash moved to San Francisco, California.

The 1900 U.S. Federal Census recorded him as “Harry J. Nash” who was boarding with Henri B. Brough, his wife and son in San Francisco at 1218 Fulton Street. The census said Nash’s birth was April 1872 and occupation was printer. Henri Brough, better known as Bruce Brough, was the manager of a printing house. The Inland Printer, June 1900, said Brough was the manager of the Sunset Press. In 1901 Brough and Nash would start their own firm, Twentieth-Century Press. In 1903 the partners changed the name to Tomoyé Press

According to the 1910 census, Nash, a publisher, was married to Mary (1871–1958) and had an eight-year-old daughter, Evelyn. Also in the household was a Japanese servant, Toge Kosuma. They resided in Oakland, California at 249 Alcatraz Avenue. 

The same address was in the 1920 census and Nash operated a printing plant.

Western Advertising, April 1921 (below), mentioned Nash’s trip to Europe. His passport application, at Ancestry.con, named the countries he planned to visit: Italy, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, England and Scotland. 

On July 18, 1921, Nash and his family were aboard the steamship Aquitania which departed Southampton, England. They arrived in the port of New York City on July 23. The passenger list said his home was at the Whittaker Arms Apartments in Berkeley, California. 

Nash and his wife made a second visit to Europe. They departed Boulogne sur Mer, France, on June 19, 1928 and arrived, ten days later, in New York City. The passenger list had a San Francisco address, 447 Sansome Street.

Sunset, December 1929

Sometime the late 1920s Nash established the John Henry Nash Fine Arts Press at the University of Oregon in Eugene. 

In the 1930 census, Nash made his home in Berkeley, California at 1831 San Juan Street. He operated a print shop. 

The weak stock market had caused Nash’s patron, Mrs. Edward L. Doheny, to end her support. Nash moved his business and library out of the “445 Sansome” building. In 1938 Nash moved to Portland, Oregon. 

Nash has not yet been found in the 1940 census. 

Wikipedia said he moved to Berkeley in 1943 and lived with his daughter, Evelyn (1901–1994). She married Weldon Carl Nichols (1902–1957) on June 5, 1924. He was a lawyer, whose address, in 1942, was 143 Alvarado Road in Berkeley.

The San Mateo Times (California), May 19, 1944, said Milton S. Ray purchased Nash’s library for the University of California. 

Nash passed away on May 24, 1947, in Berkeley, California. Obituaries appeared the following day in many newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle, Oregon Journal, Oakland Tribune and The New York Times

Further Reading
Publisher’s Weekly, March 20, 1926, Fine Printing in the Far West
Publisher’s Weekly, June 4, 1927, American Book Arts at the Leipzig Exhibition 
Publisher’s Weekly, April 6, 1929, The Limited Editions Club Is Organized 
Publisher’s Weekly, April 13, 1929, The Master Typographers of San Francisco 
Sunset, December 1929
Publisher’s Weekly, May 2, 1931, John Henry Nash
Publisher’s Weekly, February 2, 1935, The Fifty Books of the Year
Graphic Arts Monthly, August 1947, John Henry Nash—Craftsman

Online Archive of California, Guide to the John Henry Nash papers, 1909–1947 

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