The Daily Heller: Christmas in July. But It’s August Already!

Posted inThe Daily Heller
Thumbnail for The Daily Heller: Christmas in July. But It’s August Already!

If you were lucky enough to be on art director, designer and printer Sam Antupit's mailing list in the latter decades of the 20th century, you would receive an annual copy of his holiday-time letterpress chapbooks printed by his Cycling Frog Press, founded in 1960.

Each narrow pocket-sized book always featured images by Chas b. Slackman, the illustrator with an engraving sensibility and mustache to match, and would be filled with wry and eclectic content, duly researched and carefully checked before being released to the waiting public. There are at least a dozen extant, if not more, and they likely arrived weeks or months after the holiday season—yet were a welcome surprise any time of year.

Antupit (1932–2003), a student at Yale with Josef Albers, was an early member of Push Pin Studios, where he collaborated with Seymour Chwast to design the original typography for The New York Review of Books. He later became design director of Abrams Books.

In 2006, an Antupit exhibit at Wessel & Lieberman Booksellers in Seattle showed a variety of ephemera printed in his basement in Pound Ridge, NY. He regularly produced booklets, announcements and other small items for friends and family. This is one that recently surfaced amidst my treasures, an undated edition devoted to "Fire."