Bowne & Co., Stationers was a beloved re-creation of a small nineteenth-century printing and stationer’s shop in the South Street Seaport area of Lower Manhattan. It was a living museum, a working press that still took custom orders, a destination for researchers and school groups, and a beautiful neighborhood shop that inspired passionate responses from visitors from around the world.
On February 14th the shop was closed without warning by the Seaport Museum New York.
By signing this petition, I state my belief that Bowne & Co., Stationers should:
- Reopen in its existing location with its existing collection kept intact
- Be self-managed, by persons with knowledge of printing history and design
- Be a center for type and printing history, for public service and profitability
- Remain accessible/visible to students and interested members of the public
- Use its unique collection to develop products that financially support the shop
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Friends of Bowne believes Bowne & Co., Stationers should reopen in its existing location, with its existing collection. The new Bowne needs to be managed by persons with knowledge of printing history and design, and should be operated as a completely independent working museum, or one that is largely autonomous yet allied with a larger institution.
Bowne can be an independent center for type history and printing, committed both to public service and profitability. We believe an independent Bowne represents the best chance for meeting the following standards of stewardship, which we expect any custodian of Bowne to meet:
- Bowne shall remain in New York City, ideally at its current location, 211 Water Street, in the city’s historic printing district.
- Bowne’s collection of antique type, presses, printing machinery, and library shall not be permanently dispersed, lost through mismanagement, or destroyed.
- The collection shall remain as active as possible in publicly visible use for the printing of commercial, educational, and other jobs; and it shall remain accessible to students and others interested in the history of type and printing.
- The collection’s conservation needs and upkeep shall be met in a timely and professional manner.
- Bowne shall be managed by its master printer or a person with equivalent knowledge of its operations and of printing history and design.
- Bowne shall strive to develop products that use its unique collection, enhance a reputation for fine printing and design, and financially support the shop.
To determine the best course for realizing this vision, representatives of Friends of Bowne are taking steps to consult with former staff and volunteers of Bowne; practitioners, historians, and other members of the printing community; a legal advisor; the Seaport’s Community Board; local businesses; the New York City Economic Development Corporation; the Historic Districts Council; and other parties as needed.
Friends of Bowne, as the sole group that has worked to safeguard Bowne and re-establish it for its intended purpose, has a stake in the future of Bowne and believes its members should continue to support and influence Bowne after it is reopened.
With the support of our members and Save Our Seaport, a group advocating for reform at the Museum and restoration of its historic ships, we submit this statement to the President and Board of the Seaport Museum New York, representatives of the City and State of New York, and, via the press, members of the public as a sign of our commitment to ensure Bowne’s long-term survival.
Now are you ready to sign? Click below: