Kingsport Press Collection, c.1922-1993 and undated


Title: Kingsport Press Collection, c.1922-1993 and undated
Collection Number: Kingsport Community Manuscript Collection (KCMC) 204
Physical Description: 21 boxes and 8 framed photographs
Creator: various
Repository: Archives of the City of Kingsport


Provenance: The Kingsport Press Collection was obtained for the Archives by George Hutchins from Dick Ryder in April 2007. Dick Ryder was a Director of Human Resources at Quebecor (Kingsport Press). Additions to the collection were made in September 2010.

Access/Restrictions: There are no restrictions on use of this collection for research purposes. The researcher assumes full responsibility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

Processed by: Kate Lukach, archival assistant, did the initial processing in May-June 2008, and created the finding aid in June 2008.

This collection should be cited as:

Kingsport Press Collection, c.1922-1993 and undated. KC Manuscript Collection 204, Archives of the City of Kingsport, Tennessee.

From the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture (
“Kingsport Press was a powerful Tennessee presence in the publishing world for fifty years. The press was initially established in 1922 by Blair and Company, the New York bankers who financed the Clinchfield Railway and the Kingsport town site, with John B. Dennis as chairman of the board of Kingsport Press, Incorporated. As an integral component in fulfilling the interlocking concept of industry upon which Kingsport’s founders created the planned industrial community, Kingsport Press served as a catalyst for the development and expansion of related industries such as Mead Paper Company.

The company began in four unused concrete structures acquired from Grant Leather Company. The initial company president was Louis Adams, who secured the company’s first contract with the Woolworth chain for the mass production of a miniature clothbound series of the classics. When Colonel Elbridge Woodman Palmer (1886-1953), former president of the bindery of J. F. Tapley Company, was recruited as president in 1925, he systematically restructured Kingsport Press by remodeling the plant, retraining and increasing the labor force, and creating a sales department. Walter F. Smith, a subsequent company president, observed that Palmer understood that books needed to be made, but also needed to be marketed, and needed to reach their intended audience for the press to be successful. Palmer diversified the press’s fields of publications to include textbooks and encyclopedias, increased company floor space from a few hundred square feet to 12.5 acres, and added additional shifts, making the press operational twenty-four hours a day.

Palmer served as president for twenty-nine years and quickly became a nationally and internationally known industrialist and civic leader. Serving as president of the Tennessee Society of Crippled Children and Adults for eighteen years, he also was president, trustee, and treasurer of the national Society for Crippled Children and Adults. Locally, Palmer was founder of the Kingsport Building and Loan Association, an original incorporator of the Holston Valley Community Hospital, and a supporter of the Kingsport Public Library.

During World War II Palmer was deputy director of the War Production Board’s Printing and Publishing Division, which produced such materials as Bibles and equipment instruction manuals for U.S. troops. In 1943 he received the honorary rank of colonel for his work in the Adjutant General’s Department, where he served until 1945. After the war, he received the Legion of Merit for his distinguished service.

Chemist Walter F. Smith succeeded Palmer as president in 1953, and in his first year as president Smith developed new methods of cloth manufacture and gold stamping. Under his direction the company enjoyed continued growth, with 1961 marking a major expansion of the company’s facilities. Elected chairman of the board in 1961, Edward J. Triebe was the fourth company president. He guided the press through a period of rapid technological change as well as another expansion that included the construction and start-up of a second plant–a highly automated operation in Hawkins County twelve miles from Kingsport. Triebe also oversaw a major transition in printing emphasis from letterpress to offset lithography. Kingsport Press during his tenure had 2,500 employees.

One of the nation’s longest strikes occurred at Kingsport Press from March 11, 1963, continuing into the spring of 1967. National union officials and federal labor mediators were unable to resolve the situation, and as negotiations broke down, picket lines went up, accompanied by vandalism and violence. In 1964 over five thousand people applied for press jobs, and by April 28, 1967, both new and returning company employees rejected the unions.

In 1969 Kingsport Press merged with Arcata National Corporation, becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of the graphics, communication, and information services company. When Triebe was elected chairman of the board of Kingsport Press in 1969, G. Robert Evans left U.S. Gypsum to become the fifth company president. Two years after the merger of Kingsport Press and Arcata National, Evans was selected to direct the newly created Arcata Graphic Services Group. In 1971 Hugh F. Swaney came to Kingsport from the Mexican operations of U.S. Gypsum to serve as the press’s president.

Today, Quebecor World, a company that began in Montreal, Canada, in 1954, owns the former Kingsport Press, having acquired it when it purchased Arcata Graphics in the 1990s. In 1999 Quebecor Printing merged with World Color Press, creating Quebecor World. It ranks as one of the largest bookmaking companies in the world. The company’s customers include the leading international publishers, and it produces all types of hardbound and softcover books. Products of this graphic communications industry include elementary, high school, and college textbooks and workbooks; reference sets; book club selections; Bibles and hymnals; blank books and specialty binders; juvenile books; university press books; dictionaries; and school yearbook covers.

Martha Avaleen Egan, Kingsport Public Library and Archives/ King College”

Since the publication of this article, Quebecor World has closed and the land has been donated to the city of Kingsport.

The Kingsport Press Collection contains materials created by and pertaining to the Kingsport Press. There is an extensive collection of photographs, as well as newsletters, memorabilia, and other documents pertaining to the history of the Kingsport Press.


Series I: Subject Files, 1922-1988, undated, box 1.
Box 1
1. Annual Reports, 1958, 1961, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1967, and 1968
2. Annual Reports, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, and 1979
3. Arcata Book Group Advertisements, undated
4. Bookbuilders West Book show, 1979
5. Building Plans, 1938 and 1945
6. Close Up: Kingsport Press, 1971
7. Division Name Change Program, 7 October 1985
8. Employee Guide, 1985
9. Information about materials used in binding a book, undated
10. J.W. Clement Company, San Jose Division, c. 1969
11. “Kingsport is to Have Huge Printing Plant,” Kingsport Times, 24 October 1922
12. Kingsport Press Inc. –A leader in the manufacture of books and printed products, c. 1968
13. List of Employees Who Died in World War II, undated
14. Maps of Kingsport, undated
15. Newsletters, 1946, 1948, 1965, 1977, and 1988
16. Newspaper Articles, 1945-1983 and undated
17. News Piper, 31 January 1964 (sleeved)
18. Second Annual Awards Banquet Program, 18 October 1975
19. Sixth Annual Awards Banquet Program, 3 November 1979
20. A Systems Approach to Book Manufacturing, c. 1970s
21. Third Annual Award Banquet Program, 7 January 1961
22. A Tour of Tour of Kingsport Press, undated

Series II: Visual, 1963, 1970, undated, box 2-13.
Series IIa: Negatives, 1963, 1970, undated, box 2-3.
Box 2
• Sleeves 1-31: Awards Banquet, 1963
• Sleeves 32-44: Awards Banquet, 1970
• Sleeves 45-150: untitled, undated
Box 3
1. Negatives, undated
2. Negatives: Contact Sheets, undated

Series IIb: Photographs, undated, box 3-7.
Box 3
3. Aerials and Construction, undated
4. Interior: Adhesives Lab/Glue, Baling, Lining-Up, and Paper Testing, undated
5. Interior: Art and Drafting, Ink Rollers, Machine Case Making, and Stamping, undated
6. Interior, Book Covers, undated
7. Interior: Cafeteria, Laundry Library, and Tiny Books, undated
8. Interior: Cyclo-Teacher, Eastoflow, and Electrotyping/Electroplating/Linotyping, undated
9. Interior: Edging and Folding, undated
10. Interior: Gathering and Sewing, undated
Box 4
1. Interior: General, Miscellaneous, and Unknown, undated
2. Interior: Maintenance, undated
3. Interior: Offices/Personnel, undated
4. Interior: Packing and Shipping, undated
5. Interior: People/Production (1 of 2), undated
Box 5
1. Interior: People/Production (2 of 2), undated
2. Interior: Plates, undated
3. Interior: Printing Presses, undated
4. Interior: Proofing, undated
5. Interior: Storage, undated
6. Outside and Other Buildings, undated
Box 6
1. People: General (1 of 4), undated
2. People: General (2 of 4), undated
3. People: General (3 of 4), undated
Box 7
1. People: General (4 of 4), undated
2. People: Names Attached, undated
3. People: Various Sizes, undated
4. Photo Scrapbook #3, undated
5. Scrapbook Pages, undated
6. Sports and Recreation, undated

Series IIc: Slides, undated, box 7-11.
Box 7
7. Sleeved Slides, undated
Box 8
• Slides
Box 9
• Slides
Box 10
• Slides
Box 11
• Slides
Box 12
• Slides
Box 13
• Slides
8 Framed Photographs

Series III: Books and Other Printed Materials, 1931-1995, box 14 and 2 shelves.
Box 14
• Visitor Logbook, 1924-1940
• Photo Album, c. 1920s
Shelf 16-1-2
1. Press Piper, October 1934-December 1936
2. Press Piper, January 1937-December 1938
3. Press Piper, January 1939-December 1940
4. Press Piper, January 1941-December 1942
5. Press Piper, January 1943-December 1945
6. Press Piper, January 1946-December 1937
7. Press Piper, January 1948-December 1949
8. Press Piper, January 1950-December 1951
9. Press Piper, January 1952-December 1953
10. Press Piper, January 1954-Decemner 1955
11. Press Piper, January 1956-December 1957
12. Press Piper, January 1958-December 1958
13. News Piper, January 1967-December 1968
14. News Piper, January 1969-December 1970
15. News Piper, 1971, 1975-1967
16. News Piper, January-September 1978, 1979
17. News Piper, 1980
18. News Piper, 1981
19. News Piper, 1982-1983
20. News Piper, 1984-1985
21. News Piper, 10 January 1986-15 May 1986
22. Impressions, February 1975-November 1976; KPExchange and the Leader, February 1984-April 1986
23. Our Business Directions, 6 June 1986-December 1989; Arcata Graphics News, May 1987-1992
24. News and Views, August 1979-August 1983; ARCATA News & Views, Fall 1984-February 1993
Shelf 16-1-3
1. Arcata Graphics Kingsport: Type Library, Volume 1, undated
2. Arcata Graphics Kingsport: Type Library, Volume 2, undated
3. The Lithographers Manual, sixth edition, 1980
4. The Kingsport Book of Type Faces: Display, undated
5. The Kingsport Book of Type Faces: Linotype, undated
6. The Kingsport Book of Type Faces: Monotype, undated
7. The Kingsport Book of Type Faces (Revised): Linotype, undated
8. A Manual of Style, 1972
9. The Kingsport Supplement of Type Faces: Linotype Monotype Display, undated
10. Glossary of Technical Terms: Typographic—Printing, Paper Making—Binding, Applied Arts, 1931
11. Style Manual for Floormen, undated
12. From the Notebooks of H.J.H. and D.H.A. on Composition, undated
13. From the Notebooks of H.J.H. and D.H.A. on Composition, undated
14. From the Notebooks of H.J.H. and D.H.A. on Composition, undated
15. From the Notebooks of H.J.H. and D.H.A. on Composition, undated
16. The Kingsport Book of Type Faces: Display Fonts, undated
17. The Kingsport Book of Type Faces: Display Fonts, undated
18. The Kingsport Book of Type Faces: Display Fonts, undated
19. The Kingsport Book of Type Faces: Linotype and Monotype, undated
20. The Kingsport Book of Type Faces: Linotype and Monotype, undated
21. The Kingsport Book of Type Faces: Video-Comp, undated
22. Web Printing, 1980
23. Kingsport Press: Glossary of Book Manufacturing Terms, 1977
24. The Printing Service: Specialists’ Home Study Course, 1995

Series IV: Objects, undated, box 15
Box 15
• Stamps and other printing press pieces

Series V: Oversized, 1939, undated, box 16
Box 16
• Book Manufacturing Illustrated, 1939 (oversized book)
• Sleeve of various oversized photographs and transparency sheets, undated