President Harding's Legacy
The seventh in a series of articles commemorating GPO's 125th Anniversary, by Daniel R. MacGilvray
Strange are the ways of politics, Presidents, and printing. Since 1861, newly elected Presidents have chosen new Public Printers, or sometimes reappointed incumbents. The election of 1920 brought to America's highest office a printer by trade, a politician by choice, and a very trusting human being by nature. Warren G. Harding's taste for printer's ink began during the summer of 1876 in the small town of Caledonia in Marion County, OH. He was a lanky 12-year-old used to farm chores. With a young friend he ventured into the office of the Caledonia Argus. There, both boys became "printer's devils," sweeping the floor, running errands, feeding the presses, washing rollers, and distributing type into California job cases. Later that summer, when Hi Henry's Circus came to town, the editor got two free tickets. His "devils" threatened to strike unless taken care of. The good-natured owner, Will Warner, turned over the tickets and the boys were off to the circus. Towards the end of summer, perched atop a printshop stool, each boy began to set type in the time-honored fashion. One day, a lawyer brought in a brief that had to be set, printed, and ready the following day. The 12-year-old Harding worked into the night with Warner and completed the job. Before Warren went home, the old editor put into his hand a gift, a thin piece of steel, 21/2 inches long, a 13-em make up rule, the traditional symbol of a full-fledged printer. The boy was to cherish this memento for the rest of his life: while working at his own newspaper, The Star, as Ohio State Senator and Lieutenant Governor, as U.S. Senator, and as President of the United States.
Perhaps it was President Harding's wish for sound advice that prompted him to turn to the Joint Committee on Printing. In any case, its Chairman, Utah's Senator Reed Smoot, suggested the name of George H. Carter, Clerk of the Joint Committee on Printing. This good advice was taken by the trusting President who appointed Public Printer Carter on March 31, 1921. Shortly after he was sworn in on April 5, 1921, a large photograph of the President as a working printer was presented to the Public Printer. Handwritten beneath it was this inscription: "To George H. Carter, with the greetings and good wishes of one printer and public servant to another. Sincerely, Warren G. Harding." This photo held a special place of honor in the Public Printer's office from 1921 to 1934.
President Harding's appointee was a 47-year-old attorney, a Wisconsin native, who, like the President, had learned to set type and operate a job press while a young man in Iowa. He had been a member of the Newswriters' Branch of the International Typographical Union, but had eventually turned to law as a career. For the past 12 years, he had worked diligently for the Joint Committee on Printing. The Committee members thought very highly of attorney Carter. On receiving his letter of resignation, April 4, 1921, they entered a revealing minute in their records: "In accepting the resignation of Mr. George H. Carter after a service of twelve years as Clerk to the Joint Committee on Printing, the Committee desires to record in its minutes its deep regret in losing the services and cooperation of so capable and courteous an official. The Committee also records its appreciation of the fact that Mr. Carter's qualities have received substantial recognition through his appointment as Public Printer, a position in which his fine personal characteristics, his executive ability, his eminent good judgment and his unflagging industry are sure to bring him the success which all the members of the Committee wish for him in abundant measure."
The newly appointed Public Printer spoke of his mandate, in his first annual report for 1921: ". . . the President simply but impressively instructed me to operate the 'big shop' on a strictly business basis, to stop waste and extravagances in the printing and binding as far as was within the power of the Public Printer, and to place the personnel of the office above all suspicion as to honesty and integrity." Carter was a man whose 12 years with the Joint Committee on Printing had provided him with unique insight into the workings of the Government Printing Office. He was now steward to the needs for Congressional printing and the lives of some 4,000 employees.
Finding unexpended funds of $2.4 million available, the Public Printer decided to have the attic level of Building 1 repaired. He noted, "The roof was badly cracked in numerous places, thus occasioning many leaks, which constantly endangered the million dollars worth of typesetting machinery on the seventh floor." The GPO Superintendent of Buildings, Major Walter R. Metz, prepared plans which were submitted to the Joint Committee on Printing. They heartily approved. The outcome was the creation of "quarters for a much-needed photoengraving plant, a better location for metal and storage rooms, an adequate cafeteria, and suitable rest and recreation rooms for the employees."
The employees responded by taking responsibility for the operation of the cafeteria and the carrying on of recreational activities. The annual report for 1922 records: "All the expenses of the cafeteria, including foodstuffs and wages, and of the recreation rooms, are paid by the association, the Government Printing Office providing only the space, fixed equipment, heat, light, and power … Included in the equipment purchased by the employees with their own funds are two fine pianos, one a $1,600 concert grand, numerous cafeteria accessories and replacements, and paraphernalia for four complete bowling alleys. The association which manages these affairs is called the 'GPO Cafeteria and Recreation Association.' It was organized by voluntary contributions of $1 or $2 each by employees to a common fund for the purpose of securing a working capital to operate the cafeteria. In this way $4,497.75 was raised with much readiness and enthusiasm … Every employee is entitled to the privileges of the cafeteria and the rest and recreation rooms whether or not he is a member of the association."
One of the outstanding printing challenges which came to the Government Printing Office during the Harding years was the printing in record time of the Report and Minutes of the Conference on the Limitation of Armament. After the bitter experience of World War I, President Harding and other statesmen wanted to cut back on huge appropriations for military hardware. The President gave his full endorsement to a naval arms reduction conference held in Washington, DC, November 12, 1921, to February 6, 1922. The outcome was a genuine reduction, with nine treaties being drafted and signed, and Senate ratification for all of them. The report which helped make this possible was printed by the employees of the Government Printing Office. Public Printer Carter recalled: "This document made 910 printed pages, every line of which was set by the Government Printing Office in 20 hours. The first form of the fifty- seven 16-page signatures reached the pressroom at 10:30 a.m., and 1,500 complete copies were sent to the bindery by 5:30 p.m. of the same day. Paperbound copies were delivered to the President and Congress at 9:00 a.m. the following morning or 40 hours after the manuscript copy was received by the office. The printing was done on 23 automatically fed presses, which turned out 185,820 impressions, requiring 6,650 pounds of paper for the 3,260 copies issued." High praise came in a letter to the Public Printer from Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes: "I question whether any other printing establishment in any country could have performed the work done by the Government Printing Office, especially in consideration of the high standard of printing that was sustained throughout … I trust you will accept my most cordial thanks for your assistance, and I wish you would also say to all the employees of your office how much their efficiency and unselfish devotion to duty added to the success of our labors during the conference."
Steps were taken by Public Printer Carter to restore the apprenticeship program which had been discontinued for more than 35 years. The Civil Service Commission was sent a plan for examining and appointing apprentices. The Printing Act of 1895 had limited their number to 25; and the Public Printer suggested that this number should be revised upwards. Efforts were also made, as in previous postwar periods, to help veterans. The Public Printer observed that he was "heartily cooperating with the Federal Board for Vocational Education and the Veterans' Bureau in affording an opportunity for war veterans to receive vocational training in this office." He went on to speak of the veterans then employed by the Government Printing Office: "20 veterans of the Civil War, 124 of the Spanish War, and 289 of the World War--a total of 433." This was in a workforce of 4,096 as of June 30, 1921. The Public Printer also commented on the effects of the new Civil Service Employees' Retirement Act of 1920. As of July 1, 1921, "the total number of retirements was 179, of whom 123 retired at the age of 65, and 56 at 70 years … It is apparent already that even the maximum retirement pension of $720 a year, which only 70 out of 179 received, is in many cases grossly inadequate compensation for employees who have devoted most of their lives to faithful service of the Government."
The new Public Printer expressed pride in GPO's medical facility, "the first emergency hospital equipped by any Government establishment in Washington for the humane care of employees who may be injured or suddenly become sick in the service." He added, "On account of the overcrowded condition of the present small emergency room, an additional hospital room is being constructed especially for the treatment of women employees. This room will be equipped with every convenience of a hospital ward, including shower bath, and provided with three additional beds for patients."
Like some of his concerned predecessors, Public Printer Carter was sensitive to the need for adequate wages. He singled out the Public Documents Division: "It is extremely unfortunate that the pay authorized by Congress for these indexers and cataloguers has been insufficient to obtain enough help for a number of years to keep this highly important work up to date. I have therefore made a special recommendation, through the Bureau of the Budget, that the number and salaries of cataloguers be increased so as to secure adequate and competent help to expedite the work of preparing catalogues for the use of the Government itself and the libraries of the country. This work is practically six years behind the requirements of the law, due to the inability of this office to obtain enough cataloguers at the prevailing low salaries." He also noted the good work being carried on by the Building Division, which then consisted of "an engineering section with 65 employees, machine section with 36 employees, electrical section with 75 employees, buildings section with 25 employees, carpenter and paint section with 25 employees, sanitary section with 70 employees, and watch section with 60 employees." He cited some of their productivity: "the general machine shop of the plant handled 12,500 jobs during the year, covering work of every description in the machine trade from ordinary adjusting to practically rebuilding printing-press machinery. The carpenter shop completed 12,986 jobs, including the use of 57,769 feet of new lumber … The electrical section handled a total of 19,242 jobs, including all kinds of electrical repair work, from changing of lights and repairing motors to large installations. The engineering section completed 18,243 jobs, including steam-fitting, plumbing, air lines, pneumatic tubes, and general engineering work." He was pleased to share with the Joint Committee on Printing the pride he felt for workers in the Government Printing Office, as well as his concern for their betterment.
Congress responded positively to Public Printer Carter's request for resuming the apprentice program in 1922 and expanding it in 1923. On its reintroduction, 162 young men throughout the United States took qualifying Civil Service examinations. A total of 118 passed and 25 were selected. Courses "were carefully prepared for the instruction of apprentices to qualify them as printers, pressmen, bookbinders, electrotypers, stereotypers, and machinists, each course covering a period of four years of intensive study and work." Congress accepted the Public Printer's request to be allowed to increase the number of apprentices. In an act of February 23, 1923, it authorized the training of 200 young persons for the skilled trades. Of the first class, 20 completed the 4 years and heard the Public Printer say with pride: "for the first time in nearly 40 years, the Government Printing Office was able to fill journeymen positions with qualified apprentices of its own training." The Class of 1933 captured the feelings of many apprentices when in its yearbook was expressed an "Appreciation" to the Public Printer, the Deputy Public Printer, and all concerned with their training: "To Mr. Carter, for his efforts in making possible our training through the establishment of the apprentice school, for his intense devotion to the cause of youth, and for his persistence in championing good citizenship among those studying the various crafts; to Mr. Greene, for his excellent supervision of the activities of this school; to our instructors, for their painstaking efforts to make of us capable craftsmen; and to the members of the alumni and other journeymen of the office whose encouragement and assistance have been of great value." The Public Printer followed his tradition that year of personally presenting graduation certificates in Harding Hall while the Government Printing Office Orchestra played in the background. Over the intervening years hundreds of young people have passed through these programs and become key employees who carry on the work of the Government Printing Office. From their ranks have come four Assistant Public Printers and three Deputy Public Printers.
Public Printer Carter was active in the international community of printers. One consequence of this was visitors from abroad. These included Herr Franz Helmberger, Director of the German Government Printing Office; Kikuichiro Sakai, Chief Engineer of the Japanese Imperial Government Printing Bureau; and the Hon. Ezequiel Salcedo, Director of the Government Printing Office of Mexico. The Public Printer reported on his firsthand investigations overseas, in 1923: "Besides inspecting many printing and machinery works in England, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland, study was made of the famous Imprimerie Nationale in Paris (the French Government printing office), and the well-equipped printing works of the Czechoslovakian Government in Prague and of the Austrian Government in Vienna."
Such international visits had benefits for each party. The Public Printer spoke of such a dividend: "One of the results of the investigation was the procurement by the Public Printer of the English method of nickeling stereotype plates. The Government Printing Office is now making nickeled stereos at less expense than it cost to produce the too-extensively used electrotype plates." Herr Helmberger was asked to address Government Printing Office apprentices in 1929, and revealed part of the Public Printer's impact: "I feel at home at this time, talking to you, young men, apprentices, neophytes in that greatest of all arts--printing. It is hard for me to realize that you are not really my own class of apprentices in the Reichsdruckerei in Berlin. In this connection, I wish to pay a just debt to your own Mr. Carter. It was he who was the real cause of my taking up the work of training apprentices in our office some five years since. During the early days of our acquaintanceship in Berlin it was his enthusiasm on the subject of training young men as general all-round printers that inspired me to again take up the work, after the lapse of some 20 years, during which time we had no apprentices … I am confident, if you do your part here, you will be able to go on, either in the service of your Government or in commercial life, without ever bringing discredit to the craft or to our patron saint, Gutenberg. And so now I leave you with that ancient of benedictions, 'Gott grusz die Kunst' (God bless the Craft)."
The hazardous state of the old buildings was also very much on Public Printer Carter's mind. He touched upon it in every annual report. Perhaps he summed up his concern best in 1922: "I can not allow this opportunity to pass without again warning Congress of this peril to the lives of more than 4,000 employees in a fire that would quickly destroy the world's greatest printing plant. Modern firefighting apparatus has been installed in various parts of the building, numerous fire alarms and escapes provided, and suitable fire drills arranged, but even with these precautions it is doubtful if all the employees could escape from the flames that would sweep through the old building like a tinder box." Some progress became possible with the passage of the Public Buildings Act in 1926, which authorized $50 million for the erection of Government buildings. The Chairman of the Building Commission happened to be the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Printing, Senator Reed Smoot of Utah. He approved the Public Printer's request of $1,250 million for a fireproof addition to the new main building. Situated on the west side of Building 1 and fronting on G Street for 112 feet, Building 2 conformed in style and height to the main building. A garage was also included. Excavation began on November 22, 1928, and by January 1, 1932, the new quarters were being occupied.
To every Public Printer is given an opportunity to leave his impress on the style used in Government publications. This stems from an act of Congress passed on June 25, 1864, which provided: "The forms and style in which the printing or binding ordered by any of the departments shall be executed, the materials and size of type to be used shall be determined by the Superintendent of Public Printing, having proper regard to economy, workmanship, and the purpose for which the work is needed." To this end, since 1894 and through 1984, editions of Style Manuals with information and rules on uniformity of Government printing have been produced. Public Printer Carter noted in 1922 that 9 years had elapsed since the last revision of the Government Printing Office Style Manual. He observed that during those years, "the style of Government printing had seriously deteriorated in the meantime through lack of uniformity and careless disregard of the rules for good printing." The Public Printer set out to remedy this; and he created "a board of revision, consisting of seven of the best qualified craftsmen of the Government Printing Office." A complete revision was made and presented in manuscript to the Public Printer. He reviewed it and in turn submitted it to the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Printing. With the Committee's seal of approval, printing followed, and "The revised manual was adopted as the style to be followed by all departments and establishments of the Government on and after February 15, 1922."
Public Printer Carter kept a watchful eye on the Style Manual, which underwent minor revisions in 1923, 1924, 1926, 1928, and 1929. He decided a new approach was needed to secure the cooperation of agencies in using what was really a "U.S. Government Publications Style Manual." To this end, "the Public Printer invited the heads of several Government departments and establishments to appoint representatives on an advisory board to cooperate with the permanent Style Board of the Government Printing Office in a complete revision of the Manual. In acceptance of this invitation, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of the Interior, and the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution kindly designated especially competent representatives to cooperate with the board of the Government Printing Office." The two boards "worked diligently for many months in assembling data, studying authorities, formulating rules, and making decisions for this comprehensive Manual which, it is hoped, will materially improve the style of Government printing, as well as effect necessary economies in copy editing and authors' alterations."
The success of the comprehensive revision issued March 1, 1933, exceeded all expectations. The Style Manual drew world attention. In London, The Caxton Magazine wrote: "If the United States Government Printing Office can produce such a thorough and exhaustive guide as the one under review, surely some of the printing trade organizations in this country could equally well compile one that would meet with general acceptance." From Berlin, the Secretary for the International Bureau of the Federations of Master Printers wrote: "This useful book will be very helpful for my bureau, as it not only contains a wealth of information about the English language but also comparative tables of weights, measures, and typographical measurements used in different countries of the world." So popular and well accepted was the newly revised Style Manual that on August 10, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an Executive Order requiring that for all draft Executive Orders and proclamations, the punctuation, use of capital letters, orthography, and other questions of style, "shall conform to the most recent edition of the 'Style Manual of the Government Printing Office.' "
To further enhance the usefulness of the Style Manual, Public Printer Carter commissioned a foreign language supplement of 166 pages of "transliterations, syllabications, and other information useful in the printing of more than 50 foreign languages." This was published during 1934 and proved equally popular. Under Public Printer Carter, the Style Manual became the touchstone for Government agencies concerned with better publications, as well as winning national and international recognition. This was fortunate, as the decade of the 1930's was one in which a great number of Americans began to seek out Government publications as useful and readable sources of much needed information.
A landmark change in the depository library program occurred during the Carter years. When the program came to the Government Printing Office in 1895, from the Department of the Interior, until 1922, all publications deemed appropriate by the Superintendent of Documents were sent to all depository libraries. In the case of small public libraries, this was a considerable burden. The new Public Printer proposed in 1921 that Congress allow the depository libraries to select publications. Congress agreed; and on March 20, 1922, Public Act 171 provided "that no part of the appropriation for the Office of the Superintendent of Documents shall be used to supply to depository libraries any documents, books, or other printed matter not requested by such libraries." To implement this, Superintendent of Documents Alton P. Tisdel sent to depositories a "Classified list of United States public documents for selection by depository libraries, July 1, 1922." For the very first time, libraries were able to tailor their selections to the needs of their communities--a practice which continues to this day.
Another step into the future involved improving job mobility for women. Public Printer Carter reported in 1922: "Special consideration has been given to the status of women employees, inasmuch as there are about 900 in the service of the Government Printing Office, comprising more than 22 percent of the entire force. Little or no recognition had been accorded the ability and industry of women workers in this office during all the past years. I therefore determined that, as far as it lies within my power, women employees should be granted the same opportunity and equal reward for service as the men who had heretofore monopolized all the supervisory and better paid positions in the plant. Accordingly, for the first time in the history of the office several thoroughly competent women workers were advanced to suitable supervisory positions, which they continue to fill with credit to themselves and to the Government."
The Public Printer's concern for quality control was manifested in the creation of a testing section on February 1, 1922. He said of it: "This section has been equipped with the best and latest devices for the testing of paper and other materials used in the production of printing and binding. The section is in charge of one of the most efficient industrial engineers in the country, who has been given full authority to inspect and test all the products and stores of the Government Printing Office, and to engage in such other research work as may be deemed necessary from time to time to promote the best interests of the public service. With the organization of the testing section, new regulations were put into effect for the receipt, testing, and inspection of all materials, machinery, cuts, illustrations, paper, etc. These regulations provided a complete and thorough system for the inspection and testing of everything produced or used in the operation of this great establishment." This was an area of the Government Printing Office whose research results and special publications were sought after by printers at home and abroad.
Public Printer Carter worked mightily to improve wages at the Government Printing Office. He argued the necessity for good pay in 1923, noting: "With the present wage scale as fixed by law it has been impossible to retain some of the best workers or to attract enough other properly skilled men to fill their places. During the year 269 printers, including 108 linotype operators, 64 compositors, 32 monotype keyboard operators, and 44 proof readers left the service of the Government Printing Office, some of them going reluctantly to accept higher wages offered elsewhere." He mentioned doing what he could where he could. "As far as it is within the power of the Public Printer, an effort has been made to readjust wages in the Government Printing Office to meet present conditions. In fact, during the last two years the compensation of 1,399 employees has been increased by $269,417 per annum. The rate of pay for approximately 35 percent of the employees--that is, pressmen, bookbinders, and printers--is definitely fixed by law and cannot be changed except by act of Congress."
Carter boldly recommended a collective bargaining wage bill, a decade before the historic Wagner-Connery Act of 1935. Amazingly, he was able to report in 1923: "Near the close of the last session of Congress a law (Public, No. 276, approved June 7, 1924) was enacted authorizing the Public Printer to regulate and fix rates of pay for employees and officers of the Government Printing Office under certain conditions as to negotiation with the trades affected and right of appeal to the Joint Committee on Printing for final decision. The new wage law, known as the Kiess Act, accords with recommendations made by the Public Printer in his annual report for 1923 … Much credit is due to the Senate and House Printing Committees for the success of their endeavor to end the ancient practice of Congress to fix the pay of printers, pressmen, and bookbinders at long and irregular intervals, and to establish instead the modern plan of collective wage bargaining for the various trades employed in the Government Printing Office. The Kiess Act is the first formal recognition by Congress of the right of collective wage bargaining and arbitration with Government employees. The law establishes also the principle of a minimum wage for certain trades. The Act may therefore be deemed a landmark in labor legislation."
Wage negotiations followed between committees representing labor and management. But with good will on both sides and with the active participation of the Public Printer, agreements were reached. These were submitted to the Joint Committee on Printing which gave its prompt and unanimous approval. The pay of 3,800 employees was adjusted upwards. Afterwards, at a mass meeting of 3,000 employees in Harding Hall on December 31, 1924, the Public Printer was presented with the following resolutions of thanks:
Resolved,That we the employees of the Government Printing Office, hereby extend to the Public Printer, Hon. George H. Carter, our felicitations and best wishes for the new year;
Resolved further,That in meeting assembled we hereby desire to express our appreciation and thanks for the increase in compensation accomplished by termination of the wage adjustments, which result was made possible by the spirit of fairness in which the Public Printer met the committees of the various groups concerned;
Resolved further,That we are not unmindful of the interest shown by the Public Printer in the welfare of the employees of the office, as is evidenced by the establishment of a cafeteria and recreation hall, and the general betterment of working conditions, the office being now conducted under unexcelled sanitary and healthful regulations;
Resolved further,That these resolutions be suitably engrossed and presented to the Public Printer, and copies thereof be transmitted to the Joint Committee on Printing and the press."
Major changes took place in the lives of Government Printing Office employees as a result of the "Great Depression" and the war clouds which loomed in Europe and Asia. To combat the depression, a series of Economic Acts were passed by Congress during 1932 and 1933. "Under the Economy Act of June 30, 1932, the Public Printer exercised the option of adopting a 5-day (40 hours) work week for the Government Printing Office, with a reduction of one-eleventh in the pay of employees which had been at the rate of 48 hours for a 44-hour work week under the Saturday half holiday law … Another fiscal complication has resulted in restoration by the 1933 Economy Act of leave with pay which had been reduced from 30 to 15 days by the Economy Act of 1932 and suspended for the fiscal year 1933." Thus, economic crisis and Congressional legislation brought the Government Printing Office a 5-day week and reduced leave to 15 days. Another 1933 measure impacted on married couples. "As required by law in effecting reductions of personnel, married employees in the class to be reduced were first considered if the husband or wife was also in the service of the United States or the District of Columbia. In such cases, married couples were permitted to decide which one would resign from the Government service. During June, July and August, 111 married employees of the Government Printing Office were thus separated from service, and 122 other married employees were permitted to retain their positions in the Government Printing Office through the separation of the wife or husband from some other branch of the Government Service."
With the economic troubles came another profound political change. During the national elections of 1932, worried and angry Americans elected with 22,809,638 votes a confident sounding New York Governor, Franklin D. Roosevelt, to be President of the United States. When in the White House, he began searching for the best minds of his generation. Eventually, in 1934, he found one to be his new Public Printer and to face with him the "Years of Challenge" which lay ahead.
The Years of Challenge
The eighth in a series of articles commemorating GPO's 125th Anniversary, by Daniel R. MacGilvray
During the First World War, an American soldier stationed in St. Aignan, France, was reading the Stars and Stripes. He noticed a small announcement saying that experienced printers were needed by the weekly newspaper. The 28-year-old sergeant applied for a job; and in April of 1918 he found himself serving in Paris as supervisor of mechanical production for the Stars and Stripes.
At that time, the newspaper had a circulation of 550,000 copies. It was published with the help of 200 soldier-printers at the Paris printing plant of the London Daily Mail. The Sergeant was soon also looking after distribution, mailing, and record keeping. A coworker said of him, "He handled any amount of detail and never got rattled. He can't throw 'em too fast, but he can field 'em all."
On the newspaper's first anniversary, a humorous poem was published mentioning the sergeant by name. One verse ran as follows:
- "Mail, wrapping, typing, couriers-- his duties are a score,
- Whenever we can think of it
- we'll give him twenty more;
- I often wonder how one man
- can handle such a batch--
- When does this great executive
- get time to stop and scratch?
- Nothing neglected, nothing
- In the department
Fifteen years later, during the depths of the "Great Depression," on June 27, 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed as Public Printer of the United States the former sergeant who had helped produce the Stars and Stripes, Augustus E. Giegengack.
President Roosevelt's appointee was born in Manhattan on April 19, 1890. His father was a German liquor dealer who owned a small cafe. His mother was Irish and the daughter of a London printer. She had worked for printers before coming to the United States. "Gus," as he liked to be called, was one of nine children. At the age of 15 he was working as a bookkeeper for the American News Company. His mother advised him that a better living was to be made in printing. The very next year he became an apprentice in the composing room of the New York Commercial, a financial daily. By age 18 he was an apprentice linotype operator and joined the International Typographical Union, Local No. 6, then the largest of the printing unions. During his journeyman years, Gus worked for the New York World, the Hudson County Observer, and various other print shops. At age 25 he was serving as foreman for a printing plant in Brooklyn which produced mail-order catalogs. He was making $50 a week and supervising 300 employees.
Following his service during the First World War, Gus returned to civilian life. He began by working as foreman of the composing room of the DeVinne Press which published the Century and St. Nicholas magazines. He became a half-owner of the Burkhardt Linotype Company, and partner in a firm which printed technical publications for McGraw-Hill. He married a Brooklyn schoolteacher, Margaret Morrison, and got elected President of the Typographical Association of New York, and of the International Association of Printing House Craftsmen.
Upon the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Gus began to take steps to get himself considered for the position of Public Printer. He became active in New York's Rockville Center Democratic Club and got the organization to write in January 1933 to the President-elect advocating his selection, saying he was "a faithful worker of this club." He got the club to invite a friend of the President, the new United States Postmaster General, James A. Farley, to a testimonial dinner, with Gus as chairman. The Postmaster General got the distinct impression that Gus was a seasoned politician and an influential Democrat.
Next, Gus founded a small organization and had a letterhead printed which read: "A.E. Giegengack for Public Printer, Graphic Arts Committee. Organized to secure the appointment of A.E. Giegengack as Public Printer of the United States." With these, he solicited backing from printing groups and well-known people. Eventually, he succeeded in getting letters from over 200 respondents, including the Typographers Association of New York, the International Association of Printing House Craftsmen, and the International Typographical Union, Local No. 66. These endorsements were brought together in a large red and gold bound volume which bore the title, "A.E. Giegengack for Public Printer. Endorsements." This was presented to the Postmaster General who passed it along to President Roosevelt. It had the desired effect. On July 2, 1934, Augustus E. Giegengack was sworn into Office, and on January 18, 1935, the Senate confirmed him as Public Printer of the United States.
To the newly appointed Public Printer fell the task of introducing and seeing through the press the 1934 annual report of his predecessor, George H. Carter. In the introduction he noted that 30 percent of the area occupied by employees, equipment, and property was housed in old buildings. He stated, "Too strong emphasis cannot be placed on the serious danger to the lives of employees from fire hazard, possible structural collapse of heavily loaded old wooden frame buildings, and from the use of antiquated elevators in these old buildings… These conditions have reached a state of emergency where the Government should not further delay the demolition of dangerous buildings. They should be replaced with a modern building to safeguard the lives of employees and to provide the space needed to meet present urgent needs for future normal growth." The introduction was signed. "A.E. Giegengack, Public Printer.
The following year, in a similar introduction under the heading, "New Building Project," the Public Printer was able to record: "With the hearty support of the chairman and members of the Joint Committee on Printing and the Director of the Procurement Division of the Treasury Department, an initial appropriation of $2,000,000, with a total limit cost not to exceed $5,885,000… for necessary land and construction of annex buildings for the Government Printing Office, including rights of way, furniture, moving expenses, rental of temporary quarters during construction, railroad sidings, alternatives to existing buildings, all necessary tunnels connecting proposed and existing buildings, demolition of existing structures, and all necessary mechanical equipment."
Progress was swift. In his 1936 report, the Public Printer said that floor plans for a three-story GPO warehouse (Building 4) had been approved by him on October 29, 1935, and a contract awarded on October 2, 1936. Demolition of old buildings on the site began October 12th and excavation started on November 9th.
In his report for 1938, the Public Printer was able to say: "The warehouse was completed and turned over to the Public Printer on February 4, 1938. It is a three-story and basement building of reinforced concrete, 467 feet long by 87 feet 6 inches wide. The load capacity of all floors is 500 pounds per square foot. There is a total new floor area of 129,139 square feet, of which approximately 100,000 square feet are being used for storage purposes." The cost of the site was $184,367, and of the building, $1,264,000. "Approximately 700 carloads of paper of 40,000 pounds each, making a total of 28,000,000 pounds, can be stored in the warehouse at one time … In addition to the two railroad tracks on the third floor of the building there is also on this floor air-conditioning equipment for controlling humidity and temperature in the Postal Card and Money Order Section of the Presswork Division, which is located on the second floor. Ordinarily locomotives do not enter the building. However, provision for exhausting the smoke made by the locomotives that do enter is provided through a series of propeller fans in the roof."
&He pointed out with pride, "The warehouse is equipped with four freight elevators, each 7,500 pounds capacity, serving all floors from the basement to the third floor, with two larger elevators, each of 15,000 pounds capacity, which serve all floors and the underground tunnel which passes under North Capitol Street and will connect the warehouse with the new building now being built on the corner of North Capitol and H Streets, NW. The floor of the tunnel is approximately 30 feet below street level, it being necessary to pass under a large storm sewer in North Capitol Street. The tunnel has two lanes, thus allowing electric trucks, tractors, and trailers to operate as frequently as necessary in both directions at once without interference."
Not quite so swift was the progress on the new eight-story structure to replace the original old building where GPO had first opened its doors on March 4, 1861. The bids for construction exceeded the money available. However, the Public Printer proved persuasive with the new 75th Congress; and they increased the total limit from $5,885,000 to $7,700,000. The contract was finally awarded on May 27, 1938. The cost of the site was $214,368, and of the building, $5,026,000. The old building began to come down on June 27th; and excavation commenced shortly thereafter. By February 1940, Building 3 was completed; and moving in had started to a net floor area of 481,975 square feet.
Assignments to the new building were as follows:
Basement-2/3 Storage, Power Plant, Storage Vault under North Capitol & H Street sidewalks, Stores Division.
First Floor-2/3 Storage, Power House, Entrance Lobbies, Guard Office, Display Room.
Second Floor-1/3 Paper Storage, Superintendent of Stores, Traffic Manager, Offset & Tabulating Card Sections.
Third Floor-Job Composing & Press Sections, Job Composing Proof Room, Plate Vault Office.
Fourth Floor-Main Press Room, Superintendent's Office.
Fifth Floor- Hospital, Woodblocking Room, Superintendent of Platemaking, Finishing Section, Record Press Room, Patent Press Room, Patent Composing Room & Patent Proof Room.
Sixth-Electrotype Molding & Plating, Stereotyping, Plating Lockup Section, Hand Section, Linotype Section, Metal Melting & Storage.
Seventh Floor-Photoengraving, Main Proof Room, Monotype Keyboard Section, Casting & Correcting, Superintendent of Composition.
Eighth Floor-Executive Offices, Telephone Switchboard, Apprentice Section.
Thus it was that on the eve of the Second World War, a major concern of Public Printers and employees for some 80 years had at last been met. For the very first time, everyone in the Government Printing Office worked in solid buildings that were not firetraps. This achievement of Public Printer Giegengack and all who assisted him came at the precise moment in history when the Government Printing Office and the Nation were to face their greatest challenge.
Among the many significant acts of Public Printer Giegengack during the 1930's, perhaps none was to have so wide and lasting an influence as his effort to create a Typography and Design Division. This began in 1935 with the selection of Frank H. Mortimer as GPO's first Director of Typography. It was followed by a reorganization of the Layout Section of the Planning Division, "for the purpose of modernizing and improving the appearance of Government publications with the intent to create a greater demand therefor by the public."
The twofold thrust of this move was to assist agencies in making their publications more attractive and to reduce costs to them. The first objective was quickly achieved, especially with National Park Service publications. A typical letter of 1938 noting the change read as follows: "May I offer my congratulations on the excellence of the booklet you have just prepared on Death Valley National Monument. This booklet, unlike many Government works, is elegantly developed, has excellent typography, and the photographs are of the finest, particularly the cover."
The second objective involved obtaining a reduction in cost through changes in makeup and typographic detail. Four measures were followed: (1) "reducing the number of operations required for composition and makeup;" (2) "simplifying presswork and bindery operations;" (3) "adaptation of style and format to Government Printing Office production facilities;" (4) "employing a style for halftones that eliminates extra hand work in the engraving section." The bottom line was stressed by the Public Printer in 1939. He was able to point out two costs. The first was the total charges per page per thousand copies: 1937--$2.11; 1938--$1.51; 1939--$0.93. The second was the total charges per thousand copies: 1937--$80.34; 1938--$52.97; 1939--$27.01. For over half a century the work of employees in Typography and Design has brought letters of praise to the Government Printing Office and won awards for the excellent design of Government publications.
When the Public Printer came to the Government Printing Office, he was surprised to find only one veterans organization. This was the United Veterans of American Wars which consisted of Unit No. 1 (white) and Unit No. 2 (black--the "Col. Charles Young Unit"). During 1934, the Public Printer was instrumental in organizing the Government Printing Office American Legion Post No. 33 (male), and in 1935, the American Legion Auxiliary (female--wives, mothers, sisters of veterans). Also, about this time, he encouraged formation of Government Printing Office Post No. 3874, Veterans of Foreign Wars. All the veterans groups were active in civic and patriotic functions. By 1937, the new Legion Post numbered 434, making it one of the largest posts in the District of Columbia. It was able to field a fully uniformed Government Printing Office Band. On September 21, 1937, led by their charter member, Public Printer Giegengack, the Post and the Band marched in a great American Legion parade down New York's Fifth Avenue. The Post also sponsored a free family picnic at Chapel Point, MD on July 24, 1939, and invited all Government Printing Office employees.
The 1930's saw woven into the fabric of the Government Printing Office many of the patterns that later employees would take for granted. Group Life Insurance began on May 1, 1931. This was designed to pay death and disability claims. By 1939 there were 5,010 units of insurance in force amounting to $5,187,057. This was followed on May 1, 1935, with the introduction of Group Hospitalization. By 1939 some 1,629 people were members; and they paid 65 cents a month which provided 21 days hospital care and a 10 percent discount beyond the 21 days. A member could select any participating District Hospital. The 1930's were also the period which saw a charter granted on August 20, 1935, for a Government Printing Office Federal Credit Union. By 1939 it had 2,972 members holding shares worth $192,483.28, and outstanding loans of $159,652.37. Interest charged was 1 percent a month on unpaid balances.
Another major push for greater safety at the Government Printing Office took place in 1939. At the Public Printer's direction, an Executive Advisory Safety Committee was formed. It was chaired by the Medical Director and made up of the Superintendents of Platemaking, Binding, Composition, Presswork, Stores, the Mechanical Superintendent, and the Chief of Delivery. It was charged with: (1) coordinating safety practices in the trades; (2) establishing shop safety committees; (3) preparing for the approval of the Public Printer necessary safety rules and regulations; (4) recommending methods for promoting safety-mindedness; (5) keeping records to conform with the Department of Labor's Division of Labor Standards; and (6) assisting and cooperating with the Interdepartmental Safety Conference.
The key to the success of this effort was the creation of "shop safety committees." These consisted of the Medical Director, the foreman of the section, and a section employee elected by fellow workers. A shop safety committee's duties were: (1) to inspect the section; (2) to investigate the cause of accidents and take steps to eliminate them; (3) to provide safety instruction to new employees or those needing such instruction; (4) to report on the condition and use of safety equipment; and (5) to recommend new procedures and equipment to prevent accidents. In 1940, general elections were held throughout the Government Printing Office; and 60 workers were elected as employee representatives on the shop safety committees. Shop committee reports were forwarded to the Public Printer through the division superintendents.
As always, Government Printing Office employees did their best to help others less fortunate than themselves. In a typical year, 1939, employees contributed $3,455 to the Red Cross, $22,201 to the Community Chest, and $2,262 to the Infantile Paralysis Fund. Other charitable and relief funds were also helped. In these endeavors, employees were "sincerely commended by the Public Printer."
By far the most important achievement of the Government Printing Office during the 1930's was to assist in bringing about the revival of the American economy and to help millions of unemployed citizens. This was done through the printing of forms, pamphlets, posters, and books, requested by Federal agencies, Congress, the Supreme Court, and the President. It was also done by means of the unique distribution mechanism devised by Congress and carried on by the Government Printing Office: the Federal Depository Library Program, administered by the Superintendent of Documents. Daily this program was responsible for sending out to hundreds of libraries throughout the States the vital information which would make a difference in the lives of our people.
On Sunday, December 7, 1941, Japanese naval and air forces made a surprise attack on the United States fleet based at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. That same day attacks were also launched on the Philippines, Guam, Midway Island, Hong Kong, and Singapore. On December 8, Congress declared war on Japan. On December 11, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States, which then acknowledged a state of war with those nations.
The lives of countless Americans, and of Government Printing Office employees in particular, were profoundly affected. In 1940, on the eve of the Second World War, the Government Printing Office was housed in four fireproof buildings having a total floor area of 1,374,281 square feet, or 3 1/2 acres. Mechanical equipment included 126 slug-casting typesetting machines, 100 Monotype keyboards, 130 Monotype casting machines, 202 presses of all types, and 245 heavy machines used in the Bindery. Only a portion of the machinery was new; but all machines were in good working order.
War-related orders began to flood the Government Printing Office. By the end of fiscal year 1941, the Selective Service had received 144,515,061 pieces of printing costing $286,164.62.
The Treasury Department undertook a savings bond and stamp program which required 10 million advertising folders, 931,000 four-color posters, and 20 million stamp albums.
It was apparent to the Public Printer as early as 1940 that the printing industry as a whole would need to be called upon to meet America's requirements in the event of war. With great foresight, Public Printer Giegengack called a conference of leaders in the graphic arts industry and met with them during the last week of March 1941. They discussed the threatening possibilities and agreed that a backup of commercial procurement would be the best course to follow. The Joint Committee on Printing concurred and issued supplemental rules and regulations on the purchase of printing under existing provisions of the new War Powers Act.
A central aim of the Public Printer at the outset of the war was to get the employees of the Government Printing Office organized and trained to control commercial production, the scheduling of operations, and the assignment of equipment and paper, all as if the work were actually being done on North Capitol Street. This is described in his 1947 report, "Public Printing in War and Peace." "The 'partnership' between the Government and the industry resulted from meetings and conferences with leaders from principal printing centers. The Public Printer was not content with consulting only those who could come to Washington; he went out into the field to give the widest possible circulation to his proposed program. For example, he met in Chicago with the representatives from 17 Midwestern States for the purpose of outlining his plan. The groups appealed to become evangelists in turn. The Graphic Arts Association of Illinois, the Southern Master Printers Federation, the Associated Printers and Lithographers of St. Louis, the Typothetae-Franklin Association of Detroit, and the Graphic Arts Industry, Inc. (of Minnesota) collaborated in the preparation and distribution of a brochure on the subject of commercial cooperation in Government printing. An informal advisory committee of about 50 members, comprising printing trade association executives and other trade leaders resident in some 35 cities throughout the United States, was organized."
The World War II years were hard on presses and on workers. The Public Printer saw a peacetime volume in 1939 of 6,599,935,832 printed copies with total charges of $18,238,045.10 soar in 1945 to 22,869,414,943 printed copies with total charges of $77,309,497.53. The "Big Shop" worked around the clock. An example of the impact of a rush job may be seen in "War Department General Order 29," announcing the death and mourning of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in April 1945. "Copy of the order, to be printed on a black-bordered page 5 7/8 x 9, was received at the Government Printing Office at 11:30 a.m., April 13. Type was set, proof submitted, and okayed proofs returned by the department at 12:35 p.m. In less than an hour 64 plates were processed in the foundry; the first 16 of these were imposed on the press by 1:40 p.m., and all by 2:35 p.m. Four presses were used for the run. At 2:10 p.m. the first lot reached the bindery, where they were drilled with 3 holes and tied in packages of 500, and at 2:30 p.m. 1,000 copies were delivered to the department. Successive deliveries were made during the next three hours: 20,000 at 3:30 p.m., 70,000 at 4:30 p.m., and the remaining 134,000 at 5:30 p.m. The order required 1,010 pounds of paper and made 450 packages, filling 25 cartons. The entire quantity of 225,000 copies was printed and delivered within 5 hours."
A unique partnership of public and private printers helped America defeat its enemies. Workers from the Government Printing Office took part on the home front and on the battlefront to bring about a victory. In the Public Printer's 1944 Christmas letter to employees in the armed services, Gus said: "Don't hesitate to let those with whom you are associated in the service know that you are an employee of the Government Printing Office, as this Office has established a work record of which you, as an employee, can be justly proud. Your coworkers have printed and bound some of the most stupendous jobs in extremely short time. For fear of divulging military information I will not mention the names of any publications, but you in the field have seen the imprint of the Government Printing Office in all stages of the fight from the Training Manuals in camp to the bombing tables used over Berlin and Tokyo. Look for the imprint on all of your printed material."
Our people in the service responded with letters of their own from overseas to the Public Printer on North Capitol Street. Typical are some of the following: From John D. Griggs, Rdm 3c., "In my line of work (Radar) I see much material printed at the Government Printing Office. It is with pride I inform my shipmates I worked there before entering the Navy. Though my period of employment there was short I can sincerely say I enjoyed every minute of it, and I hope to be able to return to work there when peace has again come to our Nation." From T.Sgt. Charles A. Bohlen, Jr. AC, "Things like your letter and the Xmas package can do more for morale than any other thing I know of. It's wonderful the way the G.P.O. is backing all the drives, such as the Mile of Dimes, A.R.C., and other organizations. That whole office is really on the ball, and always has been as long as I can remember." From Cpl. Eugene Washington, in New Guinea, "I received your letter. You don't know how it makes a fellow feel when he is a long way from home and someone has not forgotten the boys overseas. There are some of the boys in my company who used to be employed at the G.P.O. and they all thought it was a wonderful letter. We all miss the Office so very much and hope some day to come back to our jobs and loved ones and friends."
A Christmas present from the home front to the battlefront consisted of a package containing the following: 1 pound of hard candy; 1 pound of salted peanuts; 1 package of playing cards; 1 pocket-sized novel; 1 cake of soap; 1 styptic pencil, 1 chapped-lip pencil; 1 pocket lighter; 1 pencil, eraser and leads; 1 memo book; 1 identification folder, 1 Christmas card.
Of the 2,495 employees who left the Government Printing Office to serve in the Armed Forces, 63 gave their lives, and 139 were disabled and received disability compensation. As servicemen and women began to return, the Public Printer established the position of Veterans' Coordinator. He said of it in his 1947 annual report: "Our object was to insure a central and definite authority and source of assistance for veterans, with personalized service to each of them upon return to duty; to provide aid to veterans in channeling their problems through the proper line and staff divisions of the Office, and to render assistance in matters calling for contact with the Veterans' Administration or other Federal agencies… Administration of our veterans' policy is in the hands of officials who are themselves veterans and active members of veterans' organizations… Administrative and supervisory officials of the Office have been made familiar with our policy in order that they may cooperate; and they are cooperating." By 1947, 1,622 veterans of the Second World War had returned to work at the Government Printing Office.
The Printing Industry of America, Inc., and Joint Committee on Printing Chairman Senator Carl Hayden, nominated Public Printer Giegengack to the Medal for Merit Board, in recognition of service rendered during the Second World War. The award was made by President Harry S. Truman on June 24, 1947. The citation read: "The President of the United States of America awards this Certificate of Merit to Augustus Edward Giegengack for outstanding fidelity and meritorious conduct in aid of the war effort against the common enemies of the United States and its Allies in World War II." To this, the Public Printer responded: "Although this certificate carries my name as the recipient of the award, I feel that I merely hold it in custody for the 7,000 employees of the Government Printing Office, and I am proud to accept it in their behalf. Their efforts made the award possible. It was they who made up the task force which accomplished the objective. Their share in the honor is greater than mine and my chief satisfaction today is that I have received this recognition as their representative."
The Public Printer observed a shift in printing press technology growing out of the war years. In December 1945 he noted: "The progress made in the quality of offset printing which resulted during the war because of the urgent need for overnight production of many wartime jobs, has been so marked that the further growth of this method of production appears inevitable. Many of the overnight and otherwise rush war requests for printing could not have been met had not the offset method been employed. Offset printing demands have far exceeded the capacities of the Office despite the addition of several new presses to our equipment … Printing by the offset process has enabled the Government Printing Office to make quicker deliveries of rush jobs and, at the same time, has resulted in savings in man-hours as well as reducing the cost of jobs to the departments and agencies. Consequently, continued increase in printing by the offset method is desirable." The immediate postwar years witnessed ongoing research and development of offset printing at the Government Printing Office.
On March 9, 1948, the Public Printer sent his letter of resignation to President Truman. He explained: "I take this action because my duty to my family demands that I increase my income substantially above the salary fixed by Congress under a law passed 20 years ago… The Government Printing Office is a great organization and is doing a real job for the taxpayer. I leave it with reluctance and with sincere thanks to you for the opportunity you have given me to be of service and for your cooperation and support." The President replied the same day with a letter that began, "Dear Gus," and accepted the resignation effective March 9, 1948. He pointed out: "You have held the position longer than any other Public Printer. I know that in the future you will be able to view with a great deal of personal satisfaction your career in the public service. From my own experience in the Senate as a Member of the Committee on Printing and as Chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program, I am well aware of the confidence the members had in you as a loyal, efficient public servant who had the respect and support of the Committees and of the entire printing industry."
So ended an era which saw America move from national to international concerns, and the Government Printing Office begin to shift from hot metal to offset printing. Public Printer Giegengack and the workers who had helped end the "Great Depression" and helped to win the Second World War had met the test of "The Years of Challenge" and entered "The Atomic Age."
The Atomic Age
The ninth in a series of articles commemorating GPO's 125th Anniversary, by Daniel R. MacGilvray
The men who led the Government Printing Office into the "atomic age" were four vigorous Public Printers: John J. Deviny, a Washingtonian; Raymond Blattenberger, a Philadelphian; James L. Harrison, born in Greer, SC; and Adolphus N. Spence II, a native of Alexandria, VA.
In 1948, President Harry S. Truman appointed Public Printer Deviny on March 15. He was confirmed by the Senate on April 30, and sworn in by DC Municipal Court of Appeals judge Andrew M. Hood on May 6 in the Public Printer's office.
Born June 19, 1882, the future Public Printer lived in the neighborhood of the Government Printing Office and was a graduate of nearby Gonzaga High School. He also graduated from Josephinum College in Columbus, OH, and later from the Washington College of Law in the Nation's Capital. His work career began at the Bureau of Engraving as an apprentice platemaker. There he spent his journeyman years and rose to Production Manager during World War I. In 1925, he left to become Director of Research and Publicity for the Miller Saw Trimmer Company of Pittsburgh, PA. During the Roosevelt years, he served as National Code Director for the Relief Printing Industry, and as judicial member of the Appeals Council for the Social Security Board's Bureau of Old Age Insurance. Early in his career, in 1919, he was cofounder of the Craftsmen's Movement, and served two terms as President of the International Association of Printing House Craftsmen. Well-versed in law, he was a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court and the DC Court of Appeals.
After his swearing in before the assembled members of the Joint Committee on Printing, officers of local and international unions, representatives of printing trade groups, and others, he observed: "I hope and expect to carry on the very successful policies and methods developed by my distinguished predecessor. It shall be my aim to continue the production of public printing and binding in the most efficient, expeditious, and economical manner and to adopt new and improved methods as they can be developed. In this endeavor I shall need the full cooperation of the GPO's 6,500 loyal and competent employees. Since they have never failed in this before I have every reason for believing that I shall have such cooperation now."
John J. Deviny already had 7 years of experience as Deputy Public Printer when he was chosen to succeed Augustus E. Giegengack in 1948. With great understanding he pursued policies and procedures that were well-established. This meant that he regularly met with the Joint Committee on Printing to review the purchase of quantities of paper. It also meant that he met with trade union representatives during periods of wage negotiations. Very successfully he carried on the day-to-day operations of Public Printer. When he finally retired on February 28, 1953, at the age of 70, it was with 41 years of Government service. Reflecting on his youthful beginnings as a platemaker, he remarked: "Back in my apprentice days, I would have traded my chance of becoming Public Printer for 10 cents."
The Korean War occurred during his term and with it an upsurge of Defense printing. Related to this was a concern with civil defense which touched the lives of employees. The Production Manager reported in 1953: "Civil Defense shelter areas have been marked off in the four central buildings and the day force joined in a city-wide Government buildings alert on December 12, 1952. All employees reached shelter without incident in less than 5 minutes, the goal set by Federal Civil Defense. Night employees have all been led to the shelter areas provided for them and will participate in the next city-wide alert."
The ongoing concern with safety was reflected in the report of the Superintendent of Binding for 1953: "I am happy to report that the lost time accidents in the Bindery for the year just ended shows a decrease of nineteen percent. We will make every effort to show a greater decrease in accidents with an eye to their complete elimination in the coming year. The Bindery uses many potentially dangerous machines. We must be ever vigilant and alert, we must constantly check our machinery for new safety devices, and we must be sure that all safety features and rules are followed to the letter. Supervisors have been cautioned to see that their Sections follow safety regulations." The Medical Director observed some preventive measures: "The health service for the Office of Civil Defense Program is now in progress. Approximately 50 people on the day shift have been trained in first-aid. Classes for the night shifts will commence in the fall and a number of employees will also be trained in light rescue work by the Federal Civil Defense Administration."
Other tasks went along as usual. There were improvements, as the Foreman of the Main Press Section observed in 1953: "The new and modern lighting system in use in Main Press for the last six months has proven very satisfactory, especially on the night shifts, as the system enables the pressmen and supervisors to see the work clearly without shadows, having also tendency to help produce a better grade of printing with less eye strain. There were also visitors, as the Foreman of the Main Press Section noted that same year: "In the past fiscal year, we have had several visitors from abroad and also from our own country connected with the art of printing. In each instance, we were pleased with their remarks as to production, quality of work, cleanliness of our pressroom, and the orderly manner in which our method of procedure is handled."
One of the more lasting contributions of the Deviny years was the addition of three Cottrell presses. In 1953, the Production Manager expressed his pleasure with the result: "In 1949 when authority for the purchase of 3 new presses for the production of the Congressional Record was requested by the Public Printer from the Joint Committee on Printing certain economics in production were anticipated. Our experience with these machines to date indicates that the savings over the years will greatly exceed original estimates. This is made possible by the savings on income-tax printing which alone is exceeding our original yearly estimate of economics." But if the Deviny years were undramatic in their pattern of gradual improvements, there was excitement on the horizon.
Occasionally, a new Public Printer takes office amid winds of change. Public Printer Blattenberger was swept into the Government Printing Office during a raging storm. To his great credit, he rode it out and guided the Office into more peaceful waters.
The fall of 1952 had witnessed the first Presidential election in two decades which brought a Republican into the White House: former Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Western Europe, General Dwight D. Eisenhower. The new President looked for successful men in the business community to direct Government agencies. He found one in Raymond Blattenberger. Born in Philadelphia on January 19, 1892, he had begun working as a press feeder at the age of 14. In 1917 he joined the Edward Stern Printing Company, of that city, and rose to become executive vice-president. He was also a founder of the Printing Industry of America, Inc.
No sooner had Public Printer Blattenberger gone on the payroll April 28, 1953, than his phone started ringing. Surely he would want to fire a lot of people and appoint the caller, or the caller's son, or friend, or brother, to a fine job with the Government Printing Office? The new Public Printer chose not to be hasty. Although his Deputy Public Printer, Philip L. Cole, happened to be a Democrat, and even though a very prominent Republican Senator from Indiana had a friend who wanted Mr. Cole's position, the Public Printer showed he had a mind of his own.
He told a reporter on August 8, 1953: "They don't like me because I won't take out certain key people. But what I'm trying to do is cut costs, to run an efficient shop as economically as possible. That's what I understood I was to do when the President appointed me. I didn't seek the job and I didn't want it. Now that I've got it, I'm going to concentrate first on saving money. When I came into this shop I had to have someone who knew something about it. Mr. Cole has made a career of the GPO. He's been here almost 30 years and is eligible for retirement in September."
Needless to say, this did not endear the Public Printer to the Senator from Indiana, who happened to be Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee which had recommended his confirmation. Nor did the appointment of his Superintendent of Documents, Roy B. Eastin, Jr., to the position of Executive Assistant to the Public Printer, win friends, except at the Government Printing Office. Rumors flew that Mr. Eastin was the nephew of former Democratic Vice President Alben W. Barkley, and a Democrat to boot. Mr. Eastin told the same reporter: "I am not a relative of Mr. Barkley. I am not a Democrat. I have never attended a Democratic meeting. If anyone says I'm a Democrat, I'll sue."
The Public Printer stuck to his guns-and to a long-standing GPO tradition that says Public Printers have a "Big Shop" to look after, and not a political plum tree to shake. It was not surprising, however, that by so doing Public Printer Blattenberger made some powerful enemies. It was not long before a very well-publicized Wisconsin Senator was directing his attention to the Government Printing Office.
This turn of events began on August 10, 1953, in a closed-door session of the Government Operations subcommittee which questioned ten witnesses. The subcommittee was down to two, some being out of town, and three Democrats having resigned in protest of the methods of Chairman Senator Joseph R. McCarthy (Republican-Wisconsin). With his colleague, Senator Everett M. Dirksen (Republican-Illinois), a bookbinder's political beliefs were questioned. The bookbinder had brought his own attorney and answered all questions.
Later, Public Printer Blattenberger and Deputy Public Printer Cole were called in for questioning. Senator Dirksen commented to a reporter on this: "We are now quite certain that a substantial amount of confidential and secret and top secret work has been processed and published in the main Government Printing Office. We spent the whole time exploring the possibility of any persons so inclined of purloining a secret document and transmitting it to hands where they should not be." The reporter asked of both Senators if there was any evidence that any documents had actually been improperly removed? "I can't answer that," replied Senator McCarthy. "It is the wrong time to ask," echoed Senator Dirksen.
Shortly thereafter, on October 5, 1953, the Public Printer touched on these events as he addressed a convention of the Printing Industry of America: "I have been on this job as Public Printer just about five months, and in many ways it seems more than five years. In fact, it seems so long that I have difficulty remembering those happy carefree days when I attended meetings such as this as the representative of a private printing firm. At that time, I thought there were many problems facing my firm, myself, and the printing industry, but now I look upon those days as the 'good old days.'
"As you know, I have been busy, among other things, in placing the Government Printing Office under tight security regulations and checking into the backgrounds of the employees in search of possible Communists and other security risks. I want to say right here and now that my experience has been that the vast majority of Government employees are loyal, hardworking citizens who, as a group, are greatly abused. It is indeed unfortunate that the great body of our public servants must suffer because of the actions of a tiny minority.
"I must confess that my respect for the Government employee has greatly increased in the last five months. The Government has done a great deal in the way of training its own key people, and in my estimation, it will need to do even more in this direction in the future. The Government lags far behind industry in the payment of salaries to key supervisors and officials, and with conditions as they are, it will soon be virtually impossible to get people in private life to give up their private jobs to come to Washington to work for the Government."
The Public Printer had ample opportunity to work with people at the Government Printing Office and on Capitol Hill. Together, they were able to achieve through modernization a 5 percent reduction in the cost of printing--the first such in 20 years. That was in 1954. The following year there was added good news: "Increases have been given to all craftsmen and a 7 1/2 percent upward adjustment has been made in the salary of all administrative employees." At the end of his term in 1961, Public Printer Blattenberger and his team of administrators had been able to return $13 million dollars to the United States Treasury. A revolving fund had been established and a business-type budget made a part of the fabric of the Government Printing Office. Offset and letterpress divisions had been reorganized, and faster, more efficient equipment installed. Having come into office with winds of change, and noting the election of President John F. Kennedy, the Public Printer raised his sail and resigned on January 20, 1961. At a Harding Hall Testimonial Dinner on February 8, 1961, he was given a fond farewell.
During 1961, President John F. Kennedy appointed Public Printer Harrison on March 15. He was confirmed by the Senate on the next day; and he was sworn in on March 17, Saint Patrick's Day
Born June 3, 1906, the Public Printer passed his youth in Greer, SC, and Gastonia, NC. His father was supervisor in a textile factory. Majoring in journalism, young Harrison had as his hobbies both photography and printing. When he came to Washington, DC, at the age of 22, his first work was as a draftsman at Fort Belvoir. Later, he started as a clerk with a grocery chain and soon became a manager. In the 1930's, he worked for the Census Bureau as a mapmaker, then as supervisor for the agricultural census. In 1938, he was a Monopoly Investigator for the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce. During the Second World War he served with the Office of Price Administration. His experience as a Government administrator was brought to the attention of Senator Carl Hayden who was looking for a new staff director for the Joint Committee on Printing. In 1949, Harrison was chosen and served for 12 years in that capacity before being appointed to be Public Printer of the United States.
James L. Harrison brought with him a dozen years of invaluable experience with the Joint Committee on Printing. He had known the two previous Public Printers quite well and was acquainted with many of the problems relating to the Government Printing Office which had been discussed in Committee meetings. He had a good sense of where the Government Printing Office was going, as well as where the Committee wanted it to go. To this knowledge, he was soon to add insight of his own.
Ongoing modernization of printing equipment and procedures runs like a theme through the history of the Office. Not surprisingly, Public Printer Harrison carried this forward with the installation in 1967 of the Linotron system. It produced page photocomposition at high speed under control of a magnetic tape which was computer generated. Exposed film pages were treated in an automatic film processor which used chemicals to reverse the image into a film negative suitable for offset platemaking. It was the heart of a system of keyboards, photo units, input and output converters, which was placed in production on October 2, 1967, and later augmented.
Such technical modernization coupled with internal reorganizations helped the Public Printer to raise the volume of annual business from $97 million when he began his term, to over $203 million when he ended it. His accomplishments were recognized widely and he was the recipient of awards. In 1962, the White House called upon him to carry greetings from President Kennedy to the Second Asian Printers' Conference held in Kyoto, Japan. During 1965 and 1968, he carried President Johnson's greetings to the Third Asian Printers' Conference held in Manila, Philippine Republic, and to the Fourth Asian Printers' Conference held in Taipei, Taiwan. In a tribute to his abilities, one writer said of him in 1970: "He has deliberately fashioned channels of communication directly into his office--channels available to every employee. Never in the history of the GPO has the agency head been so accessible."
It was his concern for modernization that led Public Printer Harrison to seriously consider a new site and modern structure for the Government Printing Office. With support from the Joint Committee on Printing, an area of Bolling Air Force Base in Anacostia was inspected-but the Air Force decided not to relinquish the property. Next, on March 2, 1966. joint Committee Chairman Carl Hayden authorized $2 1/2 million to be available from the General Services Administration "for necessary expenses, for site selection and general plans and designs of buildings for the Government Printing Office, pursuant to the Public Building Act of 1959." Committee members present voted 4 to 1 and "approved the proposal of the Public Printer that a portion of the National Training School property be used as a relocation site for the Government Printing Office." This, too, became unavailable. A third site was then considered, some 82 acres of Penn Central Railroad land off the Beltway at the John Hansen Highway. When land values suddenly rose, that possibility also vanished. The final site considered was located between T Street and Rhode Island Avenue, NE, adjacent to what is now the Rhode Island Avenue Metro Stop.
The Public Printer spelled out his reasoning for the move in a letter to District of Columbia Commissioner Walter E. Washington:
"Our output consists of finished printing, blank paper, scrap paper, documents, and the usual waste materials. Recently we surveyed truck traffic here and learned that in excess of 200 trucks were handled in a 24-hour period--chiefly during peak traffic periods. Conducting such an activity in the heart of a crowded urban location is inconvenient, costly, and difficult.
"But this is only a minor part of our problem. Only half of the 18 to 20 freight carloads of paper can be accommodated at our warehouse across North Capitol Street from the main building.
The Washington Terminal track elevation is at our third floor level. Here skids of paper are offloaded and dropped to interim storage locations by elevator. When ready for use, they are again elevator-dropped to the sub-basement of this warehouse, power-trucked through a tunnel under North Capitol Street and again raised by elevator as many as six floors to production areas.
"The other half of our rail paper receipts must be taken 17 miles away in Franconia, Virginia, where warehouse space is rented from General Services Administration. After being unloaded and temporarily warehoused there, the paper is reshipped by contract motor carrier in order to place it in the Government Printing Office proper where it, too, is yo-yoed until it arrives at the floor level where it is needed.
"Our paper inventory averaged from 50 to 60 million pounds last year. Obviously, repeated handling and rehandling this enormous amount of paper causes a great deal of unnecessary expense."
Despite the many reasons for it, opposition to the proposed move mounted. District of Columbia officials saw a possible loss of jobs. Many employees set in their ways were reluctant to see a change. Columbia Typographical Union No. 101 went on record against the move. Suddenly, the Public Printer announced that he intended to retire in March 1970, and would leave the matter to his successor. Somewhat wearily, he told the members of the Joint Committee on Printing that "the Government Printing Office was a manufacturing concern and he was not envious of the man who would be selected."
On February 18, 1970, President Richard M. Nixon appointed Public Printer Spence. He was confirmed on March 13 and liked to recall that he was sworn in on April 1, "April Fool's Day."
Born November 24, 1916, Spence worked during his teens as an apprentice in a small print shop. He was journeyman at age 18 and went on to work in a wide variety of commercial and governmental printing and binding operations. During 1942, he was commissioned in the Navy and served 2 years with Admiral Halsey as his Photo Intelligence Officer in the South Pacific. He was awarded the Bronze Star with Combat V, the Navy Unit Commendation, and the World War II Victory Medal. The years 1945-46 found him Officer-in-Charge of establishing and operating the Naval School of Printers and Lithographers. Afterwards, he worked with the Department of the Navy in organizing a central service to manage its publications and printing program. He shaped this into the Navy Publications and Printing Service with 36 offices worldwide. He was then asked to consolidate printing services for the Defense Department, where he implemented a uniform scale of prices for in-house production, a standard system of cost accounting, and production control. He became a recognized authority on modern printing management and graphic communications techniques before being chosen as Public Printer.
Public Printer Spence wasted no time in addressing what had become a newsworthy issue. His first press release of April 1, 1970, spoke of establishing "immediately an Office of Congressional and Community Affairs," which he said would be responsive to Congress, the local community, and the press. He went on to say that the Joint Committee on Printing had recently conducted an extensive Federal Printing Study. "Out of this has come a major decision to place the impetus in Government on the commercial procurement of printing… So. before I make any decision on new or improved facilities, I feel that we must determine what effect increasing the percentage of printing done commercially will have on GPO's operations." In a second press release, on April 3, 1970, he added, "Before any change is made in the location, or the size, and in fact, of the concept of this office, I am arranging that a study be made jointly by the Industry and Government, of the requirements of this office."
The next problem the Public Printer addressed was a thorny one. During the weeks preceding his being sworn in, a major shift had occurred in labor relations. As the 1970 Annual Report put it: "The point at contention was revision of the formula used for nearly 23 years to determine craft wages. Activism took the form of composing craftsmen refusing overtime work at the outset. As steps were taken by the Office to buy composition from commercial sources in order to meet Congressional requirements, a full-scale 'sick-out' among compositors developed. Pickets and sympathizers appeared at GPO's entrances. The incidents were brought to an early end after a personal appeal by the Public Printer who pledged a complete review of the existing wage formula." One observer of these dramatic events vividly recalled the throngs of marching workers carrying informational signs to the Capitol steps, and returning for a mass meeting which filled to overflowing the basement of nearby Saint Aloysius Church. There, like a scene out of Frank Capra's film, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," a small balding man entered the basement, waded through the crowd, and spoke to the workers. He told them he was their new Public Printer, Nick Spence, and he would appreciate it if they would give him a hearing. Quiet descended. He told them he knew they were angry, perhaps rightfully so. But, he was new on the job as Public Printer and would like them to give him an opportunity to bring to their concerns his fullest consideration. Now, would they join their Public Printer in walking back over North Capitol Street to the Government Printing Office and helping to get out the Congressional Record? A roar of cheers went up and the compositors and their coworkers, every one. escorted "their" Public Printer back into the Office.
Almost at once the new Public Printer set about restructuring the internal management organization of the Government Printing Office. As he did so, and positions became available, he recruited from Naval printing colleagues who brought an enthusiastic perspective to getting tasks accomplished. On December 15, 1970, he announced a major reorganization which was to have lasting effects. It involved the appointment of two Assistant Public Printers, for Operations and for Management/Administration, with a regrouping of functions in a chain of command structure. It also involved having the following report directly to the Public Printer: the Special Assistant for Systems Analysis, the General Counsel, the Assistant for Community Affairs, the Director of Equal Employment Opportunity, and the Director of Audits. Considerable reorganization took place in almost all other areas. The central purpose was that "Changes were made to bring into usage modern managerial and systems approaches and to bring related activities under common supervision." This was to prove to be a far-reaching contribution of the Public Printer.
On June 8, 1970, speaking before the 84th annual convention of the Printing Industries of America, Public Printer Spence announced the make-up of the new Government-Industry Study Group. It consisted of eight well-known printing industry people and four representatives from Government. The group's charge was twofold: (1) "To determine what production now done at the GPO is susceptible to commercial procurement;" and (2) "to align the GPO equipment, production methods, and physical plant to do best that work which must be done in-house." The outcome of this effort was a report of March 15, 1972, entitled: "Report to the Public Printer by the Joint Government-Industry Study Group." Some 41 recommendations were made covering eight key areas: (1) Space; (2) Equipment; (3) Materials Handling; (4) Procurement-General; (5) Procurement-Specific Items; (6) Procedures; (7) Organization & Training; (8) Public Documents Department. This report was also to have a far-reaching effect as a point of departure for future plans and developments.
Tragically, the sudden and unexpected death of Public Printer Spence on January 11, 1972, did not allow him opportunity to guide his many far-sighted efforts to their fullest realization. But, as one writer wisely observed in the 1972 annual report: "Having served less than two years as head of this agency, Mr. Spence had made his professionalism and personality felt in every operation of the Government Printing Office. He brought a new management style to the Government Printing Office and while he fell before many of the programs he had instituted reached fruition, his redefinition of management and production objectives will serve the Government Printing Office well in the years ahead."
Between 1948 and 1972, many changes had taken place in the Government Printing Office. One, which began in a small way with a new type of machine which itself kept changing, was to give its name to the coming era, "The Computer Age."
The Computer Age
The tenth in a series of articles commemorating GPO's 125th Anniversary, by Daniel R. MacGilvray
The two men who guided the Government Printing Office into "the computer age" and new technologies were concerned Public Printers of Irish background: Thomas F. McCormick, from Massachusetts; and John J. Boyle, from Pennsylvania. Because Public Printer McCormick quickly chose his Production Manager, John J. Boyle, to be Deputy Public Printer, both were to work together to bring technological change into the Government Printing Office.
It was on January 16, 1973, during the trial of the Watergate defendants, that President Richard M. Nixon appointed Public Printer McCormick. The Senate Committee on Rules and Administration held its hearing on the nominee January 31. He was then confirmed by the Senate on February 8; and he was sworn in at the Government Printing Office March 1, 1973.
Thomas Francis McCormick was born February 20, 1929, in Gardner, MA. He attended schools in his hometown, and went on to Worcester, MA, where he graduated from Holy Cross College with a B.S. "cum laude" in business administration. Following this, he served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy from June 1950 to July 1953. While there, he graduated from Naval Intelligence School and served as Division Officer, Deck Watch Officer, Air Controller on an escort carrier, and Intelligence Officer of a Tactical Air Control Squadron. Released as a lieutenant (jg.), he began his business career with the General Electric Company as a Financial Management Trainee. He served in a wide variety of corporate positions and, in December 1967, was appointed General Manager of the Maqua Company, a 400-employee, $6.5 million dollar printing firm owned by General Electric. Two facets of his business experience were especially noted during the hearing on his nomination: "Expansion of a training and development program for personnel from minority groups leading to the development of journeymen status personnel and improvement in the minority employment percentage;" as well as his being deeply involved "in the fields of computer and electronic technology, both of which are currently bringing about many changes in the printing industry."
Problems were in the air even as Public Printer McCormick approached his confirmation. At the hearing, Committee Chairman Howard W. Cannon of Nevada observed, "I have received a letter from Senator Javits on this matter, and it contains a lot of complaints that have been filed with him, letters of complaint against the Government Printing Office, so if Mr. McCormick is confirmed as the Public Printer, I shall send these over to him, and let him respond to them, and see if he can correct whatever conditions brought about those complaints." Some of the problems were mentioned to Senator Cannon in a letter from the President of the Special Libraries Association: "The Association's Government Information Service Committee reports that complaints have been received from individual members across the country regarding GPO delays and errors in handling orders, claims and credits, subscription problems, recent material being out of print, quality of indexing in the Monthly Catalog, and the availability of depository libraries as well as bookstore services." As if this were not enough to warn away a nominee from the post Senator Lowell P. Weicker, Jr. of Connecticut described as "a very difficult job, and a thankless one," another critic was heard. The Executive Director of the Information Industry Association went on record regarding involvement with the new space-saving technology of microforms: "We feel that microform technology has a great deal to offer the government in the dissemination of government information. We encourage the Public Printer to begin experimenting with applications appropriate to specific areas of government materials. But we do not believe the Government Printing Office should microrepublish anything it has already published in paper, nor do we believe it should republish in paper anything it has already published on film." These, and other problems would be addressed by the Public Printer and the employees of the Government Printing Office in days to come.
The "computer revolution" at the Government Printing Office was already underway when Public Printer McCormick took the helm in 1973. Indeed, the first annual report to mention "electronic printing" had been published 10 years earlier and noted: "On March 11, 1963, two Linofilm keyboards and a photo unit were placed in experimental production. Seven operators were placed in training in maintenance at the factory. Some 480,000 ems of composition were keyboarded and processed on the photo unit by the end of the fiscal year." Behind this simple statement lay a model agreement between labor and management for the retraining of hot metal workers in the new technology without loss of status or salary.
By 1973 the Linotron system, installed in 1967, was rolling on. A superintendent of the Electronic Photocomposition Division singled out a particularly outstanding job: "Linotron photocomposition for the U.S. Patent Office totaled 299,135 pages for fiscal year 1973. This total includes 280,299 pages of Patent Specifications,16,086 pages of Official Gazette, and 2,750 pages for the Annual Index of Patents. An average production of 5,700 pages per week or 1,140 pages per day was required to accomplish this workload."
Meanwhile, in 1973, the new Data Systems Service, which had pioneered a decade earlier in computer applications as a part of Finance and Accounts, announced that it had processed 61,316 computer jobs, had completed 120 new computer programs and had 275 more in process, along with many other computer related tasks. Its workforce numbered 142, including 28 computer programmers.
Later, when the Public Printer was succeeded by his Deputy on November 1, 1977, the total conversion of the daily Federal Register from hot metal to photocomposition was taking place. On January 9, 1978, the first issue entirely printed from photocomposed text was produced. At about the same time, the entire text of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), approximately 70,500 pages in 141 volumes, was converted to an electronic data base. Besides these milestones, another was noted: "The Linofilm machines were removed from service after 15 years of productive use, having been made excess to our needs by the acquisition of more advanced equipment." This was reported by the then Superintendent, Electronic Photocomposition Division, Joseph E. Jenifer. New technology was being replaced by still newer technology.
Another "revolution" had been slowly taking place at the Government Printing Office. It involved the upward mobility of men and women of differing ethnic backgrounds, and some with physical handicaps. This social change was accelerated during the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson who felt the Federal Government was not moving quickly enough. His policy was reaffirmed on August 8, 1969, by President Richard M. Nixon who signed into law Executive order No. 11478 which outlined areas of responsibility for affirmative action to achieve equal employment opportunity. The Government Printing Office already had a "Plan of Action" which it now revised to "insure equal opportunity in employment to all qualified persons; to prohibit discrimination in employment because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; and to promote full utilization of work force. The 'Plan of Action' establishes and implements procedures for recruitment, maximum utilization, training, promotion, and supervisory performance which will help make a reality of this policy."
An outgrowth of this effort was the appointment of the first Equal Opportunity Officer and the beginning of EEO counseling services. Shortly thereafter, in 1971, the first Federal Women's Program Coordinator was appointed; and in 1973 a Spanish Program Coordinator also became a part of EEO. Many special employee educational programs were sponsored by EEO to help implement the "Plan of Action' and to convey awareness of opportunities for upward mobility at the Government Printing Office. Good community relations were also a part of EEO's mission. A memorable manifestation of this took place in 1973 when the EEO staff took part for the first time in a joint effort with the GPO Cafeteria, Recreation, and Welfare Association to sponsor "A Community Children's Day" for some 350 local children. This was to become a traditional part of GPO's annual Christmas Program.
Public Printer McCormick lost no time in addressing the problem areas cited at his hearing by Senators Cannon and Weicker, Jr. For the most part, these fell under the management of the Assistant Public Printer (Superintendent of Documents). They involved the Depository Library Program and the Documents Sales Service. The heart of the matter was a lack of modernization in the face of an increasing demand for services.
For a starter, the appropriation of funds for Documents which in fiscal year 1972 had been $14,829,900 was boosted in 1973 to $29,762,000. The number of full-time employees went from 700 in 1972 to 1,247 in 1973. Review of the proposal to sell and distribute publications in microform was begun. An "office-excellence" program was started which involved renovation and new furnishings. Bookstore site selection criteria were developed and new fixtures secured. Design studies were undertaken aimed at an automated order processing system. Steps were taken to automate production of the Monthly Catalog. Data Systems Service joined in support of these efforts and brought the computer to bear in the creation of a Publications Reference File on-line and in microfiche. Stenciled mail lists were automated. The Depository Library Council to the Public Printer, consisting of 15 documents librarians, was formalized. This was done "in response to the need for contributions from the library community in the effective implementation of the Depository Library Program, and the need for a consulting source on such subjects as micropublishing and legislation." The capstone was a Systems Task Force established by the Public Printer "to promote a total, integrated, automated administrative/operational system capable of handling incoming mail, order taking, order processing, order dispatching, subscription services, deposit accounting, bookstore operations and sales analysis, along with their related financial activities and inventory data and controls."
To further implement these and other changes, on July 20, 1975, Public Printer McCormick appointed his Director of Materials Management, Carl A. LaBarre, as the new Superintendent of Documents. A retired Navy captain, with a "can do" reputation, the new Superintendent brought a wealth of experience in managing large, complicated activities.
Another key appointment by the Public Printer was his prompt selection of a new Deputy Public Printer. On July 24, 1973, he chose John Joseph Boyle, a native of Honesdale, PA, where he had been born January 25, 1919. As a young man he had worked in a job shop and on a rural weekly newspaper. During World War II he served in the U.S. Army's First Armored Division in the North African Campaign. He was captured in North Africa and spent 2 1/2 years in German prison camps. Following the war, he worked in the composing room of a city daily and in a large printing plant. His GPO career began in 1952 as Proofreader. He was then 33 years old. From there he was chosen as Technical Assistant to the Superintendent of Composition. He gained valuable experience as the Production Manager's representative on the Scheduling Committee where he obtained a broad picture of the production capabilities of the Government Printing Office. He became Superintendent of Photocomposition Division. He was next made Deputy Production Manager and then Production Manager with total responsibility for management of production operations. It was at this point in his 21-year GPO career of ever widening experience that he was chosen for the Office's number two position.
During the McCormick years, not only were problems being addressed but employees noticed many visible changes. Congestion in the main buildings was relieved by leasing space elsewhere. In 1974, the Library, Depository Distribution, and Statutory Stock Distribution Divisions were moved to Alexandria, VA. The following year, the 4th and 5th floors of Union Center Plaza were leased and occupied by Documents Sales, Documents Support, and Data Systems Divisions, along with the Superintendent of Documents. Sales documents storage was moved to a 180,000 square foot warehouse in Laurel, MD that same year. The Systems Task Force achieved the consolidation of mail operations from 13 different locations in 1974 to one modern facility on the ground floor of Building 1. And the passing of an era was noted in 1977 when the oldest press in the Government Printing Office, "GPO No, 1," was retired. It was a web press purchased in 1897 from R. Hoe and Company for $15,940 and had been in continuous use until 1974. Fortunately, it found a home in Fairfield, NJ at the Horowitz Museum of Bookbinding and Graphic Arts.
One of the smoothest transitions in GPO's history took place following the election of President James E. Carter. On September 28, 1977, the President announced accepting Public Printer McCormick's resignation and his nomination of John J. Boyle as Public Printer. A hearing was held October 19 and 26, and on October 27 the Senate confirmed the new Public Printer. Mr. McCormick noted that he had resigned "to accommodate the transition to the new administration." He also said, "I encouraged Jack Boyle to become an active candidate for the job, and I am pleased that he is President Carter's choice to become the 17th Public Printer of the United States. I am very proud of the accomplishments of the Government Printing Office during the past four years, and it is with great sadness that I leave the fine people of the Office." On November 1, 1977, Public Printer Boyle was sworn in by a GPO employee, the Reverend Floyd H. Gayles, of Personnel Service.
At his hearing, the future Public Printer shared some of his concerns: "I plan to devote a major portion of my management effort to reducing the cost of Federal printing by applying new technologies and increasing the productivity through better work methods, better tools, better training, and decreased administrative costs. I will continue to make the Government Printing Office a leader in the use of new technologies.
"I will strive for resolving the labor problems and improving the working conditions for all employees by improving our communications and dispelling fears of being out of a job because of technological improvements.
"We presently have an affirmative action plan for improving the promotional opportunities of our minority employees and women which I support and will strive to improve. The GPO has made many advances in the improvement of the position of minorities and women as well as our handicapped employees, but work remains to be done and we will not rest on past performance.
"The Depository Library Program has been improved considerably in recent years, and I believe in complete support of this program because of its importance to the Government and the public in the dissemination of information."
One besetting question of new technology with which the Public Printer grappled amid a welter of conflicting advice concerned the use of microforms in Sales and in the Depository Library Program. Logically, this new technology promised savings to taxpayers and to the Government Printing Office. The community of Depository Librarians was quick to perceive this and advocated microform use through its representatives on the Depository Library Council to the Public Printer and through various Government Document Roundtable groups. To gain further advice, Public Printer Boyle authorized the formation of the Public Printer's Council on Micropublishing, with a membership from public and private sectors. After listening carefully and considering all ramifications of the microform question, and with the backing of the Joint Committee on Printing, the Public Printer proceeded to utilize microfiche for Sales and the Depository Library Program. One result of this was revealed by Superintendent of Documents LaBarre in 1979: "During this reporting period there has been a total of 20,500 documents converted to microfiche for a total of 5.7 million copies distributed to Depository Libraries."
During the Boyle years computerization continued. 1977 saw the construction of new plant facilities for the Electronic Photocomposition Division. Some 50,000 square feet encompassing most of the 7th floor of Building 1 was transformed by GPO work crews. That same year journeymen from the Composing Room took 13,142 hours of training programs. The following year the number of video keyboard operators tripled; and all were obtained through internal training classes. An Interactive Page Makeup System was installed in 1978 which allowed an operator to arrange text matter in complex page formats on a video screen. After a page was completed it was automatically merged with the rest of the text data for the job. A report in 1979 noted, "The proportion of Congressional work diverted from metal-type to photocomposition processes increased sharply during the year. The bulk of committee hearings are now being photocomposed, and all Congressional bills have been converted to electronic processing."
When Public Printer Boyle chose to retire on February 29, 1980, a Presidential election was in prospect. At the Government Printing Office there was a general feeling of moving into "the computer age" and of being wisely guided. Jobs might change, but workers would not be fired because of new technology. Conditions seemed to be improving quickly in some areas, too slowly in other. More employees were hopeful than discouraged. Little did anyone realize that "a time of turmoil" was approaching.
Historical Titles and Citations
|Citations: First Printed in New Typeline;
Reprinted in Administration Notes
|Success to Printing
|New Typeline, Jan., 1986, vol. 2, #1 p. 6
Administration Notes v07-n6-4/86, pp. 14-15
|Long Time Coming, GPO
|New Typeline, Feb.-Mar. 1986, col. 2, #2, pp. 6-7
Administration Notes v07-n7-5/86, pp. 8-9
|Our Doors Swing Open
|New Typeline, April 1986, vol. 2, #3, pp. 3-5
Administration Notes v07-n09-6/86, pp. 20 + 21
|Era of Reconstruction
|New Typeline, May 1986, vol. 2, #4, pp.6-7
Administration Notes v07-n10-7/86, pp. 3-4
|Age of Electricity
|New Typeline, June-July 1986, vol. 2, #5, pp. 6-8
Administration Notes v07-n6-4/86, pp. 4-5; continued in v07-n13-8/86, pp. 7-8
|Age of the Auto
|New Typeline, Aug. 1986, vol. 2, #6, pp. 4-7
Administration Notes v07-n18-11/86, pp. 4 - 5; continued in v07-n20-12/86, pp. 10-12
|President Harding's Legacy
|New Typeline, Sept.-Oct. 1986, vol. 2, #7, pp. 14- 19
Administration Notes v08-n01-1/87, pp. 17- 20; continued in v08-n01-1/87, pp. 7-9
|The Years of Challenge
|New Typeline, Jan.-Feb. 1987, vol. 3, #1, pp. 8-13
Administration Notes v08-n09-5/87, pp. 15-18; continued in v08-n13-6/87, pp. 11-13
|The Atomic Age
|New Typeline, March- April 1987, vol. 3, #2, pp. 10-13
Administration Notes v08-n14-7/87, pp. 11- 13; continued in v08-n15-8/87, pp. 11-13
|The Computer Age
|New Typeline, May-June 1987, vol. 3, #3, pp. 10-12
Administration Notes v08-n17-9/87, pp. 9-12