Bill Stewart Was Cool...

A festchrift for the excellent & much-missed bookseller Bill Stewart, the tramp of Vamp & Tramp Booksellers, was distributed last month. It contains small broadside contributions from 42 presses and artists who enjoyed Bill's support and encouragement. 

Last fall Bill Stewart, the Tramp of Vamp & Tramp Booksellers, died suddenly and much too young. It left many in the book arts community unmoored, but none so much as Vicky, his partner in life and business. Bookselling was a second career for both of them, and they spent months every year driving across America in a van stuffed with treasures, stopping at libraries and book fairs along the way. Bill was (& Vicky is) a tireless promoter of the book arts. A significant portion of the HM books in institutional collections are there because of Bill and Vicky, and I know the same is true for many others.

Toward the end of 2019, Marnie Powers-Torrey, of the University of Utah's Book Arts Program at the J. Willard Marriott Library, took the lead in organizing a festschrift celebrating Bill's life and work. A total of 42 presses and artists contributed a broadside (8 x 10 inches). Marnie and the students in her program printed a title sheet and list of contributors, and designed an attractive folder to contain the sheets. Bonnie Thompson Norman's piece is shown below.

The collection captures how broad Bill's tastes and enthusiasms ranged. We first met at Oak Knoll Fest, in 1999. I was attending on the coat-tails of Barbarian Press, and had just published the original Fragments & Glimpses. Bill was just getting established as a bookseller. He may have been the first bookseller to buy a copy of Fragments, and he remained a valued source of interest and correspondence.

Contributors were asked to send 75 copies. Some sets are being distributed among Bill and Vicky's families, and the rest will be given to institutions that benefited from V&T's visits. My portfolio is number 6 of 75. I'd forgotten that I'd played silly bugger when numbering my broadsides: most of them are some kind of mathematical function (e.g. 1 x 2 x 3 = copy 6, ∛27 = copy 3, etc). It seemed appropriate for the Newton connection.


Griffo's almost printed. Two more sections to go, the first & last. I'm looking forward to getting into the binding work. Remind me I said that...