Print Worcester Logo

Just before the Battle of Lexington in April, 1775, Isaiah Thomas moved his press and types from Boston to Worcester, where he continued to print The Massachusetts Spy, which promoted the patriot cause. From this illustrious beginning, the printing industry in Worcester County grew, with many local newspapers, and with book and pamphlet printing throughout the 1800s. For much of the 20th Century, specialized companies such as Woodbury and Whitney found markets for their products, and book and envelope printing companies thrived.

The printing industry provided jobs for thousands of people. 
A Documentary Heritage Project sponsored by: 
Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, William Francis Galvin; Massachusetts Historical Records Advisory Board, National Historical Publications and Records Commission

The printing companies listed in the "Survey" part of this web site are those for which historical company materials were found during this project. Many large and/or important printing companies of Worcester County are not listed in the "Survey" part of the web site because no historical company materials were located.

The "Survey" part of the site is organized by location, beginning with Worcester and including other towns or cities in Worcester County where company materials were found.

Brief histories of the companies are provided where possible. Click on the company or person's name to see this history, or scroll through the list of histories. 

The "Other Resources" part of the web site lists other places where more information about the printing industry in general or in Worcester County may be found. Also, many city and town libraries have histories of their towns which have historical information about local printing companies. 

We hope this project will generate further documenting of the printing industry in Worcester County. Please contact us if you know of company materials which are not listed here. 

Project Description

The University Archives & Special Collections, a department of the George C. Gordon Library, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), received a Documentary Heritage Project (DHP) grant from the Massachusetts Historical Records Advisory Board (MHRAB) to fund a collaborative project to survey the existing archival resources available on the history of Worcester's printing industry. The project concentrated on business records and manuscript collections relating to the printing industry in the City of Worcester and surrounding areas. The project covered the period from the 18th through the 20th centuries and took one year to complete. 

The project involved three phases: (Phase I) planning, (Phase II) surveying of resources, and (Phase III) publishing and presenting findings. The University Archives organized an advisory committee to assist in the planning of the project. The committee was comprised of representatives from the American Antiquarian Society, the College of Holy Cross Archives, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Clinton (Mass.) Historical Society, WPI’s Humanities and Arts department, and George C. Gordon Library. 

The University Archives headed the effort to survey the resources. This involved contacting archives, historical societies, museums, corporate organizations, and private collections. When possible, project personnel conducted site visits to review the materials. The collected information was recorded and compiled into an archival guide. The guide is being published online and made available through Gordon Library’s website. The guide will be also published in print and made available to interested researchers and local repositories at no charge. The University Archives will list collection information on the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC). 

The University Archives will organize a colloquium at WPI to present the project’s findings. The colloquium will be free and open to the public. The project will be presented at professional archival and historical associations in New England. A final report will be submitted to MHRAB. It will include a summary of the project, its findings, and recommendations. 

Project Personnel

  • Margaret Anderson, Project Archivist & WPI Assistant Archivist

Advsiory Board

  • Lora Brueck, WPI George C. Gordon Library
  • Jim Hanlan, WPI Humanities & Arts
  • Terry Ingano, Clinton Historical Society
  • George LaBonte, Worcester Telegram & Gazette Library
  • Kent Ljungquist, WPI Humanities & Arts
  • Mark Savolis, College of Holy Cross Archives