Snail's Pace Press Ephemera Collection
Scope and Contents
The collection consists chiefly of printed ephemera of the Snail's Pace Press, including pamphlets of Greek and Roman texts, college examinations, certificates, light verse, and holiday greetings. The majority of the items are merely duplicate copies of specimens catalogued in the Amherst College Library, most especially gathered in a scrapbook entitled Snail's Pace Press, Established 1922. Also included in the collection is a small amount of correspondence of Fobes and others regarding the Press, and a biographical remembrance of Fobes by Arthur Stanley Pease.
- Creation: 1922 - 1963
- Creation: Majority of material found within 1924 - 1957
- Snail's Pace Press (Organization)
Conditions Governing Access
There is no restriction on access to the Snail's Pace Press Ephemera Collection for research use. Particularly fragile items are restricted for preservation purposes. This collection is housed in off-site storage and requires advance notice before use. Please contact Archives and Special Collections.
Conditions Governing Use
Requests for permission to publish material from the collection should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.
Biographical / Historical
Professor Francis H. Fobes (1881-1957) founded the Snail's Pace Press at Amherst College in 1922. Fobes, who attended Phillips Andover Academy, Harvard University (M.A. 1904, Ph.D 1912), and Oxford University, taught Greek and Latin, first at Harvard and then at Union College before joining the faculty at Amherst College in 1920. He became an emeritus professor of Classics in 1948. Fobes died in 1957. Fobes' avocations included clocks, kites, genealogy, and printing. In the basement of Morris Pratt Hall (a college dormitory where he also lived for most of his years at Amherst), he set up an antique hand press, which he used to produce pamphlets on handmade Italian paper. The snail device of the Press reflected the slow, casual pace of Fobes' work, which he conducted purely as a hobby rather than a commercial venture. The earliest pamphlets he printed were lectures given by his academic colleagues; he also printed Greek examinations for his Amherst College classes, as well as literary translations, poems (including light verse), certificates, and holiday greetings. One of the Press's earliest publications was Abu Ben Aladdin: A Just-So Night, a lecture by John N. Vedder of Union College. Fobes designed his own Greek font which he called "Benner Greek," named after his teacher at Andover, Allen Rogers Benner, which was intended to emulate the miniscule Greek script of the ninth and tenth centuries. Fobes printed several booklets using this font. In accordance with his wishes, the hand press used by Fobes was given to Dartmouth College upon his death.
0.25 Linear feet (1 half archives box)
Language of Materials
Chiefly printed ephemera of Francis H. Fobes' Snail's Pace Press, including pamphlets of Greek and Roman texts, college examinations, certificates, light verse, and holiday greetings. Also, a small amount of correspondence of Fobes and others regarding the Press, and a biographical remembrance of Fobes.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection appears to have been compiled from various sources at different times, including Francis Fobes and Amherst College Librarian Newton F. McKeon.
- Peter A. Nelson
- Language of description
- Script of description