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Coach House Press fonds. - 1965-1991. - 90 m of textual record and graphic material.

Administrative History

Considered one of the leading small press publishers in Canada for its finely-crafted books, the Coach House Press was founded in 1965 by printer, Stan Bevington, and editor, Wayne Clifford. Clifford was succeeded by Victor Coleman in 1966 who remained editor until 1974. In its formative years (1965 to 1975), Coach House was a cohesive printing and publishing unit, publishing innovative and activist open-form writers from the United States and Canada in a style characterized by hand-set type and multi-coloured offset printing. In 1974, the single literary editor was replaced by an editorial board consisting of Coach House writers and other members of the staff (Stan Bevington; writers bp Nichol, Michael Ondaatje, Frank Davey, David Young; graphic artist Rick/Simon; and writers' agent, Linda McCartney). During the 1974-1988 period, the press expanded its scope to publish established writers, such as D.G. Jones, Louis Dudek, Eli Mandel, Dorothy Livesay, Robert Kroetsch, Phyllis Webb, as well as, emerging writers. Diverse titles produced include textbooks, such as Ondaatje's The Long Poem Anthology (1979) and Bowering's Fiction of Contemporary Canada (1980), various titles on the history of Canadian photography and architecture and a Quebec translation series of works by Ferron, Brossard, and others.

Photo of Coach House Press staff

Poster showing off Coach House Press staff.

In 1987, the publishing side of the operation was sold to the editorial board. Eventually, a limited company was formed to acquire the press from Bevington and the publishing house was reorganized to function as a more mainstream and profitable enterprise. Due to generous government subsidies in the early 1990s, the new Coach House prospered. Its titles were commercially designed and printed, with distribution by McClelland & Stewart. But, by the mid-1990s Coach House was affected by changes in the Canadian book industry and by reduced funding. In 1996, the directors of Coach House voted to dissolve the Press's operations and return all copyrights to its authors.

In January 1997, Stan Bevington launched Coach House Books. The Internet-based Coach House Books publishes Canadian poetry, experimental fiction, artist books and drama in the finely designed and crafted small press tradition. Coach House Books is redefining the concept of publishing by offering texts, in their entirety, online through their Web site (, as well as, digital ephemera and other projects which present a digital spin on the Coach House tradition.

Scope and Content

The Coach House Press fonds is central to the study of the small press in Canada. The fonds includes correspondence, submitted manuscripts, financial records, production dockets, and samples of books, posters, publicity and memorabilia. The fonds also includes material related to Victor Coleman, Island Press, Stan Bevington, Bevington Graphics and Rochdale College. The Nicky Drumbolis collection of Coach House Press imprints supplements the Coach House Press fonds and includes 2 380 items: pamphlets, leaflets, broadsides, private issues, postcards, playing cards, Christmas cards, promotional material, press ephemera, manuscript material, recordings, books distributed by Coach House Press, publications with Coach House contributions, vanity publications and publications by presses associated with Coach House Press.

Immediate Source of Acquisition: acquired from Coach House Press in four instalments and from Nicky Drumbolis in 1992. [1986-04, 1987-13, 1992-07, 1996-12, 1992-06]

Language: material in the fonds is in English.

Restrictions: none.

Finding Aid: finding aid available for first accession.

Related Records Different Fonds: Victor Coleman fonds0198 [1992-24].

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