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[BKARTS] WOID #VIII-32. Obituary: Abe Lerner

Obituaries are like crossword puzzles: the easy ones aren't worth the effort. Most everybody in the world of typography knew Abe Lerner or knew about him, either as a book designer, a Director of Design and Production at MacMillan, a President Emeritus of Typophiles, a lecturer and lecturee at the Grolier Club, a collector of rare books and art, and a tireless friend.

Tireless is the operative word here. Abe was always crashing off in new directions, jumping off the deep end of the pool and joyfully thrashing about; he kept the Jewish immigrant's hope that culture was the realm of unlimited possibilities. He was rash enough to invest in the Orange Press, once - my first backer, I think. When last I spoke to Abe we talked about some obscure area of Classical Art - he admitted he'd gotten rid of his collection of books about printing because he wanted to branch off in another direction. At age 94.

What I'll remember most about him, though, is his stories: about organizing small-town printers one jump ahead of the Klan; or the day he got his big promotion as Director of Production but he couldn't shake hands because his were still covered in ink.

Abe Lerner, 1908-2002. Hands still covered in printer's ink.

Paul T Werner, New York

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