63-73 Main Street | American Building

  • <p>American Building- Downtown Brattleboro- early 1900's A National Historic Place, part of the Brattleboro Historic District</p>

Play Audio

  • Early Reformer, with commentary by John R. Hooper

  • Vermont Printing Company, with commentary by John R. Hooper

  • The Stephen Daye Press, with commentary by John R. Hooper

  • Brattleboro Reformer & Norm Runnion - with Randy Holhut

About

The Brattleboro Daily Reformer, Vermont Printing Company, and Stephen Daye Press grew into successful printing and publishing businesses while located in The American Building. Built in 1907, the building is named after the American Hotel it replaced. The Reformer was launched in 1876 to provide an alternative voice to the Republican bias of The Vermont Phoenix. In 1903 Ephraim Crane bought the Reformer and its printing plant and also started the Vermont Printing Company, which published the paper from 1903-13. The Vermont Printing Company was established to expand into commercial printing on a larger scale. Their largest “local” customer was the Holstein Association, a global enterprise located in Brattleboro. In the early 1960s, sales had grown to a million dollars and, with employment approaching 80, it was the largest employer in town at the time. In early 1931, Vermont Printing Company decided to diversify into publishing. The Stephen Daye Press was created, named after the first printer in the British Colonies. When John and Marion Hooper took over the press, they set up an office in The American Building, where they developed a strategy to build Stephen Daye Press by accentuating New England values and themes as well as trade in nostalgia, alternative lifestyles, and uplifting material. On December 7, 1941, America’s entry into World War II altered the trajectory for Stephen Day Press. John joined the Navy and Marion took work at the Brattleboro Milk Plant, making dairy products for the troops. The Stephen Daye Press imprint was sold on December 1, 1942, to a New York City publisher. A collection of over 100 books published by Stephen Daye Press, donated by the Hooper family, is available at Brooks Memorial Library in Brattleboro.

Tour Stop Location: American Building, 63 - 73 Main Street, Downtown Brattleboro

73 Main Street, Brattleboro, Vermont 05301, United States

Research & Production

Audio Production: Sally Seymour
Production Assistance: Lissa Weinmann
Narration: John R. Hooper
Commentator: Randy Holhut

Ongoing Development and Involvement:
As a community-created project, we encourage ongoing dialogue, questions, and engagement. If you would like to be involved in future developments, have information or a perspective that could deepen others' understanding of this topic, please contact us.

Photos

  • <p>Brattleboro Reformer publisher Howard C. Rice presses the button to start a test run on a new Duplex Tubular press prior to the regular run of the daily newspaper. At left is Paul Hescock, assistant pressman, who will be in charge of the new press. Between them stands veteran pressman Harold Jennings, who for 32 years was responsible for getting out The Reformer six days a week on the old flat-bed press. (Oct. 1, 1954, Brattleboro Reformer Harold Asbury photo courtesy of the Brattleboro Historical Society)</p>
  • <p>Stephen Daye Press staff (l. to r. Sam Lincoln, John S. Hooper, Marion R. Hooper, and Ruth Hard review photographs for “Life Along the Connecticut River,” one of the first so-called coffee-table books, published in 1939. (Hooper family photo)</p>
  • <p>Vermont Printing Company employees gather in front of The American Building Annex. Founder and president Ephraim Crane is in the front row, far right. (Crane/Irish family photo)</p>
  • <p>Howard C. Rice, founder and long-time publisher of The Brattleboro Daily Reformer, around the time he was in the Vermont General Assembly, circa 1933-45. (Rice family photo)</p>
  • <p>Brattleboro Reformer Editor John S. Hooper removes the folded and collated daily edition from the press. (Brattleboro Reformer photo courtesy of the Brattleboro Historical Society)</p>
  • <p>Ephraim H. Crane, founder and long-time owner of The Vermont Printing Co. (Crane/Irish family photo)</p>