By Joseph Ishill
During a recent weekend stay in Madison, Wisconsin, I visited the University of Wisconsin Library and there inquired about its holdings of books or pamphlets by Joseph Ishill, the great independent, small publisher of so many literary works. I discovered the library had four items, only three of which they could find at the moment. After looking through them I was reminded what a fine printer Mr. Ishill was. One of the items they had in their collection was a copy of a book on Peter Kropotkin. After reading through it, I asked to have copies of the book’s foreward, written by Mr. Ishill, e-mailed to me and I have typeset, printed and bound that text in a new booklet. Mr. Ishill’s book was dedicated to the great Russian anarchist; my booklet is dedicated to Mr. Ishill himself. It is one of the items about this obscure American private press printer/publisher that I have issued over the years. Others include Joseph Ishill issue of the dandelion magazine and I Have Remained A Poor Devil. As a member of the American Amateur Press Association, I regularly send copies of items I publish to members of the organization. This time I printed a few extra of this booklet because of the interest others have shown in Mr. Ishill and his works. A limited number of them remain.
For an insight into Mr. Ishill’s motivation, I extract a short quote: “This book, as it appears may be criticised by some as an egotistic venture or as the effort of a well-financed individual or group, because of its limited number of copies and its uncommercial form. The fact remains that it is the exclusive expression of a proletarian; neither group nor individual has financed this work. It was accomplished solely through the effort and will of the writer.”