The collection consists of diaries, scrapbooks, correspondence, business records, printing specimens, publications, and other
materials created or collected by the printer Nelson C. Hawks between the years 1855 and 1918. Papers document Hawks' childhood;
his religious education and observances as a devout Episcopalian; his work as a job printer in Delafield and Milwaukee, Wisconsin;
the 1874 establishment of the Pacific Type Foundry in San Francisco; the history of the point system for sizing types, first
introduced by Hawks at the Pacific Type Foundry around 1878; and the business operations of the Pacific Type Foundry, Marder,
Luse, & Co., Palmer & Rey, and other printing firms with which Hawks was associated. Also included in the collection is a
portrait of Hawks, dated from the 1870s.
Nelson C. Hawks was a San Francisco printer and originator of the American point system for type sizing. He was born in Milwaukee,
Wisconsin, on August 21, 1840, grew up in nearby Delafield, and worked as a printer's apprentice in Waukesha. At the age of
sixteen, Hawks began publication of the newspaper, the
Young American, in Delafield; a few years later, he started the
Free Press in Oconomowoc. Beginning in 1865, he worked as a job printer in Milwaukee, patenting Hawk's Iron Stand, a composing stand,
in 1869. Hawks moved to San Francisco in 1874 in order to set up and manage the Pacific Type Foundry as an agent of the Chicago
firm Marder, Luse & Co. In 1874, Hawks also started the
Pacific Specimen, the Pacific Type Foundry's well-regarded typographical journal.
7 flat boxes, 1 slipcase (3.3 linear feet)
All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Director
of Library and Archives, North Baker Research Library, California Historical Society, 678 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA
94105. Consent is given on behalf of the California Historical Society as the owner of the physical items and is not intended
to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner. Restrictions
also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational
Collection is open for research.