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Bill Jackson was born in Chickasha, Oklahoma on July 14, 1917. He attended the Kansas City Art Institute to learn drawing, where he took classes in painting with Thomas Hart Benton. He was working for Ted Hawkins in Oklahoma City when Hawkins heard about jobs at McCormick-Armstrong in Wichita, Kansas and got jobs for both of them. During World War II Jackson served in the United States Navy Reserve as a chief in the Seabees from 1942 to 1945. He married Elinor Wolf on November 21, 1941. They had two sons, Mike and Doug.
At McCormick-Armstrong Jackson worked as a staff artist and worked his up through the ranks to assistant director, ending by becoming the head of their typographical design department. He also worked at Wichita State University, designing some of their publications. He retired from Wichita State in 1982.
His interest in printing extended into his private life, and he started two private presses in his home and other locations in Wichita: the Four Ducks Press and the Groundhog Press. The Four Ducks name, quoting from Jackson himself "is from its geographical location: 2222 (i.e. four ducks in poker parlance) Rivera in Wichita, Kansas, USA." (Four Ducks Press, n.d.) His first publication from Four Ducks Press was Ladle Rat Rotten Hut, the story of Little Red Riding Hood told in other, but similar sounding words, written by H. L. Chace in 1940. This little book sets the tenor of the press, for most of his material is light-hearted and amusing, but serious in its pursuit of excellence.
Bill Jackson died September 30, 2003.
Jacque Roethler 2005
his collection is made up of the products of the printing life of Bill Jackson, including works from the Four Ducks Press as well as the Groundhog Press. Included are books, pamphlets, booklets, and brochures produced on letter press printers and linotypes, most with linoleum cuts by Jackson. Some contain calligraphy by Jackson. Most are bound by Jackson as well.
to Internet: September 2005
Publications of the Four Ducks Press
11 x 11 from A to Z at the 4DP
And Thus It Came To Pass That the Child Was Named . . .
Annual Report. The Four Ducks Press
1962. Two copies
1966 (The "High-on-the-Hog" Report)
The Ballad of Yukon Jake by Edward E. Paramore, Jr.
Bear This In Mind
The Behavior and Confession of William Disney, Esq.
Bill Jackson Had an Auto
Bill Jackson's Bibliographical Decameron
Bill Jackson's Calligraphic Autobiography
Bill "Vicious " Krause
Book Collection and the Search for Reality by Jack Matthews
Bygones by Ann Willoughby
Cat A Log
The Cats at the Printing House at the Sign of the Four Ducks. One with a slipcase
The Fabulous Iron Collection at the Printing House at the Sign of the Four Ducks
The Four Ducks Press
The Four Duck Press Forbal
From the London Evening News. From Jim Stewart, as a keepsake for the Arthur Machen Society
Half a Self Portrait by Wallis Menozzi
Harry Kurdian Reads a Paper to the Bibliophiles of Wichita on the Book Collection of Sir Alfred Chester Beatty
Indulgences. Miniature accordion book
The Iron Collection at the Four Ducks Press
Ladle Rat Rotten Hut
Box 2 Publications, cont.
Michelle, Toto & The Girls (cover only)
Milton Glaser, Max Schaible
The Model Five Linotype & the Four Ducks Press
My Life With Types
The National Library of Mexico by Senor Jovita Zubaran
A Newly Printed Treatise on the Type Catalog
A Note on Poetry by Arthur Machen. In three different bindings
"Oh, You're That Bastard That Does Those Books"
One Hundred Herbals
The Other Day I Was Shooting Pool with Fran Kentling. . .
"Our Lifes are Frittered Away with Details. . ."
The Pain and Suffering Explained by Bill Jackson Connected with His Most Recent Operation. Original calligraphy and watercolors
The Peabody Printing Museum
The R. T. Aitchison Collection of Old & Rare Books. Special Collections, Wichita State University
The R. T. Aitchison Collection of Vergil's Works at the University of Kansas Library
Ray Da Boll
Some Grand Old Men. One copy with a slip case, one with a dust jacket
Some Reminiscences by Harry Kurdian
Susan Kraft Died December 1, 1985
Those Golding Oldies at the Four Duck Press. In two different bindings
A True Story of the Revolting and Bloody Crimes of Sergeant Stanlas, U.S.A. Together with His Court-Martial and Execution, by Manly Wade and sent to the Bibliophiles Club of Wichita as a compensation for his not being able to attend the meeting. Includes a note from Wade about this; a booklet stapled in the center explaining this. Printed by Bill Jackson
A Type Book
WR (William Ransom)
The Young Lady From Niger
Publications of the Groundhog Press
Bill Jackson, Prop., The Groundhog Press, Sings His Swan Song
The Groundhog Press Portfolio of Portraits Proprietors of Prestigious Private Presses
Groundhog Press Outstanding Award
The One Great Love of My Life
The other day I was shooting Pool with Fran Kentling. . .
Presses not operated by Bill Jackson
Items from the Oriole Press with clippings about its proprietor, Joseph Ishill
Items from the Pigeonhole Press and correspondence with Ray Dilley, that press's proprietor
Lucky Dog. Creekside Press. Linoleum blocks and cover by Bill Jackson
9 Printers: An Exhibition of the Collected Works of Contemporary American Private Presses. January 18 through February 16, 1970, Wichita Art Association Galleries. The Four Ducks Press is one of the presses featured. Portfolio of 21 photographs from the exhibit.
"The Four Ducks Press (A Private Press Profile)." The Missouri Library Association Quarterly. December 1969. Between pages 324 and 325.
Jackson, Bill. "The Essence of Letters: The Father Catich Slates at Wichita State University." Letter Arts Review, Vol.12:No. 4, 1996
This is the Creative Agency. Brochure for McCormick-Armstrong Agency