Press Gang Printers

Identity area

Type of entity

Corporate body

Authorized form of name

Press Gang Printers

Parallel form(s) of name

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

Other form(s) of name

  • Press Gang Publishers Feminist Cooperative (1970 - 1989)

Identifiers for corporate bodies

Certificate of incorporation 93207

Description area

Dates of existence

1970 - 1993

History

Press Gang Printers was a feminist printing collective operating in Vancouver from 1970 to 1993. It incorporated under British Columbia's Companies Act as Press Gang Publishers Ltd. in April 1970. The organization included both women and men until 1974, when it was established as a women-only feminist collective.

Press Gang published its first book under its own imprint in 1976, a collection of essays entitled "I'm Not Mad, I'm Angry: Women Look at Psychiatry." Over the years, printing and publishing activities increasingly diverged, and in 1982 Press Gang established a separate collective to manage the publishing operations. In 1989 the separation was completed when the two collectives formally became distinct legal and corporate entities, Press Gang Printers Ltd. and Press Gang Publishers Feminist Cooperative. The two organizations, however, remained closely associated and continued to operate out of the same premises -- 603 Powell Street, where the shop was established in 1978, after four years in its previous location at 821 East Hastings Street.

Politics were central to Press Gang Printers' mandate. It was an active participant in North American feminist networks, including the British Columbia Federation of Women (BCFW). It provided training and opportunities for women in a trade traditionally dominated by men, and it participated in the labour movement, particularly after 1989 when the collective unionized, joining the Communications Workers of America, Local 226. Press Gang maintained a policy of rejecting material deemed sexist or racist. Its clients were primarily local feminist, radical, activist and community groups, and, especially in the early years, it often printed material that mainstream shops would not accept.

Throughout its existence Press Gang Printers remained a collective, though its organizational structure evolved as it shifted from volunteer to paid labour, with increasing specialization and professionalism, and unionization. During the late 1980s changes in printing technology, free trade, the restructuring of the print industry, and growing competition from larger print shops created an increasingly difficult business environment. The collective survived a fiscal crisis in 1992, but in 1993, under a debt load greater than the total value of the company, Press Gang Printers was forced to cease operations.

Articles and other materials relating to Press Gang Printers' history are included in the appendix to this finding aid (hard copy version only, available in the Archives Reading Room).

Places

Legal status

Functions, occupations and activities

Mandates/sources of authority

Internal structures/genealogy

General context

Relationships area

Related entity

Press Gang Publishers (1989 - )

Identifier of the related entity

Category of the relationship

temporal

Dates of the relationship

1989 -

Description of relationship

Press Gang Printers transferred function to Press Gang Publishers: Publishing.

Related entity

British Columbia Federation of Women (1974 - 1989)

Identifier of the related entity

Category of the relationship

associative

Dates of the relationship

1998 - 2003-3-28

Description of relationship

Press Gang Printers associated with British Columbia Federation of Women

Control area

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Institution identifier

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

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Maintenance notes