Fonds F-134 - Press Gang Printers fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Press Gang Printers fonds

General material designation

  • Graphic materials
  • Artefacts
  • Photographic materials
  • Textual records

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  • Source of title proper: Title of the fonds is based on the name of its creator.

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  • 1970 - 1993 (Creation)
    Press Gang Printers

Physical description area

Physical description

4.09 m of textual records and other material

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(1970 - 1993)

Administrative 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).

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists primarily of records relating to the business activities of Press Gang Printers; it also includes some records arising from the collective's participation in the British Columbia Federation of Women. Activities and events documented include incorporation, the evolution of Press Gang's organizational structure, and the separation of the printing and publishing operations; collective and committee meetings; administration and unionization; financial management, grant and loan applications, and fundraising; liaison with other organizations in the women's movement and in other social movements; production and press work; marketing and promotion; and the financial difficulties leading to the closure of Press Gang in 1993.

Record types includes articles of incorporation; correspondence and reports; meeting agendas, minutes and supporting papers; collective agreements; photographs; ledgers, financial statements, income tax returns, and annual reports; printing samples (newsletters, newspapers, leaflets, brochures, posters, cards and other graphical material); production logbooks and customer accounts; and a Press Gang quilt.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The records were donated to the Simon Fraser University Archives by Press Gang Printers in 2002.


The material was arranged by the archivist, following the main file groupings established by the records creator.

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Restrictions on access

Some files may contain personal or confidential information. Access to these files may be restricted as stipulated by Archives policy or the donor. Files marked 'pending review' must be reviewed by an archivist prior to release, and as a result of the review access restrictions may apply. Please see the file lists and consult the archivist for more details.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Finding aids

File and item lists are available. As of March 2006 all publications and newspapers originally listed as files have been described at the item level.

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

Generated finding aid

Associated materials

For material relating to the publishing collective (separated in 1989), see the finding aid to the Press Gang Publishers fonds (F-184).

Related materials


All accessions have been processed as of March 2006. No further accruals are expected.

General note


Fonds includes 2.32 m of textual records, 1.57 m of graphic material, 6.5 cm of photographic material (67 photographs, 10 negatives), 13 printing plates and 1 artifact (quilt).

Physical description: 15 photographs located in F-134-1-0-0-16
Physical description: 20 photographs located in F-134-1-0-0-17
Physical description: 15 photographs located in F-134-6-2-0-29
Physical description: 2 photographs located in F-134-6-4-0-32
Physical description: 1 photograph located in F-134-6-4-0-110
Physical description: 3 photographs located in F-134-6-4-0-124
Physical description: 2 photographs located in F-134-6-4-0-162
Physical description: 9 photographs located in F-134-6-4-0-145

General note

Financial assistance for the arrangement and description of the records and production of the finding aid was generously provided by the Government of Canada through the National Archives of Canada and the Canadian Council of Archives' Control of Holdings Program.

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Finding aid prepared by Richard Dancy, Frances Fournier, Enid Britt, Lisa Agosti (March 2004); updated by Lisa Beitel and Enid Britt (March 2006); items re-numbered (September 2012).

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