Collection MsC-41 - Jim Rimmer collection

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Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Jim Rimmer collection

General material designation

  • Textual records
  • Graphic materials
  • Artefacts

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Title notes

  • Source of title proper: Title of collection is based on the provenance of the records.

Level of description


Reference code


Edition area

Edition statement

Edition statement of responsibility

Class of material specific details area

Statement of scale (cartographic)

Statement of projection (cartographic)

Statement of coordinates (cartographic)

Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1930-2012, predominant 1960-2010 (Creation)
    Rimmer, Jim

Physical description area

Physical description

1.86 m of textual records and other material

Publisher's series area

Title proper of publisher's series

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Jim Rimmer was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1934. In 1950, he undertook a six-year apprenticeship with local printer and publisher J.W. Boyd and Sons. He subsequently worked for seven years as a journeyman compositor for several BC newspapers, including the Vancouver Province, Vancouver Sun, and the Williams Lake Tribune. From 1972 to 1999, Rimmer ran a freelance design office, working as an illustrator, graphic designer, and type designer; some of his more notable commercial designs include the logo for Canadian Pacific Airlines, and the provincial mark for British Columbia.

Rimmer designed and cut his first typeface, Juliana Old Style, in 1980. In the years following, he designed and produced numerous faces in both metal and digital format, including proprietary fonts and typeface revivals. For several years during the 1980s Rimmer worked with Giampa Text Ware, operated by Gerald Giampa. Rimmer designed digital type fonts with this firm and its successor, Lanston Type Company. He was an active member of the American Typecasting Fellowship beginning in 1984, and founded the Rimmer Type Foundry in 1998.

In 1974, Rimmer founded Pie Tree Press, named after an old apple tree in his backyard, the fruit of which was used to make pies. As Pie Tree Press, Rimmer printed numerous broadsides and books, including Alison’s Fishing Birds, commissioned by Colophon Books. He subsequently produced four major limited edition publications, for which he did the typesetting, illustrations and book-binding: Shadow River: the Selected and Illustrated Poems of Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake) (1997), A Christmas Carol (1998), Leaves from the Pie Tree (2006), an autobiographical work including “how-to” knowledge, and Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (2008). Rimmer was working on the design of the ‘Dubloon’ typeface for a fifth book, Treasure Island, at the time of his death (this font will be released as the “Rimmer” typeface).

Over the course of his career, Rimmer taught drawing and typography classes at many local colleges and universities, including the Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design, Capilano College, Kwantlen College, Simon Fraser University, and the University College of the Fraser Valley. He also held workshops in hand-setting, printing, and book-binding. Rimmer’s work earned him awards from the Creative Club, Graphic Designers of Canada, Art Direction Creativity in Illustration, and the American Typecasting Fellowship. A series of broadsides designed for Westgraphica, now Karo, earned him the “Communication Arts Award of Excellence” in the self-promotion class. “Rimmerfest : An Evening to Celebrate Jim Rimmer and His Many Contributions” took place on November 25, 2006; the event was organized by Simon Fraser University Library. In 2007, Rimmer was made a fellow of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada.

Jim Rimmer passed away in New Westminster on January 8, 2010.

Custodial history

Records acquired during the first accession and described in 2006 were maintained by Rimmer at his New Westminster, British Columbia studio until their sale to various Canadian booksellers. Subsequent records were acquired from various sources. A final accession of records from the Jim Rimmer estate occurred in 2011; these records were transferred directly from Rimmer’s studio to Simon Fraser University Library.

Scope and content

The collection reflects Rimmer’s career as a designer, illustrator, printer, and publisher, and his involvement with members of the printing community and various associations. Records document Rimmer’s graphic design, typeface design and printing processes and accomplishments, and the publication activities of Pie Tree Press. The extensive graphic material within the collection includes sketches, drawings and prints. Also included are Rimmer’s linocut and woodcut blocks, as well as master patterns, specimen castings, matrices, lead working patterns, and cast metal sorts for many of his metal typefaces. The collection is arranged into nine series: Correspondence (1930-2010, predominant 1978-2010); Subject files (1938, 1956-[2009?]); Pie Tree Press publications and related material ([ca. 1978-2009]); Typeface design ([1971-2010]); Commercial work (1960-2009); Art prints and illustrations ([1970-2010]); Promotional and advertisement material ([197-?]-2008); Works by others regarding Jim Rimmer (1982-2012); and General photographs (1961-2002).

Notes area

Physical condition

Some records are foxed, dirty, torn, or have adhesive residue. The records have been cleaned where possible, and interleaved with buffered paper

Immediate source of acquisition

With the exception of select items donated directly by the creator, records acquired prior to 2006 were purchased by Simon Fraser University Special Collections and Rare Books from Purpora Books (Vancouver) in 2005, MacLeod’s Books (Vancouver), Aquila Books (Calgary) and Gallery 18 (New London, Prince Edward Island). Records acquired in 2006 and later originate from Rimmer and various other sources, for example colleagues and friends of Rimmer, and include material created for Rimmerfest in 2006. A final accession of records from Rimmer’s estate occurred in 2011.


Where no original order existed, arrangement was determined by the archivist.

Language of material

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Reproduction of material subject to approval by the Head Librarian, Special Collections.

Finding aids

File level and some item level descriptions are available. A box-file list is also available.

Generated finding aid

Associated materials

Associated material: Other records related to Pie Tree Press are located in the Fireweed Press fonds at the University of Victoria Special Collections.
Related records in other fonds: Various broadsides published in limited edition by
Colophon Books, set and illustrated by Jim Rimmer of Pie Tree Press can be found in the Jim McIntosh fonds (MsC 89). Editorial cartoons by Rimmer are located in the Editorial Cartoons Collection (MsC 25). Additional material produced by Rimmer while working for Lanston Type Foundry may be found in the Gerald Giampa fonds.

Related materials


Further accruals are expected.

General note

The Simon Fraser University Special Collections and Rare Books classification number for Rimmer is MsC 41.

Physical description

Includes .71 m of graphic material, 421 drawings, 216 prints, 133 broadsides, 209 photographs, 274 linocut blocks, 13 linocuts, 21 woodcut blocks, 3 master patterns, 646 cards, ca. 8,500 objects, 7 posters, 3 paintings, 2 sketchbooks, 3 calendars, 1 certificate, 182 computer disks, 3 CD-ROMs, 1 zip disk, 6 audio discs, 1 optical disc, 2 labels, 3 banners, 1 lithograph, 4 invitations, 9 tickets and 1 envelope.


Several records were treated by Rutherford Book and Paper Restoration in 2006 to remove residue of spray adhesive and pressure-sensitive tape, and card adhesive residue. Treated items are marked as such on the verso, as TM (manual treatment), TS (treatments with ethyl acetate solvent) or TMS (both manual and solvent treatment). Cuts in one item were also repaired.


Several records were treated by Rutherford Book and Paper Restoration in 2006 to remove residue of spray adhesive and pressure-sensitive tape, and card adhesive residue. Treated items are marked as such on the verso, as TM (manual treatment), TS (treatments with ethyl acetate solvent) or TMS (both manual and solvent treatment). Cuts in one item were also repaired.

Alternative identifier(s)

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Rules for Archival Description



Level of detail


Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created May 28, 2014, LZ

Language of description

  • English

Script of description


Digital object (Master) rights area

Digital object (Reference) rights area

Digital object (Thumbnail) rights area

Accession area

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