Zephyrus Image Collection

Ref: Special Collection
Title: Zephyrus Image Collection

Scope: A developing collection of works from the San Francisco based press of Zephyrus Image.

Dates: c. 1970-1982
Extent: over 150 items

Administrative/biographical history:
Zephyrus Image was a most unique press that formed in the early 1970s by Holbrook Teter and Michael Myers. Teter was an intellectual, a master printer, activist and social worker with an opposite personality to his partner in high jinx, Michael Myers. Myers was a shy, bespectacled, alcoholic free-spirited fine artist who produced superlative linocuts and whose passions ran deep, especially for lampooning and satirising conservative “pinheads” in public office. Together, Teter and Myers produced ephemeral works of technical mastery responding to events as quickly as they happened and getting their work direct to the people on the streets. Most of their output was given away – they were unconcerned with legacy or profit.

Zephyrus Image operated during a fascinating period of American history. Richard Nixon was president, Ronald Reagan was the governor of California, the Vietnam war was happening, there were social revolutions blossoming: women’s lib, gay rights and greater environmental awareness. Zephyrus was there to comment on it all.

The collection here at Sheffield represents the broad range of the press’s activism from Watergate to Kent State. In early May 1970, in response to Nixon’s announcement that more troupes were to be sent to support the Vietnam war, masses of students at many universities protested. At Kent State University in Ohio, nine National Guardsmen opened fire and killed four students. The Kent State Creative Arts Festival was first organised in 1973 as a result of the killings and Zephyrus Image supported it by printing a folder of nine poetry broadsides. One of those broadsides, The Waltz, by the band Devo, which had formed at Kent State the year before, could well be the first of their lyrics to appear in print. Ed Dorn was teaching Kent State at the time and helped to organise the event which is probably why Zephyrus became involved.

The collection also includes some of the work they produced with poets and writers, including their unique collaborations with Tom Raworth and Ed Dorn, and with the avant-garde film-maker Stan Brakhage.

The collection is very much a work in progress and will be added to over time.

  • Related collections: Small Press Poetry Collection, Small Press Poetry Broadside Collection, Private Presses Collection
  • Source: By donation and purchase from various sources
  • System of arrangement: Numerical
  • Subjects: Artists’ Books; Poetry – 20th century; Letterpress printing; Linocuts – United States – 20th century.
  • Conditions of access: Available to all researchers, by appointment
  • Restrictions: No restrictions
  • Copyright: According to document
  • Finding aids: Listed and catalogued