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Scott Vile has been printing since the age of 15 when he discovered the Graphic Arts Department at his high school in Glen Ridge, NJ. Starting out with a Compugraphic typsetting system and a Heidelberg GTO (it was a rather progressive school; the metal type had been removed a few years before) he learned the black art from Vincent Timpanaro, who retired in 2018 after teaching for 50 years at the same school.
Upon graduation from high school, Scott entered the Rochester Institute of Technology in the four-year program in Printing. One of the classes was the History of the Book, held in the Melbert B. Cary Memorial Library. It was there that he began to be exposed to the intracies of book design, typography, and the “book beautiful.”
Though Scott graduated with a career in screen printing in mind, it was not long before the acquisition of letterpress equiment began, as at that time it was plentiful and inexpensive. The first Vandercook was brought into his mother’s living room in 1984. Then the accumulation of hot meal type started. It was not many years after that he landed at the Anthoensen Press in Portland, ME, a highly respected scholarly press. Unfortunately after three years the press closed, due to another unsuccessful transition from hot type to cold, and Scott started his own business printing in Portland.
Acquiring the Shagbark Press in 1992, he then was able to serve all of the clients of the Anthoensen and Shagbark presses. At the same time, Scott was learning from the old masters of the trade in New England: Fred Anthoensen, Bruce Rogers, W.A. Dwiggins, and Daniel Berkeley Updike. It was Updike who accomplished “common work uncommonly well” and that has been one of the tenets of the Ascensius Press.
In 2017 Scott merged with Firefly Press of Boston, and moved all of the equipment into a 4,000 square foot building in Bar Mills, Maine. Soon the press also brought in the Monotype casting equipment and presses from Sun Hill Press, owned by retiring Darrell Hyder.
Scott is a 28-year member of the Society of Printers, a 15-year member of the Club of Odd Volumes, a 301year member of Portland’s Baxter Society (and President for five years) and a lapsed member of the Grolier Club. He is currently Printer to the Club of Odd Volumes, a position held in its 132-year history by only five previous members.