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Rauner Special Collections Library6065 Webster Hall, Hanover, NH 03755-3519 USATelephone: 603-646-0538, Fax:

Guide to the Papers of Ray Nash, 1736 - 1970

Manuscript MS-1076

Biography & History


Ray Nash was an emeritus professor of art at Dartmouth College as well as a book designer, calligrapher and historian of graphic design. He was born in Oregon and graduated from the University of Oregon in 1928 and later received an M.A. from Harvard University in 1947 as well as an honorary Masters from Dartmouth in 1949. After college he worked as a newspaper reporter for several years and began teaching at Dartmouth in 1937 as a lecturer in art. He became an assistant professor in 1941 and a professor in 1949. In 1960, he became the Director of Dartmouth Publications. He retired in 1970.

Outside of the Dartmouth community, Nash was active in printing scholarship. He served as a consultant on the subject of printing and published the works "Calligraphy and Printing in the Sixteenth Century" and "American Penmanship, 1800-1850". He founded the magazine, "Print" and served as the editor of the quarterly, "Printing and Graphic Arts" and wrote the entry for the Encyclopedia Britannica on calligraphy. Nash also served as printing advisor in the 1940's to the Boston and Maine Railroad, helping to improve the design of their timetables. Nash was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was an honorary member of the American Institute of Graphic Arts as well as a recipient of their gold medal. Additionally, Nash held an honorary doctorate from New England College and the Belgian Order of Leopald. Nash also studied Flemish Art in Belgium, and later became an advisor to the Plantin-Moreus Museum, Antwerp.

Ray Nash ran the Graphic Arts Workshop at Dartmouth from 1937 until 1970. During his time as a professor at Dartmouth, Nash offered many courses related to the graphic arts and bibliography, including 'Books and Printing', 'The Art of the Book' and 'Prints and Printmaking'. In these courses, students submitted various projects that were designed to give them experience in printmaking techniques. Among Nash's students was Roderick Stinehour, founder of the Stinehour Press. Nash learned many of these techniques before coming to Dartmouth as a printer's assistant in Oregon in his youth. He also studied at Harvard in 1936 and 1937 under the guidance of Paul Sachs. Nash incorporated Sachs' experiential teaching style into his courses, having students actively engaged in hands-on print making rather than slide viewing and discussion.

Ray Nash died on May 28, 1982.