I’m embarassed to admit that we have 2 Hatch posters rolled up in a tube at home. It wasn’t until I personally experienced the history and craftsmanship of each poster’s production that I realized why my husband had been so enthusiastic about this artwork, brought home years ago.

Hatch Show Print is a working letterpress print shop, located at 316 Broadway in Nashville, TN. It was founded by brothers CR and HH Hatch in 1879. Their first print job was a handbill announcing the appearance of Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, brother of famed abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Hatch’s current niche has been it’s dedication to the production of show posters.  Will T. Hatch was the last family manager, and in 1952 he left a legacy of woodblock images that helped define the look of country music.

My colleague and I visited the small store, and were thrilled to be invited to view the back of the production shop. Jim Sherraden, the manager, curator, and lead designer of Hatch Show Print, was more than happy to take some time to give us a tour. Like a trip through time, the wood blocks were being coated with ink, and the poster paper hand-cranked through the old letterpress, applying one color at a time.  The walls were filled with old bookcases, stacked past capacity with woodblocks and type plates. The unique smell of letterpress ink permeated the air.  We were enthralled.

The front of the store is very simple, with posters from past performances taped idly to the walls.

Next week, my rolled-up posters will be framed and hung, the only deserving tribute for such pieces of American art.

via: countymusichalloffame.org. photos by scott rink