The Soybean Press is a cooperative effort of The Rare Book & Manuscript Library, The School of Art + Design, and The Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign). Founded in 2007, The Soybean Press works through classes, workshops, and seminars to expand awareness and knowledge of printing and bookmaking, with particular emphasis on the teaching and promotion of letterpress printing. Central to our work are collaborative projects within the university and with artists and printers of national and international status.

We teach the traditional art of printing, while incorporating digital technology and other contemporary approaches to print-making and printing, an approach that leads to innovative new forms and formats. We work on iron hand presses, mid-century letterpresses, and with a variety of print techniques. What we print is as important as how we print. Collaborative productions with such authors as Audrey Niffenegger (The Time Traveller’s Wife) and W.S. Merwin (poet laurate of the U.S.) bestow an originality, vivacity and immediacy to the work of the Soybean Press. We have also partnered with the Combat Paper Initiative to print reflective work by returning veterans.

The Press participates in the Youth Literature Festival, held regularly at the University of Illinois and has recently started collaborating with the Montage Arts Journal on an annual prize for undergraduate student writers. In 2011, the Soybean Press began a collaboration with the Creative Writing Department to print broadsides for the Carr Reading Series. Events related to the press will be advertised here as well as on the Soybean Press email list.

Soybean Press is an important part of the curriculum of the Midwest Book & Manuscript Studies program at GSLIS which trains special collections librarians. It also offers public programming events for the Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Curriculum connections to the School of Art + Design have been made and there are plans to develop a more formal sequence in printing and the book arts. We are taking the traditional art of printing in new directions by bringing art, design, printing, and creative writing together in synergistic ways.

Contribute to the Soybean Press by volunteering or making a donation.

Soybean Press:

Noble Hall Basement

1209 S. Fourth St.

Champaign, IL, 61820


The Rare Book & Manuscript Library

University of Illinois Library, Room 346

1408 West Gregory Drive

Urbana, Illinois 61801

Phone: (217)333-3777

To join to our mailing list please email: dsears@illinois.edu

The Soybean Press is the core institution of the Illinois Book Arts Collaborative. See our About.

Check out the University of Illinois sustainable paper makers at the Fresh Press.

The Soybean Press has partnered with the undergraduate students arts journal Montage to award one student annually with a fine press edition of their work.

Spineless Books will be working on projects with the Soybean Press as of Spring 2012.

Robert Chapman is a local papermaker and letterpress artist.

Illini Union Bookstore

The publications of the Soybean Press will soon be available through the website of the Illini Union Bookstore.

The Soybean Press is a collaborative endeavor of the School of Art & Design, the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, and the Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

For more information please email mstrombe@illinois.edu