While working as a teenage copy boy at the New York Times in the late 1930s, Sheldon Wesson was introduced to the hobby of amateur journalism by Burton Crane. He quickly became an active letterpress printer and publisher in the National Amateur Press Association.
He met Helen Vivarttas, a leader of the American Amateur Press Association, at a gathering of local amateurs, and they soon began publishing Siamese Standpipe for both organizations. Helen and Wes were married shortly before he shipped out to fight in World War II. (He spent time in both the European and Japanese theaters.) The Wessons' flair for colorful printing and writing made their amateur papers among the best ever seen.
Professionally, he spent thirty years working for a variety of Fairchild Publication newspapers and was located in New York and Tokyo. He was director of press relations for the American Iron and Steel Institute for 13 years before his retirement in 1992. He died in January 1997.
Here are some selected Wesson essays that show his humor, letterpress expertise, and editorial skill:
Amateur journalism is a unique activity. Amateur journalists publish journals on paper & online & come from many perspectives: from deluxe letterpress printed journals, to Xeroxed newsletters, to artistically designed cards and ephemera. We embrace the spirit of being amateurs – loving what we do for pure joy and not financial gain – while creating top quality journals, zines, and homemade publications.