Each of the namesakes for our presses remind us that diligence and knowledge are the “metal” and force for change. These women have broadened the very definition of femininity. We look to them to help reinforce traditional and modern archetypes that should be available to everyone regardless of their gender.
In this blog series, we'll be sharing more information about each woman and the press that is named after them. Stay tuned for more!
New York native Augusta Lewis was orphaned shortly after her birth in 1848.
She was adopted by a Wall Street broker who made sure she was well educated, giving her private tutors and sending her to the Brooklyn Heights Seminary.
The family was hit hard, however, by the depression following the Civil War, and it became clear that Lewis would have to go to work. Shortly after finishing her education she entered the newspaper industry, working as a journalist, and learned typesetting as part of her training. Lewis wrote and worked for many publications including Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s suffragist paper The Revolution.
The gender pay gap existed then as it does now. Troup witnessed the low-cost labor of women being exploited during a male typesetters union strike and decided to create a women’s union. She started The Women’s Typographical Union (WTU) Local Number 1 when she was only 20 years old. It was the first trade union for women in New York City.
The following year Troup attended the International Typographical Union (ITU) conference. She successfully lobbied the all-male ITU to allow her WTU to join. Just two years after forming her union, she was elected corresponding secretary of the ITU, thus becoming the first woman to hold any office in an international trade union.
In 1872, Augusta Lewis married labor organizer Alexander Troup. Together, the Troups moved to Connecticut and founded the New Haven Union, a newspaper dedicated to women’s suffrage, union organization and the rights of women and ethnic minority groups. Troup also began teaching and used her experience in organizing to help lobby for better working conditions for educators and was successful in establishing the pension system there. She also somehow found time to raise seven children.
Troup passed away at the age of 72, just over a month after the last state ratified the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. Six years later, New Haven named a school in her honor that is still in operation to this day. She was inducted into the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame in 2013.
About the machine: Augusta is a 10x15” Chandler and Price new style press manufactured in 1917. She was fitted with a Kluge brand feeder sometime in the 60s.