John Henry Nash spent the years 1895 to 1915 working in collaboration with men who shared his passion of fine press editions and high quality printing before opening his own shop in the heart of San Francisco's printing district. Nash's reputation of elaborate, high-quality works quickly established him as one of the great American printers, gaining him the respect and notoriety he dreamed of as a young man. During the height of Nash's popularity, he created books and broadsides of incredible beauty for such clients as William Andrews Clark, Jr. and William Randolph Hearst. In addition to producing works for his clients, Nash created several limited edition fine press books and broadsides "For the Joy of the Doing" which were given away to his friends and patrons. The Nash Press also housed an extensive library of rare press books illustrating masterworks in the art of printing from 1470 to modern times.
During the late 1920s Nash established the John Henry Nash Fine Arts Press at the University of Oregon in Eugene, where students under his direction produced many examples of fine printing. In 1938 Nash relocated permanently to Eugene with his printing press and library in tow. Although Nash had hoped the UO would purchase his library for the permanent collection, it was not to be. The Nash collection of fine press books and incunabula was later purchased by Milton S. Ray and presented to the University of California at Berkeley where it remains today. Nash was appointed a half-time position as Professor of Typography at the University of Oregon while continuing to produce his own works "for the joy of doing." John Henry Nash returned to Berkeley, California in 1943, where he remained until his death in 1947.
The University of Oregon Special Collections holds a large selection of broadsides created by John Henry Nash or by University of Oregon students under his direction.
O'Day, Nell. "Some Reminiscences of the Late John Henry Nash, Printer 1871-1947." Pacific Printer & Publisher, v. LXXXVII, no. 5, May 1952; pp. 25-27. San Francisco.
O'Day, Nell. "The Typographic Library of John Henry Nash, Printer 1871-1947." Pacific Printer & Publisher, v. LXXXVII, no. 6, June 1952; pp. 18-19. San Francisco.