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Two Ponds Press


The year 2022 marked the tenth anniversary of the founding of Two Ponds Press, but its roots stretch back nearly forty years. At the time, Ken Shure ran the Goose River Exchange, an Antiquarian book and ephemera business in Lincolnville Beach, Maine. One summer day in 1982, Leonard Baskin and his wife Lisa, both prodigious collectors, stopped by the shop while en route to their home on Little Deer Isle. 


A quick friendship began that summer with a deep immersion into the work of Baskin’s Gehenna Press and the world of fine press books and printing. This collaboration became the inspiration for the Two Ponds imprint decades later. Ken started collecting Baskin’s work and subsequently became the exclusive agent for Gehenna Press. As the collaboration grew, Leonard introduced them to all the elements necessary to operate a limited edition fine press. Their work with printers, binders, paper makers, artist’s presses, librarians and collectors all set the stage for the formation of Two Ponds Press nearly thirty years later with Liv Rockefeller. 


After Baskin’s death in 2000, in addition to continuing to represent Gehenna Press, Ken also became an agent for Michael Kuch’s Double Elephant Press, Bob Wakefield’s Chevington Press, Peter Bogardus’s Khelcom New York Press and Sarah Horowitz’s Wiesedruck Press, all of whom were connected to Baskin. 


In 2012, Liv and Ken decided to create an imprint of their own. It was named after their home on the side of Bald Mountain in Camden, Maine, which indeed has two small ponds with commanding views of lakes, mountains and the Atlantic Ocean.


Most fine presses are owned and operated by printers and/or artists who naturally feature their own work. Their vision was different. It was to create a fine press that would publish a wide range of authors and artists, assembling a unique set of collaborators for each project. This vision enabled them to conceive and create a wildly eclectic bookshelf of titles, where Jewish Gangsters cozy up to a whimsical children’s book on one side and Sting, the musician, on the other.


They decided to launch Two Ponds Press after they were approached by Helen Hecht, Anthony Hecht’s widow, to print a series of poems he had written while at the Bogliasco Foundation artist’s retreat in Liguria, Italy. Hecht and Baskin had a long history of collaboration with Gehenna, dating back to the 1950s. The collaboration ended shortly before Baskin’s passing with the publication of “Presumptions of Death” in 1998. It seemed a natural progression that Two Ponds Press should begin where Baskin and Hecht left off.


Their first publication was “Interior Skies, Late Poems from Liguria” in 2012, with illustrations by Abigail Rorer. Another impetus to start an imprint of their own was the discovery of an unpublished manuscript text by the trailblazing children’s book writer, Margaret Wise Brown. Liv had been given the story,”The Little River”, by her father James S. Rockefeller, Jr., who was engaged to Brown and inherited the manuscript after her untimely death in 1952. The story, written on Brown’s stationery, was preserved for many years in a little journal of her poems. The Little River was named Best Illustrated Book and won the prestigious Judges Choice Award at the Oxford Fine Press Fair in 2013 . 



Two Ponds Press has been fortunate along the way to have collaborated with some of the most talented artists and craftspeople in their fields: letterpress printers Art Larson and Leslie Miller; fine binders Gray Parrot, Claudia Cohen, Sarah Creighton, Daniel Gehnrich, Peggy Gotheld  & Amy Borezo; artists and printers Bob Wakefield, Michael Kuch, Foolscap Press, Peter Pettingill, Robert Townsend, Peter Bogardus, Russell Maret, Joseph Goldyne, Michael Russem, Abigail Rorer, Anneli Skaar, Jacob Hessler, Cig Harvey, Brandon Graving and Julie Paschkis; papermakers Velke Losiny, Amalfi, St. Armand and Katie MacGregor; and writers and poets as varied as Anthony Hecht, Margaret Wise Brown, Robert Bringhurst, Richard Blanco, Larry Sullivan, Claire Millikin, and Sting.


Two Ponds Press has been supported by collectors and librarians too numerous to mention, but special thanks goes to Mark Dimunation, Rare Book and Special Collections Librarian at Library of Congress. We are immensely grateful for his unfailing support not only of Gehenna and Two Ponds Presses, but of a number of promising young book artists during his tenure at the Library of Congress. He built the artist book collection there into one of the nation’s finest. His successor, Stephanie Stillo, has continued to build this important collection following his retirement. 


Now in the second decade, the Press continues to forge exciting collaborations with a variety of new artists, writers, photographers, binders, and printers. 




Liv Rockefeller & Ken Shure


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