Bartlett Orr Press
Bartlett Orr Press, 461 8th Ave. between 33rd & 34th Sts. (2008)

August 8, 1915, p. 77, the New York Times reported that work had started on a 22-story building covering the entire 8th Ave. block front on the west side from 33rd to 34th Streets. This was to be known as the Printing Crafts Building and was intended to house large printing and publishing companies. Several had already signed leases, including the Bartlett-Orr Press. The Times article stated, "The Bartlett-Orr Press will occupy all of the twenty-first and part of the twenty-second floor. The company has been on West Twenty-fifth Street for the last nine years. It was the first one of the printing establishments to break away from the old Brooklyn Bridge district and its removal from Rose Street to Sixth Avenue and Twenty-fifth Street in 1906 was the forerunner of the uptown migration of the trade."

May 14, 1916, p. xx7, in its Real Estate section, the Times reported the opening of the new Printing Crafts Building, which was hailed as the "largest structure in the country devoted to the publishing and printing interests... The purpose of the building is to concentrate under one roof representatives of all branches of the publishing and printing trades... Among the tenants are the Bartlett-Orr Press, Trichromatic Engraving Company, Eugene C. Lewis Company, Lenz Photo Engraving Company, Railway Mail Club, Frank Seaman, Smart Set Publishing Company, Field and Stream Publishing Company, Boulevard Publishing Company, W. A. Kinslow, Bragdon, Lord & Nagle Company ... " and about 25 others! Bartlett-Orr must have been proud to be put at the head of such a distinguished list!

The founders of Bartlett-Orr Press were Edward Everett Bartlett (1863-1942) and Louis Herbert Orr (1857-1916).

These are their portraits as they appeared in Moses King's Notable New Yorkers (1899).

Bartlett's obituary in the Times, 25 Sept. 1942, p. 21, described him as "an expert on type," who "was president for many years of the Bartlett-Orr Press of this city, which specialized in printing advertising catalogues. He was known as an illustrator, wood engraver and typographical designer both in this country and in Europe. Through his association with the Mergenthaler Company, Mr. Bartlett became an expert on newspaper type, and he was credited with the development of much of the linotype type used in newspaper offices throughout the country." Bartlett "was born in Brooklyn and began his printing business as a young man on Rose Street, later moving to the Printing Crafts Building at 461 Eight Avenue. He was the author of 'The Typographic Treasures of Europe,' published in a limited edition in 1925. The first part of the book, written by Mr. Bartlett himself, comprises a description, interpretation and discussion of contemporary treasurers of each country and their influence on the art of the book."

Louis Orr's obituary in the Times, 7 Aug. 1916, p. 9, described him as a leader in the printing industry. "He was in his sixtieth year, and was a son of the late John W. Orr, one of the best known wood engravers of the post-bellum period. Mr. Orr was born in Jersey City, his mother being Mrs. Mary Virginia Villers Orr. After receiving his education he entered the employ of the Morgan Envelope Company of Springfield, Mass., later establishing the firm of Louis H. Orr & Co. of that city. Shortly afterward Mr. Orr became President of the Springfield Printing and Binding Company. In 1891 he formed a partnership with Bartlett & Co. of this city, and a year later this firm was incorporated, its name being changed to the Bartlett-Orr Press. Mr. Orr is credited with having been responsible for much of the later improvement and development of the printing business."

Bartlett & Co., founded by Edward E. Bartlett, started around 1888 on lower Broadway, and moved to Rose St. near the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1891/92. Louis Orr joined the firm around this time. The business name was changed to Bartlett-Orr Press in 1907, by which time they had moved to 119 W. 25th St. near 6th Ave. Around the time of Louis Orr's death, they moved to the Printing Crafts Building here at 461 8th Ave. They were in business here until 1932. Edward Bartlett retired in the late 1920s.

Both Edward Bartlett and Louis Orr had sons (juniors) with names identical to their fathers, but neither seems to have followed his father into the printing business. Louis Herbert Orr, Jr., (1882-1963) registered for the World War II draft in 1942 when employed at Sheffield Farms, a dairy products distributor, located on W. 57th St., Manhattan. Edward Everett Bartlett, Jr., (1885-1961) was a partner in Gwathmey & Co., cotton brokers, from 1909 to 1926, became a member of the New York Stock Exchange and a partner in E. A. Pierce & Co., stockbrokers, in 1926, and was chairman of the board of governors of the New York Stock Exchange from 1938 to 1940.

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