Presto Press sale offers pages from Mattapoisett history

September 28, 2015

By Georgia Sparling

Cathy Bowers holds up an ad in the Presto Press from her family's old restaurant. (photo by Georgia Sparling)

Cathy Bowers holds up an ad in the Presto Press from her family’s old restaurant. (photo by Georgia Sparling)

MATTAPOISETT — Flipping through the archives of the Presto Press was a trip down memory lane for Mattapoisett native Cathy Bowers.

“There are things I remember happening when I was a teenager,” Bowers said as she flipped through a stack of the now defunct newspaper.

On Sunday, the Mattapoisett Historical Society and Mattapoisett Library hosted a sale of Presto Press editions printed from 1954 to 1992. The Mattapoisett paper, founded and published by Donald Jason, was the authority on the town for 43 years.

Jason passed away in 2010 and his wife soon after in 2011. Their home was scheduled for demolition not long after, but before it was taken down, Mattapoisett historian Seth Mendell, Jim Broadwater and Library Director Susan Pizzolato salvaged as many editions of the paper as they could with help from the Jasons’ family members.

Mattapoisett Historical Society President Jennifer McIntire said her favorite aspect of the Presto Press is the artistic covers, most created by the founder and publisher Donald Jason. (Photo by: Georgia Sparling)

Mattapoisett Historical Society President Jennifer McIntire said her favorite aspect of the Presto Press is the artistic covers, most created by the founder and publisher Donald Jason. (Photo by: Georgia Sparling)

The Historical Society and the library procured grants to get each issue digitized. Pizzolato also made sure one copy from each print run had a home in the library. She came up with the idea of selling extra copies to benefit the Historical Society, which housed the collection in a climate-controlled facility during the digitization process.

In addition to helping the Historical Society, Pizzolato said people could purchase papers with memorable events and learn more about their town.

“There is a personal benefit as well as people learning about local history,” she said.

Historical Society President Jennifer McIntire said the newspaper touched every area of Mattapoisett life. Personally, she said the watercolors, photographs and drawings on the covers are her favorite aspect of the old papers.

“The thing that strikes me most is what a wonderful artist Donald Jason was,” she said. “There are so many beautiful ones that you just want to keep.”

For Bowers, the Presto Press melds with her own family history in town.

The daughter of Bob Carrier, Bowers’ family owned the Harbor Beach Club.

“I was interested in looking at ads of my old family’s restaurant,” she said.

Those ads were plentiful in papers from the early days of the Presto Press. Since Bower and her husband have only a few copies of it, she appreciated the Historical Society for selling its extras.

“I wish we had saved them but, you know, at the time you never think of that,” she said.

There are still hundreds of copies left that will be for sale at future events. Anyone looking for a specific week can contact the Mattapoisett Historical Society. The complete Presto Press archive is available online and can be searched and downloaded.

Visit the collection on the Digital Public Library of America’s website at archive.org/details/mattapoisettpubliclibrary.

 

 

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