Ye Galleon Press Collection
Ye Galleon Press, a specialty press, located in Fairfield, Washington, printed regionally important books. Some are original works; most are reprints. They total more than 600 titles. They range from a 1582 history of exploration in America first published in London, to a woman’s account of an 1866 journey through the Northwest by lumber wagon. Works include the stories of fire lookouts, pioneer missionaries, Native Americans, memoirs of whalers and many local histories.
Many Ye Galleon Press works are reprints of rare materials. These reprints make difficult-to-find materials accessible conveniently and inexpensively, a boon to readers and researchers. The subjects of the press were usually historical and included Native Americans, exploration, Oregon Trail and other migrations, western Americana, mining, and maritime.
Ye Galleon Press also produced new and original works, including many by Pacific Northwest authors. Memoirs and local histories published by Ye Galleon Press preserve history not found elsewhere. Some poetry and children’s works were also produced.
About Glen Adams, Printer & Publisher, Ye Galleon Press
The history of Ye Galleon Press would not be complete without telling the story of a remarkable Washingtonian, Glen Adams. Glen Cameron Adams was born June 19, 1912 in Trent (Spokane County), Washington. He died October 17, 2003 in Fairfield (Spokane County), Washington, aged 91 years.
Fairfield, Washington, a community six miles west of the Washington-Idaho border in southeast Spokane County, is a pinprick geographically. But it was the home of a resolute individual who left a legacy of long standing value to authors, researchers, and readers throughout the Pacific Northwest.
As the owner of Ye Galleon Press, Adams preserved and made accessible many regionally important works which otherwise would be lost to historians. If a book was rare, historically important, and of interest to Adams himself, he would restore it by printing a new edition. If the same criteria applied to new material coming his way, but he felt another publisher would do a better job with a manuscript, he would help the writer find a different publisher.
Glen Adams registered as a private printer in 1937 and produced his first book in 1939. Until 1974 Glen Adams used only handset type for printing his books; he learned the art in 1935 while a student at Cheney Normal School, now Eastern Washington University. He financed his first publishing by teaching near Walla Walla, but had to return home to help save the family farm. Crops and livestock then took his time--and financed his press. Multiple sclerosis struck in 1947, eventually confining Adams to a wheelchair. Despite financial and physical obstacles, he continued to operate Ye Galleon Press until shortly before his death.
Many Ye Galleon Press works included a colophon, a statement about the book’s printing and construction. Most Ye Galleon Press colophons ended with these characteristic Glen Adams words: “This was a fun project. We had no special difficulty with the work.”
The Ye Galleon Press Collection at Washington State Library (browse using the online catalog)
The Washington State Library (WSL) had a long-standing, positive relationship with Glen Adams and Ye Galleon Press. His dedication to preserving and making history accessible was much appreciated by librarians and researchers throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Among many other honors, Mr. Adams was awarded the 1998 Nancy Blankenship Pryor Award. As the head of the Washington State Library’s Washington/Northwest Room during the 1970s and 1980s, Nancy Pryor assisted and influenced many historians and researchers in Pacific Northwest history. The award named in her memory was given to recognize those who made unique contributions to the literary culture of Washington State. No one in Washington fits this description more than Glen Adams did.
To commemorate and preserve the work of Glen Adams, Washington State Library has established a special research collection of Ye Galleon Press books. The Ye Galleon Press collection currently consists of approximately 450 books. WSL staff will continue to add works produced from Ye Galleon Press during the Glen Adams era (1937-2003) until the collection is complete.
The call numbers for books in the Ye Galleon Press collection all have the prefix YGP. Books with the YGP call number are for in library use only. There are additional copies of some YGP titles in other WSL collections which are available to check-out and for interlibrary borrowing, please consult the WSL on-line catalog at the web link listed below.
Please note the Ye Galleon Press collection includes materials that reflect the attitudes, perspectives, and beliefs of different times. These materials are preserved as part of the historical record. Inclusion of materials in this collection does not mean endorsement of or agreement with any view expressed.
To search using the Washington State Library online catalog, select “Dewey Call Number” in the “Search for” drop down list. Enter YGP in the search box for a listing of all the Ye Galleon Press collection titles in call number order. You may also search by selecting "Author" in the “Search for” drop down list and typing "Washington State Library. Ye Galleon Press Collection."
Glen Adams Obituary, Spokesman Review, October 23, 2003, page D5.
Manuscripts 306 & 315, Ye Galleon Press correspondence, memos Washington State Library.
Pacific Northwest Quarterly, Summer 1997: “Glen Adams and Ye Galleon Press: An Appreciation,” by Wilfred P. Schoenberg, pages 146-148.
Special thanks to Ruth Kirk for some of the wording used in this handout. (SAL, December 2007)