Dard Hunter

watermark paper
Self-portrait as a watermark, 1923

Born: November 29, 1883
Died: February 20, 1966

Ohio connection: Birth


Dard Hunter, son of William Henry and Harriet (Rosemond-Browne) Hunter, was born in 1883 in Steubenville, Ohio. His great-grandfather had set up a printing office in rural Ohio in 1812, and his grandfather and father owned and edited newspapers. While a boy, Hunter learned to set type and was fascinated by the art of bookmaking. From 1898 until 1901, he traveled throughout the United States as a magician`s assistant. From 1903 until 1908, he was associated with Elbert Hubbard, editor and publisher at Roycroft Press in East Aurora, New York.

Hunter married Helen Edith Cornell on March 24, 1908. They had two children: Dard, Jr., and Cornell. The couple originally moved to Marlborough, New York, in 1912; but returned to Ohio in 1919, buying the Mountain House in Chillicothe. The house would go on to give its name to Hunter’s printing studio, Mountain House Press.

Hunter attended a number of colleges and universities, including Ohio State University; Kunstgewerbe Schule and Versachs-Anstalt, both in Vienna; and Royal Technical College in London. He was a bookmaker and publisher from 1914 until 1950. In 1928, he established Dard Hunter Associates, a mill for making handmade paper. He was vice-president of News-Advertiser Company of Chillicothe, Ohio, from 1914 until 1938.

Hunter wrote numerous books, mostly about papermaking. Some of his titles include Old Papermaking; The Literature of Papermaking; Papermaking in the Classroom; Old Papermaking in China and Japan; Papermaking by Hand in America; Papermaking in Pioneer America; and Papermaking: The History and Technique of an Ancient Craft. He also wrote Before Life Began: An Autobiography. Eight of his books were printed by Mountain House Press and were all made entirely by Hunter. These are thought to be the only books in the history of printing to be made as such with their author being also the papermaker, typefounder, typesetter, and printer.

Dard Hunter died February 20, 1966, in Chillicothe, Ohio.


Gold Medal, American Institute of Graphic Arts, 1931; Ohioana Medal, 1944; Rosenbach Fellowship, University of Pennsylvania, 1949; Gold Medal, Gutenberg Museum (Mainz, Germany), 1954. Honorary degrees: Litt.D., Lawrence College, 1931, Ohio State University, 1939; L.H.D., Wooster College, 1947; M.A., Lehigh University, 1949.

Additional Resources

Dard Hunter Studios includes a biography of Hunter

Wikipedia Article

North American Hand Papermakers (Hunter biography, “Papermaking Champion”)

Paper Discovery Center biography