April 24, 2015

April 3, 2015 - April 30, 2015

Come witness the splendor of the printing craft as it was expertly executed by Nevada County’s very own world renowned printer. On display will be works printed in collaboration with artists such as Wolfgang Lederer, Helen Siegl, Herman Zapf, Gudrun Zapf von Hesse, and more. 


Harold Berliner was born in San Francisco on June 24, 1923. He attended law school at Notre Dame and returned to California in 1948. Together with his wife MaryAnn, he settled in Nevada County and began to raise a family. From 1957 to 1973 he served as the District Attorney of Nevada County during which time he co-authored the Miranda Warning. Throughout his career in law he was an outspoken champion for environmental justice and the rights of individuals against corporations. While the practice of law allowed him to support his family, his true passion was for printing. 

A life-long printer, Harold had his first print shop in his parents’ San Francisco basement in 1939. While attending Notre Dame he founded the student-run Eric Gill Press. Shortly after returning to California and settling in Nevada County, he opened Nevada City News Printing on Main Street in Nevada City. In the early 60s he moved his shop to the corner of Commercial and Pine where he started a new company Berliner and McGinnis which specialized in the printing of religious greeting cards and other religious items. Branching out in the mid 60s, he began printing posters and ephemera for the more general population.

Around the time of writing the Miranda Warning, he started Paragon Press under which name he printed plastic Miranda Warning cards and other evidence tagging items for judicial purposes. It was also during this time that he moved a small amount of equipment to his home, and sold Berliner and McGinnis. He then started Black Oak Press and Harold Berliner Press. Often times, artists from around the world were invited to come stay in Nevada County to collaborate and produce work that Harold would print.

In exchange he gave them a place to stay and a tab at the local bar. Some of his more frequent collaborators were artists like Wolfgang Lederer and Nevada City designers Charles Woods and David Osborne.

The advent of the home computer created great changes in how type was made. Harold started collecting hot metal type casting equipment and HaroldBerliner Press was the largest privately owned hot metal type foundry in the US. Utilizing type that had been cast in his own shop, he began printing posters and limited edition books as well as many different publications. 

In 2005 he sold his type foundry to Offizin Parnassia – Vättis of Switzerland. He lived comfortably for the next five years in the county that he influenced so greatly. On April 26th, 2010 Harold Berliner passed away in his home. 

This show exhibits only a portion of a very large body of work that Harold produced throughout his life. His productions of rare books are available on his website: along with his many posters.