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Recipient of the 2007 Gold Composing Stick and the 2018 Russell L. Paxton Award.

David M. Tribby

From The Fossil no. 334, October 2007


by Guy Miller

David Tribby and Dean Rea, two devoted activists of our ajay family, were presented awards by the Fossils at the 71st Convention of AAPA held in Portland, OR August 17-21.

David was considered a "natural" for the recipient of the Fossils' coveted Gold Composing Stick Award, a tribute which has been presented but ten times prior since its inception in 1953. For the record, as well as for David's information, presentations were made to Edward H. Cole, Helen and Sheldon Wesson, Harry L. Lindquist, Edna Hyde McDonald, William F. and Matilda S. Haywood, Leland M. Hawes, Jr., Ralph W. Babcock, Harold Segal, Elaine J. Peck, and Victor A. Moitoret.

Actually a gold-plated printer's composing stick mounted on a testimonial plaque, it is awarded to persons for "outstanding merit," i.e., "for outstanding accomplishment in the furtherance of the Fossils as an organization or for unusual endeavor on behalf of amateur journalism...." Without a question, David qualifies in both these provisions. A member of the Fossils, NAPA and AAPA, David has devoted the largest portion of his endeavors to the welfare of AAPA which he joined in June of 1970. David was active from the beginning in publishing and political affairs both as officer and mover and shaker—indeed, one member insisted that David had "from the very beginning...proposed one screwball idea after another." Never mind, David did well by AAPA.

David is noted for his letterpressed journals, namely The Handset Journal begun in 1970—in May of this year attaining its 18th number—and Tribby Tribune which saw its 96th issue in September. More remarkable may be his brainchild Ink Cahoots (name suggested by Helen and Sheldon Wesson) whose first number appeared in 1973. It consists of bound copies of contributions from AAPA members, something akin to the better known publication It's a Small World originated by the late Bill Haywood and now carried on by Mike Elliston of Great Britain. Perhaps it was because Ink Cahoots did hit one member as a copycat of IaSW that he labeled the endeavor "Tribby's Folly" (nevertheless, that member was one of the contributors to the first edition). In any case, David will have the 35th production of Ink Cahoots in our hands before the end of the year, despite the number of other irons he has in the fire.

One of those "other irons" includes his organizing for AAPA a website capable of handling various tasks, including an on-line membership roster; a section giving all the information you ever wanted to know about AAPA along with an application blank; access to issues of American Amateur Journalist; and, lately, a link which enables the interested ajay to access the so-called "E-journals" of such well-known ajays as J. Hill Hamon and Hugh Singleton

David has performed a similar service for the Fossils as our Webmaster. When Fossil Martin "Mike" Horvat announced that he could no longer serve as custodian of the Library of Amateur Journalism and, moreover, would have to disband the American Private Press Association, the umbrella entity under which the Library was administered, David stepped in to salvage aspects of Mike's APPA website and to add other materials to form a new website (www.thefossils.org) for the Fossils, which includes issues of The Fossil. At the NAPA convention in Massillon this past July, Memorial Committee members Jon McGrew and this writer had to get some organized information—and fast—on the late Helen Wesson. And, there it was, on the Fossils website! So, David inadvertently supplied a service to the NAPA.

David also performed another unexpected service to this writer as he was preparing this article. David joined The Fossils in 1977, the same year that he was elected Editor of American Amateur Journalist. In an article for The Fossil (January 1980) entitled "The 250th Issue of AAJ," David related his efforts in attempting to do a follow-up to Fossil Leland Hawes's exhaustive history of the first 25 years of AAPA, "The Stronghold of Youth," which appeared in The Fossil of July 1961. In the process of reviewing David's piece, the writer recalled that it was in Lee's history that he had first read about an up and coming AAPA member by the name of Dean Rea. Thanks to David, that is where this account begins with an individual who was honored with the Russell L. Paxton Memorial Award for Service to Amateur Journalism.


From The Fossil no. 375, April 2018

Dave Tribby Receives 2018 Russell L. Paxton Memorial Award

by Ken Faig, Jr

ON BEHALF OF The Fossils Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that our Fossils editor, David M. Tribby, is the winner of the Russell L. Paxton Memorial Award for 2018. This prestigious award, sponsored by Fossils director John Horn, was last awarded to our librarian, Mike Horvat, in 2016. A list of prior recipients can be found on our website under the “Awards” tab.

Russ Paxton (who died at age eighty-one in 1988) devoted his energies to editing The Fossil in 1975-83, so it is certainly appropriate that Dave Tribby, our editor since 2013, is this year’s Paxton award recipient. You can read more about Paxton in The Fossil for January 2012 (issue 351) on our website. David joined The Fossils in 1977, during Russ’s term in the editorial chair, and notably contributed “The 250th Issue of AAJ” (a continuation of Lee Hawes’ AAPA history in the July 1961 number) to The Fossil for January 1980.

David began printing with Swiftset rubber type for his elementary school class as early as 1960. He graduated to a Kelsey press in 1964, joined AAPA at age sixteen in 1970, and began publishing The Handset Journal and The Tribby Tribune. David gradually acquired more sophisticated printing equipment over the years, and then acquired the print shop of Charlie Hinde in 2004. The Tribby Tribune attained its landmark one hundredth number in 2009.

While he has maintained memberships in AAPA, NAPA, and The Fossils, David has devoted his primary energies to AAPA over the course of his amateur career. David has also been very active in the Printers’ Guild, a letterpress group affiliated with History Parkin San Jose, California. He followed in the footsteps of Bill Haywood’s It’s a Small World in publishing Ink Cahoots, a cooperative publication consisting of contributions printed by various AAPA members. David was largely responsible for building AAPA’s notable website, and performed a similar function for The Fossils when Mike Horvat had to discontinue his American Private Press Association website.

David has served The Fossils in a dual role as editor and as webmaster. It is probably safe to say The Fossils would no longer be in existence were it not for David’s efforts in these capacities. David also played a key role in planning the Amateur Journalism Conference held at the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 2016. He has been a tireless promoter of the Leland Hawes Memorial Fund which supports the Library of Amateur Journalism Collection in Madison.

David is a graduate of Stanford University. He and his wife Liz reside in Sunnyvale, California. Among his prior honors, David boasts the Gold Composing Stick Award conferred by The Fossils in 2007 in honor of his long years of achievement in our hobby. The year 2020 will mark David’s fiftieth anniversary in our hobby and AAPA.

Please join me and the other members of The Fossils Board of Directors in congratulating David Tribby on winning the Russell L. Paxton Memorial Award for 2018. I hope that David will continue as editor of The Fossil for years to come. I think that Russ Paxton, who also served The Fossils as editor, would be very proud of David’s achievements with The Fossil. Our numbers may have diminished since Russ’s term as editor, but interest in the history of our hobby continues to shine brightly, as evidenced in the pages of The Fossil. Russ and David have helped to keep the history of our hobby a living concern, both for members of the hobby and “outside” observers like librarians and scholars