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Recipient of the 2009 Russell L. Paxton Award

Jacob L. Warner

From the July 2009 issue of The Fossil


President's Report

Guy Miller

When I first revealed to a small select group that Chairman Lee Hawes had agreed that Jacob L. Warner should be selected for the 2008 Russell L. Paxton Memorial Award for Service to Amateur Journalism, the collective response seemed of one breath: "Well, it's about time!" Indeed.

Jake and his son David came to ajay in 1969, thanks to a two-page NAPA-authored promo insert which appeared with the April mailing of The Printer's Helper, a publication of the Kelsey Company. Before that brochure, Jake tells us, the two had no idea that the hobby of amateur journalism existed. Jake's children had received a small press and a short font of type as a present, and Jake and David took an instant interest in learning how to use it. Soon they were finding self-help books on the subject, including Ben Lieberman's Printing as a Hobby.

In the meantime, they had graduated to larger presses and more type. But they were running out of things to print. So, the news of an outlet for their new-found hobby was well-timed. Thus The Boxwooder No. 1 for July 1969 not only introduced the ajay world to father and son and this remarkable journal, but also to what would become a dedicated ajay clan. For, soon Jake and Dave were joined by Leah with her Rosewood Rambler. Then, a little later, with the marriage to David to Melody Hageman and subsequent birth of daughter Alice, a total of five publishers—and, as important, office holders—made up the Warner team.

Jake jumped into the political fray in 1970 as NAPA Recorder and has steadily served ajay in almost every office including that of Mailer, Official Editor, President and Executive Judge—and author of NAPA's first computerized mailing label program. Soon David was marking out a similar pattern including NAPA President. Not to be upstaged, Leah also served in various capacities including that of President. Melody did her part as Recorder and later as Official Editor. April, soon to become Mrs. Marc Brosey of Nashville TN, has served NAPA as Mailer.

Jake, Dave and Leah attended their first NAPA Convention at Marietta, OH in 1971, and from that time on Jake has boasted a perfect attendance record. During those sessions he has been Parliamentarian, Senior Advisor, and Committee Member, as well as a regular Laureate recipient for his printing, editing, and writing. And in regard to his writing talent, Jake has said, "I always had an urge to write. I took journalism courses and even became editor of a college newspaper—an experience I will never forget." But, he adds, "I became more interested in physics than in writing." Thus did professional journalism lose an asset while amateur journalism picked up an enthusiast, strongly enough interested to put all his other hobbies of photography, model railroading, and stamp collecting on hold.

It is not an overemphasis to state that Jake and clan have been the mainstay just at those times when NAPA needed someone to step in, roll up their sleeves, and do the heavy lifting. In laying out the parameters for selection of the person for the Russell L. Paxton Memorial Award, donor John Horn specified that "The recipient should be a person who has given freely of his or her time and effort solely for the benefit of their fellow amateur journalists." And for guidance, "Look to the person for whom the award is named as an example." In the selection of Jacob L. Warner, one can truly respond, "Well, it's about time!"