History

New England Free Press started in 1967 as a magazine called the Paper Tiger, which was was published monthly for seven issues. The press was located at 245 Roxbury St. in Boston, and began printing for the local movement by printing flyers for the United Farm Workers grape boycott. In 1968 the Free Press began distributing pamphlets published by the Radical Education Project and then started its own publishing program.

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Paper Tiger, Issue Number 7, June, 1968.

Harvard Crimson, September 29, 1967

Yokel Starts 'New Left' Sheet; Free Press to Hit New England

By Jeffrey C. Alexander

After 191 years of confederation, New England is finally getting a "free press."

The first 6000 issues of "The New England Free Press" are being printed today. They will appear on Cambridge newsstands early next week.

According to co-founder Michael Yokel, an M.I.T. senior, the publication will focus debate on issues of concern to the New England. This is our primary goal, not to have a professional newspaper." Yokel is a veteran of Students for a Democratic Society.

The first issue is an eight page news-letter. The second issue, published two weeks from today, is a 20 page news-letter-magazine combination.

One article in the current newsletter is entitled "The NCNP Convention and Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." A second long article examines the September 13th army base demonstration by the Boston Draft Resistance.

The magazine will be aimed at practical matters also. "This is not a theoretical or scholarly journal," says Yokel. "We are writing about problems people in the movement face which have grown out of organizing situations."

The newsletter will have three sections: (1) Calendar notices announcing events like demonstrations planned or speeches, or the formation of new radical groups in New England. (2) Short news articles reporting events such as significant efforts to protest he war. (3) One or two feature-length articles which attempt in-depth analysis of strategies important to radical organizing.

In the forthcoming magazine, one article will deal with "Organizing Professionals." There will also be a "Power Analysis of the Boston Mayoralty Election."

No Hippies

"The New England Free Press" which has its offices at 39 E. Springfield St. in Boston, will not report on the hippy culture-yet. "We are including some good artwork from the hippies," Yokel Says, "but whether or not we would like actually to write about he culture as well as the politics of the Left is purely a matter for discussion. Presently we can't afford to. Maybe someday."

New England Free Press in 1970

791 Tremont Street, Boston, MA

The Free Press was located at 791 Tremont St. in Roxbury from 1968 to 1973. The shop was on the fourth floor, and when you got off the elevator, you walked down a wide dark corridor to the front door.

The building was the old Chickering Piano factory and the ceiling had many shafts and pulleys left over from that time. Using a central power source, a line shaft drove the various saws, mills, and lathes via flat leather belts.

In the left near corner was the darkroom and copy camera, a beast of a camera about two feet square. The bellows was brittle from years of use and was patched with tape. We could shoot a line negative up to 17" x 22".  The copy board extended into the main shop about ten feet and could accommodate copy up to 36" square.

The two presses were in sight when you entered the front door.

 

In the far corner, to the left, was the plate burning apparatus. It consisted of a vacuum board that held the plate and negative and two carbon arc lamps which gave out a brilliant light.

Here's a list of our equipment at that time:
 

  • Copy camera

  • Stripping tables

  • Chief 20 (maximum sheet size 14x20 inches)

  • Chief 22 (maximum sheet size 17-1/2x22-1/2 inches) 

  • Plate burner

  • Three-section Baumfolder

  • 26-inch cutter

  • Stitcher that used a spool of wire to form a staple with the push of a foot lever.

  • A/M Varityper headliner

The Pantone Matching System (PMS) book was essential for our many posters and colorful covers.

Our Bible was a Navy manual called "Lithographer 3 & 2." All of our equipment was old and cantankerous and  3 & 2 had complete instructions for operating it and keeping it running. Click the image for a pdf of the entire book.

Chief 22 offset press

Chief 22

A view of the rear of 791 Tremont St.