Victor Hammer Collection

Cover Image:
Victor Hammer Collection
Victor Hammer's art class at Wells College - Image Source

Collection Facts

Dates of Original:
c. 1939 - 1948

Historical Context

Victor Hammer was born in Vienna on December 9, 1882. Fifteen years later, he began his apprenticeship in architecture, and a year after that he transferred into the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. In 1922, Hammer moved to Florence where he set up a printing press. In 1939 he fled Europe and the Second World War and came to the United States with his wife, Rosl. They moved to Aurora, NY, where Hammer taught the fine arts at Wells College. Hammer was an artist in many fields but had gained a worldwide reputation as a book craftsman who designed, cut and cast his own type. He brought to the college an antique flatbed press dating from around the turn of the century and while at Wells he printed his own books by hand. With the assistance of his son, Jacob, he established the Wells College Press, which put out some three dozen books, distinctive for beautiful and artistic printing, illustrations, design, and bindings. Upon mandatory retirement from Wells, Hammer moved to Lexington, KY in 1948, at this time Wells College named him Professor of Arts Emeritus. Hammer worked in Kentucky as Artist-in-Residence at Transylvania College until his retirement in 1953. Victor Hammer passed away on July 10, 1967 at the age of eighty-four.

Scope of Collection

The collection contains information surrounding exhibitions of his work, photographs of Hammer, and information on and works from the Anvil Press. Tangential materials included in the collection are the products of the Wells College Press, which uses Hammer's Press, and information about the Wells College Books Arts Center.