Virginia is full of many antiquities and has much history from Jamestown to the Civil War. In addition to these many unique historical attributes, another one is the seldom known fact that former Governor Wilder used to work in Richmond as a letterpress operator in his youth.
Dave Clinger, a passionate letterpress collector and enthusiast, who donated most of his letterpress collection to the Valentine museum, noted that one of the presses in his collection was similar to one that Wilder used. It is believed that Wilder confirmed it was similar to the model he used. Interestingly enough, Richmond has grown in this respect as well as being Virginia’s most well known town for letterpress printing. Companies like Page Stationery have helped fuel the resurgence in letterpress for wedding invitations and stationery products using these older presses. Just search for letterpress Richmond or letterpress Richmond Va and you can find them quickly.
So not only was Governor Wilder Virginia’s first black Governor he was probably the first letterpress printer who served as Governor.
Images of different types of Golding presses and platen letterpress machines can be seen
here courtesy of Briarpress.org