The Hatch family has been involved in letterpress printing since the mid 1800's when William H. Hatch ran a print shop in Prescott, Wisconsin, but it wasn't until after William moved his family to Nashville, Tennessee, and his two sons, Charles and Herbert, opened their own shop that the company began to develop a style which would become an icon of American culture. The Hatch brothers' first print job was a handbill announcing that the Reverend Henry Ward Beecher (brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe) was coming town.
The company has always been known for its circus, vaudeville, and carnival posters,
but it is most famous for the stunning music posters advertising everyone
from Johhny Cash to Cab Calloway . . .
from Patsy Cline to Coldplay . . .
and from Elvis to Elvis.
Sigh. How do I express my love for Hatch Show posters? They are Americana, good design, and nostalgia all rolled into one for me, and yet they retain a cutting-edge feel that I think one can only achieve with, perhaps ironically, a traditional technique like letterpress printing.
You can find your own Hatch Show Print at The Country Music Hall of Fame. You can also visit Hatch Show Print in downtown Nashville to see how they make their art or to buy a poster in person. When we were in Nashville, I bought a poster of the Hatch Show cats. While I'm on this track, I should say that Nashville is a great place to visit. The Hall of Fame is packed with memorabilia: Nudie the Rodeo Tailor's classic country clothing, Elvis' gold car, photos and letters of all the great country stars, guitars, gold records, loads and loads of music samples, and great history. Another must see is Ryman Auditorium, the true Grand Ol' Opry. Plus, if you like cowboy boots as much as certain people in my house do (addiction is not too strong a word), this is the town in which to go boot shopping! Who'da thought a New England girl like me would have such a crush on Hatch Show Print and Nashville, Tennessee?