Circular wood and cast lead printing block. The print image is of a short bearded and balding Saint Nicholas. St. Nicholas is wearing an omophorion. His right hand is formed in a sign of benediction with two fingers extended and the other two closed. In his left hand he carries a book with a cross on the cover. His image is enclosed in a circular outline.
Donated by John Damianos. The printing block was used in a linotype printing machine. Linotype presses allowed for the casting of entire lines to be printed at a time. Linotype printing was eventually succeeded by lithograph printing and computer typesetting during the 1960's and 1970's. This printing block was used by the Chicago-based, Greek Art Printing Company. The printing block was used in the printing of "Individual Books of Record" for the Benevolent Epirotic Society "Saint Nicholas." The Society was established in 1916. The books are for holding contact information on Society members and member dues. The Society was most likely formed of Greek immigrants from the region of Epirus in northwestern Greece. The image of St. Nicholas, with the sign of benediction and holding the gospel book, as well as the short beard and balding head, is a common representation of St. Nicholas in Christian iconography. St. Nicholas was a Greek born in Asia Minor during the third century CE. He became Bishop of Myra and was a defender of the Orthodox tradition at the First Council of Nicaea and a signer of the Nicene Creed. The legend of the three dowries, where St. Nicholas secretly gifts money to a poor man so as to provide dowries for his three daughters, provides part of the model for Santa Claus.
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Block, Printing, Greek Art Printing Company Artifact Collection, National Hellenic Museum, https://collections.nationalhellenicmuseum.org/Detail/objects/9835. Accessed 04/11/21.