Howard Quinn Closes

It is with a heavy heart that I announce that October 19th, 2012 was the last day of operation for Howard Quinn Company. Howard Quinn has been printing in the same location since 1961 and has been a perfect reflection of the changes in San Francisco over the past five decades. When I began shooting photographs and video at Howard Quinn in January, it was like stepping into a time capsule of printing technology and San Francisco history. The building which houses the printing company was built in 1920’s and tinplate tiles from the era adorn ceilings on the lower level. The smell of printers ink and oil saturate the air, and around every turn is evidence of a half century of hard work, deadlines met, and the pride of customer satisfaction. They know every idiosyncrasy of their presses and every nuance of pre-press. Howard Quinn’s output has shaped the community and stands as a tribute to the power of the printed word.

My work on this project is often focused on the societal effects of newspaper presses, but for printing companies that is rarely a concern. Printing is after all a business, and that business is focused around meeting deadlines and customer satisfaction. In my conversations with the management at Howard Quinn, one thing was abundantly clear: the thing they were most proud of was treating their employees with fairness and respect and allowing them to earn a good living. Many of the employees have spent their entire working lives at this company and never once were they subject to the pay cuts which have plagued the rest of the newspaper industry. There is an overwhelming feeling of family and loyalty, which every employee recognizes is a rarity in today’s work environment. Howard Quinn has an amazingly dedicated staff and a press room that is run with incredible precision and professionalism. I have gotten to know all of the employees in my many visits there, and I want to express my deepest thanks for allowing me a glimpse into their world.

In the coming months I will be documenting the final steps in the closure of Howard Quinn. It is always difficult to be witness to the end of any business, but I think it is extremely important for the arc of this project. I have also been working with the staff and I have produced a 16 page tabloid which was the last four-color job printed on their presses. Later this week I will post video and images of the making of the tabloid, it will be for sale to help fund the completion and distribution of this project.

Here are some images of the people who made Howard Quinn work for over 50 years:



  1. Georgette November 2, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

    Hi Sean,
    Thanks so much for all the photos and comments about Howard Quinn Co. It’s a wonderful way to look back and remember all the people and the great years we spent there.

    • Sean Dana November 3, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

      Thank you Georgette,
      Howard Quinn has a lot to be proud of.It is an amazing company with fantastic people. Thanks to you and the rest of the staff with your help in making this project a success!

  2. Victoria Monroe August 15, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

    Hi Sean,
    I was so saddened to hear of the the closing of Howard Quinn!
    I started my little community newspaper in April of 2012, and Howard Quinn printed my first two issues before I moved my job to Southwest Offset.
    The level of service at Howard Quinn was astoundingly good, with the utmost professionalism at every level. Lori, Beverly, Georgette and Ed were so helpful with everything. Ed even walked me through a tutorial with my page layout software when I was having trouble outputting my pages.
    The first time I came there to pick up my first issue, I was given a grand tour by Lori and she introduced me to everyone. And I was given my proof sheet of Plate 1, my color plate! I have it framed.
    I only moved my job because of a price break, and wished I could have stayed with Howard Quinn. I told them when I left, that when I could afford to come back, I would!
    If you have any left, I would like to purchase a copy of your tabloid. Please contact me at your earliest convenience at 650-219-4313 or

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