A Daily Princetonian remembrance for your collection:
My freshman year, 1971–72, was the last in which the Prince was produced using “hot type,” at a print shop on Witherspoon Street. Students set, by hand, all headlines of at least 24 points, while smaller headlines and text were set on a Linotype machine, which punched letters into slugs of lead.
The following year, staff members were asked to return to campus early to learn how to operate two new “cold type” machines that had been installed on the third floor at 48 University Place. One machine read punched tape and generated galleys of text; the second produced headlines, typed on its keyboard. Both required special coated film that was fairly costly.
In addition to writing sports stories for the Prince, I wrote and edited the program for men’s hockey games. This required working in the production room on Friday nights with Larry Dupraz, the paper’s compositor and father figure.
One warmer-than-usual night, we had the windows open and a friend of Larry’s saw the lights were on. He shouted up, and Larry invited him in to see the fancy new typesetting equipment. As he demonstrated the headline machine, Larry explained that it also could do special characters, including a check mark and a box. The friend asked, “Can you put the check in the box?”
Over the next few hours, Larry must have used more than $100 worth of the special film while figuring out the best method to do so.
Larry composited all the display ads for the Prince. For the next three or four weeks, there was at least one ad each day that featured a check in a box, all perfectly centered and pleasingly proportioned.
I kept in touch with Larry for the rest of his life. And each time we talked or met, invariably he would ask, “Did you put the check in the box?”