About the Monson Press

A.L. Monsohn Lithographic Press, later Monson or Monzon Press, founded in 1892. Originally based in Jerusalem, later also with facilities in Tel Aviv and Haifa, the Press closed its doors in 1992.

In 1890, Jerusalem-born Avraham Leib Monsohn, 1871-1930, traveled to Frankfurt to study lithography and painting. He returned two years later with a hand press and, alongside his brothers, founded A.L. Monsohn Lithographic Press in 1892, then the only firm in Jerusalem capable of color printing. At first, the business consisted mainly of decorative souvenir postcards and New Year’s cards, which Avraham himself designed and painted in the prevailing art nouveau style. The purchase of a larger—and automated—press two years later allowed Monsohn to print many more sheets per day and branch out into commemorative placards and announcements for synagogues. The Press received special permission from rabbinical authorities to print for Christian and Moslem clients and was the official map printer for the Ottoman authorities. Greatly helped by their own innovations in gold embossing and offset printing, the firm branched out into advertising and other commercial work for local fruit, wine, candy and cigarette industries. Their client list grew to include the Jewish National Fund, Shemen, El Al and the Israeli government. Monsohn printed the Koren Bible beginning in 1959 from plates prepared by Emil Pikovsky. The Press closed its doors in 1992.

During the Siege of Jerusalem in 1948, Shimon Baramatz, 1922-1992, grandson of the founder, was temporarily released from military service in order to print posters by Ismar David and Jossi Stern on the newly-purchased Monsohn offset press.

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