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Neal, Stratford & Kerr
Gender: 
Male
Birth Place: 
San Francisco
Neal, Stratford & Kerr was a full-service print shop in San Francisco that in 1967 began printing posters advertising the dance concerts organized by Bill Graham (1931-1991) at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco. The firm had been incorporated in 1919 by members of Payot, Stratford & Kerr, a printing company and stationer that had been active in San Francisco since at least 1908. The printer Levon Mosgofian (1907-1994) began working at the firm around 1946. At that time the firm was known for its letterpress printing but not lithography. Mosgofian took over their offset lithograph presses and developed a fine reputation for that work. By 1967 the firm’s operations were at 1925 Sansome Street in San Francisco. Through Joseph Buchwald (1917-2012), one of the printers who also worked there, Mosgofian was introduced to Graham; Buchwald’s son Marty Balin was a founder of the Jefferson Airplane, one of the bands Graham promoted. As the work for Graham increased, Mosgofian’s boss Gerald Stratford (d. 1992) became worried about the effect on the shop’s other business as barefoot hippies (the rock poster artists) came into the shop. Mosgofian set up a separate division to work with the rock poster artists, which he called “Toulouse Lautrec Posters, a Division of Neal, Stratford & Kerr,” paying homage to the great French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901). The name was shortened to “T. Lautrec Litho” until poster artist David Singer (b. 1941) suggested it should be “Tea Lautrec Litho,” with “Tea” being a slang term for marijuana. When later in 1967 Neal, Stratford & Kerr closed its doors, Mosgofian took all of the offset lithograph equipment in lieu of unpaid overtime pay, did business as Tea Lautrec Litho and continued the fruitful relationship with Graham and his artists. (TNB 11/2016)