Harry Duncan started the Cummington Press with fellow students at the Cummington School of the Arts in Cummington, Massachusetts. Over the years, the other students fell away but Duncan perservered. Paul Wightman Williams joined him in 1944 for what would become a twelve year collaboration. The press moved from Cummington to Rowe, Massachusetts, in 1954. After Williams was killed in a car accident in 1956, Duncan moved to the University of Iowa to teach and to continue printing books under the Cummington Press name. He bought a large house in West Branch, Iowa, and there established his press. (This house would later be bought by the Kornblums who started the Toothpaste Press there.) In 1973 he joined the faculty at the University of Nebraska, where he taught the art of book making. The books created were brought out under the auspices of the Abattoir Press. Harry Duncan died in 1997.