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A look at Hirschfeld back in its heyday

Back in 1994, Westword published  "Prints Charming," a profile of Barry Hirschfeld, who helmed a then-almost-century-old local printing business. A printing business that last week announced that National Hirschfeld will soon will close up shop altogether -- without paying severance to longtime employees, and just after passing the hundred-year mark.

You could hear the howling around town, and it sent us back to our original story. There we found the charming tale of how the Hirschfeld building -- now a hotel (shown at right) -- was built in the shape of a baseball diamond, as well as some not so charming letters in response to the story, including the following:

Oh, boy, this is a real shocker: Denver's "alternative" newspaper covers a labor story and somehow the "labor" story gets lost in a sea of biographical crap about the boss. Eighty--count 'em--eighty-plus paragraphs detailing Barry Hirschfeld's rise to the top of the corporate shit heap. There he stands knee-deep in his own press clippings alongside other recent Colorado progressives and future recipients of the Robert Reich Labor/Management Cooperation Prize: the Coors clan and the Monfort boys. The plight of the hundred or so striking workers, however, is reduced to a few sentences at the end of this great American success story. The failure to understand a labor dispute is expected from most local journalists, but eighty paragraphs on Hirschfeld? Please. Let me sum up his life story in a few brief words: Barry (college golfer and fun boy) inherits a big business and now seeks to test the depth (length?) of his manhood by screwing the people that built the business. This is so extraordinarily moving that I'm having trouble wiping the tears from my eyes as I type this.



Read the rest of the letter, as well as one supporting Hirschfeld, here.

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun