About the Proprietor

Hi, I’m Emily. I’ve been designing, binding, and letterpress-printing books and other printed materials since 2002. I created my first personal history book for my graphic design thesis at Washington University in St. Louis. Starting with my grandfather’s unfinished memoir and a pile of old photo albums, I created an illustrated personal history book about his early life in Cuba and his immigration to the United States.

First Personal History

In this photo, I'm showing my grandfather his personal history book for the first time.

Since then, I’ve spent time working in publishing, and have also done marketing and design for the architecture industry. The work was interesting, and I had the opportunity to work with some great people, but I knew that I was really meant to be helping other individuals, families, and organizations put together illustrated histories of their very own. So in 2010, I founded Cathemeral Press in beautiful, rainy Portland, Oregon.


My Roots

I’m a people person. I love listening to people, drawing out their stories, and helping them to capture and share those stories. I also love books and printed words and pictures in general. As a child I read books voraciously, but I also read newspapers, magazines, bulletin boards, assembly instructions, cereal boxes, maps, road signs, and billboards with similar enthusiasm. Just as soon as I was able, I began writing as well. I’m a life-long journaler, and during most of my career I’ve worked at jobs where some writing and editing went hand-in-hand with my design and marketing responsibilities. From my love of people and love of books, I’ve developed a burning desire to help other people communicate their ideas and stories through printed matter.

A Dad's Story - memoir bookEven though no one else in my family has worked in the personal history business, it’s definitely a family-inspired career. It was my dad’s dad, John García, who wrote down his own immigration story and got me interested in personal history books in the first place. And then there’s my dad, Steve: the unofficial family historian, archivist, and collector of stories. Dad will start a conversation with almost anyone, and I have never been on a trip with him where he didn’t meet at least one person with a connection to someone he already knew.

My mom, Rindy, is a listener, and she comes from a family of savers. Her parents still own the house where my grandfather grew up. My parents have several pieces of furniture from my great-grandparents’ house, including an old victrola. I remember visiting the house as a child, and pretending I had stepped into the past. I did more imagining and less question-asking about the house and the people who lived there, but I’m starting to remedy that now.