The Laughing Horse Pressview enlarged panel
A New Mexico literary legend, Walter Willard Johnson, better known as “Spud,” made his home in Taos and Santa Fe from the early 1920s until his death in 1968. A poet, writer, publisher, and humorist, Johnson started out at the University of California at Berkeley where he and two friends introduced Laughing Horse, a campus journal featuring literary giants of the 1920s and 30s. In 1923, after the magazine was suppressed for printing a D.H. Lawrence review with what the University claimed was “obscene” language, Johnson took over sole editorship, moved it to Taos, and continued publishing for more than a decade.
When he acquired his own treadle-operated press in 1927, he printed Laughing Horse, as well as a series of pamphlets, and a small newspaper called The Horse Fly. A major literary force, Spud Johnson worked for The New Yorker, published a volume of his own poetry with the cooperative Writers’ Editions, wrote for the Santa Fe New Mexican, spearheaded local writing groups, edited the Taos Valley News and later contributed a Sunday column to that paper.