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Grolier Club Exhibitions

The Machine Age



William Dana Orcutt (1870–1953), Edward E. Bartlett (1863–1942). Brooklyn, NY: Merganthaler Linotype Company, 1923. Quarto.

The method of producing printing types remained remarkably unchanged from Gutenberg’s time until the latter part of the nineteenth century. The only significant revisions to the process would come in the late nineteenth century, with the invention of the pantographic punchcutting machine, eliminating the need for handcut punches; and mechanical type composition from keyboarded copy. The first practical method to gain a foothold in industry was the Linotype machine invented by Ottmar Merganthaler in the 1880s.

LENDER: The Grolier Club



Frederic W. Goudy (1856–1947). Elizabeth, NJ: American Type Founders Company, 1927. Quarto.

Frederic W. Goudy was one of the most successful and prolific American type designers of all time. The most essentially “Goudy” of all of Goudy’s numerous typefaces may be Goudy Oldstyle, made for American Type Founders in 1915. The design of this typeface is quite original and beautifully rendered. Goudy Oldstyle enjoyed enormous popularity, mainly as an advertising (display) type. Building on the success of the original roman and italic styles, ATF issued numerous variations on the theme, including a bold, cursive (the italic with swash alternates) and a “handtooled” (inline), variant.

PROVENANCE: The Library of the Grolier Club and Florence E. Duvall



Jan Tschichold (1902–1974). Berlin: Bildungsverband der Deutsche Buchdrucker, 1928. Octavo.

By the mid-1920s a new design ethos was sweeping much of the Western world. No longer would backwards-looking pseudo-Greek-temple columns or ornate decoration do for buildings, typography, or other areas of design; nor would the short-lived art nouveau be deemed appropriate for the lean, modern, electrified machine age. A modern look which embraced the machine and unpretentiousness of contemporary life was called for. No institution became more closely associated with this modernist movement than the Bauhaus.

Tschichold was never part of the Bauhaus, yet his manual of new typography became the manifesto for radically modern graphic design.

LENDER: Jerry Kelly



Robert Proctor (1868–1903). London: The Bibliographical Society, 1900. Folio.

No less an authority than Nicolas Barker has called Robert Proctor “the greatest student of Greek typography of the last century, a man imbued with the revolutionary zeal of William Morris.” The summary of Proctor’s knowledge of early Greek typefaces is presented in this comprehensive book. Proctor felt the Aldine style set the study of Greek back generations, yet it was the Aldine model that was followed in the overwhelming majority of Greek types for centuries to come, from Garamond to the twentieth century.

LENDER: The Grolier Club



W.A. Dwiggins (1880–1856). New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1928 (revised edition 1948). Octavo.

William Addison Dwiggins was born in Martinsville, Ohio, in 1880. As a young man he studied lettering with Fred Goudy at the Frank Holm School in Chicago.

The title of this manual, Layout in Advertising, clearly states what it’s about. It includes a section specifically concerned with type, yet how much one might learn about the subject is debatable. Ironically, Dwiggins himself would later move away from advertising in favor of book design work. He was also an important type designer (creating Electra, Caledonia, Metro, and other typefaces for the Linotype Corporation of Brooklyn, NY); as well as being a puppeteer, and an articulate polemicist.

LENDER: Jerry Kelly



A.M. Cassandre (1901–1968). Paris: Deberny & Peignot, 1928. Octavo.

A. M. Cassandre was the nom de plum of the advertising artist Adolphe Jean-Marie Mouron. Poster designs, for which he always created unique lettering by hand, counted among his major works. Upon seeing Cassandre’s poster named “Au Bucheron” in 1925, the Parisian typefounder Charles Peignot commissioned the Bifur typeface.

The design involves extremely simple geometric shapes. There are two versions, a one-color type and a two-color variant. The concept was novel, functional and truly innovative.

PROVENANCE: From the library of Aaron Burns, typographer and founder of ITC; later Jerry Kelly



A[lfred] F[orbes] Johnson (1884–1972). London: Grafton & Co., 1934. Octavo.

A.F. Johnson was “Keeper of the Books” (librarian) at the British Museum, which would later spin off its book holdings into the British Library. In this modest volume Johnson imparts a great deal of knowledge about the evolution of type, from Gutenberg up to modern sans serifs and early-twentieth-century advertising typefaces. Type Designs is something of a “mini-Updike,” but that is not to say that Johnson does not have original thoughts about the development of type – he most certainly does.

LENDER: Jerry Kelly

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Eric Gill (1882–1940). London: Sheed & Ward, 1931 (printed by Hague & Gill). Octavo.

Eric Gill was a major artist in several disciplines, including calligraphy, wood-engraving, type design, and typography. He was also a prolific author. His Essay on Typography is a manual of the art, in the vein of earlier books by Moxon and Fournier. The book is also a prime example of Gill’s then novel typographic ideas put into practice: it is set in basically a single size of Gill’s own Joanna type, flush left/rag right.

An Essay on Typography is printed letterpress by Gill and his son-in-law, René Hague. The illustrations and diagrams were cut on wood by Gill.

PROVENANCE: Inscribed by bibliographer Hellmut Lehmann-Haupt to the printer Joseph Blumenthal of Spiral Press fame, later Jerry Kelly