Research

Research consists of unintended or accidental discoveries that I have made during the course of my research into other topics. They are posted here in the belief that others may find the information equally fascinating. Some items are meant to challenge or question existing scholarship on a specific topic. And others are intended to alert scholars to material that may be relevant to their own pursuits or to new opportunities of research.

The Definitive Dwiggins no. 161—The New Colophon addendum

Recently Charles Nix kindly sent me an image of lettering that he had received as a gift. He was told that it was by W.A. Dwiggins for The Colophon vol. I, no. 1. In trying to confirm that it was indeed the work of Dwiggins I discovered that it was actually the lettering for title page of The New Colophon vol. II, part 8 (February 1950) rather than for the earlier incarnation of the periodical. The rest of the title …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 198—A Portrait of William Morris

Woodcut portrait of William Morris by W.A. Dwiggins from “The Poetry of William Morris” by Wallace Rice in The Blue Sky: A Monthly Magazine vol. V, no. 1 (April 1902). From Google Books.
W.A. Dwiggins (1880–1956) lived in Chicago from the fall of 1899 to the summer of 1903. During that brief time he was initially a student at the Frank Holme School of Illustration and then a studio mate of his mentor Frederic W. Goudy (1865–1947). Together he and …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 116—The End of Childhood (1890–1895)

Wanderings
The unexpected death of Moses Dwiggins in January 1890 left his widow Eva, and their young son Willie, adrift in the world. Without her soulmate and source of livelihood, Eva stumbled about for the next five years, trying to achieve a stable life. Willie, only 9 1/2 years old at the time of his father’s death, was old enough to understand his mother’s grief, but too young to be able to do much about it.

This post is the next installment …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 142—The New Colophon

The Colophon was conceived in 1928 but Part 1 was not issued until February 1930. The first series ended with Part 20 in March 1935. It was succeeded by The Colophon New Series which ran from Summer 1935 (vol. 1, no. 1) to December 1938 (vol. 3, no. 4). The third iteration of the journal, titled The Colophon New Graphic Series lasted for four issues from March 1939 to February 1940. At that point, Elmer Adler, its founder …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 141—The Colophon (New Series)

The first iteration of The Colophon: A Book Collectors’ Quarterly came to an end with Part 20 in March 1935. [1] For five years its progenitor Elmer Adler had struggled to establish the journal on a firm financial basis with little success. In order to reduce expenses he reluctantly agreed to replace handset type with machine composition and to change the format from an assemblage of articles produced and printed by different contributors to a standardized design printed by Pynson …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 82—The Colophon (Part V)

In the fall of 1928 W.A. Dwiggins was completing work on the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson for Random House. The printer of the book was Pynson Printers, headed by Elmer Adler (1884–1962). [1] The two men had previously worked together on Nobodaddy: A Play by Archibald MacLeish (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Dunster House, 1926) and two editions of My Mortal Enemy by Willa Cather (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1926). [2] Their professional friendship …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 30—The Architect and the Industrial Arts

Entrance to The Architect and the Industrial Arts exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1929). Design by Joseph Urban. Note the poster by W.A. Dwiggins at right. Image source: Digital Collections, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Richard F. Bach (1887–1968) organized fifteen annual exhibitions of contemporary industrial art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art between 1917 and 1940. [1] With them he attempted to promote good design and good taste in manufactured goods. The annuals displayed examples of good design …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 32—The Architect and the Industrial Arts, continued

There are eighteen stencil ornaments in total by W.A. Dwiggins in the exhibition catalogue for The Architect and the Industrial Arts. [1] However, only eight are original designs. The other ten are either repeats or flopped copies. Six designs are botanical in nature and two are geometrical. All are printed in black, though several have hatched elements to create tone. Printed by letterpress on soft paper, Dwiggins’ original crisp edges have unfortunately been dulled. Here they are, in the order …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 105—Addendum to W.A. Dwiggins’ Ancestry, Part III: Moses and Eva Dwiggins

Five artifacts associated with Moses and Eva Dwiggins survive in the W.A. Dwiggins Collections at the Boston Public Library: two programs for theatrical events, one each involving Moses and Eva, their marriage license, a certificate for Moses as a medical examiner for an insurance company, and a book entitled Living Poems. [1] All are of interest beyond their use as documentation of W.A. Dwiggins’ parents’ lives. [2] They are fascinating for their design and typography which is typical of the …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 108—James Ferguson, the Photograph Swindler

 This post is an addendum to The Definitive Dwiggins no. 97—W.A. Dwiggins’ Childhood (1880–1889) continued.
W.A. Dwiggins as a child (1886). Photograph by James Ferguson (Richmond, Indiana). Courtesy Special Collections, Boston Public Library.
In The Definitive Dwiggins no. 97, I included two photographs of W.A. Dwiggins as a child, both taken by well-respected Richmond photographic studios. The earliest one was by Jacob Harry Swaine (1838–1917) whose studio at the time was located at the corner of Eighth Street and Main …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 97—W.A. Dwiggins’ Childhood (1880–1889) continued

The text for this post on W.A. Dwiggins’ childhood in Richmond, Indiana was originally written in 2007. It overlaps The Definitive Dwiggins no. 94 (Dwiggins’ birth and childhood), The Definitive Dwiggins no. 95 (some of Dwiggins’ childhood drawings), The Definitive Dwiggins no. 106 (Richmond, Indiana businesses), The Definitive Dwiggins no. 107 (Dwiggins’ homes in Richmond, Indiana), and The Definitive Dwiggins no. 92 (Clare V. Dwiggins, known as Dwig). Although ostensibly about Dwiggins’ childhood in Richmond, The Definitive Dwiggins no. …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 92—Dwig

W.A. Dwiggins is familiarly known today as WAD, but occasionally in the past he was referred to by colleagues as Dwig. This nickname can be confusing since it was the professional name of his first cousin Clare V. Dwiggins (1874–1958), an illustrator and cartoonist. [1]
A young Clare Victor Dwiggins (n.d.). Courtesy Special Collections, Boston Public Library.
“The cartoonist.” From School Days by Clare Victor Dwiggins (New York and London: Harper & Brothers, 1919).
Clarence Victor Dwiggins was born …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 106—Richmond, Indiana, Part I: Businesses

This post accompanies The Definitive Dwiggins no. 94 and The Definitive Dwiggins no. 107 as part of my attempt to establish the context and environment in which W.A. Dwiggins grew up.
Map of The City of RIchmond, Indiana 1884 (Boston: C.H. Bailey & Co., 1884).
Richmond, Indiana was the city where Dwiggins spent his childhood. [1] When he arrived there, as a six months-old infant, the city had a population of 12,742; by 1890 when he left, following the death …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 107—Richmond, Indiana, Part II: Residences

In December 1880, when he was six months old, W.A. Dwiggins moved from the hamlet of Martinsville, Ohio (population 355) to the thriving industrial city of Richmond, Indiana (population 12,742). From that moment until the fall of 1904, when he moved east to Hingham, Massachusetts, he always lived in an urban setting. A sense of the size of Richmond during Dwiggins’ childhood can be gained from seeing the “bird’s eye” map of the city made by C.H. Bailey in …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 98—S.S. McClure Co.

In the span of less than two weeks—between the end of December 1907 and the middle of January 1908—W.A. Dwiggins was commissioned by the S.S. McClure Co. to design six book covers. A month later he was asked to design a seventh cover. That same day he also received four assignments for McClure’s Magazine. [1] The books were, in order, Through the Magic Door by Arthur Conan Doyle and Piano Playing: A Little Book of Simple Suggestions by …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 95—Childhood Drawings: Locomotives, Fire Engines, Tractors, and Skeletons

A small number of childhood drawings by W.A. Dwiggins have survived. [1] They were made either using druggist’s prescription sheets or pages from a ledger which his father, Dr. Moses F. Dwiggins, owned. The ledger pages are lined and some are tabbed (with letters such as CD). All have the names of patients written on the upper lines and one also says “Cash Act. 181″ at the top. Below the patient entries, in dark pencil, are various phrases such as …
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