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. 103—An Undated Photograph of Eva Siegfried

Miss Mary Fisher and students (c.1867–1868). Photographer unknown. Courtesy Special Collections, Boston Public Library.
This photograph (which I have cropped from its frame) of a group of young women is in the 2001 W.A. Dwiggins Collection at the Boston Public Library. [1] Someone—most likely Eva S. Dwiggins, WAD’s mother—has written below it: “Della Vandam, Della Strickle (two visitors), Fannie Diboll, Katie Hibben, Miss Mary Fisher—teacher—Eva Siegfried, Nettie Harlen, Lucy Harlen, Emma Taylor, Katie Marble, Ella Siegfried, Eva Eldridge, & Ollie Welch.” …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 111—Chronology 1880–1890

For over twenty years I have been building a detailed chronology of the life and work of W.A. Dwiggins. It includes not only information about his ancestry, immediate family, life and career, but also about his contemporaries in the design world. This post is the second installment of a distilled version of it.
1880
January 7 1880 Carl Purington Rollins born in West Newbury, Massachusetts.

January 26 1880 Thomas Wood Stevens born in Daysville, Illinois.
May 24 1880 John W. Reed born in Chicago.
June 1 1880 …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 110—Chronology 1781–1879

For over twenty years I have been building a detailed chronology of the life and work of W.A. Dwiggins. It includes not only information about his ancestry, immediate family, life and career, but also about his contemporaries in the design world. This post is the first installment of a distilled version of it.
1781
July 3 1781 Robert Dwiggins born in Guilford County, North Carolina; paternal great-grandfather of WAD.

1785 
July 19 1785 Sarah Dillon born in Guilford County, North Carolina; paternal great-grandmother of WAD.

1789
March 16 …
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From the Bookcase no. 2 addendum—Samuel Bartels

This is an addendum to From the Bookcase no. 2—Spacing in Typography which focused on two books about typography by E.R. Currier and Samuel A. Bartels.
Tailor’s Announcement Contest winners (1916). Samuel Bartels is on the bottom line, second from right.
Before beginning his career as a typographer in New York City, Samuel Bartels was a winner in a 1915 contest sponsored by The American Printer. The Tailor’s Announcement Contest—opened November 20, 1915 and closed March 5, 1916—drew more entries (607) …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 101—Martinsville, Ohio

“Welcome to Martinsville” sign on eastern outskirts of town. Photograph by Paul Shaw (2006).
Clinton County. Detail from Topographical Map of Clinton, Fayette, Greene, Pickaway, and Ross Counties (1872).
Martinsville, Ohio. Detail from Map of Clinton County, Ohio by H.E. Walling (1859).
Martinsville, Ohio—the town where W.A. Dwiggins was born in 1880—is in Clark Township, Clinton County. It lies nearly due south of Wilmington, the county seat. In 1889, Henry Howe described it thusly:
Martinsville, on the M. & C. Railroad, …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 90—W.A. Dwiggins’ Ancestry, Part III: Moses and Eva Dwiggins

Moses Dwiggins at age 14 (1866). Photograph by Joe Wolfe (Wilmington, Ohio). Courtesy Special Collections, Boston Public Library.
W.A. Dwiggins’ parents were Moses F. and Eva S. Dwiggins.
Moses Frazier Dwiggins was born April 25, 1852 in Clinton County. Like his younger brother James, he worked on the family farm for several years after reaching manhood. [1] And, like his father Zimri, he taught school for a brief period. Clara Dwiggins, wife of Moses’ cousin Charles E. Dwiggins, wrote that “He taught school for …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 100—The New Vienna Whiskey War

In the winter of 1873-1874, Dr. Dio Lewis of Boston sparked a series of temperance crusades in the center of Ohio. He lectured on temperance in Hillsboro on December 22 and in Washington Court House three days later. His first lecture “which came down like an electric cloud” fired up Mrs. Eliza J. Thompson who, with seventy-five women from the Hillsboro Presbyterian Church, began the First Crusade on Christmas Eve. That evening, and for several days thereafter, they gathered in prayer at …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 85—W.A. Dwiggins’ Ancestry, Part II: Benjamin Y. and Sarah Siegfried

W.A. Dwiggins’ maternal grandparents were Baptists, the Rev. B.Y. Siegfried and his wife Sarah.
Rev. Benjamin Y. Siegfried. From Proceedings of the Seventy-Sixth Anniversary of the Ohio Baptist Convention (Columbus, Ohio: Press of Myers Bros., 1901), p. 33.
Rev. Benjamin Y. Siegfried (c.1868–1871). Photograph by G. Wm. White (Chillicothe, Ohio). Courtesy of Special Collections, Boston Public Library.
The pastor of the First Baptist Church in Wilmington in 1878 was the circuit-riding Rev. Benjamin Young Siegfried. He was born September 25, 1816 in …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 83—W.A. Dwiggins’ Ancestry, Part I: Zimri and Phoebe Dwiggins

Zimri Dwiggins (c.1886). Photograph by East End Studios, Stigleman & Son, Richmond, Indiana). Courtesy Special Collections, Boston Public Library.
W.A. Dwiggins’ paternal grandparents were Zimri and Phoebe Dwiggins. [1] Zimri was born July 20, 1827 in Wilmington, Ohio, the county seat of Clinton County, situated midway between Columbus and Cincinnati. [2] “As a young man,” recalled the Wilmington News-Journal, Zimri “taught school in winter and farmed in the summer, and as an older man he devoted himself to farming….” In 1859 he owned …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 80—The Society of Calligraphers

The first Society of Calligraphers was formed by Edward Johnston (1872–1944), Eric Gill (1882–1940), Percy Smith (1882–1948), and others in 1907, but by 1910 it had dissolved—possibly due to accusations by Johnston of plagiarism regarding Smith’s portfolio Lettering and Writing (London: B.T. Batsford, 1908). Eventually it was replaced by the London-based Society of Scribes and Illuminators in 1921. Between then and the early 1970s a handful of other groups devoted to the propagation of calligraphy were established: in 1935 the short-lived Cursive Group in …
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Paper Is Part of the Picture no. 26—The Creative Doldrums (1974–1985)

This is one in a series of blog posts accompanying Paper Is Part of the Picture: Strathmore Paper and the Evolution of American Graphic Design 1892–2017, an exhibition that I curated at The Opalka Gallery of The Sage Colleges in Albany, New York. The exhibition ran from October 3 to December 15, 2017.
Strathmore Artlaid II watch book (Strathmore Paper Co., 1980). Designer unknown. Photograph by Vincent Giordano.
“The Sixties” came to an end with the resignation of President Richard Nixon …
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Paper Is Part of the Picture no. 25—The 1960s (Part II: Swiss Style)

This is one in a series of blog posts accompanying Paper Is Part of the Picture: Strathmore Paper and the Evolution of American Graphic Design 1892–2017, an exhibition that I curated at The Opalka Gallery of The Sage Colleges in Albany, New York. The exhibition ran from October 3 to December 15, 2017.
the gestalt assault cover (Strathmore Paper Co., 1970). Design by Ken Kuenster. Photograph by Ariel Smullen.
From the early 1960s to the early 1970s Strathmore’s promotional mailings reflected the …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 56—”New Kind of Printing Needs New Design”

Front page of the Graphic Arts Section, Part Three of the Boston Evening Transcript (August 29, 1922). Design by George Trenholm.
W.A. Dwiggins has held an anomalous position within design history. His varied work as an advertising designer, book designer, and type designer is often praised but rarely shown in design history surveys. Instead, he is included principally as the coiner of the phrase “graphic design.” It is an assertion that I debunked several years ago, though it still persists. …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 81—Who Coined the Term “Graphic Design”?

Three and a half years ago I wrote two posts about the origins of the term “graphic design” that debunked the commonly held view that W.A. Dwiggins deserved credit for it: “Graphic Design:” A brief terminological history (June 4, 2014) and  “Graphic Design:” more on the terminology of a profession (June 8, 2014). In them I traced the first use of the term to the California School of Arts and Crafts in 1921, one year before Dwiggins used …
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Paper Is Part of the Picture no. 24—The 1960s (Part I: The Pushpin Style)

This is one in a series of blog posts accompanying Paper Is Part of the Picture: Strathmore Paper and the Evolution of American Graphic Design 1892–2017, an exhibition that I curated at The Opalka Gallery of The Sage Colleges in Albany, New York. The exhibition ran from October 3 to December 15, 2017.
“If All the World Were Paper” mailer cover (Strathmore Paper Co., 1964). Design by Push Pin Studios. Photograph by Vincent Giordano.
Seventy years after its founding, the Strathmore …
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Paper Is Part of the Picture no. 23—The Return of Will Bradley

This is one in a series of blog posts accompanying Paper Is Part of the Picture: Strathmore Paper and the Evolution of American Graphic Design 1892–2017, an exhibition that I curated at The Opalka Gallery of The Sage Colleges in Albany, New York. The exhibition ran from October 3 to December 15, 2017.
Invitation to Strathmore Luncheon Honoring Will Bradley at the University Club, New York CIty (1954). Photograph by Ariel Smullen.
Will Bradley was rediscovered at the age of 82. …
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