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.

Blue Pencil no. 18—Arial addendum

Nick Sherman suggests that those interested in the Arial story look under the Wikipedia hood to see who has contributed to its account of the typeface. “This can be found by comparing previous edits of the article, under the ‘View history’ tab. For example, you can see that Thomas Phinney has edited the Arial article several times. You can also find some interesting tidbits under the ‘Discussion’ tab. He also reminds me that John Downer tackled the subject …
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Blue Pencil no. 18—Some history about Arial

I have moved the third portion of Matthew Carter’s email to me regarding Just My Type (see Blue Pencil no. 17—Correction) to a separate post since it was not a correction but a further elucidation of a commment I made. And I have paired it with Rod McDonald’s follow-up email (formerly Blue Pencil no. 17—Addendum).
Matthew Carter: Somewhere there must be a proper account of the beginnings of Arial, but at the risk of repeating myself or somebody else, here goes. …
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Blue Pencil no. 17Just My Type: Addendum no. 2

In my published review of Just My Type for Imprint I mentioned some of the larger themes percolating beneath the surface of the book. One that I forgot is the notion that typefaces should look like typefaces. This is similar to Eric Gill’s declaration that “Letters are not pictures or representations.” (An Essay on Typography, p. 23) Gill was offended by letters that tried to look like things (such as letters made of tree branches, viz. the back cover of …
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Blue Pencil no. 17— Just My Type : Addendum

Predictably, my review of Just My Type on Imprint has aroused controversy. Steve Heller has defended the book—to some extent. In doing so, he mentioned that he had reviewed the book favorably for The Financial Times. When I read his review I was not upset that he liked Just My Type. I was upset by some of his reasons. Two statements jumped out at me:
He [Garfield] jumps headlong into the swelling waves of type minutiae, and is extremely knowledgeable …
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From the Bookcase no. 4—Between Worlds: The Autobiography of Leo Lionni

Between Worlds, jacket design by Abby Weintraub
Between Worlds: The Autobiography of Leo Lionni
New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997
Strictly speaking, this book is not from my bookcase. I was unaware of its existence until Steve Heller mentioned it in one of his blogs. Yet, I never saw a copy until I visited Annie Lionni, Leo’s granddaughter and a classmate of mine at Reed College, for a college reunion meeting a few months ago. When I told her this, she insisted …
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From the Bookcase no. 3—Benjamin Sherbow

Title page, Making Type Work
Making Type Work
Benjamin Sherbow
New York: The Century Co., 1916
When I posted From the Archives no. 16 about Fred Farrar and Gilbert Farrar and From the Bookcase no. 2 about E.R. Currier and Samuel A. Bartels Matthew Carter emailed me and asked why I had overlooked Benjamin Sherbow. I had not meant to do so. I just did not have a copy of any of his books to hand at the time. Now I do.
Benjamin Sherbow …
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From the Archives no. 25—Bradbury Thompson and the Monalphabet

Westvaco Inspirations for Printers 145 (1944)
Bradbury Thompson (1911–1995) was a longtime proponent of a single alphabet, what he called the monalphabet. The evolution of his thinking on this subject is outlined in “The Monalphabet: Towards a graphically logical and consistent alphabet” in his book The Art of Graphic Design (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1988), pp. 37–41. I recently came across issue 145 of Westvaco Inspirations for Printers, the paper company promotional magazine that Thompson art directed …
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From the Archives no. 24—German printing trade magazines in the 1930s

Cover of Archiv für Buchgewerbe und Gebrauchsgraphik (1934)
In the remains of the Charles Francis Memorial Library I recently found one copy of Archiv für Buchgewerbe und Gebrauchsgraphik from 1934 and two copies of Druck und Werbekunst from 1937. They shed a little more light on the use of typefaces during the Third Reich. Archiv für Buchgewerbe und Gebrauchsgraphik was “published by the association of german printers, and it is a great source for texts and examples of german typography,” …
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From the Archives no. 23—Evangelisches Kirchengesangbuch (1950 / 1961)

Evangelisches Kirchegesangbuch für die Evangelische Kirche in Hessen und Nassau
Darmstadt: Verlag der Evangelischen Kirche in Hessen und Nassau, 1950 (15th ed., 1961)
I don’t know if a street bookseller’s stall on Unter den Linden in Berlin counts as an archive, but that is where I discovered this tiny gem of a book. It is an evangelical church hymnal, the first to be published in Germany after World War II. This particular version was authorized by the First Church Synod of …
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From the Archives no. 22—Grids and Ornamental Typography

Newspaper Advertising: Advertising Course of Eleven Lectures Conducted by The New York Times Advertising Department (New York: The New York Times, 1932)
Lecture No. 7 “Typography”—“Fundamentals of Good Typography” by Elmer Adler, pp. 61–70
“…it shows the meticulous care with which a man like T.M. Cleland approaches the job of laying out a page. You will notice (25) that Mr. Cleland has carefully ruled the sheet in pica squares and has stamped in each ornament in the exact position he wants it …
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What’s Online no. 6 addendum—Inland Printer 1911

Another, more substantial, item of interest in The Inland Printer (vol. 48) is “A Chapter on Typographical ‘Bulls’” by C.A. Hartman (October 1911, pp. 54–57). Hartman’s article is a hilarious accounting of errors in newspapers. Here are three of his examples:

“The state should provide witnesses whose evidence would not be under suspicion as being colored by the size of their feet [fee].”
“Ripping [reaping] where they have not sewed [sowed].”
“A Gentile [gentle] laxative.”
For the most part, these errors are …
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From the Archives no. 21—The Influence of Daniel Berkeley Updike

Printing Types: Their History, Forms, and Use: A Study in Survivals by Daniel Berkeley Updike (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1922) is the most celebrated book in the field of printing history. Although the revised edition of 1937 (reprinted in 1962) is better, the original one (or at least volume 2) is available for free as a Google Book online. (Why volume 1 is not available is a mystery.) Despite immense strides made in printing history since World War …
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What’s Online no. 6—Inland Printer 1911

The Inland Printer vol. 48 (1911–1912) is available on Google Books. Skimming through it I stumbled across this tiny item in the November 1911 issue (p. 232). I suspect the anonymous correspondent’s curiosity was piqued by the frakturstreit that occurred that year in the German Parliament.
“To satisfy himself as to the preference among German printers and publishers between the Fraktur (German) and Antiqua (Roman) types, an interested correspondent made a count of the volumes displayed at the recent annual book …
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From the Archives no. 20—The Cost of Type

Italian Old Style: A New Type Face from Fred W. Goudy (1924), front cover. Designed by Bruce Rogers.
Another item from the High School of Graphic Communication Arts library is a copy of the famous type specimen that Bruce Rogers designed for Frederic W. Goudy’s Italian Old Style. Italian Old Style: A New Type Face by Fred W. Goudy and Produced by the Lanston Monotype Machine Company of Philadelphia (Philadelphia: The Lanston Monotype Company, 1924) is more than …
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From the Archives no. 19—AIGA Membership 1922–1923

The former High School of Graphic Communication Arts in New York City library continues to yield material that expands our understanding of graphic design history. Even small, seemingly innocuous items are valuable if one looks closely at the contents. One such example is the tiny Year Book of the American Institute of Graphic Arts 1922–1923 which provides a snapshot of the profession as it was in the process of formation. This booklet was published the same year that the first …
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From the Archives no. 17A—Even More on Helvetica in the United States

Raleigh D’Adamo, one of the winners of the 1964 Transit Authority map competition, showed me some old New York City subway maps recently. Although I had seen most of them in person before, there were two I had never looked at in detail: the 1967 map and its 1969 revision. These are the maps that immediately preceded the well-known Vignelli map of 1972. What caught my eye was the typography. Both maps used a mix of Standard, Helvetica and Trade …
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