Goudy addenda

Monotype: The Journal of Composing Room Efficiency no. 70 (1924) is devoted entirely to Kennerley in celebration of the release of the typeface family—with the addition of bold and bold italic—for machine composition by Lanston Monotype. The issue, designed by George F. Trenholm and Ellsworth Geist, has several articles by and about Frederic W. Goudy to accompany showings of the typeface. In “A Medieval Craftsman and His Types: A Great Advertiser Comments on the Goudy Types”, Earnest Elmo Calkins, co-founder of the pioneering advertising agency Calkins & Holden, provides one explanation for the popularity of Goudy’s typefaces in the 1920s.

Calkins describes Goudy as a medievalist. But then goes on to say that, “…while Goudy is medieval in a certain old-fashioned to modern standards of success, his work is as practical as a patent quoin and as up-to-date as the point system. He is an old-style face on a modern body.” [p. 8]. A little bit further on, Calkins comes to the real point about Goudy: that his typefaces managed to bring back the qualities of incunabula typefaces that many in the immediate post-William Morris decades desired while at the same time making them functional for the modern world of advertising. “There is nothing academic about Goudy,” Calkins says. “He understands that printing is a means to an end. and the great proof of that state of mind is the fact that he is now cutting his faces for use in a typesetting machine. It is a great service to make a good type available under modern commercial conditions than to design a letter that has merely an academic interest and use. The typesetting machine is a necessity in our high-speed, quantity-production age.” [p. 8].

Goudy Oldstyle was one of the most commonly used typefaces in American advertising and publication design in the 1920s—especially after its promotion in the special supplement to the 1923 American Type Founders catalogue. One instance of its use is in the popular magazine, The Youth’s Companion. The magazine underwent several redesigns between 1925 and 1929, the year it was absorbed by American Boy. The first, and most radical. of these, announced in the 17 September 1925 issue under the heading “An Old Friend in a New Dress”, included the use of Goudy Oldstyle for all heads and subheads, replacing handlettering. The redesign was uncredited, but it was the work of either Walt Harris, the magazine’s art director at the time, or W.A. Dwiggins, who redesigned the masthead twice in early 1926.

Further proof of the popularity of Goudy’s types is supplied by The Inland Printer. In its summary of the exhibition of printing organized by the American Institute of Graphic Arts in 1920, it concluded with this note: “One noticeable feature of the exhibition is the extent to which Goudy type is used by present day printers.” (See The Inland Printer vol. 65 (June 1920), p. 364.)