The Definitive Dwiggins no. 10—D.B. Updike and W.A. Dwiggins

The current issue of Parenthesis : The Journal of the Fine Press Book Association (Autumn 2014) includes my article “Dwiggins and Updike: Pupil and Mentor over a Few Years in the Early 20th Century” (pp. 11–17). It is the text for my talk at [R]Evolution in Print: New Work in Printing History & Practice, the 2005 annual conference of the American Printing History Association that was held at Mills College in Oakland, California. It is a condensed version of the last chapter I had written in my unfinished biography of Dwiggins.

Unfortunately, there is an error in the caption to the image reproduced on p. 15. The 1909 ledger page is from Dwiggins’ account books and is in his handwriting not that of Updike. I also think now that my original dating of the photograph of Dwiggins (p. 11 left) as c.1906 is too generous. He looks much younger than age twenty-six and the photograph is more likely from the years 1896 to 1903.

It should be noted that on his Cornhill letterhead of the time (p. 14) Dwiggins described himself simply as “Designer.” Nothing more. Finally, the illustration he made for the Howes Cleanser handbill (p. 16 left) was reused later (sometime between 1911 and 1914) for a sample of India Tint Dunkirk Text paper from Stone & Andrew. The typefaces used (Scotch Roman and Mountjoye Italic*) suggest that either Updike or Dwiggins was responsible for the overall design. Both faces were Updike favorites that Dwiggins adopted in his career.

India Text Dunkirk from Stone & Andrew

India Tint Dunkirk Text paper specimen from Stone & Andrew. Illustration by W.A. Dwiggins. n.d.

*Barnard J. Lewis identified the italic in this specimen as Original Old Style Italic. But it does not match the 18 pt sample of that face in his book How to Make Type Talk (1914) which he claimed to be the only size in existence. The Farmer, Little & Co. specimen book of 1900 shows a 20 pt size—which is very different from the smaller ones—that matches this face (especially the archaic p and the round y, though there is no g and k for comparison). I believe the 20 pt size is the same as the italic for Mountjoye, an Updike favorite that Bruce Rogers called Brimmer and which Stanley Morison revived for Monotype in 1930 as Bell. (Note: American Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century [p. 140] by Mac McGrew does not show the 20 pt size and Plain Printing Types [p. 270] by Theodore Low De Vinne shows only a 22 pt size which matches the smaller sizes.)