The Definitive Dwiggins no. 3 addendum to the addendum—Memento of a Catalogue Clinic, 1917

In the addendum to The Definitive Dwiggins no. 3 post I included “Memento of a Catalogue Clinic”, a drawing that W.A. Dwiggins (under his alias of Hermann Püterschein) made in 1917 as a keepsake for The Society of Printers. It is one of the Society’s most famous pieces of ephemera and there has always been curiosity as to who the various people are. The reproduction of it in The Printing Art simply referred to those present as “leading members of the Society.” [1] Surprisingly, there are no contemporary accounts—of any length—of the clinic.

In August 1940 Dwiggins created a key to his drawing which was reproduced fifteen years later in Printing as an Art: A History of The Society of Printers, 1905–1955 by Ray Nash. [2] His sketch, reproduced below, failed to identify three figures and clearly Nash nor anyone in the Society at that time was able to either. It was subsequently printed in Direct Advertising vol. XL, no. 4 (Second Quarter, 1955) with no commentary by its editor Brad Stephens, who may have been one of the participants.

Key to Memento of a Catalogue Clinic

Key to “Memento of a Catalogue Clinic Held by The Society of Printers at the Boston City Club, February 20, 1917.” Sketch by W.A. Dwiggins (14 August 1940). Reproduced in Printing as an Art: A History of The Society of Printers, 1905–1955 by Ray Nash (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1955).

There are numerous copies of the keepsake in various libraries throughout the United States, including one in the Richard C. Jenkinson Collection at the Newark Public Library which is annotated by an unknown hand (see below). Whoever created it must have known the participants well since the note at the upper right reads, “Whitmarsh says it [referring to his cigarette holder] is ‘not a Pittsburg stogie’.” [3] However, he failed to identify five of the participants and one of those he did is in contradiction to Dwiggins.

Dwiggins’ August 1940 key sketch was apparently a response to an inquiry from Herbert G. Porter about Society activities he had been involved in. The original sketch, now in The Society of Printers Archives, accompanied a letter that he wrote to Porter later that month discussing T.M. Cleland’s 1913 talk on Bodoni and an unidentified book clinic. Why Porter wanted that information in 1940 is unclear. Nash, who commissioned Dwiggins that year to redesign the Dartmouth seal, may have been behind Porter. Certainly, four years later he wrote to Dwiggins asking him for the exact same information, including the names of those present at the Catalogue Clinic. This was long before plans for the 50th anniversary book were underway. [4]

Memento of a Catalogue Clinic. Illustration by W.A. Dwiggins. C.F. Whitmarsh is in the back row, second from the right.

“Memento of a Catalogue Clinic Held by The Society of Printers at the Boston City Club, February 20, 1917.” Keepsake for The Society of Printers. Illustration by H. Püterschein [W.A. Dwiggins].

This is an identification of the participants in the Catalogue Clinic based on Dwiggins’ recollection and that of the unidentified annotator of Jenkinson copy of the keepsake. The back row, from left to right: George L. Harding (1893–1976); unidentified; Barnard J. Lewis (1888—1968) according to Dwiggins but Henry Lewis Johnson according to the Jenkinson annotator; unidentified; C.F. Whitmarsh (1853–1920); and Brainard Leroy Bates (1879–1965). Leaning against the railing, from left to right: George Heintzemann (1886–1966); John Bianchi  (1874–1957); and T.B. Hapgood (1871–1938). In the foreground, from left to right: Walt Harris (1892–1947); Robert Seaver (1873–1922); Henry Lewis Johnson (1867–1937); and Dwiggins (1880–1956) himself.

The Minutes of The Society of Printers for 26 February 1917 says that forty-two members of the Society were present as  “Mr. Dwiggins, [discussed] the functions of the designer.” [6] But no further details are provided. Contrary to this statement and the assertion in The Printing Art not all of those in Dwiggins’ drawing were members of The Society of Printers in 1917. Only Bianchi, Dwiggins, Hapgood, Harris, Johnson and Lewis appear as members that year in Fourth Quarter:  The Last Twenty-Five Years of the First SP Century by Melissa Clemence (2011), though some had been members in previous years: Whitmarsh (1911), Seaver (1912), Bates (1914) and Harding (1915–1916). However, Clemence’s list is not to be taken as gospel as my notes from The Society of Printers Archives indicate Heintzemann was listed in the Society’s 1917–1918 membership list and contemporary accounts of the Society describe Seaver as a member. [7]

Based on the photographs I have unearthed of individuals in the Boston graphic design and printing worlds of the early 20th century, I believe that the figure in the back row under the lamp is E. Parker Archibald (fl.1910–1946), a member of the Society in the early 1920s. The figure in the back row, second from the left looks a lot like Society member Carl Purington Rollins (1880–1968), though it seems inconceivable that Dwiggins would not have remembered his longtime friend being present at the Clinic. Although Dwiggins marked the man standing at the far left along the railing as George Heintzemann, he looks to me like Brad Stephens (1878–1964), who despite never being a member of the Society was a key fixture in Boston printing and advertising circles at the time. But I have yet to find a photograph of Heintzemann to know what he looked like. As to which man is Johnson, it is most likely the individual in the foreground as Dwiggins has claimed rather than the one leaning over the railing. The mustache matches that of photographs of Johnson and his prominence fits with his position in the center of the drawing, alongside Seaver and Dwiggins.

If my tentative identification of Rollins and Archibald are wrong, there are several other candidates for those two figures in the back row: Irving K. Annable, Charles Capon, Lewis Gandy, James Innes, Adrian Iorio, C. Chester Lane, George Trenholm and Perry Walton. I have photographs of both Gandy and Trenholm, but not of the others. Gandy looks a bit like the man standing at the far left back that Dwiggins says is George Harding. Trenholm, a commercial artist, looks most like the man at the far left in the front that Dwiggins has labeled Walt Harris.

So, who were all of these men? Bates was a columnist for The Graphic Arts; Bianchi was a partner with Daniel Berkeley Updike in The Merrymount Press; Hapgood and Harris were commercial artists; Harding had studied with Dwiggins in the printing course sponsored by the Society as part of the Graduate School of Business at Harvard University; Johnson was a founding member of the Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston and The Society of Printers as well as the founder of both The Printing Art and The Graphic Arts; Lewis worked at the Stetson Press; Seaver was a partner in the Seaver-Howland Press and a columnist for The Printing Art; and Whitmarsh was manager of The Printing Art. Of those who may be the unidentified individuals: Capon, Innes, Iorio and Trenholm were all commercial artists; Gandy was the editor of The Printing Art after Johnson’s departure; Annable, Rollins and Walton were printers; Stephens was the editor of Direct Advertising and a partner with George Heintzemann; and Lane was the director of the Harvard University Press. All were likely to have been present at the Catalogue Clinic, even if not depicted in Dwiggins’ illustration.

It should be noted that the keepsake for the Catalogue Clinic was printed by The University Press, indicating a high degree of involvement with the event by Whitmarsh.

NOTE: A year later, on 19 February 1918, Dwiggins directed another Society clinic at the Boston City Club, this time on printing design. “Mr. W.A. Dwiggins lead the conference in answering the question ‘How Would You Lay Out this Job’ and applied it to the various specimens submitted by numbers of the Society.” There is no visual record of this event.

[1] The drawing was reproduced as part of “Some Souvenirs of the Society of Printers, Boston, Mass.,” a showcase of ephemera without commentary. The Printing Art, vol. XXX, no. 1 (January 1918), pp. 241–248.
[2] I want to thank Lance Hidy for providing me with a copy of the Dwiggins key sketch. And for pointing out that Dwiggins’ original drawing is a nod to Thomas Eakins’ oil painting The Agnew Clinic (1889).
[3] The Pittsburg stogie was a well-known, inexpensive (three for a nickel) variety of cigar in the early part of the 20th century that “won a good name for the purity of its tobacco and the sanitary methods used in its making.” It appears in poetry and fiction of the time. There is an annotated copy of the keepsake in the Boston Public Library, Society of Printers Archives, Box 1, Folder 1; and there is an annotated sheet accompanying a copy of the keepsake in the Boston Public Library, 2001 W.A. Dwiggins Collection, Box 6, Folder 2. Both seem to be based on the 14 August 1940 sketch by Dwiggins.
[4] The 26 August 1940 letter from Dwiggins to Porter, along with the key sketch, is in the Boston Public Library, The Society of Printers Archives, Box 5. The 15 December 1944 letter from Nash to Dwiggins is in an unidentified box in the Ray Nash Papers, Rauner Library, Dartmouth College.
[5] See 26 February 1917 entry in the The Society of Printers Minute Book, 10 November 1908–5 May 1942. Boston Public Library, The Society of Printers Archives, Box 2.
[6] Other known errors in Clemence’s list are the wrong initial date for Dwiggins’ membership (which began in 1908), the length of Seaver’s membership (The American Printer described him in 1920 as the President of The Society of Printers!), and the omission of my name as a member.