The Definitive Dwiggins no. 162—The Scribe
As a student at the Frank Holme School of Illustration in Chicago, W.A. Dwiggins (1880–1956) drew a monk writing at a sloped desk as an assignment in the decorative design class taught by Frederic W. Goudy (1865-1947). The presence of the words “Class of Decorative Design” in a ribbon and “School of Illustration” in a tabula ansata below the drawing suggests it may have been intended for the cover of a (fictional) catalogue for the school. A completed, colorized, and signed version of this stippled illustration of a scribal monk subsequently became part of a cover of The Inland Printer (July 1901) jointly designed by Dwiggins and Goudy. 
The image of a scribal monk was common in the 1890s and early 20th century, reflecting the love of the Medieval era that characterized the Arts & Crafts movement. (See for instance the the bookplate that T.B. Hapgood designed for himself and which was subsequently repurposed by Tibor Kalman in the 1970s as a shopping bag design for Barnes & Noble.) 
A different iteration of the scribal monk, done entirely in line, was created by Dwiggins sometime after his move to Hingham, Massachusetts in 1904. It became his first professional mark, used on bookplates and stationery until the fall of 1908. The bookplate version seems to be the earliest instance of it. The scribal monk, facing left, is seated at a different sloped writing desk with an open window in the background. There are no books or rolled-up scrolls in the room. The drawing is more medieval in character than the earlier illustration. The bookplate has “WILL · DWIGGINS · HINGHAM · CENTRE · MASS.” running around the illustration in classical Roman capitals. It is printed in black on colored paper. Copies on lavender, lemon yellow, rose, and light brown paper are known.
This second scribal monk also appears on what is either another bookplate or a business card. “WILL DWIGGINS / TYPOGRAPHIC / DESIGN · LETTER / ING · HINGHAM / CENTRE · MASS ·” in justified lines of classical Roman capitals appears below the image.
Exactly when Dwiggins developed this second scribal monk is hard to determine. It was already in use when he wrote to John Reed, a former classmate of his at the Frank Holme School of Illustration, in the fall of 1906. In the compound letter he refers to several marks that he has already used: “…one was swiped from an old initial [the scribal monk] and the other is an adaptation—with WD in the loop—of that ancient emblem of the craft that the National Biscuit Co uses, with so much good logic and delightful finesse, on the ends of its cracker-boxes. IN SITU GEMMA is supposed to mean ‘The Gem in its Setting’—meaning the literary gem, not me.” 
An initial E buried in Early Venetian Printing Illustrated (Venice: Ferd. Ongania, London: John C. Nimmo, and New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1895) on p. 89 is the model for Dwiggins’ second scribal monk. Apparently Dwiggins saw Ongania’s book in Daniel Berkeley Updike’s library at The Merrymount Press. 
The scribal monk illustration was also used by Dwiggins on an envelope and a letterhead. Two versions of the latter exist. In the first it is centered below “Hingham Centre, Massachusetts” lettered in a chancery italic with Roman capitals and a long s in the manner of Griffo’s typeface; and in another, it in the second it is centered below “WILLIAM A. DWIGGINS · DESIGNER / BOOK DECORATION / LETTERING” in classical Roman capitals.  The latter was designed in November 1907.
Dwiggins abandoned the scribal monk as a professional mark in early 1908, prior to the trip that he and his wife Mabel took to Europe. The last instance of its use is in a letter to Daniel Berkeley Updike dated February 19, 1908. Less than two weeks earlier Dwiggins had sent Goudy drawings of the monk as part of an agreement to transfer use of the design to his former teacher. “May I ask you to hold up using them until I am out of the country?” he asked Goudy. “We go the 26th of this month [February], and I will be removed from pernicious activity in the art line, until in June. As soon as you begin using the mark I will, of course want to stop.” Dwiggins planned to use blank stationery when he returned from Europe since he was unsure where his studio would be, an indication that he was considering renting space in Boston. 
In November 1908 Dwiggins replaced the scribal monk with the “digger” (a man with a spade) as his professional mark.  The shift from the scribe to the digger was significant. It signified his shift from an Arts & Crafts aesthetic to a broader one that encompassed printed work from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, influenced by his work with Updike at The Merrymount Press.
One last instance of the scribal monk in use is as a label on an album of bookplates designed by Dwiggins. Although the album includes bookplates created as late as 1912, the album itself must have been prepared in 1906 or 1907. 
1. The Inland Printer vol. XXVII, no. 4 (July 1901) includes the first public notice of Dwiggins’ work. See p. 596 where two bookplates of his are reproduced alongside a miniature version of the cover design with Goudy. Goudy was responsible for the lettering and decorative border on the cover (signed G.).
2. For Kalman’s design of the Barnes & Noble shopping bags see his obituary by Steven Heller in The New York Times, 5 May 1999.
3. I refer to a compound letter because Reed and Dwiggins wrote back and forth to each other between October 20 and November 14, 1906, commenting on each other’s writings and adding pages to a single document as they went along. See Folder 2, Dwiggins Ephemera (Wing MS 12), Newberry Library. The WD mark mentioned is not the W within a D that Dwiggins used—along with others—during his years in Chicago. (E.g. in his woodcut portrait of William Morris in The Definitive Dwiggins no. 198.) Instead it refers to a mark based on traditional orb-and-cross printer marks such as that of Nicolas Jenson. The only instance of it in use by Dwiggins that I have seen is on a mailing label in the W.A. Dwiggins Ephemera Collection, Wing Collection, Newberry Library.
4. Updike’s copy of Early Venetian Printing Illustrated is now part of the Updike Collection on the History of Printing in Special Collections, Providence Public Library (call number Pq655.1453)53aE). An initial P with another scribal monk on p. 101 may also have influenced Dwiggins. Both it and the initial E was subsequently reproduced in Early Woodcut Initials by Oscar Jennings (London: Methuen and Co., 1908), pp. 182–183. But by then Dwiggins had ceased to use the scribal monk as a professional mark.
5. W.A. Dwiggins to Frederic W. Goudy 7 February 1908 in Folder 35, Box 12, 2001 W.A. Dwiggins Collection, Boston Public Library. Although Dwiggins promised Goudy he would use blank stationery upon his return from Europe, there is one instance where he used the scribal monk letterhead. See W.A. Dwiggins to Daniel Berkeley Updike 7 September 1908, Letter 108:199, Box 69, The Merrymount Press Collection, The Huntington Library. Dwiggins did not open a studio in Boston until early 1910.
6. The first use of the digger was for a Christmas card that Dwiggins planned to sell. See W.A. Dwiggins to Daniel Berkeley Updike 12 November 1908, Letter 108:237, Box 69, The Merrymount Press Collection, The Huntington Library. The history of Dwiggins’ digger mark will be the subject of The Definitive Dwiggins no. 163.
7. The bookplate album is in Folder 8A, Box 34, 1974 W.A. Dwiggins Collection, Boston Public Library.