The Definitive Dwiggins no. 210 addendum no. 2—A correction

I recently discussed Joseph Sinel’s redrawing of marks for A Book of American Trade-Marks & Devices with Bruce Kennett. In the course of our exchange he sent me several pairings of Dwiggins’ marks from different sources. One of them was the scribe mark designed by Dwiggins for the Society of Calligraphers. [1] When I saw the two versions I immediately realized that I had made a mistake in The Definitive Dwiggins no. 210 post on 22 Printers’ Marks and Seals. The scribe in the book (mark no. 10) is not the one that graces the Society’s letterhead and half-sheet as I said.

Here are the two scribes for comparison. The first one is from the Society’s letterhead. The one below it is from 22 Printers’ Marks and Seals. The two differ in a number of ways.

Society of Calligraphers seal from letterhead of the Society of Calligraphers. Design by W.A. Dwiggins.

Society of Calligraphers mark from 22 Printers’ Marks and Seals Designed or Redrawn by W.A. Dwiggins (New York: New York: William Edwin Rudge, 1929).

The letterhead scribe is placed within a Scotch rule-like circular frame while the 22 Printers’ Marks scribe is bounded by a rectangular frame partially made of a double line. [2] The letterhead scribe has his head slightly bowed and his shoulders are more rounded. The book scribe has a more severe expression and both of his hands are rendered differently (e.g. the fingers of the left hand are more splayed). This scribe has an inkstone. What appears to be a Latin motto (“SIG SOC / CAL LIG”) behind the letterhead scribe is simply Dwiggins shorthand for signet of the Society of Calligraphers, indicating that the design is the organization’s official seal.

The “squared up” scribe, as Kennett refers to him, does not appear anywhere else in Dwiggins’ oeuvre other than 22 Printers’ Marks and Seals. That suggests that he was designed expressly for inclusion in the book. But why? Neither Kennett nor I have a solid answer. It may have simply been a whim on Dwiggins’ part.

1. Bruce Kennett is the author of W.A. Dwiggins: A Life in Design (San Francisco: Letterform Archive, 2018).
2. A Scotch rule or Oxford rule is a shaded or contrast rule consisting of two parallel line of differing thickness. See entry 9801 in Dictionary of the Printing and Allied Industries in Six Languages (2nd ed.) compiled by F.J.M. Wijnekus and E.F.P.H. Wijnekus (Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2013).