The Definitive Dwiggins no. 131—Reed and Dwiggins, Publishers

Reed and Dwiggins, Publishers letterhead (1906). Design and lettering by W.A.Dwiggins. Image courtesy of Special Collections, Boston Public Library.

For nearly two years, between the time that he left The Village Press in early 1905 and the beginning of 1907 when he fully gained Daniel Berkeley Updike’s trust, W.A. Dwiggins was floundering about professionally. He had a powerful urge to be an artist in the Arts & Crafts manner, producing bibelots, prints, and sundry other artistic items. And at the same time, the need to support himself and his wife financially impelled him toward a commercial art career.

As work was fitful and clients were few Dwiggins entertained several ideas for how to establish a career as an artist and a publisher of artistic items. One of them involved his art school classmate John W. Reed (1878/1880–1942) with whom he established an erstwhile publishing venture called Reed and Dwiggins. [1] It was a successor to The Ridge Shop, a private press which the two friends had briefly operated with Oswald Cooper (1879–1940), a third schoolmate, in Park Ridge, Illinois for a year or two prior to Dwiggins’ return to Cambridge, Ohio in the spring of 1903. [2]

At the time that Reed and Dwiggins attempted their second partnership, the former was working for the Chicago advertising agency Charles H. Fuller Company as a copywriter. At the same time, he was still carrying on private press printing at his home in suburban Park Ridge, using the printing equipment from the previous enterprise with Dwiggins and Cooper. [3] Despite this Dwiggins said that he would take “all responsibility for the processes of manufacture: drawing, engraving, printing, ordering stock and materials” and leave “all the detail of advertising and selling” to Reed. This implies that Dwiggins was the one who initiated the idea of the partnership, even though he took second billing.

Exactly when the idea for Reed and Dwiggins was hatched is unclear, but as I have written elsewhere, I think Dwiggins came up with the idea after his negotiations with Edwin O. Grover to reprint The Ninety-First Psalm fell through in August 1906. In casting about for a possible partner in his publishing schemes (which went beyond The Ninety-First Psalm), he realized that his art school friend was the perfect person. [4] Given their close friendship during Dwiggins’ time in Chicago, they had undoubtedly stayed in touch in the ensuing years. Unfortunately, there is no surviving correspondence prior to September 19, 1906. [5]

W.A. Dwiggins to John Reed 20 October [1906], sheet 1. Image courtesy of The Newberry Library.

W.A. Dwiggins to John Reed 20 October [1906], sheet 2. Image courtesy of The Newberry Library.

W.A. Dwiggins to John Reed 20 October [1906], sheet 3 “Weekly Mail Proposition”. Image courtesy of The Newberry Library.


However, from late October to late November Dwiggins and Reed exchanged a chain letter in which they discussed their partnership in detail with the former dominating the conversation. Although little to nothing seems to have come of their plans, the parts of this chain letter that survive are extremely valuable as a document of Dwiggins’ artistic and business views in 1906, a moment when he was struggling financially and was caught between the aspirations of the Arts & Crafts movement and the realities of a career as a commercial artist. Below I have transcribed the two extant parts of the chain letter, leaving the grammar, spelling, and punctuation untouched. Unfortunately, the WordPress blog format does not allow the layout of the letters to be imitated. [6]

Annotations to the chain letter are indicated with in-text footnotes.

First set of sheets
unnumbered sheet—Dwiggins to Reed

Saturday Oct 20 [7]
Your letter comes this A.M. and I proceed to answer: thus: Am quite satisfied with the seriousness of your purpose. [8] Set the contract go forward with proper pomp. I can understand the value of the Boston end to the string.
Your scheme for shipments O.K
Let me have promised opinions about packages for the various items
Your opinion on hand-lettering O.K
I saw that the circular scheme was too cumbersome and impractical as soon as it was written out. Sure, all items would be listed in some catalog.
Your opinion on prepaid postage O.K. Am ignorant of the practical side of such matters, and your opinions “go.”
Will go to work on dummies and specifications at once and work at them nights and in between.
You promise more later on subject of “Scheme wanted” Calendars are certainly not. [9]
Will set my motto distillery going at once.
Better keep out of the post-card business, my opinion coincides with yours that the stunt is dying. [10]
Am glad to have you second my desire to do only real stuff, and, truly, I think it will be a good “feature”

sheet 2—Dwiggins to Reed continued

as so few people are doing it.
The suggestion about advertising stunts was pipe-dream, better keep to an old-line propagandum to begin with.
Will cook up stationery etc. as soon as we come together on form name, address, etc. For my part I will be better satisfied with plain old “Reed and Dwiggins, Hingham Centre, Mass and Park Ridge Ill.” than any more fancy trimming. [11] Am inclined to make our bid on quite common-sense lines with the proper coloring of good sound design. As far away from the Will H. Ransom-Village Press–private press tommy rot as possible. [12] A good American business house but applied to the selling of artistic wares and consequently with that coloring in all its publicity work: Isn’t that your idea? Something that can grow, and not snuff out. If you put long hair and lace trimmings on a stunt it is bound to die shortly, simply because it takes only a few months for it to become too tiresome to live. Them’s my sentiments.
Will shape up and send later my ideas of a good list for first plunge. Will send mailing list next week and some sort of talk about Hingham and drawing if I can find something. Send with this some Psalms [13]

sheet 3—Dwiggins to Reed continued

Weekly Mail Proposition
In going just this far with our correspondence I have felt the need of some method of refering back, in writing letters, so that all chance of confusion would be eliminated. Your suggestion for a regular exchange is getting at the idea. Once a week will probably serve at this stage in the game. Would suggest that you take such a time in the week as will give you most chance to get your stuff in writing and then let me fit my time of answering to your convenience, as my time is entirely flexible. Dont it seem that letters should be mailed at a certain time each week (subject to unavoidable chances) so as to arrive at both ends at regular deliv.? You write on whatever day is most convenient. [14]
Now as to “referring back” business, wouldn’t some scheme like this work
1 Beginning with this paragraph, this proposition, suggestion, new idea, and numbering it “1” I will number each following new suggestion or proposition consecutively, in my letter (all this by way of illustration). When you get my letter, you will Then, before I send it, I will make short notes of what each paragraph is about, as,

sheet 4—Dwiggins to Reed continued

for example: 25 prints; to make 2, stenciled [15]
26 Chicago; what houses to list.
etc. and keep this consecutive list in the portfolio devoted to our correspondence. When you get my letter you will comment on or answer my new suggestions or questions by no number in the margin, as:—
25. O.K. Get me stock as soon as possible
26 Think I will try John Smith & Co, etc, etc.
Then you will number your new ideas beginning where I left off in my letter and so keep the thing consecutive, and take notes of your paragraph* as I will do, also; By this means I think we can save time, and what is more to the point avoid all chance of confusing things. Would also have a means of referring back to old letters by filing them under their paragraph numbers, as: 25–31

*We will each need to keep  a “key” of the new suggestions of our correspondent as well as of our own. This will make the numbers of the key consecutive

[in blue pencil on the left side] If all this seems too childish, work out a scheme to fill the bill.

sheet 5—Dwiggins to Reed continued

If this seems practical and worth while it can be put into operation by your numbering any new matter “2” in your answer. Seems to me some such scheme is necessary to avoid a lot of confusion. Yes? No? What has been discussed up to this time has not been so complicated to cause any worry if it should not be included, I think.

2. Would like to have your discussion on the subject of imprint, also motto. These things are “trimmings” that but they go clear back to the solid old blokes that done things in Venice, and, I think give a nice scholarly atmosphere to a stunt, that is not objectionable (¶ The scholarly gag is a good one.) Of the two marks I have used [Dwiggins scribe device at left and Dwiggins orb-and-cross mark at right] one was swiped from an old initial 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. [16]

W.A. Dwiggins to John Reed 20 October [1906], sheet 5. Image courtesy of The Newberry Library.

sheet 6—Dwiggins to Reed continued [written on the back of “WILL DWIGGINS / Publisher of Prints” letterhead]

Note I. By detail of manufacture I mean all responsibility for the processes of manufacture: drawing, engraving, printing, ordering stock and materials*
As to subjects to issue, and treatment, style etc of what is done, we will consult on equal terms about these prints. All the detail of advertising and selling will be left to you—I think we can consult about the style and tone of advertising matter, etc. We will need to exchange suggestions on all fronts, which must be freely criticised, without any reserve. I think our discussions will not become acrimonious.

What are your ideas about package and shipment of product to customers? From which end would that be done?
I send some suggestions with this.
If your business brings you this way let me now. Dinged if I dont believe I’ll go to bed.
Yours Billy

*With the exception of such things as may be more profitable done at your end, as you suggested.

sheet 7—Dwiggins to Reed continued

It will occur to you as it has to me that on wood-cuts as projected the work of engraving will be the large item, taking from one to two weeks on a single key block, also where printing is done by hand these two items will be the whole cost of manufacture. [17] Will it not be advisable to credit me in some manner on such jobs? I can’t suggest a manner;—merely advance the thought, for your consideration.
NOTE: The binding of books is counted in as part of my contribution.

Sure! Prodigal Son for the first booklet. [18]
The list goes, as stated.

John Reed to W.A. Dwiggins 14 November 1906, reverse of sheet 7. Image courtesy of The Newberry Library.

sheet 7 reverse—Reed to Dwiggins

#14 11/14/06
In reply to your 7
Concerning the woodcuts—the thought has occurred to me that the burden of production was thrown rather heavily upon you here and I think that the simplest way to adjust the matter is to allow you an extra percentage say 15% or such amount as may be just of the net profits on such productions. This would mean a division of 65% for you and 45% for me. [19] The percentage I name is mentioned merely to get the matter before us in some kind of concrete form. I want to have your opinion on the matter.

sheet 8—Dwiggins to Reed continued

Was inspired the other day with an idea for a really and truly broadside. As introduction: have you seen a copy of Bruce Rogers’ bd-side “Constitution of U.S.”? [20] He set up the document in the caps. of his Montaigne fount and printed it on a whopping big sheet, about 150 copies at $5.00 and sold out like hot-cakes. It is a beautiful specimen, all right, all right. My idea is for a broadsheet of Lincoln’s Gettysburgh Address. Use: to hang up in libraries, schools, club-rooms, etc. etc. Price (?) I would draw it in caps. cut it on wood*, block 15″x21″ and print it on a sheet of Alton H.M. 22 x 30. [21]

inspired for a “really and truly broadside” by Constitution of the United States broadside done by Bruce Rogers: “He set up the document in the caps of his Montaigne fount and printed it on a whopping big sheet, about 150 copies at $5.00 and sold out like hot-cakes. It is a beautiful specimen, all right, all right. My idea is for a broadsheet of Lincoln’s Gettysburgh Address. Use: to hang up in libraries schools, club-rooms, etc. etc. Price (?) I would draw it in caps. cut it on wood* block 15” x 21” and print in on a sheet of Alton H.M. 22×30.”
This idea is for use sometime next year. The block would be tedious to cut and want to work on it at odd times. Have turned the thing over in my mind for a couple of week and am convinced that it would be a bully good thing to do. I dont know of anything that would be more calculated to gives us prestige,—over here at least, where such things are understood—and to mark us as people with big ideas. It is entirely practicable as far as my end is concerned: it would require time to do, that’s all.

*That “Tongues in trees” wood-cut motto of mine took the best of them all. [22]

W.A. Dwiggins to John Reed, 20 October [1906], sheet 8. Image courtesy of The Newberry Library.

sheet 8 reverse—Reed to Dwiggins

#15 11/14/06
In reply to your 8
Your idea for a really broadside is bully and to my mind we no better selection could be made than the one you have. If Bruce Rogers had no difficulty in disposing of his effort ay $5.00 we should be able to get 50% better for the wood cut sheet. It ought to pay handsomely as well as give us standing and all that sort of thing. I think we had better figure on this for some time next year. As far as I am concerned this may be considered settled.

[sheets 9 to 15 are missing]

sheet 16—Dwiggins to Reed n.d.

Reply to 13. PRINT LAUNCELOT DU LAC* [23]
The block for this print will be 9″ x 12″. on a sheet in the neighborhood of 15″ x 19″. The key will be cut on wood, and printed in black. The colors will be applied through stencils. Cant tell how many colors at present, but that seems unimportant. Intend to get it rich and medieval in effect, dim rich colors, and some gold, if it can be applied without hurting the scheme. In the sketches I have His Nibs on a big horse, standing, H.N. is in armor except his head. A poor devil of a squire on each side of the design holds, one his hel shield and helmet, and the other a large banner that blows in folds behind the central figure. The whole on a landscape ground.
* Look up the DU LAC part if you have it in a book, to se if it is stands that way, am not quite sure of the LAC. Think it makes a better title to include the whole name than just LAUNCELOT, what?

THE STANDARD is for a later list. [24] Have studies for it though, and can get it in line so that I can spring on it in regular sequence.

Reply to .14 15% of net profits on wood-cut items would slew the wood-cut matter around to a proper basis O.K. It will ball up your book-keeping, though, won’t it?!

Rep. to 14 16. The Gettysburgh Address, stands O.K at both ends.

John Reed to W.A. Dwiggins 24 November 190[6?], sheet 1. Image courtesy of The Newberry Library.

Second set of three sheets
unnumbered sheet—Reed to Dwiggins [on letterhead of Charles H. Fuller Company; in pencil]

#23 11/24/06
My dear Billy
I have held my regular Wed letter over a few days for these reasons 1st because I wanted to thrash out some things before writing to you and 2nd awaiting a reply to my last week’s budget.
In answer to your #15
The drawings are fine business. More of this later see I am enclosing a few dummies etc as you request. About the Hingham Copy—I believe that with the information you gave me I will be able to bend out a line of dope that makes the papers sit up and take, or give, notice—some. I will simply supply all necessary burrowing details and if they are not right they ought to be.
I rather like the samples of brown wrapping paper which you sent. To get this smaller of packages just right the best way is to make up some samples, I believe before deciding just what to use.

sheet 24—Dwiggins to Reed

Do you remember how, when you were a kid, you liked anything that was a little reproduction of some grown-up thing? I used to have the liking and I have found it in several other children of my acquaintance.

On this as a basis I have been planning a series of little books to have a distinguishing name: “Fairy Books” or something to express the littleness and all that. Your wife may be able to suggest a name. Each one copy would be one of the old fairy tales, the old classics, I have a paper and format decided upon, but have not yet found the right ace to begin with. The story must be short, at least for a first issue, so that it can be handled without too much work and expense. The pages being very small, can be etched in bunches, several to a minimum, or all in a sheet, and sawn apart. I would hand-letter the thing, and have lots of little features suitably designed. Would have the book very fully decorated in a manner that would be fitting, in fact, drench the thing in “atmosphere.” Print it in black and red.

You have or had a copy of Grimm with R. Anning Bell designs. [25] I left it when I scurried to Ohio. As I remember it it was a fairly complete collection and there should be the right thing for a starter.My idea would be to have an initial issue for next Xmas, but I think the thing could be continued th through a series: not of same size, necessarily, but little books: a veritable “child’s library” One series might

sheet 24 reverse—notes by both Reed and Dwiggins

#24 reply to #13
6 Launcelot details all O.K. Sure use the full name [Reed]

Du Lac correct [Dwiggins]

unnumbered sheet—Dwiggins to Reed continued

be done in uniform size etc. under a distinguishing edition name, as suggested above, and smattering copies of other small formats. It is an entirely original idea as far as I can find. There are other tiny books on the market: dictionaries, bird-books, etc. but I dont know of any library designed in little for children
The letterpress would want to be of legible size, but that can be managed. The Son So many pages could be got out of a single sheet that the matter could string out as much as necessary. I should want to give the same attention to press-work, design etc as for a large important work.
There are some beautiful things that could be type-set for some stunt, for example Lang’s bully setting of the adventures of Jason and the argonauts, or some of Hawthorne’s myth tales. [26] These would be too long to letter.
If you find something in Grimm, pull the book to pieces—without spoiling—it of course—and send section with tale, or send the whole book.
Dont you think it a rather snappy idea? yes?
Enclose a sketch of page to show my idea of size. [27]

[in pencil] I like the spelling FAËRY if that should be used in any form for series. Would like to have your suggestions on subject, also.

The publishing venture of Reed and Dwiggins was short-lived—possibly as short as a few months. The letterhead shown at the top of this post and the correspondence quoted above are the only evidence that it existed at all. [28] There is only one printed item—Dwiggins’ rendition of “The Gettysburg Address”—that can be linked to the activities of the firm, though there is no proof that the firm published it. Furthermore, there is no reference to the joint activities of Reed and Dwiggins in any printing, publishing or literary journal, or any local newspaper. [29]

It is not surprising that the Reed and Dwiggins partnership had such a brief existence. There are a number of likely reasons for its failure. First, trying to establish a business based in two cities 1025 miles apart in an era before the telephone was in widespread use would have been challenging. Although mail service was more frequent and reliable in 1906 than it is today, it is clear from the surviving parts of the chain letter that Reed and Dwiggins had difficulties coordinating their thoughts and opinions. [30] Second, although Reed seemed content with the division of responsibilities laid out by Dwiggins, he must have chafed at not being able to use his artistic skills—he was known in later years for his woodcuts—and printing ability as part of their plans. Third, both men had burgeoning careers and immediate family financial concerns to address. In early January 1907 Updike began to inundate Dwiggins with commissions which occupied much of his time. [31] Fourth, Dwiggins no longer needed the partnership with Reed as a distribution outlet for his prints, broadsides, and booklets once he began working more closely with Alfred Bartlett during 1907. [32]

Reed continued printing in the basement of his Park Ridge home for the remainder of his life, even as his career in advertising flourished. Dwiggins never abandoned his private press dreams, though he struggled to find time for them due to his successful career as a commercial artist, book designer, and type designer. He tried to rekindle them in 1913 when he established The White Elephant and then again, decades later, when he and Dorothy Abbe created Püterschein-Hingham, but both ventures were no more than hobbies. [33]

1. John W. Reed’s year of birth is uncertain. Census records imply 1878 (twice) and 1879 (twice); and specifically say 1881 once. The date on his World War I draft registration card is 1878, but iy is 1880 in the Illinois state death records and his obituary in The Park Ridge Herald (10 April 1942).
2. “Telling and Selling” by Steven Heller in Eye magazine 7 (Summer 1992) has several inaccuracies regarding Cooper’s early career. The Ridge Shop, which is even more obscure than Reed and Dwiggins, will be the subject of a future blog post.
3. Reed worked in the advertising industry from c.1903 until his death in 1942. For most of that time he was affiliated with the Charles H. Fuller Company, eventually rising to the rank of vice-president. Reed carried out his printing activities at home. See the profiles of his son Philip Reed, who was a printer in his own right, in The Park Ridge Herald (6 January 1950) and “Philip Reed: Illustrator, Designer, Master Printer” by Oscar Ogg in American Artist vol. 12, no. 5 (May 1948), pp. 48–53.
4. Dwiggins had only a handful of other potential business partners in 1906: Frederic W. Goudy, Daniel Berkeley Updike, Oswald Cooper, and Carl Rech. Goudy was out of the question after Dwiggins had quit The Village Press. Not only was Updike occupied by The Merrymount Press, but he was too hard-headed to indulge in the sort of pipe dreams that Dwiggins was prone to. Cooper had a design partnership with Fred Bertsch. Finally, Rech, Dwiggins’ partner in The Guernsey Shop printing business in Cambridge, Ohio, had become a traveling salesman following the shop’s demise.
5. There is an envelope from Dwiggins addressed to Reed at the Charles H. Fuller Company postmarked September 19, 1906 in Folder 11, Dwiggins Ephemera (Wing MS 12), The Newberry Library. But, there is no accompanying letter.
6. There are two sets of sheets that I have labeled chain letters because they contain back-and-forth comments by both men, though the bulk of the correspondence is by Dwiggins. I have tried my best to put the twelve sheets in an order that makes sense, based on both their numbering and content. The dating of the second set of three sheets is problematic. Reed’s handwriting looks like either “11/24/09” or “11/24/07” but I have decided that it is “11/24/06” based 1. on his reference to his regular Wednesday letter being overdue; 2. the numbering of sheets and references to numbered items being discussed; 3. the fact that the date is close to the dates associated with the set of nine sheets; and 4. that there is no evidence of the activities of Reed and Dwiggins in Dwiggins’ account books—which are very detailed—1907 or later. The first set of nine sheets is in Folder 2 and the second set of three sheets is in Folder 4, Dwiggins Ephemera (Wing MS 12), The Newberry Library.
7. Throughout his life Dwiggins was cavalier about how he dated correspondence. The beginning of this chain letter was in October 1906 since later additions to it by Reed clearly indicate the year.
8. Dwiggins’ reference to a letter from Reed indicates that the correspondence between the two men had been ongoing.
9. Dwiggins’ refusal to include calendars on the proposed Reed and Dwiggins list is a response to the popularity of the calendars that Alfred Bartlett had been selling for several years, several of which included his contributions.
10. A postcard mania erupted in 1904 and seemed to crest in 1906. The satirist John Walker Harrington wrote “Postal Carditis and some Allied Manias” in American Magazine (March 1906) which included this remark: “Unless such manifestations are checked, millions of persons of now normal lives and irreproachable habits will become victims of faddy degeneration of the brain.” The Christmas Bookseller no. DLXXXIX (December 15, 1906), p. 145 claimed that, “It has been said that Christmas cards are going out of fashion, and are now superseded by the prevailing mania for picture postcards…” See also Picture Postcards in the United States by George Miller and Dorothy Miller (New York: Crown Publishers, 1976) and Prairie Fires and Paper Moons: The American Photographic Postcard, 1900–1920 by Hal Morgan and Andreas Brown (Boston: David R. Godine, Publisher, 1981).
11. I think Dwiggins deliberately put himself second in billing in order to encourage Reed to join him in the proposed partnership. This is entirely keeping with his self-effacing attitude throughout his career.
12. This is one of the most significant statements that Dwiggins made in the chain letter. As much as he wanted to publish books and prints with his own illustrations and designs, Dwiggins was eager to get out from under the shadow of William Morris and the Kelmscott Press aesthetic.
13. This is a reference to Dwiggins’ hand-lettered edition of The Ninety-First Psalm which he had designed and printed in March 1906.
14. Based on a letter sheet in the chain letter Reed apparently chose Wednesday as his day to contribute to their discussion.
15. Dwiggins’ mention of stencils was not idle or random. In the midst his back-and-forth correspondence with Reed, he wrote to Frank Hazenplug (1874-1931) at Hull House in Chicago for advice about stenciling. See Frank Hazenplug to W.A. Dwiggins 22 November 1906 in Folder 5, Dwiggins Ephemera, The Newberry Library.
16. For more on Dwiggins’ scribe mark see The Definitive Dwiggins no. 162 and for his orb-and-cross mark see some comments in The Definitive Dwiggins no. 179.
17. At this point Dwiggins had executed several woodcuts which he was trying to sell on his own, but which he may have planned to include in a Reed and Dwiggins list. These included a portrait of Eugene Field; two colored woodcuts entitled “The Sea-Fight” and “Wind: Winter”; and “Sermons in Stones,” a quotation taken from As You Like It by William Shakespeare.
18. This may be a reference to The Parable of the Prodigal Son, a hand-lettered booklet that Dwiggins created in 1905 or, more likely, a mistaken reference to The Ninety-First Psalm.
19. The total adds up to 110%.
20. Dwiggins was thinking of “The Declaration of Independence” broadside that Bruce Rogers published in 1906. See The Work of Bruce Rogers: Jack of All Trades, Master of One: A Catalogue of an Exhibition… (New York: Oxford University Press, 1939), no. 570. Rogers designed The Constitution of the United States (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1911) as a book several years later.
21. Dwiggins lettered and printed a broadside copy of Abraham Lincoln’s “The Gettysburg Address” in 1908 and sold it under his own name. There is no evidence that it was cut in wood. Whether it was originally designed as a Reed and Dwiggins item following the discussion in the chain letter is unclear. See Box 1, 1974 W.A. Dwiggins Collection, Boston Public Library which includes a mechanical for “The Gettysburg Address” and several printed copies. The 1908 date is on the print, but is not part of the artwork. At some point Dwiggins converted the broadside to a card which was sold by Alfred Bartlett. See Cornhill Dodger no. 95 in A Catalogue of the Publications of Alfred Bartlett for the Year 1912-13 (Boston: Alfred Bartlett, 1912). “The Gettysburg Address” will be the subject of its own post. “Alton H.M” is Alton Mill Handmade, a paper made in Hants, England that was popular at the time among British and American private presses. It ws imported to the United States by Charles D. Brown & Co.
22. “Tongues in trees” refers to the quotation from As You Like It that Dwiggins had cut in wood. Although undated, it was probably done in late 1904 or 1905 since the initial T shares some stylistic affinity with the title page ornamentation that Dwiggins cut in wood for Good King Wenceslas by John Neale (Hingham, Massachusetts: The Village Press, 1904).
23. There is no evidence that Dwiggins ever completed a print for Launcelot du Lac. But there is a relevant entry in a small account book of his: “Catalog of Heroes 4×12 stencil on 15×19 / Launcelot. Captain Kidd Jason— / Gettysburg address broads. of caps“, p. 3. See Folder 1, Box 81(2), 1974 W.A. Dwiggins Collection, Boston Public Library.
24. I do not know what “The Standard” refers to.
25. Grimm’s Fairy Tales edited and partly translated by Marian Edwardes (London: J.M. Dent & Co., 1901) with illustrations by R. Anning Bell.
26. The Story of the Golden Fleece by Andrew Lang and Mills Thompson (London: Charles H. Kelly, 1903).
27. The enclosures mentioned by Dwiggins in the chain letter are not present at The Newberry Library.
There are copies of the Reed and Dwiggins letterhead in Folder 11, Dwiggins Ephemera (Wing MS 12), The Newberry Library and in Folder 9, Box 38, 1974 W.A. Dwiggins Collection, Boston Public Library. An undated tracing paper sketch of the letterhead is in Folder 22, Box 6, 2001 W.A. Dwiggins Collection, Boston Public Library
29. There is also no mention of Reed and Dwiggins in either Postscripts on Dwiggins: Essays & Recollections edited by Paul A. Bennett (New York: The Typophiles, 1960), 2 vols. or W.A. Dwiggins: A Life in Design by Bruce Kennett (San Francisco: Letterform Archive, 2018). Bennett told Philip Reed that when he was planning Postscripts on Dwiggins, he knew nothing about Reed’s father, Dwiggins and Frank Holme. See Paul A. Bennett to Philip Reed 7 September 1960 in Folder 11, Box 20, Paul A. Bennett Collection, New York Public Library.
30. In 1907 there were five mail deliveries a day in Boston and six in Chicago in the business district (three a day elsewhere). The mail time from Chicago to Boston was 24 to 27 hours, depending on the train. See “Report of the Postmaster-General submitted December 5, 1905” in Post-Office Department Annual Reports for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1905 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1905), pp. 215-216 for Boston and pp. 220–223 for Chicago pneumatic tube mail service. For Chicago mail service in general see The Chicago Daily News Almanac and Year-Book for 1908 compiled by James Langland (Chicago: The Chicago Daily News Company, 1907), p. 458. However, both Dwiggins and Reed lived in small towns where the mail was delivered less frequently and had to be picked up at a post office “lock-box”. See  the manuscript dated 25 November 1964 by Mabel Dwiggins in Folder 5, Box 26, C.H. Griffith Papers, University of Kentucky.
31. In 1907 Dwiggins’ freelance career finally took off. It was largely due to Updike who commissioned fifty-five jobs from Dwiggins that year. See Dwiggins’ account books in Folder 2, Box 81(1), 1974 W.A. Dwiggins Collection, Boston Public Library.
32. Not only did Dwiggins execute nine jobs for Bartlett in 1907, but the latter was distributing six “mottoes” that Dwiggins had originally tried to publish himself. See Dwiggins’ account books in Folder 2, Box 81(1), 1974 W.A. Dwiggins Collection, Boston Public Library; and A Catalogue of the Publications of Alfred Bartlett 1906 (Boston: Alfred Bartlett, 1906).
33. For information on both The White Elephant and Püterschein-Hingham see W.A. Dwiggins: Life in Design by Bruce Kennett (San Francisco: Letterform Archive, 2018), p. 84 and pp. 320-339.