Nachlass Jan Tschichold (Deutsche National Bibliothek Leipzig)

“Exhibition of new German Writing Art” (1920). Calligraphy by Johannes Tzschichhold [Jan Tschichold]. Image from Nachlass Jan Tschichold, Deutsche National Bibliothek Leipzig.

In October 2021 I stumbled on the digitized collection of Jan Tschichold’s work that was uploaded to the Deutsche National Bibliothek Leipzig website several months earlier. It is a remarkable collection. I was especially struck by finding a lot of Tschichold’s early calligraphic work, much of it in various forms of blackletter. That discovery led me to make a presentation about this work and how it fit into Tschichold’s career to the Blackletter Brunch, a monthly gathering organized by Raoul Martinez of the Friends of Calligraphy. The recording, warts and all (e.g. coughing, asides, questions, etc.) is available for viewing on YouTube.

To search the digitized Nachlass Tschichold start by clicking on Katalog der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek search for “Jan” and “Tschichold” . This returns 2201 items. Select an item and click on it. Then scroll to the bottom of its description where it says “Medium öffnen” and click on that to see what is in the folder. When the item comes up you will be in “bookviewer” mode. If you want a good resolution copy of any image you see, click on “Seite” at the top right and then do a screen capture or Control grab. If you do this in bookviewer, without going to “Seite,” you will get a smaller, lower resolution file. “Seite” gives you “DNB Bookviewer Print Page” window. To quickly page through a folder go back to the original bookviewer window. This is crucial for folders that have over 100 images in them.

Paste-up of retouched artwork for initials and title for Der Falke und die Wölfin (1924) by Jan Tschichold. Image from Nachlass Jan Tschichold, Deutsche National Bibliothek Leipzig.