Detail of title for typographic calendar published by PM Typographers in 1984. Designed by Tony DiSpigna.

Palermo roman and italic typefaces cut by Giambattista Bodoni. From his 1788 Manuale Tipografico.

Detail from the Mausoleo Ossario Garibaldino (1941), a Fascist monument erected to honor the dead of the battles between 1849 and 1870 to liberate Rome from the control of the Papal States. Designed by Giovanni Jacobucci.

Detail from business card from John Baxter & Son, Edinburgh printers. An example of Artistic Printing (1893).

Detail from bauhaus dessau im gewerbemuseum basel exhibition poster (1929). Designed by Franz Ehrlich after a sketch by Joost Schmidt.

Blue Pencil

Blue Pencil is a “slog”: a slow blog. It does not get updated daily or even on a regular schedule. Instead, it gets updated when there is something of value to be posted. Postings often take a long time to prepare and appear at intervals of a few weeks or even months. Sometimes there is a flurry of postings within the span of a few days. Blue Pencil may be unpredictable in its frequency, but not in its purpose. Blue Pencil is fiercely dedicated to the 3Rs: research, reading and writing.

The Definitive Dwiggins no. 93—Laurance B. Siegfried

Laurance B. Siegfried was a first cousin of W.A. Dwiggins on his mother’s side. He was born February 18, 1892 in Montclair, New Jersey to Addison H. and Mary (née Hetrick) Siegfried. Laurance was the youngest—by over a decade and a half—of three children, the other two being Mary (born 1869) and Frederick (born 1876). A little over two years later, on April 17, 1894, his mother died. [1] Seventeen months to the day after that his father died …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 190—Henry King Hannah and Frederick Siegfried

Several members of W.A. Dwiggins’ family on his mother’s side—the Siegfrieds and Hannahs—played roles in his professional career. I have already detailed the substantial place that his first cousin Laurance B. Siegfried (1892–1978) occupied vis a vis Dwiggins in The Definitive Dwiggins no. 93. This post focuses on Henry King Hannah (1865–1920), Laurance’s brother-in-law, and his older brother Frederick.
Henry King Hannah was born in 1865 in Georgetown, Ohio in the southern part of the state to William Henry and …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 177 addendum no. 2—Christ with Us

Title page of Christ with Us by Edwin Markham. Manuscript designed and lettered by W.A. Dwiggins (1905). Image courtesy of Special Collections, Boston Public Library.
Christ with Us by Edwin Markham, p. [2]. Manuscript designed and lettered by W.A. Dwiggins (1905). Image courtesy of Special Collections, Boston Public Library.
On Christmas Day 1905, as a gift for his mother Eva, W.A. Dwiggins wrote out and bound a manuscript copy of “Christ with Us” by Edwin Markham (1852–1940). [1] The poem had …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 184—The Phillips Brooks Calendar

Cover of The Phillips Brooks Calendar 1908. Design and calligraphy by W.A. Dwiggins; published by Alfred Bartlett. Image courtesy of Dartmouth College, Rauner Library.
Alfred Bartlett (1879–1926) was, along with Daniel Berkeley Updike of The Merrymount Press, the most important client that W.A. Dwiggins had in the early stages of his career. [1] For him Dwiggins designed greeting cards, motto cards, dodgers, letter leaflets, postcards, and stationery. He also contributed illustrations, ornament, and lettering to various small books, the second …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 178 addendum—The Mystery of the York Mysteries Solved

Facsimile of “The Wefferes” page. Reproduced in Four Episodes from the York Mysteries of the Fourteenth Century (Boston: The Tavern Club, 1906). Photograph by Eric Frazier.
When I posted The Definitive Dwiggins no. 178 a few months ago I was unaware that I already had the answer to the “mystery” of The York Mysteries in a folder of material from the Bruce Rogers / Pforzheimer Collection at the Library of Congress. [1] Among the ephemera that Rogers collected is …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 177 addendum no. 3—Ex Libris of Ella Grimes Rosemond

Bookplate for Ella Grimes Rosemond (c.1906). Design and lettering by W.A. Dwiggins. Image courtesy of Morrison-Reeves Library, Richmond, Indiana.
In preparing an upcoming talk on W.A. Dwiggins for the Hingham Historical Society I came across a bookplate that he designed for Ella Grimes Rosemond and immediately realized it belonged in the discussion about his use of rotunda (see The Definitive Dwiggins no. 177). In the 1974 Dwiggins Collection at the Boston Public Library, the bookplate is filed with other items …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 177 addendum no. 1—The Ninety-first Psalm (1906)

Front cover of The Ninety-first Psalm: Reprinted from the King James Version (Hingham Centre, Massachusetts: Will Dwiggins, 1906). Design and lettering by W.A. Dwiggins; printing by the Heintzemann Press; binding by W.A. and Mabel Dwiggins. Image courtesy of Special Collections, Boston Public Library.
After posting The Definitive Dwiggins no. 177 regarding some rotunda sketches that W.A. Dwiggins had made c.1906–1907, I realized I had inadvertently overlooked a significant contemporary example of his work that belonged in the discussion. In …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 178—The Mystery of the York Mysteries

The Definitive Dwiggins no. 177 focused on five sheets of rotunda sketches by W.A. Dwiggins contained in a small srapbook in the Dwiggins Collections at the Boston Public Library. [1] This post looks at two reproductions of a manuscript page headed “The Wefferes” pasted on a spread in the scrapbook. The reproduction on the left is printed in red and black while the one on the right is in black only (see below). [2]
Two reproductions of “The Wefferes” …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 177—Rotunda Sketches

There is a small scrapbook in the original W.A. Dwiggins Collection at the Boston Public Library. Among its miscellaneous contents are five small sheets of paper bearing undated outline drawings of rotunda alphabets. [1] Three sheets contain sets of capitals, one has a mix of capitals and minuscules, and one has minuscules only. Two alphabets are sketched on notepaper from The Carolina hotel in Pinehurst, North Carolina while one set of letters has been drawn on the reverse of an …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 171—Der Bohemeverein

W.A. Dwiggins spent his adolescence in Cambridge, Ohio. He returned there in the spring of 1903, following his studies at The School of Illustration and a brief stint working in a studio with his lettering teacher Frederic W. Goudy. A year and a half later, in the fall of 1904, he left—with his new bride Mabel—for Hingham, Massachusetts to work with Goudy at his relocated Village Press. During the short time he was back in Cambridge Dwiggins designed and typeset …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 169—”Der Professorverein”

W.A. Dwiggins attended The School of Illustration in Chicago from November 1899 until sometime in 1901. [1] The school’s short existence, which lasted from September 1898 until July 1904, was tumultuous. In the early years it grew rapidly with its success most visibly marked by a mushrooming faculty which its founder Frank Holme (1868–1904), tongue in cheek, referred to as “Der Professorverein.” This article is a look at the faculty of The School of Illustration, its growth and its make-up.

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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 180—The Epworth League

The Epworth League, founded in Cleveland in 1889, was created as a Methodist counterpart to the YMCA, with the intent to serve as an outreach and activity program for young people. Its object was “to promote intelligent and loyal piety among its members”. [1] the League grew rapidly in the 1890s with chapters throughout the country. The first International Convention was held in 1893 at Cleveland; after that they were biennial with the fifth taking place in San Francisco in …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 168—Teuerdank

Title page from Teuerdank by Maximilian I and Melchior Pfintzing (Nuremberg: Johannes Schoensperger, 1517).
Page from Teuerdank by Maximilian I and Melchior Pfintzing (Nuremberg: Johannes Schoensperger, 1517). Illustration by Albrecht Dürer.
In the 1974 Dwiggins Collection at the Boston Public Library there is a scrap of paper with some outlined bâtarde-like letters drawn on it. [1]No captions, no date. I have traced the letters to the Teuerdank, the book commissioned by Maximilian I as an epic retelling of …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 181—Three Folksongs from the Coast of Northern France

Work from early in the career of W.A. Dwiggins frequently looks very different from what casual observers envision as “the Dwiggins look.” This post is about one such instance, a set of five ornaments designed to fill out several lines of typography on the title page of some sheet music.
On New Year’s day, 1910 Daniel Berkeley Updike—not resting on the holiday—commissioned Dwiggins to design “line endings typographical.” (Elsewhere in his account books Dwiggins entered the job as “line endings Grasset.”) …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 165 addendum—Another B

On page 114 of W.A. Dwiggins: A Life in Design by Bruce Kennett (San Francisco: Letterform Archive, 2018) the author shows a cropped image of an insert for Beckett Paper from Direct Advertising vol. IV, no. 3 entitled “The Buckeye ‘Dummy’ Covers”. [1] “Dwiggins cleverly recycled the ornamental B from his Bartlett days, Kennett comments. Unfortunately, the decorative B, despite looking very much like the one Dwiggins designed for Alfred Bartlett in 1906, is not by Dwiggins.
The Buckeye …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 176—A Note on a Note in Towards a Reform of the Paper Currency

*The Society of Calligraphers of Boston, a group of experts whose authority in the realm of graphic art is unquestioned, goes on record with the opinion: “It is not possible to discuss the designs [for the paper currency] without heat. They infuriate you because you cannot get at them. They are beyond the reach of criticism. They are safe—as an idiot is safe anywhere, in any community, savage or civilized. They are made immune by hideous deformity.… The artistic value …
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