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. 204—Streets in the Moon

Binding of Streets in the Moon by Archibald MacLeish (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1926). Decoration, lettering, and design by W.A. Dwiggins.
“Didn’t you like the drawing,” Maurice Firuski, owner of the Dunster House Bookshop, asked Elmer Adler of Pynson Printers, “and especially the ornament by Dwiggins?” What prompted Firuski’s question was his decision to buy up the entire large paper edition of Streets in the Moon by Archibald MacLeish from the publisher Houghton Mifflin Company. [1] For the …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 156—Nobodaddy

Cover of the regular edition of Nobodaddy by Archibald MacLeish (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Dunster House, 1926). Decoration by W.A. Dwiggins; design by Elmer Adler; printing by Pynson Printers.
For Nobodaddy: A Play by Archibald MacLeish (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Dunster House, 1926) W.A. Dwiggins designed a cover and a title page. [1] The work is not among his most important, but it is among the best documented. It was also a short assignment. [2] That makes it ideal for a detailed chronological account that …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 173—The Hound & Horn

Cover of The Hound & Horn: A Harvard Miscellany (Spring 1929). Design and illustration by Rockwell kent.
The Hound & Horn: A Harvard Miscellany began life in 1927 as a literary quarterly dedicated to life at Harvard University with contributions by its students and alumni. The magazine was founded (and funded) by Lincoln Kirstein (1907–1996) and Varian Fry (1907–1967). The subtitle A Harvard Miscellany was dropped in 1929 when Kirstein prevailed over Fry in a dispute over whether …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 134—Good Morning, America

The Definitive Dwiggins no. 208 surveyed the books that W.A. Dwiggins designed for Crosby Gaige, Publisher. Among them was Good Morning, America by Carl Sandburg (New York: Crosby Gaige, 1928). The book was one of the first works to extensively showcase Dwiggins’ new interest in abstract ornamental designs made via hand-carved celluloid stencils. [1] For it he created two designs for the spine, and ten for the sections of the book. He also designed a large stenciled cityscape for …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 208—Crosby Gaige, Part 2

The Definitive Dwiggins no. 207 outlined the career of Crosby Gaige (1882–1949) prior to his decision to become a publisher; examined how and why he included W.A. Dwiggins among his small coterie of book designers; discussed Veni Creator! by Humbert Wolfe (the joint Christmas gift book he, his wife, James R. Wells, and the author had privately printed); and then surveyed the many variations of the ram mark Dwiggins designed for Crosby Gaige, Publisher. This post focuses on the …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 207—Crosby Gaige, Part 1

At his death, The New York Times said that, “Witty and erudite, Mr. Gaige excelled in many fields. He was known as a collector of first editions, gourmet and cook, Latin and Greek scholar, printer and binder of beautiful books, truck farmer, radio speaker, cattle breeder, machineshop and wood-carving enthusiast, perfume distiller and patent model collector.” In addition to this litany of accomplishments and personas Roscoe Crosby Gaige (1882–1949), more commonly known by his middle name Crosby, had been a very successful …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 230—Beau Brummell

George Bryan Brummell (1778–1840), commonly known as Beau Brummell, was a Regency dandy. He was considered to be the arbiter of etiquette and men’s fashion in England during the time of the prince regent George IV in the early nineteenth century. Brummell is credited with inventing the men’s suit. His life and the concept of dandyism have been the subject of several books and numerous essays, beginning with Du Dandyism et de George Brummell by Jules Barbey d’Aureville, …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 174—Tartarin of Tarascon

From 1929 until his death in 1956, W.A. Dwiggins focused on type design and book design. During those years he had three principal clients: Mergenthaler Linotype, Alfred A. Knopf, and the George Macy Companies. The George Macy Companies consisted of a group of imprints, chief among them The Limited Editions Club. [1] Dwiggins was Macy’s preferred book designer and, after the summer of 1930, his de facto art director, responsible for designing newsletters, stationery, checks, display racks, and other items, …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 221—More on the 1925 Marchbanks calendar

In 1928 the Niagara Paper Mill Co., located in Lockport, New York, issued a set of calendar sheets with illustrations by W.A. Dwiggins. In design, though not in color, the illustrations were identical to the ones that Dwiggins had created for The Marchbanks Press three years earlier. [1]
Niagara Paper Mills calendar for April 1928. Illustration by W.A. Dwiggins.
How did the calendar sheets come about? They are not recorded in Dwiggins’ account books and I doubt that he had any …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 113—The Marchbanks Calendar

Hal Marchbanks (March 1929). Photograph by Edmund G. Gress.
Hal Marchbanks
“Head of His Own Press Was Credited With Revival of a Caslon Type Face” read the headline in The New York Times for the obituary of Hal Marchbanks. [1] In its time—roughly the quarter-century after 1910—The Marchbanks Press was considered one of the best printers not only in New York City but throughout the entire United States. Yet today, it and its owner are virtually forgotten.
Hal Marchbanks was born in 1877 in …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 219 addendum—”The Finest Book of Fairy Stories”

“The store was a most interesting looking place. Its windows were full of everything from tacks to fiddlesticks, and its its walls inside were lined with dusty shelves that held hundreds of musty-smelling old books.”
—from Chapter I of The Long Men of Lampanzie by Laurance B. Siegfried in Happyland (December 1913), p. 30.
“The Finest Book of Fairy Stories.” Illustration by W.A. Dwiggins for Chapter I of The Long Men of Lampanzie in Happyland vol. XXVII, no. 3 (Christmas issue, …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 219—The Long Men of Lampanzie

The Long Men of Lampanzie was a fantasy written by Laurance B. Siegfried and serialized in Happyland magazine from December 1913 to May 1914. Due to the demise of the magazine in the fall of 1914, only the first seven chapters were published in Siegfried’s lifetime. However, in 2003, Melissa Austen Langeland published a limited edition of the The Long Men of Lampanzie: A Tale of the Faraway Land of Lurg which contained twenty-two chapters. [1] Langeland, the great-granddaughter …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 87—Happyland

The Young Idea: A Magazine of Character Study, Questions of the Hour, Field Work in Botany, Birds and Insects. Sample page from 1905.
The Round Robin: An Illustrated Magazine; Good Reading for Boys & Girls vol. XXVI, no. IV (April 1913). Cover design signed WV.
From The Young Idea to Happyland
At the beginning of 1913 Lawrence A. Rankin (1887–1955) took over The Young Idea, a monthly children’s magazine which had been in existence for twenty-five years. He renamed it The …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 170—Cuba Libre Smoker; a correction to The Definitive Dwiggins no. 169

In the addendum of The Definitive Dwiggins no. 169—”Der Professorverein” I identified a photograph in the John Francis Holme Collection at the University of Arizona as having been connected to the Second Saturday Evening Saturnalia of Der Professorverein of the Frank Holme School of Illustration at The Monroe restaurant on October 27, 1900. [1] I was wrong. I recently came across another copy of the photograph in a scrapbook prepared by members of the Palette & Chisel Club in Chicago. All …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 190 addendum 2—Even more on Henry King Hannah

A few weeks ago I discovered a new Dwiggins item. It is the masthead of The Hartford Agent, designed in the spring of 1909 for the Hartford Insurance Company at the behest of the Siegfried Advertising Agency. [1] Most likely it was commissioned by Henry King Hannah who was working for the agency in 1909 and handling the Hartford Insurance Company as a client. The first issue of The Hartford Agent was published in June 1909. Dwiggins’ lettering appears both on …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 190 addendum—More on Henry King Hannah

I recently realized that The Definitive Dwiggins no. 190: Henry King Hannah and Frederick Siegfried is missing an item. I overlooked a bookplate that W.A.Dwiggins designed for the lHannah. It is undated, but was surely done either in 1905, the same year that Dwiggins designed the cover of Hannah’s The Bible for the Sick, or in 1906. The style of illustration is similar to one that Dwiggins used for a music title commissioned by D.B. Updike in February 1907. [1]
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