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. 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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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 …
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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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