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. 95—Childhood Drawings: Locomotives, Fire Engines, Tractors, and Skeletons

A small number of childhood drawings by W.A. Dwiggins have survived. [1] They were made either using druggist’s prescription sheets or pages from a ledger which his father, Dr. Moses F. Dwiggins, owned. The ledger pages are lined and some are tabbed (with letters such as CD). All have the names of patients written on the upper lines and one also says “Cash Act. 181” at the top. Below the patient entries, in dark pencil, are various phrases such as …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 94—W.A. Dwiggins’ Birth and Childhood (1880–1889)

Map of The City of Richmond, Indiana 1884 (Boston: C.H. Bailey & Co., 1884).
Moses and Eva Dwiggins were from differing religious faiths and, even after their marriage, continued to worship separately. Moses was a Quaker in good standing at the time of his death, which was recorded in the archives of the Whitewater Monthly Meeting. [1]  Typically, the entry makes no mention of his non-Quaker wife and child. Their respective families—including Rev. Siegfried—seemed to have accepted their interfaith marriage. Eva’s father, contrary …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 91—W.A. Dwiggins’ Ancestry, Part V: Aunts and Uncles on the Siegfried Side

Rev. B.Y. Siegfried and his wife Sarah had eleven children, which was not an uncommon number in the 19th century. With the exception of Eva and Sarah Ella, they all died before their parents. The children were, in order of their birth: Addison, Emma, Laura, Samuel, Louisa, Sarah Ella, Eva, Benjamin, Edward, Carrie and an unnamed infant. [1]
“Family Record” (n.d.) of Benjamin Y. Siegfried, his wife and their children. Courtesy Special Collections, Boston Public Library.
Page of obituaries from scrapbook compiled …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 84—W.A. Dwiggins’ Ancestry, Part IV: Aunts and Uncles on the Dwiggins Side

W.A. Dwiggins had two uncles and one aunt on his father’s side: Charles, James, and Elizabeth (known as Lizzie).
Charles B. Dwiggins
Charles B. Dwiggins was born April 3, 1850. [1] He married Mary Shepherd on February 13, 1873. [2] They had three children: Clarence Victor (b. 1874), Claudia (b. 1877), and Vern (b. 1879). [3] Charles was as active locally as his father Zimri. He was a member of the Clinton County Grange, Patrons of Husbandry, Wilmington Lodge no. 52 of the Masons …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 103—An Undated Photograph of Eva Siegfried

Miss Mary Fisher and students (c.1867–1868). Photographer unknown. Courtesy Special Collections, Boston Public Library.
This photograph (which I have cropped from its frame) of a group of young women is in the 2001 W.A. Dwiggins Collection at the Boston Public Library. [1] Someone—most likely Eva S. Dwiggins, WAD’s mother—has written below it: “Della Vandam, Della Strickle (two visitors), Fannie Diboll, Katie Hibben, Miss Mary Fisher—teacher—Eva Siegfried, Nettie Harlen, Lucy Harlen, Emma Taylor, Katie Marble, Ella Siegfried, Eva Eldridge, & Ollie Welch.” …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 111—Chronology 1880–1890

For over twenty years I have been building a detailed chronology of the life and work of W.A. Dwiggins. It includes not only information about his ancestry, immediate family, life and career, but also about his contemporaries in the design world. This post is the second installment of a distilled version of it.
1880
January 7 1880 Carl Purington Rollins born in West Newbury, Massachusetts.

January 26 1880 Thomas Wood Stevens born in Daysville, Illinois.
May 24 1880 John W. Reed born in Chicago.
June 1 1880 …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 110—Chronology 1781–1879

For over twenty years I have been building a detailed chronology of the life and work of W.A. Dwiggins. It includes not only information about his ancestry, immediate family, life and career, but also about his contemporaries in the design world. This post is the first installment of a distilled version of it.
1781
July 3 1781 Robert Dwiggins born in Guilford County, North Carolina; paternal great-grandfather of WAD.

1785 
July 19 1785 Sarah Dillon born in Guilford County, North Carolina; paternal great-grandmother of WAD.

1789
March 16 …
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From the Bookcase no. 2 addendum—Samuel Bartels

This is an addendum to From the Bookcase no. 2—Spacing in Typography which focused on two books about typography by E.R. Currier and Samuel A. Bartels.
Tailor’s Announcement Contest winners (1916). Samuel Bartels is on the bottom line, second from right.
Before beginning his career as a typographer in New York City, Samuel Bartels was a winner in a 1915 contest sponsored by The American Printer. The Tailor’s Announcement Contest—opened November 20, 1915 and closed March 5, 1916—drew more entries (607) …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 101—Martinsville, Ohio

“Welcome to Martinsville” sign on eastern outskirts of town. Photograph by Paul Shaw (2006).
Clinton County. Detail from Topographical Map of Clinton, Fayette, Greene, Pickaway, and Ross Counties (1872).
Martinsville, Ohio. Detail from Map of Clinton County, Ohio by H.E. Walling (1859).
Martinsville, Ohio—the town where W.A. Dwiggins was born in 1880—is in Clark Township, Clinton County. It lies nearly due south of Wilmington, the county seat. In 1889, Henry Howe described it thusly:
Martinsville, on the M. & C. Railroad, …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 90—W.A. Dwiggins’ Ancestry, Part III: Moses and Eva Dwiggins

Moses Dwiggins at age 14 (1866). Photograph by Joe Wolfe (Wilmington, Ohio). Courtesy Special Collections, Boston Public Library.
W.A. Dwiggins’ parents were Moses F. and Eva S. Dwiggins.
Moses Frazier Dwiggins was born April 25, 1852 in Clinton County. Like his younger brother James, he worked on the family farm for several years after reaching manhood. [1] And, like his father Zimri, he taught school for a brief period. Clara Dwiggins, wife of Moses’ cousin Charles E. Dwiggins, wrote that “He taught school for …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 100—The New Vienna Whiskey War

In the winter of 1873-1874, Dr. Dio Lewis of Boston sparked a series of temperance crusades in the center of Ohio. He lectured on temperance in Hillsboro on December 22 and in Washington Court House three days later. His first lecture “which came down like an electric cloud” fired up Mrs. Eliza J. Thompson who, with seventy-five women from the Hillsboro Presbyterian Church, began the First Crusade on Christmas Eve. That evening, and for several days thereafter, they gathered in prayer at …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 85—W.A. Dwiggins’ Ancestry, Part II: Benjamin Y. and Sarah Siegfried

W.A. Dwiggins’ maternal grandparents were Baptists, the Rev. B.Y. Siegfried and his wife Sarah.
Rev. Benjamin Y. Siegfried. From Proceedings of the Seventy-Sixth Anniversary of the Ohio Baptist Convention (Columbus, Ohio: Press of Myers Bros., 1901), p. 33.
Rev. Benjamin Y. Siegfried (c.1868–1871). Photograph by G. Wm. White (Chillicothe, Ohio). Courtesy of Special Collections, Boston Public Library.
The pastor of the First Baptist Church in Wilmington in 1878 was the circuit-riding Rev. Benjamin Young Siegfried. He was born September 25, 1816 in …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 83—W.A. Dwiggins’ Ancestry, Part I: Zimri and Phoebe Dwiggins

Zimri Dwiggins (c.1886). Photograph by East End Studios, Stigleman & Son, Richmond, Indiana). Courtesy Special Collections, Boston Public Library.
W.A. Dwiggins’ paternal grandparents were Zimri and Phoebe Dwiggins. [1] Zimri was born July 20, 1827 in Wilmington, Ohio, the county seat of Clinton County, situated midway between Columbus and Cincinnati. [2] “As a young man,” recalled the Wilmington News-Journal, Zimri “taught school in winter and farmed in the summer, and as an older man he devoted himself to farming….” In 1859 he owned …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 80—The Society of Calligraphers

The first Society of Calligraphers was formed by Edward Johnston (1872–1944), Eric Gill (1882–1940), Percy Smith (1882–1948), and others in 1907, but by 1910 it had dissolved—possibly due to accusations by Johnston of plagiarism regarding Smith’s portfolio Lettering and Writing (London: B.T. Batsford, 1908). Eventually it was replaced by the London-based Society of Scribes and Illuminators in 1921. Between then and the early 1970s a handful of other groups devoted to the propagation of calligraphy were established: in 1935 the short-lived Cursive Group in …
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Paper Is Part of the Picture no. 26—The Creative Doldrums (1974–1985)

This is one in a series of blog posts accompanying Paper Is Part of the Picture: Strathmore Paper and the Evolution of American Graphic Design 1892–2017, an exhibition that I curated at The Opalka Gallery of The Sage Colleges in Albany, New York. The exhibition ran from October 3 to December 15, 2017.
Strathmore Artlaid II watch book (Strathmore Paper Co., 1980). Designer unknown. Photograph by Vincent Giordano.
“The Sixties” came to an end with the resignation of President Richard Nixon …
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Paper Is Part of the Picture no. 25—The 1960s (Part II: Swiss Style)

This is one in a series of blog posts accompanying Paper Is Part of the Picture: Strathmore Paper and the Evolution of American Graphic Design 1892–2017, an exhibition that I curated at The Opalka Gallery of The Sage Colleges in Albany, New York. The exhibition ran from October 3 to December 15, 2017.
the gestalt assault cover (Strathmore Paper Co., 1970). Design by Ken Kuenster. Photograph by Ariel Smullen.
From the early 1960s to the early 1970s Strathmore’s promotional mailings reflected the …
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