Research consists of unintended or accidental discoveries that I have made during the course of my research into other topics. They are posted here in the belief that others may find the information equally fascinating. Some items are meant to challenge or question existing scholarship on a specific topic. And others are intended to alert scholars to material that may be relevant to their own pursuits or to new opportunities of research.

The Definitive Dwiggins no. 560—The Creaking Stair

Jacket spine and front for The Creaking Stair by Elizabeth Coatsworth (New York: Coward-McCann, 1949). Design, illustration and lettering by W.A. Dwiggins.
W.A. Dwiggins’ career as a book designer is tightly tied to Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. But here and there he designed a few books for other trade publishers, either as a personal favor to friends or as a means of exploring other aspects of his professional career. The Creaking Stair by Elizabeth Coatsworth (New York: Coward-McCann, Inc., 1949) is the …
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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 …
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Blue Pencil no. 49—Melure

This is the complete text that appears below the heading “Melior (all sizes—see Melure)” in a 1965 specimen book or advertisement from Headliners. I have copied it from the WRU+1 PDF supplied to me by Nikolaus Weichelsbaumer.
We call it Melure.
Now you can specify Melior to fit areas, not just lines.
Now you can get all sizes in five different weights, three proportions, matching italics and open face.
Now you can keep the clean, precise look of Melior in tight display headings.
For Melure …
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Blue Pencil no. 22 second addendum—More about Monotype Melior

Recently Nikolaus Weichelsbaumer sent me a PDF titled WRU+1, a collection of photocopied documents about the origins of the Association Typographique Internationale (ATypI) and its Code Moral assembled by Hermann Zapf. Near the end of the PDF there are a number of items that shed additional light on how Melior [sic] ended up on monotype machines beyond what I was able to report in September 2014. (See Blue Pencil no. 22 addendum—The Mystery of Monotype Melior.)
WRU+1 pp. 169–179 represent …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 720—Bertram B. Udell, W.A. Dwiggins & Oswald Cooper: A Question of Attribution

This post is an update and corrective to The Definitive Dwiggins no. 20 in which I tried to figure out how Bertram B. Udell (1877–1956) of The Printing Studio had come to print work signed “WAD” and “C”.

Portrait of Bertram B. Udell (1912). From The Inland Printer vol. XLIX, no. 3 (June 1912), p. 385. Photograph by Misses Ray and Heine.
Bertram B. Udell
Bertram B. Udell was born in Rantoul, Illinois in 1877. [1] His father E.J. Udell (1838–1903) was the publisher of …
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The Song of the Twisted: Being a Tale of Woe Told by the Victim

Frank Holme (late 1890s?). Image courtesy of Special Collections, University of Arizona.
In 2015 I discovered an amusing yet fascinating manuscript of doggerel in the Frederic and Bertha Goudy Collection at the Library of Congress. [1] The manuscript, entitled “The Song of the Twisted: Being a Tale of Woe Told by the Victim” was written, lettered, and illustrated by Frank Holme (1868–1904), the celebrated newspaper artist and proprietor of the School of Illustration in Chicago. It tells the story of how Holme …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 131—Reed and Dwiggins, Publishers

Reed and Dwiggins, Publishers letterhead (1906). Design and lettering by W.A.Dwiggins. Image courtesy of Special Collections, Boston Public Library.
For nearly two years, between the time that he left The Village Press in early 1905 and the beginning of 1907 when he fully gained Daniel Berkeley Updike’s trust, W.A. Dwiggins was floundering about professionally. He had a powerful urge to be an artist in the Arts & Crafts manner, producing bibelots, prints, and sundry other artistic items. And at the …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 714—The 23rd Psalm

At the end of The Definitive Dwiggins no. 179, dedicated to two editions of The Ninety-First Psalm, I wrote that:

…Dwiggins struggled to sell his copies. Bartlett must have also had difficulty selling his edition since copies were still available for sale nine years later. Maybe the two men should have published The Twenty-Third Psalm instead.

The last line was an oblique reference to a November 11, 1909 entry in Dwiggins’ workbook regarding unspecified work on a “23rd Psalm booklet” for “AB …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 165 second addendum—Oswald Cooper, Buckeye Covers, and Mrs. Kendall Banning

The Buckeye “Dummy” Covers insert page by Beckett Paper Co. in Direct Advertising vol. IV, no. 3 (1917).
Several months after posting the addendum to The Definitive Dwiggins no. 165 I was in Chicago for the Type Chicago conference. While there I did some digging into two Oswald Cooper archives and found two items relevant to the addendum: artwork for Buckeye Covers and a brochure for a recital by Mrs. Kendall Banning. [1]
The artwork for “Buckeye Covers” (below) matches …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 130—Will Dwiggins, Publisher of Prints

notes on trying to identify and date items:
First Dwiggins list at Dartmouth—3 woodcuts in preparation; probably fall 1905
Second Dwiggins list at Newberry—3 woodcuts completed and 5 quotations; probably spring 1906
Bartlett 1906 catalogue at BPL, notes at Huntington—5 mottoes and revelations; printed September 5, 1906
Revelations copy at Dartmouth; visually similar to Parable 1905—see image below
woodcut of sea fight in February 1907 SACB catalogue; thus definitely done earlier
possibly use letterhead to date had to be printed by The Heintzemann Press during his …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 133—The Parable of the Prodigal Son

Cover of The Parable of the Prodigal Son (Boston: Alfred bartlett, 1905). Design, lettering, and printing by W.A. Dwiggins. Image courtesy of the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library, Yale University.
“I caught Dwiggins yesterday printing a book that he had handlettered and was going to sel [sic] himself, and I stopped him and am going to publish it myself. ” Alfred Bartlett (1870–1926) wrote to his friend Edwin O. Grover (1870–1965) on November 11, 1905. “It is the Parable …
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Photographs of Wilhelm-Klingspor-Schrift foundry type

Over a decade ago I posted a brief shout out to Wilhelm-Klingspor-Schrift, the brilliant blackletter typeface designed by Rudolf Koch (1876–1934). Michael Babcock of Interrobang Press in the Boston suburbs is the lucky owner of the typeface as originally cast by the Schriftgiesserei Gebruder Klingspor in Offenbach, Germany. At my request, he took some photographs of it in a forme. Here are some of them (with my cropping). The true beauty of this typeface really comes through when …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 713—A Description of Christ

The Letter of Publius Lentulus (also known as The Epistle of Publius Lentulus) is a report from “Publius Lentulus, Proconsul of Judea to the Senate of Rome” describing the appearance and temperament of Jesus Christ. The text was discovered in 1421 by Giacomo Colonna. Although denounced as a fraud by the humanist scholar Lorenzo Valla in the 1440s and commonly labeled as spurious or a forgery by religious scholars and leaders over the course of the succeeding five centuries, its account …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 712—Illustrations of Rome and Venice

Three illustrations of sites in Rome—fragments of the Acqua Claudia, a detail of the Lateran Cloister, and a rustic view of the Colosseum—by W.A. Dwiggins exist in the Carl Purington Rollins Papers at Yale University. The first two illustrations were created for the title pages of the two volumes of Eternal Rome by Grant Showerman (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1924). Dwiggins’ original pen-and-ink artwork for both of them has survived. [1] For the third illustration, there is only a …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 87 addendum—The Drab Doroone

“Extra-Wild Animals of the Faraway-Land of Lurg: The Drab Doroone” by Hermann and Jacob Püterschein. Original artwork by Hermann Püterschein [W.A. Dwiggins] 1914. Image courtesy of Special Collections, the Boston Public Library.
The Definitive Dwiggins no. 87 was devoted to W.A. Dwiggins’ association with publisher L.A. Rankin and Happyland magazine. For the magazine Dwiggins and his cousin Laurance B. Siegfried collaborated (as the brothers Hermann and Jacob Püterschein) on a brief series of illustrated verse entitled “Extra-Wild Animals of the Faraway-Land of …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 369—The New Deal in Old Rome (1939) and This Was Cicero (1942)

Jacket front and spine for The New Deal in Old Rome by H.J. Haskell (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1939). Design, lettering, illustration, and decoration by W.A. Dwiggins.
The New Deal in Old Rome
Henry Joseph “Harry” Haskell (1874–1952) was the editor of the Kansas City Star from 1928 to 1952. He was a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner. As H.J. Haskell he was the author of two books designed by W.A. Dwiggins: The New Deal in Old Rome: How Government …
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