Legacy of Letters

Legacy of Letters was conceived in 1996 by Garrett Boge as an opportunity for calligraphers, lettercutters, typographers and anyone else passionate about letterforms to study the history of the Roman alphabet in its place of origin. The tour was inspired by the famous student tours of Rome and Florence led every other Spring by Prof. Michael Twyman and his colleagues in the Department of Typography and Graphic Communication at the University of Reading. Boge and I led tours of Rome from 1997 to 1999 and of Florence and Tuscany in 2000. In 2010 I revived Legacy of Letters with the help of Alta Price. The tour currently focuses on cities in the Veneto and Emilia-Romagna regions, but in the future it will expand to include other locations in Italy.

Legacy of Letters 2023—The Ambrosiana Library in Milano

Frontispiece from De bello Gallico by Julius Caesar (Biblioteca Ambrosiana MS A 243 inf).
On orientation day of Legacy of Letters 2023 there will be an option to visit the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milano. Lettering and type historian James Clough will join us. I asked James what is special about the Ambrosiana for type and lettering enthusiasts. He sent me these comments:
The Ambrosian Library
The Ambrosian Library (Biblioteca Ambrosiana) was founded by Cardinal Federico Borromeo in 1607. It is located …
Continue reading

Legacy of Letters 2023—The Trivulziana Library in Milano

 
Detail of Divina Commedia by Dante Alighieri (1337) (Biblioteca Trivulziana Cod. 1080), Written out by Francesco di ser Nardo da Barberino in a “minuscola cancelleresca”.
In the afternoon of the first day of Legacy of Letters 2023 there will be an option to visit the Biblioteca Trivulziana in Milano with lettering and type historian James Clough as our guide. As with the Braidense, I asked James why the Trivulziana was important for type enthusiasts. He responded with this note:
The …
Continue reading

Legacy of Letters 2023—The Braidense Library in Milano

Detail from All’Immortale Iperide Foceo broadside by Giambattista Bodoni (1781).*
In the morning of the first day of Legacy of Letters 2023 we will be visiting the Biblioteca Braidense in Milano with lettering and type historian James Clough as our guide. I asked James why the Braidense was important for type enthusiasts. He sent me this overview:

The Braidense library for type afficionados
During the eighteenth century Milan and the Lombardy and Veneto regions were under Austrian rule and in 1770 …
Continue reading

Tipo Cibo Vino (Legacy of Letters 2022)—Part 14: The binding bee

We organized a binding bee in New York in order to complete the books that were printed at the Tipoteca during Legacy of Letters Tipo Cibo Vino 2022. The bee took place the weekend of December 3 and 4, 2022 at Peter Kruty Editions in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Erica Carras, Sonia Biancalani Levethan, Angelina Lippert, Claire Lukacs, Anita Merk, James Stroud, and Janine Wong joined Peter Kruty, Sayre Gaydos, and myself there. Sayre conceived the binding structure of the book …
Continue reading

Tipo Cibo Vino (Legacy of Letters 2022)—Part 13: Departure Day

Luggage from the Legacy of Letters participants outside the Villa Bolzonello awaiting the van to the train station in Treviso and Aeroporto Marco Polo.

July 19, 2022 | Departure Day
With Cooking Day, Legacy of Letters Tipo Cibo Vino 2022 came to an end. Today everyone scattered, either to continue traveling in France and Italy; or back home to England, Canada, and the United States. But before that happened, James Stroud of Center Street Studio displayed the a–z portfolio of letters …
Continue reading

Tipo Cibo Vino (Legacy of Letters 2022)—Part 12: Coda to Cooking Day

Patricia Childers, Anita Merk, and Peter Kruty chilling out on the porch at Villa Bolzonello after the activities of Cooking Day.

July 18, 2022 | The end of Cooking Day
The day did not end after we left Le Corderie. There was still dinner and then after that a show-and-tell session, the last group activity for Legacy of Letters Tipo Cibo Vino 2022.

Buon compleanno, Henri!
Buffet for dinner.
Henri-Paul Bronsard and Sonia Biancalani Leventhan eating dinner on the porch at Villa Bolzonello.
For dinner we …
Continue reading

Tipo Cibo Vino (Legacy of Letters 2022)—Part 11: Letterpress Workshop Day 6 and Cooking Day

Chef Cristina Colle presenting panna cotta alle pesche.

July 18, 2022 | Day 6 of the Project
Peter Kruty, Sayre Gaydos, Patricia Childers, and Khoa Nguyen arrived at the Tipoteca early in the morning to work on the final elements of the pasta book. They were aided by Leonardo Facchin and Daniele Facchin. The cover still needed to be printed, sheets required trimming, type had to be redistributed, and the studio had to be cleaned up. I looked in on their progress …
Continue reading

Tipo Cibo Vino (Legacy of Letters 2022)—Part 10: Letterpress Workshop Day 5

Khoa Nguyen, Lucio Botteselle, and Daniele Facchin discussing the divider pages.

July 17, 2022 | Day 5 of the Project
This was the last scheduled day of printing. As usual, things were hectic. Although all of the participants had printed their double-page spreads, the frontmatter, divider pages, backmatter, and cover still had to be done. Khoa Nguyen helped Patricia Childers with designing and printing the divider pages. Henri-Paul Bronsard did heroic work setting the colophon text and making corrections to it. And …
Continue reading

Tipo Cibo Vino (Legacy of Letters 2022)—Part 9: Letterpress Workshop Day 4

George Whitman (at left) and Richard Waller (at right) watch Janine Wong tightening her lock-up.

July 16, 2022 | Day 4 of the Project
On Day 4 a third color (green for spinach pasta) was added to the repertoire. The two previous colors were still being printed on other proof presses. Now that everyone had become used to setting type and operating a proof press, things went more quickly and smoothly. The studio hummed with activity.
Daniele Facchin and Henri-Paul Bronsard setting type …
Continue reading

Tipo Cibo Vino (Legacy of Letters 2022)—Part 8: Letterpress Workshop Day 3

Janine Wong, Patricia Childers and Peter Kruty pondering Janine’s pressure print design of pasta shapes.

July 15, 2022 | Day 3 of the Project
The afternoon before, Lorenz Boegli, owner of Atelier für Siebdruck in Müntschemier, Switzerland, and Swiss publisher Lars Müller, had briefly stopped by the Tipoteca but there was no time to talk at length with them as Silvio Antiga was leading them on a tour of the museum and we were deeply engrossed in the pasta book …
Continue reading

Tipo Cibo Vino (Legacy of Letters 2022)—Part 7: Letterpress Workshop Day 2

Galley proof of the C list of pasta names set by James Stroud and Janine Wong.
Tied-up galleys of pasta lists of names awaiting proofing. The C list is at the left.
On day 2 of the letterpress workshop participants were finally free of the drudgery and precision involved in setting text type. They were able to indulge their creativity with larger metal type and wood type as well as fleurons, ornaments, rules, borders, dingbats, and whatever else they could find in …
Continue reading

Tipo Cibo Vino (Legacy of Letters 2022)—Part 6: Letterpress Workshop Day 1

Page 1 of the list of pasta names, color-coded to indicate different categories (e.g. pasta lunghi). Claire Lukacs has highlighted the chunk of names she was responsible for setting.
The letterpress workshop, led by Peter Kruty and Sayre Gaydos of the Brooklyn-based studio Peter Kruty Editions, began in earnest the morning of July 13.
The group project—conceived by me—was a book devoted to pasta. The idea, two years in the making due to the pandemic, was to list as many names of …
Continue reading

Tipo Cibo Vino (Legacy of Letters 2022)—Part 5: Emilia-Romagna—Modena

This is the fifth installment of a day-by-day visual account of Tipo Cibo Vino 2022. (All photographs, unless otherwise indicated, are by me and are copyright Legacy of Letters.)

July 12, 2022 | Modena
Biblioteca Estense
Officina Typo
This was our last day in Emilia-Romagna. In the morning we took a train from Parma to Modena where we spent the morning looking at manuscripts and books in the Biblioteca Estense. The highlights were two diametrically opposed items: the Silloge of Giovanni Marcanova
Continue reading

Tipo Cibo Vino (Legacy of Letters 2022)—Part 4: Parma, Langhirano, San Lazzaro di Savena, and Bologna

This is the fourth installment of a day-by-day visual account of Tipo Cibo Vino 2022. (All photographs, unless otherwise indicated, are by me and are copyright Legacy of Letters.)
July 11, 2022 | Parma
Museo Bodoniano and Biblioteca Palatina
In the morning we walked the short distance from the Hotel Torino to the Biblioteca Palatina in the Pilotta. There Dott.ssa Caterina Silva, the curator at the Museo Bodoniano, had arranged a mix of manuscripts, books, and realia (library-speak for physical objects) for …
Continue reading

Tipo Cibo Vino (Legacy of Letters 2022)—Part 3: Emilio-Romagna—Collecchio, Soragna, and Parma

This is the third installment of a day-by-day visual account of Tipo Cibo Vino 2022. (All photographs, unless otherwise indicated, are by me and are copyright Legacy of Letters.)

July 10, 2022 | Collecchio
Museo della Pasta
We drove two and a half hours from Cornuda to Emilia-Romagna to visit museums devoted to pasta and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. The day was very hot and we fully appreciated the air-conditioned van. Our first stop was the Museo della Pasta on the outskirts of the small …
Continue reading

Tipo Cibo Vino (Legacy of Letters 2022)—Part 2: The Veneto—Cornuda, Altivole, Maser, and Pieve del Grappa

This is the second installment of a day-by-day visual account of Tipo Cibo Vino 2022. (All photographs, unless otherwise indicated, are by me and are copyright Legacy of Letters.)

July 9, 2022 | Cornuda
Tipoteca Italiana Fondazione
This iteration of Legacy of Letters was unusual in that we scheduled the first day of the letterpress workshop at the Tipoteca in the middle of the touring section. We left the Centro Branca and Venice early in the morning, taking a train to Treviso …
Continue reading