Detail of cast stone sign for “Dairy Supply Company Limited”, Coptic Street, London (1888).

Rubbing of letters from tombstone of Elisabeth Stoute (d. 1764), Trinity Church cemetery (New York City). Carved by Uzal Ward.

Detail of doorway sign for Ninth & Broadway Building (1929) in downtown Los Angeles. Designed by Claud Beelman.

Detail from a cutting from a 15th c. Italian chorale, a large manuscript intended for use by a choir. The script is Rotunda, a rounded form of blackletter mostly found in Italy and Spain. The music notes are square and rhombic.

Detail of an inscription (c. 1462) on the facade of S. Anastasia in Verona.

Neon sign for Crown Caterers Deli Restaurant in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. The sign dates from the 1930s or 1940s.

Tombstone of Stefano Giuseppe Brion (d.1906) in the Cimiterio Brion-Vega, San Vito d’Altivole, Italy. Designed by Carlo Scarpa (1970–1972). The name is hidden in the “keys”.

Tours & Events

Tours & Events lists all lettering walks, Legacy of Letters tours, public lectures, talks, panel discussions, workshops, calligraphic demonstrations, etc. that I am engaged in.

Letterforms Study Group at the Tipoteca 2025—Wood Type Workshop

Although Legacy of Letters came to an end with Legacy of Letters 2023: Letterpress Extravaganza, my engagement with letters inscriptional, calligraphic, and typographic in Italy is not over. In 2025 I will lead a workshop version of the Letterforms Study Group at the Tipoteca. The workshop will be focused on investigating an unidentified wood type (see below) in the Tipoteca’s collection.
Capitals (from left to right: B A / O N M  / Y Z) of the unidentified corsivo …
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The Frank Holme Chronicles no. 3—Never Idle: The Tragically Short but Jam-Packed Life of Frank Holme (Chicago, November 16, 2023)

On November 16, 2023 I gave a talk on the life of Frank Holme (1868–1904) at the Palette and Chisel Academy of Art (formerly the Palette and Chisel Club) in Chicago entitled Never Idle: The Tragically Short but Jam-Packed Life of Frank Holme. The talk was co-sponsored by The Caxton Club. The location was chosen because Holme was an integral member of the Palette and Chisel Club in the early years of its existence, when it is was still …
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The Frank Holme Chronicles no. 2—Just for Fun: The Short but Thrilling Life of The Bandar Log Press (New York, October 25, 2023)

I delivered a talk on Frank Holme (1868–1904) and The Bandar Log Press for The Typophiles on October 25, 2023. It was titled Just for Fun: The Short but Thrilling Life of The Bandar Log Press, a reference to the first book published under The Bandar Log Press imprint. Earlier in the year my article “Frank Holme and The Bandar Log Press” appeared in Parenthesis 44: Journal of the Fine Press Book Association (Spring 2023), pp. 36–41.
Spread from …
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The Frank Holme Chronicles no. 1—Frank Holme and The School of Illustration (Chicago, December 3, 2020)

My first talk about Frank Holme (1868–1904) was scheduled to take place in Chicago in late October 2018. It never happened because I was severely attacked in midtown Manhattan in broad daylight a week earlier. The talk—Frank Holme and The School of Illustration—was eventually delivered via Zoom on December 3, 2020. It was sponsored by the Society of Typographic Arts.
The main room of The School of Illustration located at 26 Van Buren Street in Chicago. Holme is standing in …
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Legacy of Letters 2023—5 Alfabeti dei Caratteri di Legno

Legacy of Letters 2023 included visits to four letterpress studios—Archivio Tipografico in Torino, Editore Tallone in Alpignano, Il Buon Tempo in Casteggio, and Officina Typo in Modena—in addition to the multi-day workshop at the Tipoteca in Cornuda with Peter Kruty Editions. At three of the four studios the group printed a broadside alphabet keepsake using wood type from each their collection. These were supplemented by two additional alphabet keepsakes printed at the Tipoteca, one for Peter Kruty Editions and one …
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Legacy of Letters 2023—2×5 Alfabeti dei Caratteri di Legno

With the exception of the divider pages, the Glossary involved setting small metal type. The design decisions were those of micro-typography, especially finding different ways to distinguish English terms from Italian ones. The participants were quite inventive in achieving this. They contrasted style, case, weight, width, and size—and combinations of those parameters. Although the divider pages used larger type, there was still not much freedom to be creative because of the small page size.
The participants had a chance to stretch …
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Legacy of Letters 2023—Glossary (English / Italian Typographic and Printing Terms)

The principal project of the letterpress workshop led by Peter Kruty and Sayre Gaydos of Peter Kruty Editions at the Tipoteca was the design, setting, and printing of an English/Italian glossary of printing and type terms. The participants were divided into five teams of two to work on the list of words and to design divider pages for each category: Chiara Bergese and Kelci Baughman McDowell (typesetting / type styles), Susan Fitzgerald and Fred Wiltshire (design / parts of letters), …
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Legacy of Letters 2023: Letterpress Extravaganza—12. Departure

July 12, 2023 | Departure
Legacy of Letters 2023 ended with everyone scattering this morning to other cities in Italy or Europe or simply back to their homes in the United States and Australia.
Chiara Bergese, Susan Fitzgerald, Kelci Baughman McDowell, and Jen Thomas prior to their early departure from the Villa Bolzonello. Photograph by Paul Shaw.
Stefano Baldassari, Hofi Benediktsdóttir, Shaqa Bovand, Eran Ben Barak, Fred Wiltshire, and Peter Kruty waiting for the van to take everyone to the Treviso train station. …
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Legacy of Letters 2023: Letterpress Extravaganza—11. Cornuda

July 11, 2023 | Workshop Day 4
Last day of letterpress workshop with Peter Kruty Editions
The final day of the letterpress workshop was frantic as everyone worked to trim and collate the Glossary pages; finish printing the alphabet keepsakes and then trim, fold, and collate them; and also fold and collate the 5 Alfabeti di Legno keepsakes. The latter were supposed to contain five alphabets—one each from the Archivio Tipografico, Editore Tallone, Il Buon Tempo, Officina Typo, and Peter Kruty Editions. …
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Legacy of Letters 2023: Letterpress Extravaganza—10. Cornuda

July 10, 2023 | Workshop Day 3
Letterpress workshop with Peter Kruty Editions
Work continued on the Glossary pages and the keepsake broadsides simultaneously during the day. For the latter the two platen hand presses at the Tipoteca were enlisted. Thus, we had five presses in total in operation. The day was a beehive of activity.

Glossary
Galley tray of tied-up type for the Glossary pages. Photograph by Paul Shaw.
Proof of Type Styles page by Chiara Bergese and Typesetting page by Kelci Baughman McDowell. …
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Legacy of Letters 2023: Letterpress Extravaganza—9. Cornuda

July 9, 2023 | Workshop Day 2
Letterpress workshop with Peter Kruty Editions
The participants continued to design and print their Glossary pages throughout the day.
Marked-up proof of layout for Type Styles by Chiara Bergese and Kelci Baughman McDowell. Photograph by Paul Shaw.
Jacob Ford measuring the width of his Typography divider page design. Photograph by Paul Shaw.
The type for Decoration tied up with a proof adjacent to it. Photograph by Paul Shaw.
Peter Kruty helping Fred Wilshire with the lock-up of his Parts …
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Legacy of Letters 2023: Letterpress Extravaganza—Meet the Participants

The Participants of Legacy of Letters 2023
This year’s group of Legacy of Letters participants was the most diverse ever in terms of nationality with seven different countries represented. It was also the youngest group overall since six of the ten were sponsored as scholarship students by an array of digital typefoundries and crowdfunding backers.

Stefano Baldassari
Stefano Baldassari. Photograph by Paul Shaw.
Stefano has studied and worked in the field of graphic and type design in Italy, Poland, Germany and England. In October …
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Legacy of Letters 2023: Letterpress Extravaganza—8. Cornuda

July 8, 2023 | Workshop Day 1
Letterpress workshop with Peter Kruty Editions
The letterpress workshop at the Tipoteca was led for the third time by Peter Kruty and Sayre Gaydos of Peter Kruty Editions in Brooklyn, New York. They and their two children Petra and Sammy met up with us in Venice. We were also joined in Cornuda by Chiara Bergese, a student at the Politecnico di Milano, whose participation in Legacy of Letters 2023 was made possible by a crowdfunding …
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Legacy of Letters 2023: Letterpress Extravaganza—7. Venezia

July 6-7, 2023 | Days 7 and 8
After we finished printing at Officina Typo on July 5, we took a train to Venice (eating panini for dinner on the way). There we took two private motorboats to the Isola di S. Giorgio Magggiore—but only after our lead driver got confused and took us initially to the Hotel San Giorgio near the Rialto Bridge! The mistake gave us an added view of venice from the water as the boats had to …
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Legacy of Letters 2023: Letterpress Extravaganza—6. Modena

July 5, 2023 | Day 6
Livia Cattaneo, Alessandro Colizzi’s wife and a professor of Italian at UQAM in Montreal, Canada, joined us in Parma in the afternoon of July 4. She served as both a translator and a cicerone for the group for this day in Modena and the days ahead in Venice where the logistics of travel and eating were complicated.

Biblioteca Estense
In the morning we visited the Biblioteca Estense where we looked at yet another Carolingian manuscript (Lat. 988 …
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Legacy of Letters 2023: Letterpress Extravaganza—5. Parma

July 4, 2023 | Day 5
Celebration of Independence Day with Ben Franklin and Giambattista Bodoni | Museo Bodoniano and the Biblioteca Palatina
Legacy of Letters 2023 celebrated July 4 (Independence day for Americans) by visiting the Museo Bodoniano and Biblioteca Palatina in Parma. Both institutions are housed in the Pilotta, a hulking 16th-century palazzo in Parma. In 2022 the Museo Bodoniano moved its exhibition from an upper floor to the ground floor in a new, modern installation. But our …
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