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—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.

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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Legacy of Letters 2023: Letterpress Extravaganza—4. Casteggio

July 3, 2023 | Day 4
Il Buon Tempo
The last time that Legacy of Letters visited Il Buon Tempo, Lucio Passerini’s private press, was in 2015. At that time it was located in Milano. In the spring of 2022 Lucio moved the press from Milano to Casteggio, a town in the Oltrepo region south of Pavia. In doing so, he more than doubled his space. We had arranged to spend the whole day at the new location of Il …
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Legacy of Letters 2023: Letterpress Extravaganza—3. Alpignano

July 2, 2023 | Day 3
Editore Tallone
We took a local train from Torino to the small town of Alpignano to spend the day at Editore Tallone. The studio is set in wooded grounds that form a stark, but beautiful, contrast to the suburban air of the rest of the town. The gate to the estate is flanked on the left by a historical marker summarizing the importance of Editore Tallone, founded by Alberto Tallone in Paris in 1938 and …
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Legacy of Letters 2023: Letterpress Extravaganza—2. Torino

July 1, 2023 | Day 2
Archivio Tipografico
We spent the morning at the Archivio Tipografico, the first of four letterpress studios on our itinerary in addition to the Tipoteca. Gabriele Fumero, Emanuele Mensa, Luca, and Sebastian welcomed us warmly. Since it was a Saturday, other members of the collective were not present. We began with a tour of the studio led by Gabriele. Nearly the entire place had been rearranged since the last visit by Legacy of Letters in 2017. …
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Legacy of Letters 2023: Letterpress Extravaganza—1. Milano

June 29–30, 2023 | Orientation Day and Day 1
Visit to the Biblioteca Ambrosiana with James Clough | 29 June 2023
We began Orientation Day with a bonus event for early arrivals: a visit to the Biblioteca Ambrosiana. A group of eleven of us—myself, Eran Ben Barak, Kelci Baughman McDowell, Hofi Benediktsdöttir, Chiara Bergese, Shaqa Bovand, Susan Fitzgerald, Jacob Ford, Catie Piwinski, and Annunziato Mazzaferro [1]—walked from the Hotel Mercure Milano Solari in the Navigli neighborhood to the library where we met …
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