Talks

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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The Enduring Fascination of Bartolomeo Sanvito Renaissance Scribe—A Zoom talk 7 June 2023

The Enduring Fascination of Bartolomeo Sanvito, Renaissance Scribe
Wednesday, June 7, 2023 at 10 am PDT / 1 pm EDT
A free on-line talk via Zoom sponsored by the Friends of Calligraphy.
Caius Julius Caesar, Commentari de bello Gallico et civile c.1464–1466 (Biblioteca Ambrosiana A 243 inf, f. 10). Written out by Bartolomeo Sanvito.
Bartolomeo Sanvito
Bartolomeo Sanvito was born in Padua in 1433. He was trained in gothic cursive and his earliest dated italic script is from mid-1454. His first known work, a copy …
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Grolier Club talk—The Greatest Type Specimen Ever Made: The 1882 Bruce Foundry specimen

p. 39 from Specimens of Printing Types Made at Bruce’s New-York Type-Foundry (New York: George Bruce’s Son & Co., Type-Founders, 1882).
…probably the largest, most complete and finest typographical specimen book ever produced.—La Cygne Journal (La Cygne, Kansas) April 29, 1882
Specimens of Printing Types Made at Bruce’s New-York Type-Foundry (New York: George Bruce’s Son & Co., Type-Founders, 1882)
Although it is neither the most colorful nor the most visually sumptuous type specimen, the 1882 Bruce type foundry specimen is arguably the …
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From Depero to Rotella: Italian commercial posters between advertising and art—an exhibition at the Center for Italian Modern Art

View of the exhibition From Depero to Rotella at the Center for Italian Modern Art (CIMA).
At the kind invitation of curator Nicola Lucchi, I will be doing a tour on April 28 of the exhibition From Depero to Rotella: Italian commercial posters between advertising and art, that is currently on display at the Center for Italian Modern Art (CIMA) in New York. The exhibition, which focuses on Italian posters from the 1920s to the 1970s, includes a number …
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Demonology & | witchcraft!!! | Printing: An online research session into the history of Philadelphia type foundries 1823–1844

Six Lines Gothic Condensed and Six Lines Gothic from Specimen of Printing Types and Ornaments by Rob & Ecklin, Letter Founders (Philadelphia: 1836). Image courtesy of RIT Libraries Digital Collections.
Letterforms Study Group via Zoom / Friday April 7 at 2 pm Eastern Daylight Time
fee $15

In this online type history research session I will retrace my recent research into the history of the Robb & Ecklin type foundry of Philadelphia, its partners Samuel Ecklin and Alexander Robb, and their relationship to …
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Mad, Bad (but Good to Know): A survey of type specimens offline and online

Sonoma Plaza (Bear Flag Republic) from Historia: A Type Specimen (Berkeley, California: Emigre Fonts, 2010), pp. 20–21. Design by Rudy VanderLans.
Mad, Bad (but Good to Know): A survey of type specimens offline and online
Type@Cooper
13 February 2023
This is a list of the type specimens included in my Type@Cooper talk. Those that have been digitized and available online are marked in red. Where multiple digitized versions of specimens exist I have chosen either the one with the best visual quality or …
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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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The Swiss Grid exhibition at Poster House: A virtual tour

The Swiss Grid exhibition at Poster House, the new poster museum in New York, opened on February 27. Curator Angela Lippert had asked me to lead a tour of the exhibition for Type Directors Club members on March 23, but it  was cancelled Governor Cuomo imposed a lockdown on New York Stare, the week before in response to the coronavirus pandemic. As a substitute Angela and I semi-violated the lockdown on March 17. We met at the deserted …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 36—Knopf Colophons

Recently, I gave a talk at The Book Club of California titled Beyond the Spine: A Closer Look at the Book Designs of W.A. Dwiggins for Alfred A. Knopf. While preparing the talk a few months ago, Jennifer Sime, the executive director of the club, asked me if I could prepare an article on short notice for the club’s quarterly newsletter. I jumped at the offer because it gave me an opportunity to write in depth about the colophons in …
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The Definitive Dwiggins no. 24—Talks on Dwiggins

For the past fifteen years I have been giving talks on W.A. Dwiggins as a means of spreading the discoveries I have made about his life and career while my magnum opus remains in gestation. Below is a chronological list of the talks I have already given, including some in which Dwiggins is a player but not the main subject. They cover a wide range of topics since Dwiggins had a multi-faceted career. There are many other topics* that I …
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Poggio Bracciolini, an Inscription in Terranuova & the Monument to Carlo Marsuppini: A Theory

NOTE: This is the text of a short talk that I gave at the CAA Calligraphy/Epigraphy Session of the College Art Association 104th Annual Conference in Washington, DC on February 5, 2016. The session, officially entitled Forming Letters: New Research in Renaissance Calligraphy and Epigraphy, was chaired by Debra Pincus and included presentations by David Boffa, James Fishburne, Roberta Ricci, Philippa Sissis and myself with William Stenhouse as the respondent. Jonathan J.G. …
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Strathmore Papers and the Untold History of American Graphic Design

Recently Chris Harrold, Vice President of Business Development/Creative Director at Mohawk, invited me to up to the Albany/Troy area to see the Strathmore Archives that he has been digging into for the past few months. I was lured by the promise of seeing unknown work by W.A. Dwiggins and by the opportunity to do some preparation for my upcoming talk on “W.A. Dwiggins and the Promotion of Paper 1915–1935” at the Type Directors Club on June 3*.
For months both Dan Rhatigan …
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Designing with Letters in Chicago: the aftermath

January 16–17 · Indiana University / Bloomington, Indiana
My January trip to the Midwest began with a stop in Bloomington, Indiana to visit Paul Brown, Tom Walker and the Department of Art at Indiana University. Tom and Paul had invited me to do a one-day workshop on calligraphic tools. But first Tom took me to the Lilly Library to see manuscripts, incunabula and material accumulated by the Chicago engrosser Coella Ricketts. Tom and librarian Erika Dowell had ordered …
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Bastard Calligraphy: a workshop

I will be doing a workshop on bâtarde, otherwise known as bastarda, a calligraphic hand that emerged from medieval documents to become a formal style for Books of Hours in northern France, Burgundia and Flanders in the second half of the 15th century. The class will take place over the course of two consecutive Sundays, April 28 and May 5, and is being sponsored by the Society of Scribes, Ltd., the calligraphic society in the New York City metropolitan region. …
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