News

May 9, 2017

Foundry Ephemera for Sale at Typographics

Uncommon gems from Letterform Archive’s type specimen collection will be on sale at the Typographics Book Fair, June 17–18 in New York

Caslon No. 540 Swash Italic Caps, American Type Foundry, ca. 1905. Mercator, Amsterdam Type Foundry, 1958.
Caslon No. 540 Swash Italic Caps, American Type Foundry, ca. 1905. Mercator, Amsterdam Type Foundry, 1958.

With the arrival of the Tholenaar collection in 2015, we dramatically increased our holdings of typeface specimens. These include bound volumes: the large catalogs of a foundry’s full inventory of type, published mostly between the mid-nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries; and ephemera: leaflets and booklets, often showcasing a single typeface design upon its release. This foundry ephemera is instructive in the way it advertises and samples each typeface, and it offers a unique snapshot of graphic design from the period in which it was released. Foundry ephemera is often some of the most difficult type-related material to find. In most cases, the booklets weren’t printed on a very large scale, and the printers who received them rarely kept them for very long. We are honored to be the stewards of this remarkable collection and have taken great care to preserve each item in a sleeve and board, sort it by foundry and typeface, and make it easily accessible to our visitors.

Now that we have merged the Tholenaar Collection with the Archive’s existing holdings we have identified duplicate items suitable for sale. We can’t think of a better place to find homes for these pamphlets of typographic wonder than the Book Fair at the Typographics festival, held at The Cooper Union in New York City. Funds raised will support our ongoing preservation and digitization efforts. Here’s a sampling of what will be in our flip bins at the fair: