iA


A week at the library

by David Shields. Average Reading Time: about 2 minutes.

Spending the week at libraries tracking down American wood type manufacturer’s specimen books. On the docket are Houghton Library at Harvard University in Boston, the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, and the Connecticut Historical Society Library in Hartford. All archives seem promising with previously unrecorded specimen materials.

To-date there has been no comprehensive listing of all wood type designs manufactured — or a bibliography compiled of manufacturer’s catalogs — over the more than 150 years of active production. My larger research project, a Conspectus of Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Wood Type aims to address this deficiency and grows directly out of my work cataloging and organizing the Rob Roy Kelly American Wood Type Collection. The initial work of building the Conspectus entails completing an analytical bibliography of all wood type manufacturer’s specimen catalogs, the indexing of their contents and the expansion of the list of known wood type manufacturers.

The Houghton has already offered up a set of Vanderburgh, Wells & co specimen books that were not recorded on Kelly’s bibliography in American Wood Type 1828–1900.

Vanderburgh, Wells & co., New York.
Specimens of Vanderburgh, Wells & co’s wood type, borders, rules, &c., manufactured at 110 Fulton, 16 & 18 Dutch sts. New-York, 1872. 43ℓ. : 1 illus. ; 35 cm. - Houghton | f | TypTS 870.72.865 [Original printed salmon wrappers preserved, mounted on boards; in cloth case, 36 cm. Laid in are 3 additional leaves of specimens.]

Vanderburgh, Wells & co., New York.
Specimens of Vanderburgh, Wells & co’s wood type, borders, rules, &c., manufactured at 110 Fulton, 16 & 18 Dutch sts. New-York. 1878. 150ℓ. illus. 35 cm.,in case 36 cm. - Houghton | f | TypTs 870 78.865 [Original printed stiffened blue-gray wrappers; black cloth backstrip; in cloth case.]

Vanderburgh, Wells & co., New York.
Specimens of Vanderburgh, Wells & co’s wood type, borders, rules, &c., manufactured at 110 Fulton, 16 & 18 Dutch sts. New-York. 1882. 70ℓ. 35 cm.,in case 37 cm. - Houghton | f | TypTs 870 82.865 [Original printed stiffened rose wrappers; black cloth backstrip; in cloth case. Laid in are 2 additional leaves of specimens.]

Vanderburgh, Wells & co., New York.
Specimens of Vanderburgh, Wells & co’s wood type, borders, rules, &c., manufactured at 110 Fulton, 16 & 18 Dutch sts. New-York. 1886. 90ℓ. 35 cm.,in case 37 cm. - Houghton | f | TypTs 870 86.865 [Original printed stiffened rose wrappers; black cloth backstrip; in cloth case.]

There are also a number of broadsides also not previously recorded.

Page, Wm. H., wood type company.
Combination border no. 20. [Norwich, Conn., ca. 1885?] 1 broadside. 51 × 38 cm. - Houghton | p | TypTs 870 85.673 [Includes price list.]

Page, Wm. H., wood type company.
Wood type … [Norwich, Conn., ca. 1885?] 1 broadside. 52 × 38 cm. - Houghton | p | TypTs 870 85.671 [Imperfect: slightly mutilated.]

The bibliography grows with each new visit…