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December 11, 2001
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Smith Acquires Typographic Library
Of Renowned Calligrapher and Designer

NORTHAMPTON, Mass.-Nationally recognized book designer and calligrapher Charles Skaggs has donated his personal typographic library -approximately 580 books, many of them special and limited editions produced throughout the past six decades, a number of them designed by Skaggs himself-to the Mortimer Rare Book Room at Smith College.


A native of Louisville, Ky., Skaggs taught calligraphy at The Cooper Union in New York City and was art director for several leading text and trade book publishers in the 1950s and 1960s. He designed hundreds of books and dust jackets for Alfred A. Knopf, Harcourt Brace, Doubleday, Simon & Schuster, the Limited Editions Club, Story Classics, and Farrar, Straus and Giroux. His work also was used by several American university presses. A self-taught artist, he produced numerous book designs that were selected for the prestigious American Institute of Graphic Arts annual "Fifty Books of the Year."


Skaggs' gift also includes bibliophilic literature, type founders' specimen books and the work of contemporaries whom Skaggs admired, such as artist and type designer William Addison Dwiggins.


Smith College Curator of Rare Books Martin Antonetti noted that Skaggs' generous gift "will be invaluable for 20th-century graphic arts research and for book arts courses offered at Smith and in the surrounding area, which is well known for an abundance of printers, bookbinders and graphic artists."


Skaggs is 83 years old and lives in Olympia, Wash., with his wife, Nita. Their daughter, Joyce Brewster, a Smith College alumna and a writer at the University of Washington in Seattle, facilitated the gift.


The Mortimer Rare Book Room houses more than 35,000 rare books. The collection includes printed works from all periods, from incunabula to contemporary artists' books, and in all subject areas, from ancient history to zoology. New titles that support the Smith curriculum and enhance the teaching of printing history are acquired through gift and purchase. More information about the rare book collections at Smith College is available at http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/rarebook/ or by calling (413) 585-2906.


Smith College is consistently ranked among the nation's foremost liberal arts colleges. Enrolling 2,800 students from every state and 50 other countries, Smith is the largest undergraduate women's college in the country.

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