December 11, 2001
Smith Acquires Typographic
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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 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.
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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.