The Annual of Book-Making - inside page

The Annual of Book-Making

New York: The Colophon, 1938

The Colophon: A Book Collectors’ Quarterly, published from 1930 until about 1950, was an important journal about all aspects of the book, including authorship, design, printing, calligraphy, book-binding, and illustration. It was lauded as “scrupulously correct in its typography, lavish in its illustrations and comely in its physical appearance … It is … the most valuable and diverting magazine for collectors and others interested in the bibliographical side of books.”

This compilation volume, the first in a series of annuals, consists of typographic autobiographies, each designed and printed by a different notable designer and private press or fine commercial printer. Elmer Adler of the Pynson Printers of New York oversaw and coordinated the project.

This is the first page of an article about Borzoi Books, published between 1927 and 1937 by Alfred A. Knopf in New York. Thirty three of these books were completely designed by W.A. Dwiggins, who can be said to have established the elegant “house style” of these books. The ornaments printed in black on this page are shown at the right in the Linotype type specimen book.

Merganthaler Linotype Faces

Brooklyn, New York: Mergenthaler Linotype Company, 
c. 1940

Linotype is the trade name for metal type which is cast line by line, instead of letter by letter. This type is printed by letterpress, a relief process in which the surface of the types is inked and printed on paper fed through a printing press. At one time, Mergenthaler Linotype Company and Lanston Monotype Company were the two major rivals producing metal types in this country.

Both companies also cast metal ornaments for decorating printed pages. The ornaments identified here as “diaper” or overall patterns, could also be used individually or arranged in other patterns. The ornament in the lower lefthand corner appears in The Annual of Bookmaking.

Merganthaler Linotype Faces - inside page

Cooper Italic

Monotype Machine Composition Faces

Philadephia: Lanston Monotype Machine Company, circa 1940

There are a number of type specimen books in the Skaggs Collection. These are indispensable tools for a designer to aid in the selection of typestyles and ornaments to use in printing. This book includes hundreds of typefaces available in Monotype, the trade name for metal type cast as individual letters, which are then arranged, inked, and printed letterpress, a relief printing process. Shown here are typefaces designed by Oswald Cooper, a well-known advertising and type designer. A book about Oz Cooper is on display here.

Cooper Tooled


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