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Doug Wilson

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Doug Wilson
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  • Re: Merchant of Alphabets

    An update (for those of you following along): I emailed Penguin Randomhouse (who now owns Knopf, which owns Doubleday Doran) and they said the following: 

    "We don't seem to hold any rights to this title, but it was published by Jarrold Publishing (UK) after us, you should try them."

    So, I've sent off another email to see if Jarrold has anything on it.
  • Merchant of Alphabets

    A few years ago (due to my research for "Linotype: The Film) I came across the book "Merchant of Alphabets" by Reginald Orcutt. It is a fascinating book published in 1945 about Orcutt's work and travels selling Linotypes around the world.

    As you can read in the attached image, he visited at least 77 countries in the first half of the 20th century and tells great stories of travel, adventure, and includes a bit of typographic history. I am personally fascinated by his description of travel in the days of steamships, clippers, and telegrams.

    The book is an auto-biography written in the charming, old-timey style of a travelogue. Orcutt comes across as an ambassador of Mergenthaler Linotype in the classiest of sense of the term.

    Anyway, I'm considering trying to publish the whole book online, just for fun and to share with others.

    A few questions:

    1 - Is anyone interested in this subject or book?

    2 - Would you read a chapter per week as some sort of series of posts?

    3 - Where should I publish something like this? Medium? Personal blog (which I don't have)?

    4 - Any idea of issues with copyright? The book was published in 1945 by Doubleday, Doran and Company (which has now merged with Knopf). It is not on Google Books as far as I can tell.

    Please be honest either way -- I'm not going to get offended if no one is interested. Maybe it is dumb idea, who knows?