Douglas McMurtrie biography

Has a biography of Douglas McMurtrie ever been published? Perhaps even a short one, in a printing or design journal? I have not yet stumbled across anything, and am looking for something I could mention as a source in a footnote about him.


  • Kind of, though it's not very good. It's can be hard to cut through his self-promoting BS. 

    "Douglas C. McMurtrie: Bibliographer and Historian of Printing"
    Compiled by Scott Bruntjen and Melissa L. Young, The Great Bibliographers Series, No. 4. The Scarecrow Press, Inc. Metuchen, N.J. & London. 1979.

    I have a few random McMurtrie items (picked up a promo kit last summer from when he joined Ludlow) but Paul Gehl, from the Newberry Library, probably knows the most about McMurtrie if you're looking for someone to ask questions to. 
  • Dan Reynolds
    @Jackson Cavanaugh Thank you very, very much! I have found this 1979 book in the mean time, although I have not yet to read it.

    The old Prussian state library in Berlin has about 300 items from McMurtrie. Even though most of these are very small (specimen of his typefaces, individual articles, etc.), and that figure includes several doubles and reprints, it is still a lot—at least in terms of relative holdings. To put this into context, they did not nearly collect nearly as much over the last century from De Vinne, Updike, Goudy, Morison, A.F. Johnson, Harry Carter, Mosley, etc.

    This same library recently renovated their rare book reading room. In that process, they seem to me to have re-classified which books on bibliography they consider to be standard works of reference, i.e., what they have placed on very visible shelves for researchers in other fields to quickly be able to grab, in order to find a reference when they need to cite something on identifying types with which books printed in Frankfurt were set in during the eighteenth century, or whatever. They put several McMurtrie references for this shelf, and no longer have anything there from De Vinne, Updike, Morison, or A.F. Johnson, etc. (there is also some Pollard there, though). The books they have from those other authors are still accessible, but you need to go looking and/or ask for them. I do not mean to imply that this reclassification is either good or bad, just that I noticed it, and then realised that I was almost completely unfamiliar with McMurtrie’s work.