Books About Type Design and Founding in the United States of America

This is the first in a series of bibliography threads I plan to start. I think having ongoing lists with multiple contributors and discussion on a forum makes more sense than top ten lists or a dedicated web site. Hopefully as people discover a useful work here and there those books will get added to the lists, and the lists will grow to include stuff that is not easily turned up in a database search.

I’m not going to prescribe a format for this because that would negate some of the value of doing it in an open forum. But I’ll start with lists in MLA format. 

Books About Type Design and Type Founding in the United States of America

Bruce, David, and James Russell Eckman. History of Typefounding in the United States. New York: Typophiles, 1981. Print.

Consuegra, David. American Type Design & Designers. New York: Allworth, 2004. Print.

Cost, Patricia. The Bentons: How an American Father and Son Changed the Printing Industry. Rochester, NY: RIT Cary Graphic Arts, 2011. Print.

Hornung, Clarence Pearson., and Fridolf Johnson. 200 Years of American Graphic Art: A Retrospective Survey of the Printing Arts and Advertising since the Colonial Period. New York: G. Braziller, 1976. Print.

Kelly, Rob Roy. American Wood Type. Kansas City, MO: n.p., 1964. Print.
Silver, Rollo Gabriel. Typefounding in America: 1787-1825. Charlottesville: U of Virginia, 1965. Print.


  • McGrew, Mac. American Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century. Rev. 2nd ed. New Castle, Delaware: Oak Knoll Press, 2009. 
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,828
    Pankow, David, ed. American Proprietary Typefaces. np: American Printing Historical Association, 1998. Print.
  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 787
    edited December 2016
    From Oak Knoll, a few essential references on 19th-century metal type:
    • Annenberg, Maurice (additions by Stephen O. Saxe). Type Foundries of America and Their Catalogs. New Castle, Delaware: Oak Knoll Press, 1994.
    • Clouse, Doug. Mackellar, Smiths & Jordan: Typographic Tastemakers of the Late Nineteenth Century. New Castle, Delaware: Oak Knoll Press, 2008.
    • Loy, William E. (edited by Alastair M. Johnston and Stephen O. Saxe). Nineteenth-Century American Designers and Engravers of Type. New Castle, Delaware: Oak Knoll Press, 2009.
    And one on an essential 20th-century American designer:
    • Stock-Allen, Nancy. Carol Twombly: Her Brief but Brilliant Career in Type Design. New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 2016.
  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 787
    edited December 2016
    • Bruce, David. The History Of Typefounding in the United States Edited and Annotated from the Holograph Manuscript by James Eckman. New York: The Typophiles, 1981.
    • Moran, Bill, Robert Style, Dennis Ichiyama, and Richard Zauft. Hamilton Wood Type: A History in Headlines. St Paul, MS: Blinc Publishing, 2004.
    • MacKellar, Smiths & Jordan. One Hundred Years. Philadelphia, PA: MacKellar, Smiths & Jordan, 1896.
    • Stone, Sumner. On Stone, The Art and Use of Typography on the Personal Computer. San Francisco: Bedford Arts, 1991.
    • (Rogers, Bruce). Blumenthal, Joseph. Bruce Rogers, A Life in Letters 1870-1957. Austin, TX: W. Thomas Taylor, 1989.
    • (Goudy, Frederic W.). Goudy, Frederic W. Goudy's Type Designs, His Story And Specimens. New Rochelle: The Myriade Press, 1978.
    • (Goudy, Frederic W.). Bruckner, D.J.R. Frederic Goudy. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1990.
  • Goudy, Frederic W. Typologia. Paperback ed. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977.

    Needham, Maurice H. The Book of Oz Cooper. Society of Typographic Arts, 1949. [A terrific book but with much more focus on lettering than type IIRC]
  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 787
    edited December 2016
    • Gress, Edmund G. Fashions in American Typography, 1780 to 1930 with Brief Illustrated Stories of the Life and Environment of the American People in Seven Periods. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1931.
      Gress covers “the various periods at which decided changes in the matter of type design or changed tastes in type arrangement took place.” I’ve had this one for a while but just recently dug into it. Pretty interesting to read about each typographic movement from a 1930 perspective. Plenty examples shown of both typefaces and typesetting.
  • Mullen, Robert A. Recasting a Craft: St. Louis Typefounders Respond to Industrialization. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 2005.

    Just got this recently, hoping to read it over the holidays—it looks very good. 
  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 787
    edited February 2017
    Oak Knoll is having a 50% off sale on select books right now. Annenberg’s Type Foundries of America is $25. Clouse’s Mackellar, Smiths & Jordan is $32.50.
  • The Annenberg deal is especially nice because it’s the second edition, which has eight appendices by Saxe.
  • Stephen, James:

    Thanks for the heads up on the sale! I just place an oder for both Annenberg and Clouse. I got Recasting a Craft several months ago, and can confirm Thomas’s statement that it is very good.
  • Claudio PiccininiClaudio Piccinini Posts: 313
    edited April 2019
    «I’m not going to prescribe a format for this because that would negate some of the value of doing it in an open forum.»
    Why did you say that in the beginning, @James Puckett? Just curious. :)
    Great thread.
  • Silver, Rollo G.: Typefounding in America, 1787-1825. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia (1965)
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