Category Archives: Typography

RBML Exhibition— “Ernst Reichl: Wide Awake Typographer”

Kempner Gallery

July 8 – September 13, 2013

RBML Reichl Exhibition

The Rare Book and Manuscript Library is delighted to present a major exhibition of the work of Ernst Reichl (1900-1980), German-American book designer, active and prominent in New York/American publishing from the 1930s into the 1970s. A ‘whole book’ designer, Reichl believed in the harmonious totality of the package and the value of one design vision for all its parts, and became one of the top trade book designers, prolific and award-winning. He actively promoted the profession and high standards in book publishing, by example and through writing, teaching, and exhibitions. A serious reader (he read broadly and seldom designed without reading the manuscript), Reichl was also a scholar, and a fine writer. The latter activity was an unexpected discovery in his papers, given to Columbia by his widow, Miriam Reichl, and the catalyst for this exhibition.

Martha Scotford, exhibition curator, Professor Emeritus of Graphic Design, North Carolina State University (NCSU), assisted by Kezra Cornell; Master of Graphic Design candidate, NCSU. This exhibition has been supported by a Columbia Libraries Research Grant, and the Reese Fellowship for American Bibliography and the History of the Book in the Americas from the Bibliographical Society of America.

Note on exhibition title: from Reichl’s comment on the card for Joyce Carol Oates’ The Wheel of Love (Vanguard, 1970): “J.C.O. enjoys using typographic devices of all sorts to express herself… and many other oddities, which require a wide-awake typographer.”

For more information on the exhibition, please see: information.

For exhibition hours, please review: hours.

Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Butler Library, 6th floor East, 535 West 114th St., New York, NY 10027

Saving Printing History

One of the exhibitions currently on view is “‘A Unique Museum’: How Henry Lewis Bullen Saved Printing History,” which we put on in honor of the American Printing History Association’s conference “Saving the History of Printing,” held at The Grolier Club and Columbia University on October 10-12, 2008, to discuss the preservation of the primary sources of printing history.

The materials on display are objects from the American Type Founders Company Library & Museum, and the labels discuss Henry Lewis Bullen’s (1857-1938) role in the formation, growth, and use of the collection. There are a lot of nifty things, including Benjamin Franklin’s composing stick, one of the stained glass windows commemorating famous printers commissioned by ATF from J. Francois Kaufman, two cases from one of Bullen’s travelling exhibitions, a few ATF type souvenirs (including pieces of two point type), some Bruce Foundry punches from 1832, and a selection of typographic medals and tokens.

Here, I’m including two favorite photographs that didn’t make it into the exhibition — the one above shows Bullen apparently in conversation with busts of printers Benjamin Franklin and Theodore Low DeVinne, and the one to the left shows Bullen with members of ATF’s carpentry crew, who had made the display pedestal for the wooden printing press behind them.

The exhibition is up until February, 2009.