On Monday, November 10, 2003, at 11:41 AM, Haven Hawley wrote:
> I am seeking information about American 19th-century type (primarily
> for text)
> and legibility. Other than trade manuals, are there mid-19th century
> that analyze type-to-leading ratio, or that compare two-column books
> shorter line lengths (similar to newspaper columns) to those using a
> My time period is 1840 to 1890, and I am interested primarily in the
> 1840s to
> 1870s. I'd appreciate any sources list members might recommend.
Theodore Low DeVinne is a great place to start. A printer and type
founder, c. 1880s in NYC. Author/publisher of a number of books on the
trade and industry of printing. One that I read (but I've forgotten the
title) went into great detail about such things as how many pieces of
handset type for each character one would need for specific kinds of
typesetting. In it (IIRC), he comments on such things as legibility and
other relevant points of typesetting. But it's been five years or so
since I read the book and my memory is fuzzy.
He is the designer (I think) of the modern face DeVinne (looks like
Bodoni with wide serifs and pronounced rounded counters) and DeVinne
Ornamented (an art-nouveau sort of face).
I Googled around a bit, but I didn't find a lot of webpages that were
on topic and didn't refer directly to the fonts I just named. One place
I did find that may be helpful is Oakknoll Books at