CARY, MELBERT B. Collection of Goudyana [Frederic W. Goudy]
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Melbert B. Cary, Jr.: Collection of Goudyana, ca. 1929-1941


Main Entry
Cary, Melbert Brinckerhoff, 1892-1941, collector.

Melbert B. Cary, Jr. collection of Goudyana, ca. 1929-1941.

Physical Description
23 boxes + 9 clamshell boxes
Ca. 460 items ; 41 x 36 cm. and smaller

Finding Aid Note
This collection was partially processed and arranged by Paul Romaine ca. 2001-2004 and a finding aid created. Paul created the series structure and assigned most (but not all) of the works in the collection to a series. He made several notes on the envelopes and folders of the items, which have been retained.

In November 2017, the collection was rehoused in preparation for temporary offsite storage due to the upcoming Clubhouse renovation. At that time, loose materials which had been assigned to a series by Paul were integrated and boxed with other materials assigned to that series. Those works which had not yet been assigned to a series were housed together for future processing. Paul’s original box numbers were changed at this time to reflect the rehousing, and the finding aid was updated.

Many of the materials from this collection arrived in custom clamshell boxes. Some of these boxes were emptied by Paul Romaine, the materials assigned to appropriate series and rehoused. The original clamshell boxes, containing inventory lists and empty folders with notes were retained and assigned to series 6 (“Collateral”). Other clamshell boxes still contained their original contents at the time of the November 2017 assessment. Some materials in these clamshell boxes were assigned by Paul Romaine to a series and others were not. The Librarian did not attempt to remove any material from these boxes or assign them to series if they were not already thus assigned. She gave them their own box numbering scheme (e.g. Clamshell Box 1, Clamshell Box 2, etc.)

The items in this collection have not been systematically checked against the original estate inventory (stored in box 2).

After Cary’s death in 1941, the collection was donated to the Grolier Club in at least two accessions. The bulk of the material arrived as a gift from the Cary estate in August 1942. A copy of the original gift letter and estate inventory is included with the collection (box 2). Many items have original bookplates and accession numbers from that period.

Organization and Arrangement
The Collection is organized in series. Within series 1.1, items are arranged by Bibliography of the Village Press number. Within other series, items are arranged chronologically (publications, correspondence) or alphabetically (typeface designs).

1.         Printing and type work
1.1       Village Press publications, keyed to A Bibliography of the Village Press [books and ephemera]
1.2       Non-Village Press Goudy publications and designs
1.3       Other Goudy designs, proofs and layouts
1.4       Type proofs, including smoke proofs, catalog proofs for Continental Typefounders, and showings
1.5       Type pieces, sorts and plates [2 custom-made book boxes]
2.         Manuscripts
2.1       Correspondence and manuscripts
2.2       Proofs and drafts, non-Goudy
2.3       Drafts of A bibliography of the Village Press, ca. 1937-38
2.4       AIGA exhibition, 1933
2.5       Miscellaneous manuscripts
3          Goudy associated books
4          Photographs of Goudy at work, Deepdene, etc.
5.1       Goudy commemorative items and ephemera
5.2       Clippings and periodicals
5.3       Goudy miscellaneous
6          Collateral (mostly old folders, boxes, housing, etc with provenance marks)
7          Goudy supplement (materials post-dating the original 1942 donation)

Historical/Biographical Note
The Cary collection of Goudyana was formed by Grolier Club member Melbert B. Cary, Jr. (1892-1941), from his professional and personal association with type designer Frederic W. Goudy (1865-1947). While the collection focuses on the output of Frederic and Bertha Goudy’s Village Press, it also has many items of typographic and personal interest such as type, book and monogram designs, and keepsakes honoring the designer. Cary used his copies of Village Press books in drafting A Bibliography of the Village Press, printed in 1938 by his private Press of the Wooly Whale. The books and ephemera in the collection were acquired by Cary through purchase and gift, including some received directly from Goudy himself while Cary organized an AIGA exhibition of Goudy’s work in 1932, and while compiling the bibliography.

Frederic W. Goudy founded the Village Press in Park Ridge, Ill. in 1903 with Will Ransom as partner. Within the year Ransom left, and his role was filled by Bertha M. Goudy (1869-1935), who subsequently did most of the composition for the press. Cary acquired the press’s earliest products, including numerous proofs and designs, from Ransom, which include his meticulous notes. The Press’s moves document Goudy’s increasingly central position in American typography and printing: Park Ridge, Illinois (1903-1904); Hingham, Massachusetts (1904-1906); New York City, New York (1906-1913); Forest Hills Gardens, New York (1913-1923) and Marlborough, New York (1923-1941). From Marlborough, Goudy worked on type and book designs, printed a few items, and wrote articles. With the death of his wife Bertha in 1935, the output of the Press declined and Goudy threw himself into type designing in order to reach 100 designs, while speaking and writing about typography. Many of the collection’s celebratory keepsakes might be read in light of Fred Goudy’s loneliness after the death of his wife.

Two disastrous fires injured Goudy’s fortunes. First, in New York on January 10, 1908, the Parker Building fire in which the Village Press lost all its equipment and stock, except for the Village Type matrices (see BVP, p. 89-93), and second at Deepdene in Marlborough, New York, in 1939, in which his workshop burned, and those parts not lost to fire, fell into a creek. (Most of these items went either to the Library of Congress by purchase from Goudy in 1944, or to the Cary Graphic Arts Collection at the Rochester Institute of Technology by purchase from Goudy’s successor). Subsequently, Goudy continued with fewer designs and talks, until his death in 1947.

Collector, businessman and publisher Melbert Brinckerhoff Cary, Jr., was born on November 28, 1892 in New York. He was educated at Groton and then attended Yale (class of 1916). After a brief stint in the Connecticut National Guard, in 1915, on the Mexican border, he was mustered into service in the American Expeditionary Force in World War I. He served in France from March 1917 as Captain of Field Artillery, until his discharge in April 1919. On his return, he entered into business, first worker for an import-export company (1919-1920), and then in foreign sales for the Remington Typewriter Co. (1920-1925?). In 1925 he established Continental Typefounder Association, an importer of then-contemporary European typefaces. Cary’s interest in printing began as a IV term student at Groton, where he learned all parts of the hand printer’s job and became the school’s printer (see Carl Purington Rollins’s 1943 essay, published in Melbert B. Cary, Jr. and the Press of the Woolly Whale, Rochester: Cary Graphic Arts Press, 2002).

Goudy became affiliated with Melbert B. Cary through their mutual interest in type. Cary, whose marriage to heiress Mary Flagler, now found sufficient money and leisure to found his own private press, Press of the Woolly Whale, and to start a type importing firm, Continental Typefounders Association, which brought the latest French and German type styles to the United States. In 1927 Goudy became formally affiliated with Continental Typefounders as Vice President. By May 1929, Cary was collecting Goudyana in sufficient quantity as to attract notice, as evidenced by an inscription from Will H. Ransom after their first meeting, on a copy of  “Books for Sale” (Village Press circular no. 4) “To Melbert B. Cary. Jr. Recording a happy meeting and a new friendship. Will Ransom. Chicago, May 24, 1929” (BVP 11, copy 2).

In 1933, in honor of the thirty-third anniversary of the Village Press, Cary organized an exhibition of its imprints with the American Institute of Graphic Arts. The AIGA exhibition was a watershed for Cary’s collecting. Based on accession dates, which Cary noted on front endpapers, and on other correspondence, he used the show to acquire or borrow many “lost” items, while the publicity seems to have attracted additional items both before and after (see, for example, the correspondence with Edmund G. Gress, publisher of the Inland Printer, or the loan of Will Ransom’s Village Press materials).

Goudy, Frederic W. (Frederic William), 1865-1947.
Goudy, Bertha, 1869-1935.
Village Press.

Type and type-founding. United States. 20th century.
Printing. United States. 20th century.

Occupation (as reflected in collection)
Type designers. United States. 20th century.
Printers. United States. 20th century.

Grolier Club. 47 East 60th Street, New York, N.Y. 10022.

(Listed in order of importance)

Documents in the Cary Collection of Goudyana, including book inscriptions, correspondence, drafts of the
Bibliography of the Village Press, photographs, and other notes.

D.J.R. Bruckner. Frederic Goudy. (Documents of American Design.) New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1990. [The most recent book-length treatment of Goudy.]

Goudy, Frederic W. A Half Century of Type Design and Typography, 1895-1945. New York: The Typophiles, 1947. [Reprinted with some changes by Dover.]

Melbert B. Cary, Jr.. A Bibliography of the Village Press, 1903-1938. New York: Press of the Woolly Whale, 1938. [Reprinted 1981, Oak Knoll Press.]

Bernard Lewis. Behind the Type: The Life Story of Frederic W. Goudy. Pittsburgh: Dept. of Printing, Carnegie Institute of Technology, 1941.

Vrest Orton. Goudy: Master Of Letters. Chicago: The Black Cat Press, 1939.

David Pankow. Melbert B. Cary, Jr., and the Press of the Woolly Whale. Rochester: The Cary Graphic Arts Press, Rochester Institute of Technology, 2002.

Will Ransom. Private Presses and their Books. New York: R.R. Bowker, 1924. [Lists a number of Village Press imprints. BVP refers to this work a number of times.]

Anne D. Thomen. Frederic W. Goudy Correspondence, 1935-1946. (Master’s Thesis, Rochester Institute of Technology), May 1977. [A calendar of correspondence in RIT’s Cary Collection with useful preface.]

Robert Nikirk, “The Grolier Club Library,” in The Grolier Club, 1887-1984, New York: The Club, 1984. [Brief citation on p. 39.]

Allen Asaf, “Exhibitions and Meetings,” in The Grolier Club, 1887-1984, New York: The Club, 1984. [Citations on pp. 199 and 218.]

Documented Exhibitions of this Collection
1933 AIGA. American Institute of Graphic Arts, New York. (Honoring thirty-three years of the Village Press.) [The exhibition, largely organized by Cary, was important to extending his collection for the bibliography. Multiple copies of the catalog, one with insurance values, and ephemera are in the collection.]

1943 Grolier Club, New York. (Honoring donation of MBC’s Goudyana Collection at The Grolier Club. Goudy was speaker, and Mary Flagler Cary was honored. (See The Grolier Club, 1887-1984, p. 199)

1965 Grolier Club, New York. (Small exhibition, honoring Goudy’s Centennial at the Grolier Club. (See The Grolier Club, 1887-1984, p. 218)

Related Collections at Other Institutions
Library of Congress.
Frederic W. Goudy Collection: Personal library, papers, and publications. (Acquired from FWG by purchase in 1944.) <>

Rochester Institute of Technology, Cary Graphic Arts Collection. Frederic W. Goudy Collection; Goudy Vertical Files, and Matrices. Access to correspondence through Anne D. Thomen. Frederic W. Goudy Correspondence, 1935-1946. (Master’s Thesis, Rochester Institute of Technology), May 1977.

Additional Collections

Scripps College. Frederick [sic] Goudy Collection. (FWG designed Scripps Modern and Italic for the College.) <>

University of Delaware. Frederic W. Goudy Collection. (Acquired by purchase, 1987)

Container List: 
(List based on work of Paul Romaine, ca. 2001-2004, with updates by Meghan Constantinou, Nov. 2017)

Box 1 (Series 1.1)
Village Press: Small books and small bound ephemera, keyed to A Bibliography of the Village Press. A working copy of the BVP is also included in this box. Arranged by BVP number.

Box 2 (Series 1.1)
Village Press: Unbound items. Original estate gift letter and inventory from Aug. 1942. Arranged by BVP number.

Box 3 (Series 1.1)
Village Press: Bound and unbound items. Arranged by BVP number.

Box 4 (Series 1.1)
Village Press: Bound folio items. Includes Ars Typographia. Arranged by BVP number.

Box 5 (Series 1.2)
Non-Village Press Goudy publications and designs. Arranged by date.

Box 6 (Series 1.3)
Other Goudy designs, proofs, and layouts.

Box 7 (Series 1.4)
Type proofs, including smoke proofs, catalog proofs for Continental Typefounders, and showings.

Box 8 (Series 2.1, 2.2, 2.4 & 2.5)
Manuscripts, including Correspondence and mss (Ser. 2.1), proofs and drafts non-Goudy (Ser. 2.2), AIGA exhibition (Ser. 2.4) and miscellaneous mss (Ser. 2.5)

Box 9 (Series 2.3)
Drafts of a Bibliography of the Village Press, ca. 1937-38

Box 10 (Series 2.3)
Drafts of a Bibliography of the Village Press, ca. 1937-38

Box 11 (Series 4)
Photographs of Goudy at work, Deepdeene, etc.

Box 12 (Series 5)
Goudy commemorative items and ephemera (Ser. 5.1)
Clippings and periodicals (Ser. 5.2)
Goudy miscellaneous (Ser. 5.3)

Box 12: Partial container list:

Studio Press (Grabhorn)

The Studio, vol. 1, no. 1

1916 May

Studio Press (Edwin Grabhorn).

Master of the Machine, by Temple Scott


Franklin Printing Co.

2 items



Meeting announcement


Lanston Monotype.

FWG dinner, London (1929 June 21). Signed menu. Also: an unsigned copy.


Lanston Monotype.

Dinner menu (1929 June 7) facsimile and article.


Vassar College (Poughkeepsie NY).

“A Village Press collection is given to Vassar.” 2 copies


AUDAC (American Union of Decorative Arts and Craftsmen).

Luncheon menu, designed by Robert Foster for Printing House of William Edwin Rudge.



Luncheon table signs


National Arts Club

Invitation to FWG


Maveric (sic) Press

“Quod Si Deficiant”

Ca. 1937

Boston Society of Printers

Lecture invitation

1940 Oct. 21

Will Ransom

…from little acorns.”


Earl H. Emmons (Maveric Press)

“To Berthan and points beyond.”


AIGA, Grolier Club et al.

“Pilgrimage to Deepdene.” Invitation with tickets. 3 items.


AIGA, Grolier Club et al.

Pilgrimage to Deepdene. ‘FWG”


Testimonial meeting (FWG). 4 copies. Copy ‘a’ has timing for each speaker.


Maveric Press.

“Happy birthday to you.” Reprint from The Composing Room (1937 Feb.), 10 pp.


Connecticut State Library.

Dinner in honor of FWG. Menu.

1937 April 6

Thumbprint Press (Forrest Hills, NY).

Goudy night invitation

1940 Jan. 8

Will Ransom et al.

Goudy 75th birthday. Ex Will-Ransom. 4 items.

Will Ransom et al.

Goudy 75th birthday. 4 items, including guest list.

Underwood Elliott Fisher Co.

Goudy the Type Master, 10 p.

1941 June

Press of the Woolly Whale

“What printing is.” 1 signature only. Facsimile of Village Press original by Press of the Woolly Whale.

Ca. 1928

Press of the Woolly Whale

“Circular No. 1.” Facsimile of Village Press original by Press of the Woolly Whale.


Distaff Side dinner invitation to FWG

1939) March 8

Box 13 (Series 1.1)

Oversize Village Press Publications. Included in this box:
·       Door in the Wall (BVP 70), 1911, 4 copies
·       Song of Songs (BVP 140), 1919, 3 copies

Box 14 (Series 1.1)

Oversize Village Press Publications. Included in this box:
·       Facs. Trial Pages-Kelmscott Ed. of Froissart’s Chronicles (BVP 145)
·       A Personal Message concerning Children in War Time (BVP 128), 1917
·       Portrait Gallery of American Editors, by Doris Ulmann (BVP 173), 1925

Box 15 (Series 1.1)

Oversize Village Press pamphlets and ephemera.

Box 16 (Various series)

Oversize pamphlets, assigned to various series.

Box 17 (Series 7)

Materials post-dating the original 1942 donation. Includes several Goudy-related items acquired by the Grolier Club from various other sources (e.g. Typophiles, individual donors, etc.).

Box 18

Unsorted, unprocessed materials. No series assigned. Arranged in roughly chronological order.

Box 19

Unsorted, unprocessed materials. No series assigned. Arranged in roughly chronological order.

Box 20 (Series 6)

Collateral: 2 empty boxes labeled ‘Material about Goudy’ and ‘Early Work by Goudy’.

Box 21 (Series 6)

Collateral: Miscellaneous folders and wrappers

Box 22 (Series 6)

Collateral: 3 empty boxes, one labeled ‘Village Press Fugitive’ and two labeled ‘Proofs’

Box 23 (Series 6)

Collateral: Empty folders

Clamshell Box 1 (no series assigned)

Paste-up of large size Trajan Letters

Clamshell Box 2 (no series assigned)

[Miscellaneous oversized broadsides]

Clamshell Box 3 (no series assigned)
[Lanston Monotype]

Clamshell Box 4 (no series assigned)
Original drawings [scrapbook]

Clamshell Box 5 (no series assigned)
Certain Letters of James Howell—Layouts and Progressive Proofs

Clamshell Box 6 (Series 1.5)
Patterns, Punches, Matrices, etc. Box 1

Clamshell Box 7 (Series 1.5)
Patterns, Punches, Matrices, etc. Box 2

Clamshell Box 8 (Series 4)
Portraits [photographic]

Clamshell Box 9 (no series assigned)
Material about Goudy

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