GOUDY, FREDERIC W. [See Melbert B. Cary: Collection of Goudyana]
Melbert B. Cary, Jr.: Collection of Goudyana, ca. 1929-1941
RLIN ID No.
Cary, Melbert Brinckerhoff, 1892-1941, collector.
Melbert B. Cary, Jr. collection of Goudyana, ca. 1929-1941.
Ca. 460 items ; 41 x 36 cm. and smaller
Organization and Arrangement
The Collection is organized in series. Within each 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]
2.1 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 1941 donation)
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).
After Cary’s death in 1941, the collection was donated to the Grolier Club in at least two accessions. Many items have original bookplates and accession numbers from that period. A copy of the original estate inventory is included with the collection.
Finding Aid Note
Unfinished finding aid in repository.
Goudy, Frederic W. (Frederic William), 1865-1947.
Goudy, Bertha, 1869-1935.
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.) <http://www.loc.gov/spcoll/099.html>
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.
Scripps College. Frederick [sic] Goudy Collection. (FWG designed Scripps Modern and Italic for the College.) < http://voxlibris.claremont.edu/sc/collections/den/goudy.asp>
University of Delaware. Frederic W. Goudy Collection. (Acquired by purchase, 1987) <http://www.lib.udel.edu/ud/spec/findaids/goudy.htm>