Type Specimens

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I’ve just embarked on a month-long research fellowship in the wonderful Cary Collection at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where I’m exploring the history of the type specimen: broadsides and books made to show off the different faces produced by type foundries. This detail of a specimen signature from Christian Friedrich Gessner’s 1740 handbook on the “necessary and useful art of printing” (catalog record here) is a beautiful introduction to my forthcoming series of images documenting what’s sure to be a rich and exciting month of archival research. This specimen signature is one of three that folds out of the first volume of Gessner’s two-volume handbook for printers. Unfolding the page is like opening a present.

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