Frederic W. Goudy
Frederic W. Goudy, one of the most popular and prolific
American type designers, was born in Springfield, Illinois. He produced
his first typeface design in 1896, a display face called Camelot,
for the Camelot Press in Chicago, which his friend and he had opened
the previous year. By 1900, Goudy took on a position as an instructor
of lettering, beginning a lifetime of teaching that inspired such
typesetting giants as William A. Dwiggins, Oswald Cooper, and R.
Hunter Middleton. In 1903, he and Will H. Ransom founded the Village
Press in Park Ridge, Illinois.
Goudys career as a printer and designer began to grow with
the fortunes of the press. In 1908, he created his first significant
typeface for the Lanston Monotype Machine Company: E-38, sometimes
known as Goudy Light. However, in that same year the Village Press
burned to the ground, destroying all of his equipment and designs.
In 1911, Goudy produced his first hit, Kennerly Old
Style, for an H.G. Wells anthology published by Mitchell Kennerly.
His most widely used type, Goudy Oldstyle, was released by the American
Type Founders Company in 1915, becoming an instant classic. Its
graceful letterforms made it visually appealing, while its shortened
descenders allowed printers to squeeze more type on a page.
In the early years of his career, Goudy designed mostly display
faces for advertising. As he progressed as a designer, however,
his interests moved more toward the perfecting of the traditional
roman typeface. He drew his letters by hand, and objected to the
mechanistic way that companies such as Monotype produced matrices
for his typefaces. So in 1925 he set up a foundry in his home in
Marlborough, New York, in order to produce type in a more creative
way. By 1927, he was engraving the matrices himself. But in 1939
Goudys work was again destroyed by fire, which consumed his
home, his foundry, and his quest to achieve the perfect roman. The
rest of his life was chiefly devoted to teaching and lecturing.