From the discard pile, a typographic memory

PublishingMojo's picture

A friend's son and his bride of six months are buying their first home. In an honored tradition associated with this life passage, he is clearing all his high-school and college junk out of his mother's house. Among the books headed for donation to the local library, I spotted this slim monograph, Arthur Okun's Equality and Efficiency, and it stirred up a memory of my first grownup job.


From 1974 to 1978, I was a customer-service rep at Garamond/Pridemark Press, a now-defunct Baltimore printing company with its roots in a print shop founded by Norman T.A. Munder in 1878. One of our steady clients in the 70s was the Brookings Institution, whose director of publications, Roland Hoover, was a fine amateur letterpress printer (and later became University Printer at Yale).
Brookings used to have its monographs set metal by the Monotype Co. in Baltimore, printed at Garamond/Pridemark in runs of about 1500 on 60# Warren's Old Style. Sometimes we would even print them directly from the type on a big old Miehle letterpress that was still in commercial use at that time.
This copy is the 20th printing, but the copyright date is 1975, and it has all the earmarks of the books Roland Hoover did at Monotype: Electra text, with Dwiggins' cursive, not the italic, and Perpetua headings. I'm pretty sure the first printing of this book crossed my desk.

kentlew's picture

So, the Monotype Co. in Baltimore was running Linotypes in the 1970s? How ’bout that.

PublishingMojo's picture

After nearly 40 years, I'm not 100% certain they used the Monotype Co. for this job, or what machines Monotype Co. had. Monotype Co. wasn't the only typesetter that Brookings used, but most of their work was set in metal. It was often printed offset from repro proofs; the place I worked was the only printer they used that could still print 16-page forms on a letterpress.
Some of Brookings' economics publications were dense with equations and tables, and they invariably set those on Monotype machines. This particular example has no equations or tables in it.

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