(x) Missale Romanum - De Vinne rip-off {Gerald Lange}

This not very pleasant typeface is used in an altar missal published by Benziger Brothers Inc. around 1956 (the book has no publication date, but Cardinal Spellman’s introduction is dated the feast of St Basil the Great, 1956). The type is used in two sizes 14pt (shown here) and 12pt. A different typeface is used for italics, suggesting that this face might not have an italic. Anyone recognise it?

Missale Romanum 14pt



This is a near De Vinne. There were a lot of variants of this and become known as the De Vinne family in the US. These were known as romanisch, romisch, romaans in European enboldened renditions. Very late nineteenth century.

De Vinne No. 11 is very similar except the lowercase c shown here is wrong and, interestingly, wrong for the face.

Is this a pop quiz? or?

De Vinne no. 11 had an italic.

Yeah, it did. But probably the printer didn’t. Metal type bud.

Possibly. Mean fellow. Don’t you think that the sample looks narrower than no. 11? But that’s indeed the closest match I can think of. The c is wrong, as you said, and the i seems to come from some bolder variant. The foot of the d is different too.


De Vinne was very influential in his time, and for good reason. His faces weren’t the best, in retrospect they were awful, but his instincts were right on the mark. There were a lot of variants to his “family.” This is not De Vinne No. 11. Thought I said that. We don’t have really good records of specimens and their positioning during this very exciting period of printing history.

De Vinne is important because he was a printer with scholarly interests. He is the first to point out that Gutenberg may indeed have invented the type mould. Something the scholars of the period were unable to fathom. His writings were important and influential. Updike followed in his footsteps. He was a revivalist *before” Morris. We probably wouldn’t be discussing anything type related here and now had this dude not lived.

This is De Vinne inspired face. I don’t know the exact name of this particular typeface or the rip off foundry that produced it. And I don’t care.

Many thanks, Gerald. The use of this typeface in the Missal really has to be seen to be believed. Considering this is a book that is meant to be read aloud at the altar, the type is incredibly difficult to read.


Thought you might find this interesting.

DeVinne is derived from Elzevir or French Oldstyle faces. But most importantly, the display DeVinne “is credited with bringing an end to the period of overly ornate and fanciful display faces of the nineteenth century, and with restoring the dignity of plain roman types.” !!!

This from McGrew’s American Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century.

I guess ‘overly ornate and fanciful’ is relative.

Yeah, well, the type road is a long one, with a lot of twists and turns.