NYPD (and Philadelphia) 20th c. header

Solved by: 
Bob Evans


I am the Historian of the New York Press Photographers Association, and have collected quite a few samples of press credentials that were issued by the New York City Police Department. I've identified one font that was used for much of the first half of the 20th century by the NYPD, not only on press cards, but on other official documents such as taxi licenses, wanted posters, and other official publications. I thought it was a proprietary font, until I just noticed that it was also used as a header on Philadelphia death certificates from 1906-1909. I love it, though, and have incorporated it (through copy-and-paste) into my own business cards. It usually appears in upper-case only, but I have seen odd documents where lower case is used. Haven't been able to pinpoint its true identity, though. Any help?

Marc Hermann


It is very similar to some of the text on the cover of the 1914 poem Zang Tumb Tumb, which is in Studley Condensed:
But it isn't that, because letters N and C are clearly different.
Yet again, it's similar but not quite Radiant Condensed:
It's probably a more condensed version of Britannic than this one:
They all look pretty much the same anyway.

Henry, your images are broken. Perhaps if you reload with a different file name?

I couldn't fix the images, but replaced them with links.

Studley Condensed sure looks similar, but there are differences in the "N" and the "C," among others.

Thanks for the links. Radiant and Britannic are out of the running -- not designed until many years after the heading first appeared. Here is a high quality scan of Inland's Studley Extra Condensed
Close but not quite there.
We should check the competitors' specimen books from before the Great war of 1914-1918, particularly BB&S.

Another thick & thin from the era, Wesel from Barnhart Bros. & Spindler 1907


This looks like it could be it. The most unusual letter from the sample was 'C', so if we were able to see that then we would know.

Somewhat time consuming, but a page by page examination of McGrew's _American Metal Typefaces of the 20th Century_ might hit paydirt.

Wesel's C is not right - just checked my BB&S No. 9 Specimen Book - it is close but not it - C is way different.

This has a C that is close from 1902 ATF collection (image from McGrew)

Another Sample of Pontiac from 1917 catalog

A line of type set in quick and dirty font generated from Pontiac sample:

Good find Bob. McGrew is a great source but could really use a good category index.

Mystery solved!!! Thank you!!!

Nice work, guys!

As an aside, Jeff Levine digitized Inland Studley as Bayview JNL.