Went to the SF Library Rare Book Room Sat April 13, 2008

I am going to the SF Rare Book Room in the main Library at 10 to look at original Aldus books and other wonderful stuff. Come see what treasures you have in easy reach (if you live here). Most likely I will be there until 6pm with a break for lunch.


I'm nowhere nearby, but by a strange coincidence, I took a look at De Aetna yesterday here at Yale. It's actually for a newspaper article that I'll be designing, which I'll post on my Typophile blog Monday when it comes out. Enjoy yourself!

EDIT: Forgot to mention that the newspaper article's on Matthew Carter's reinterpretation of Aldus' work, the Yale typeface.


Did you take an photos?

I took a ton. I will post them to flickr in a day or two.

No, actually, as far as I know I wasn't allowed to take photos on my own. But I'll eagerly await your images.

BTW, I've been reading your posts on contextual alternates, and I looked for them a bit in De Aetna. I wish I had seen your Jenson thread where James Mosley chimes in before now so I could have been on the lookout for contextual alternates more than I was. I saw the accented e's with oblique eyes and the swash e's and m's, but I'll have to go back to check out the others Mosley shows.

I am not sure and I think James is also not sure there are contextual alternates in De Aetna yet. SF didn't have a De Aetna to check. What I think I did see was that Aldine books do seem to have more than one shape of many glyphs and over time they are used less contextually - more randomly. The opposite is also true that early Aldines seem to be more consistent in their patterns of glyph use. But I need to see more to be able to be sure and it would be good to be able to go through and show each instance and make a proper counted survey. You should remember that he finishes his post by saying "I remain to be convinced.".

I think I may be able to convince him. We shall see. May I am wrong. I will be posting images before long & hopefully we will get lots of informed opinion on the subject.

Eben, I believe the L. Tom Perry Special Collections at Brigham Young University has a very large collection of Aldine books. If memory serves they have a De Aetna. (A few minutes later.) Perhaps they only have a version by Mardersteig.

There are some good De Aetna photos taken by other folks on Flickr if you want to see some ...

EDIT: And there's another photo here from the one I saw last week.

Those are cool. But it's tough because to figure out this kind of thing you need to get really close which requires special optics.

Like this ( this is reduced to fit on typophle )

This is an an "a" at unreduced and pixel for pixel as it came out of the camera.

Really I need better optics... But I hope the idea is clear.

Next time... be sure to request the work of Fritz Poppl, calligrapher, lettering artist and type designer (Berthold)

Thanks! I will.