Franziska Baruch and Leo Ari Mayer

jericho press's picture

In Moshe Spitzer's article 'The development of Hebrew lettering' (Ariel 37 (1974), 4-28), he discusses Franziska Baruch's Stam type. He says it was 'unsuitable for the printing of a legible page, and therefore restricted from the outset to use in captions and formal display matter. The light version of this letter, which was cast simultaneously, never took hold, because of the misguided aversion of printers to Hebrew light-face letters.' But what is this light-face Stam?

Spitzer does not show it in his article, nor have I seen it in any specimen of Berthold (for whom Stam was originally made). Nor is it mentioned in the article on Baruch in the Israel Bibliophiles Newsletter (Spring 1984). I think he must be referring to Baruch's similar but lighter 'Mayer' Hebrew. This was not issued simultaneously, but was designed for Leo Ari Mayer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and produced by Monotype in 1938. Spitzer himself revived this type under the name 'Mayer-Baruch' at the Jerusalem Type Foundry in the 1950s. But he didn't call it 'Stam light'.

Besides my question above, it is worth mentioning that Mayer's dealings with Franziska Baruch and Eric Gill (who designed Gill Hebrew also for him) seem to be lost to history. Years ago I wrote to the only contact I had, which was Mayer's Museum for Islamic Art in Jerusalem; but they knew nothing about Mayer's interest in typography, and even thought I had the wrong Mayer!

And if anyone would like to know more about Monotype Mayer, may I here advertise my new book The Hebrew Types of the Jericho Press? Details at www.jericho-press.com.

Chip Coakley

quadibloc's picture

I haven't seen a light-face Stam - the ordinary Stam, however, has such ornate letters that I would expect that it would only be used for specialized purposes.

However, I recently encountered the name of Franziska Baruch where she was mentioned as the designer of the Schocken typeface; that was eminently suited for text, being an improvement on Frank Ruehl.

lafemmesoixante's picture

I am an independent researcher interested in information on Franziska Baruch.
Was she German or Polish?
When did she emigrate to Israel?
What are good reliable sources to see and read about her work?
Thanks!

isotype75's picture

In Ittai Tamaris Thesis “Hebräische Schriftgestaltung in Deutschland von der Jahrhundertwende bis zum Ausbruch des Zweiten Weltkrieges” (Egelsbach: Hänsel-Hohenhausen 1994) a short biographic sketch on Franziska Baruch can be found. He writes the following [with some additions by myself]:

Franziska Baruch was born in 1901 in Hamburg. She studied graphic art at the School of Applied Arts (Staatliche Kunstgewerbeschule) in Berlin and completed her studies as a master student. In the 1920s she reached success with designs for porcelain manufacturer and an excellent performance for “Reichskunstwart” Edwin Redslob [Between 1920 and 1933 the Reichskunstwart was an authority responsible for the visual representation of the state]. Baruch won also great reputation for her work as a set designer in the German Pavillions at the International Press Exhibition “Pressa” in Cologne in 1928. In 1920 Baruch began to work for Jewish publishing houses. At that time she had also for the first time dealt seriously with the Hebrew letter. After a long study of ancient Hebrew manuscripts and prints as well as practical exercises she was able to design Hebrew letters. In 1921 she drew the texts of some Hebrew books with woodcuts by Jacob Steinhardt. [In 1922 she was responsible for the Hebrew titles of the pioneering magazine “Rimon-Milgroim”, and for other publications of the Berlin based Rimon publishing house].
מילגרוים

In 1922 she gave Joseph Cherkassy [Tscherkassy], head of the Oriental Department of the H. Berthold AG type foundry, her first letters designs, based on a medieval Prague Haggadah-Print. These designs were later [some time between 1924 and 1929] published by the type foundry under the name “Stam” [and some variations Baruchs designs as “Magere Stam”, “Rambam” and “Rachel”].
Stam Berthold
In 1924 [?] Baruch also designed the “Mayer-Baruch”-Letter for the Orientalist Prof. Leo A. Mayer (1895-1959) and tried her hand at the first draft of a type for the Schocken publishing house in Zwickau [finallly published in 1938 as “Schocken-Baruch”]. In 1933 Baruch migrated to Palestine and practiced different professions for her livelihood. She worked in drawing maps, designed stone inscriptions, and also sold marzipan chocolates under the name “Baruch confectionery”, which she made herself at home.

[Franziska Baruch is also responsible for a numbers of logo designs and the masthead of the daily Haaretz].

Ha'aretz

Franziska Baruch died on the 6. september 1989 in Jerusalem.

A short article on Baruch (by Gideon Stern) can also be found in the Israel Bibliophiles Newsletter Nr. 4 (1984). I haven’t seen this one as it can't be found in any european library. The providing of a scan therefore would be very much appreciated.

gohebrew's picture

Could you please post a sample of the Schocken typeface, and also a source that mentions it is a recent design, and how it improves upon the design of FrankReuhl, which was created in the very early 20th century in Germany?

That original design of FrankReuhl was a derivative of the classic Romm design, which dominated the entire Jewish printing industry for over 100 years. The Romm design was cut in metal at the beginning of the 19th century, and perhaps even earlier. Certainly, there is historical evidence that the design precedes Guttenberg, and was used in hand written drawings (see Frederick Goudy's book on this), like also the face known as Rashi. Often, these two letter forms are simply called the Square Letter typeface, and the Round Letter typeface.

Currently, secular or anti-religious scholarship claims the Romm is actually a much later design. This is foolish, because the 20th volume of the Talmud documents the Talmud set's history, which contradicts this stupid theory, popular by scholars in their own eyes. Look it up; it is called the אחרית דבר - the AfterWord.

Based upon impressions made by professional scribes, I believe FrankReuhl was less an improvement graphically of Romm, buta political alternative to that which Romm represented. These professionals argue that the letter form design of Romm is easier on the eyes than FrankReuhl, and conducive to lengthy dwelling on portions of the text in Jewish books, while FrankReuhl is better for texts that are read quickly, like newspapers, cheap novels, and the like.

isotype75's picture

I will post a sample of “Schocken-Baruch” as soon as I can get my hands on an original source (a reproduction could be found in Moshe Spitzer’s article “The development of Hebrew lettering”).

I wouldn’t be that exclusive about the significance of “Frank-Rühl” but I do agree that it is to a great extent also a political one. The art-nouveau-design of Raphael Frank’s typeface symbolically disconnected Hebrew as script from the religious tradition and connected it to a universal “modernity”. For that reason it was embraced by those who at the turn of the century aimed at the creation of a secular Jewish culture with modern Hebrew literature, newspapers (and finally a nation state).

I think the tendency in Hebrew type-design in the 1920ies that lead to typefaces like Baruch’s “Stam” and “Schocken” is a genuine German phenomena. People like Salman Schocken and the members of the influential bibliophilic “Soncino-Gesellschaft” didn’t like “Frank-Rühl”. In their typographic taste, they followed the mainstream of German bibliophiles and designers (Rudolf Koch for example) who idealized typefaces from the early era of printing. Art nouveau (“Jugendstil”) was out of date. “Frank-Rühl” was critized as a fashion-font from bygone times. For their (strictly secular) purposes these people wanted good “classical” Hebrew typefaces that could keep up with the latin designs of that time.

gohebrew's picture

Where do you find Moshe Spitzer’s article “The development of Hebrew lettering”?

gohebrew's picture

What do you mean: "I wouldn’t be that exclusive about the significance of “Frank-Rühl” but I do agree that it is to a great extent also a political one."?

Don't get me wrong, it was and is a great readable Hebrew face. But, it lacks in its design, and ALL of its great renditions and even in its knock-offs superior improvements of certain design quality.

Frank-Rühl was created to become the typeface to be used for modern newspapers, cheap novels, and even pornography, instead the imitations of Romm-Vilna, especially after the latter press was totally destroyed and burnt by the Nazis, after they bombarded Vilna.

>> The art-nouveau-design of Raphael Frank’s typeface symbolically disconnected Hebrew as script from the religious tradition and connected it to a universal “modernity”.

How was Raphael Frank’s typeface design art-nouveau? isotype75, how do you define an art-nouveau design. In my understanding it is not art-nouveau, just as Times-Roman is not art-nouveau. Perhaps, I err; perhaps, you.

gohebrew's picture

>> The art-nouveau-design of Raphael Frank’s typeface symbolically disconnected Hebrew as script from the religious tradition and connected it to a universal “modernity”.

These are high falluting words, aimed to impress the less intelligent reader.

How was this merely symbolic?

It was derived but divorced from the religious tradition. I don't know what this thing called modernity is. One can embrace our rich and warm religion or heritage and adopt modernity too. Actually, modernity exists either with or without the religious tradition of which you refer.

Our contention is not on how these subjects are defined, but rather only how we embrace modernity.

>> For that reason it was embraced by those who at the turn of the century aimed at the creation of a secular Jewish culture with modern Hebrew literature, newspapers (and finally a nation state).

Excuse, those who embraced non-"secular Jewish culture with modern Hebrew literature, newspapers (and finally a nation state)" also used a thing like Romm-Vilna. You relieve the sentence two sentences above?

gohebrew's picture

By the way, your modern artwork at your web site is excellent, and pleasing to my eye, as the Israelis say.

gohebrew's picture

>> I think the tendency in Hebrew type-design in the 1920ies that lead to typefaces like Baruch’s “Stam” and “Schocken” is a genuine German phenomena.

Please explain yourself in at least 2 paragraphs.

>> People like Salman Schocken and the members of the influential bibliophilic “Soncino-Gesellschaft” didn’t like “Frank-Rühl”.

Please explain yourself again in at least 2 paragraphs.

>> In their typographic taste, they followed the mainstream of German bibliophiles and designers (Rudolf Koch for example) who idealized typefaces from the early era of printing.

Please explain yourself again in at least 2 paragraphs.

>> Art nouveau (“Jugendstil”) was out of date. “Frank-Rühl” was critized as a fashion-font from bygone times.

The Chapters of our Fathers suggests that a trulyn intelligent person sees the future, the outcomes of things. Clearly, these type critics lacked such a commodity, for Frank-Rühl was not a face for a passing fashion. Perhaps, its steadfastness is due to its roots in Vilna-Romm.

>> For their (strictly secular) purposes these people wanted good “classical” Hebrew typefaces that could keep up with the latin designs of that time.

Please explain yourself again in at least 2 paragraphs.

isotype75's picture

1. At the top of this thread it is written, where Moshe Spitzer’s article can be foud.
2. For the discussion of the qualities of “Frank-Rühl” vs. “Romm Vilna” I suggest another thread as this one is entitled “Franziska Baruch and Leo Ari Mayer“.
3. “Frank-Rühl” is definitely not as pronounced as the typefaces of Peter Behrens and Otto Eckmann but the spirit of that age did leave an imprint.
4. “high falluting” - if you say so.
5. “Schocken-Baruch” was originally developed for an edition of Stories of S. Y. Agnon - the first Hebrew publication of the Schocken publishing house (founded 1931 in Berlin). I haven’t seen this edition yet For further information about Salman Schocken see: Anthony David: The Patron: A Life of S. Schocken 1877–1959. New York, Metropolitan Books, 2003.
6. As for the discussion about tradition and modernity. This is not that easy (especially as english is not my mother tongue). I know nothing about the discussions within the different religious groups but a bit about those within the national camp - a group that was highly concerned with the revival (and secularization) of Hebrew as a spoken language and script and from this point of view with questions of Hebrew typography. (They were rather thinking about literature than pornography though). These people made a move away from religion and at the same time aimed to find new ways of connecting to Jewish tradition. “Rimon-Milgroim”, the magazine to which Franziska Baruch contributed her designs can serve as an example: It was a Hebrew magazine of arts and letters. The first of its kind. It’s the difference between going to a synagogue to pray and writing an article about synagogal architecture (as did Rahel Wischnitzer one of the editors of the magazine). I’m not suggesting that these two ways of referring to a specific tradition are excluding each other per se, but they are different. I believe this point is relevant in discussing the implicit meaning of typefaces (my particular interest).

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