Dwiggins, W.A. (William Addison), 1880-1956Alternative names
W. A. Dwiggins was a calligrapher, type designer and illustrator. Forthe first two decades of the twentieth century he supplied art work to Boston advertisers. Henry Watson Kent was the first librarian of the Grolier Club (a New York City bibliophile society). For many years Kent served as secretary to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he set the standard for fine institutional printing. He was also an authority on prints.
From the description of ALS: Boston, to Henry Watson Kent, New York, 1910 Oct. 27. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122516176
William Addison Dwiggins (1880-1956) was an American book designer, type designer, and graphic artist. He was a leading book designer in the 1920s and 1930s.
From the guide to the William Addison Dwiggins Collection, 1927-1927, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)
Dwiggins was an American type designer, calligrapher, and book designer. Philip Hofer was Curator of the Department of Printing and Graphic Arts of the Harvard College Library.
From the description of W. A. Dwiggins papers concerning Cedar Hill, 1934-1979. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 612769803
From the guide to the W. A. Dwiggins papers concerning, Cedar Hill, 1934-1979., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)
William Addison Dwiggins (1880-1956) is best remembered by his many friends and associates as a gentle, modest, and sensitive person, with numerous whimsical talents that gave his professional work a liveliness and richness in expression, even for the most serious of subjects. He was a type designer, book designer, calligrapher, illustrator, and writer. He also carved and wrote plays for his marionettes, and had occasional excursions into architecture, furniture design, mural painting, kite flying, weathervane-making, and making his own tools.
After studying illustration in Chicago under Frederic Goudy he moved to Hingham, Massachusetts in the first years of the century to work with Goudy and his Village Press, where he lived the rest of his life. Most of his work in the first two decades was in the advertising field which made use of his skills as a calligrapher and graphic artist. It was not until the mid-twenties that Dwiggins emerged as a book designer, following the publication of his 1919 essay "Extracts from an Investigation into the Physical Properties of Books as They Are At Present Published", written with his cousin Laurance B. Siegfried who later became editor of The American Printer . Published by The Society of Calligraphers, a fictitious group, with the "help" of Hermann Pterschein, Dwiggins' alter-ego, the essay did shake up a few men in the publishing industry by criticizing the lack of attention to careful design and typography and helped to establish Dwiggins as a designer opposed to shoddy workmanship.
Dwiggins' career as a designer of trade books began in 1926 when he designed and illustrated both the limited and trade editions of Willa Cather's My Mortal Enemy for the publisher Alfred A. Knopf. He went on to have a long and fruitful career designing many more trade and limited editions for Knopf, as well as limited editions for other organizations, including George Macy's Limited Editions Club. Dwiggins felt that book design ought not be a slave of the past. If a book was to be read in the present its design and illustrations should reflect contemporary tastes. As noted by Dorothy Abbe, an associate of Dwiggins, two keys styles of Dwiggins can readily be noted when viewing the collection: ornamentation done with stencils and hand lettering on the spines of his books.
From the guide to the William Addison Dwiggins collection, 1902-1990, 1920-1960, (Literature and Rare Books)
William Addison Dwiggins was born in Martinsville, OH, in 1880. He studied in Chicago at the Frank Holme School of Illustration, where he was influenced, among others, by typographer Frederic W. Goudy. Dwiggins ran his own printing firm in Ohio for a short time, but in 1904 he moved to Hingham, MA – a community near Boston which had embraced William Morris’s Arts and Crafts movement. Goudy himself was a resident at the time, and Dwiggins remained in Hingham until his death in 1956.
Dwiggins worked as a book designer, typographer, illustrator, and writer. He illustrated books for Alfred A. Knopf, Random House, and the Limited Editions Club. He also designed a number of typefaces for the Mergenthaler Linotype Company, including Electra in 1935 and Caledonia in 1939.
(Source: Roy R. Behrens, “Dwiggins, William Addison,” in Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Accessed 23 Nov. 2010, <http://www.oxfordartonline.com/subscriber/article/grove/art/T098010>.)
From the guide to the W. A. Dwiggins Collection, 1919-1950, (Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library Special Collections)
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|American literature--20th century|
|Graphic arts--United States--Exhibitions|
|Type and type-founding|
|Book design--United States|
|Publishing, printing and book arts|
|Illustration of books--20th century|