The Rob Roy Kelly American Wood Type Collection: A History and Catalog (Hardcover)

The Rob Roy Kelly American Wood Type Collection: A History and Catalog By David Shields Cover Image

The Rob Roy Kelly American Wood Type Collection: A History and Catalog (Hardcover)


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The Rob Roy Kelly Wood Type Collection is a comprehensive collection of wood type manufactured and used for printing in nineteenth-century America. Comprising nearly 150 typefaces of various sizes and styles, it was amassed by noted design educator and historian Rob Roy Kelly starting in 1957 and is now held by the University of Texas. Although Kelly himself published a 1969 book on wood type and nineteenth-century typographic history, there has been little written about the creation of the wood type forms, the collection, or Kelly.

In this book, David Shields rigorously updates and expands upon Kelly’s historical information about the types, clarifying the collection’s exact composition and providing a better understanding of the stylistic development of wood type forms during the nineteenth century. Using rich materials from the period, Shields provides a stunning visual context that complements the textual history of each typeface. He also highlights the non-typographic material in the collection—such as borders, rules, ornaments, and image cuts—that have not been previously examined. Featuring over 300 color illustrations, this written history and catalog is bound to spark renewed interest in the collection and its broader typographic period.

David Shields is an associate professor in and was the chair of the Department of Graphic Design at Virginia Commonwealth University, former head of the design program at the University of Texas at Austin and, from 2004 to 2012, the custodian for the Rob Roy Kelly American Wood Type Collection, which is housed at the Harry Ransom Center.
Product Details ISBN: 9781477323687
ISBN-10: 1477323686
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Publication Date: July 12th, 2022
Pages: 408
Language: English
406 pages of the most comprehensive biography and scholarship on Kelly and his collection...[Shields'] exhaustive attention to detailing the types and their makers and the eloquent reverence he displays for Rob Roy Kelly is far more valuable than the curiously inexpensive cover price...An impeccable volume.