The Romano Book Arts Library

Romano Book Arts Library

Over 6,000 books and thousands of ephemera samples are housed in a unique library which is now part of the Museum of Printing. Frank Romano has spent 60 years collecting books about printing.

There is a rare copy of Savage’s 1822 treatise on Decorative Arts and an origional Dard Hunter. Complete sets of the Inland Printer and New England Printer are joined by the Penrose Annual and other publications.

Most of the collection is in 32 floor-to-ceiling custom-made mahogany bookcases with display cases that document Fred Goudy and the Nuremberg Chronicle and other aspects of print history.

An AV room stores archival slides and electronic media with vintage projectors and converters.

This Library houses the largest collection of material from the Mergenthaler Linotype Company and also maintains an archive of material from the phototypesetting and desktop publishing eras.

The Romano Library is augmented by:

The John Trieste Memorial Type Library

Trieste Memorial Type Library

The John Trieste Memorial Library is a typographic reference library surrounded by large windows on two sides. Type specimen books, typographic publications, and other materials allow research on typefaces past and present.

It is also available as a meeting room holding about a dozen people in plush chairs around a long conference table.

The Mergenthaler Font Library

Linotype letter drawing

Falling under the auspices of the Richter Library is one of the world’s most unique collections, The Mergenthaler Font Library. When this large collection, about 300,000 drawings, arrived in North Andover, it arrived in one and a half trailer truck loads, 37 skids, 7 feet high. This collection came to the museum from Heidelberg International through the good efforts of the Smithsonian Institution. This collection contains all of the intricate letter drawings made by the Mergenthaler Linotype Company in Brooklyn, New York. These drawings were the starting point of manufacturing matrices for Linotype machines, enabling users to set type on these machines in 800 different languages and dialects.

The Frey Collection: Introductory Notes

Frey material

Edward J. Frey was a scholar-printer from New York. Born into a family of printers, he was also more formally educated in the New York Public School system, learning letterpress printing through their vocational technical curriculum. In the early 1920’s he himself applied for instructor positions with vocational technical programs in the same school system. He succeeded in obtaining his first teaching position with Public School #45, The Bronx, New York City, known as the Angelo Patri School.

During his 35 year long teaching career in the New York Public School system, Mr. Frey began to develop curriculum that was at once comprehensive and compartmentalized for delivery to the student. He continued this curriculum development and delivery work through his involvement with the General Studies Program at Columbia University for the next 18 years and the Adult Education Program for the Poppenhusen Institute, College Point, New York. At Columbia Mr. Frey created a Graphic Arts Technology Program for the Occupational Therapy Division of the General Studies Program. This curriculum, and those created by other printer-scholars of the 20th century, was a major building block for what many educators recognize as The Print Ed Program used widely in secondary schools and community colleges for over 60 years.

At the same time he was very involved in education, Mr. Frey also operated The Garden Press in Chappaqua, New York, from 1922 until 1978, when he entered his 95th year and decided to dispose of his library and ephemera collection and his shop equipment. During his lifetime he accumulated a huge archive of magazine articles, press and paper sample books, pamphlet books, zines, and numerous type sample catalogues. Mr. Frey, like many of the scholar-printers of the early to mid twentieth century, had a love of fine typography and kept numerous scrapbooks illustrating typographic layouts, sample proof pages, design schemes for business cards, brochures, show cards, and stationery. His family has donated Frey’s huge ephemera collection, his correspondence archive, and a good deal of his shop equipment and type, to The Printing Museum. We are the copyright holders for this collection.

We are currently actively involved in sorting through the estimated 100,000 individual pieces of the Frey collection to identify all the contents of the correspondence archive, printing samples, educational didactic material, and photographs. It is our hope over the next two years to make this vast archive of irreplaceable material available to scholars and connoisseurs of the history of printing. This page is just one visual sampling of some of the material we are discovering.

The Ludlow Typograph Matrice Library

The museum operates a working Linotype on the museum floor and has a substantial number of matrice fonts for this technology, enough to use the working Linotype for typesetting internal museum projects. The Mergenthaler Corporation produced millions of these “mats” for worldwide distribution, but the mats are no longer made and existing fonts are often incomplete and worn. The Linotype machine was often companioned with a Ludlow machine. This machine manufactured type from mats similar to the Linotype mats, but these mats were assembled by hand. The point of these machines was to produce large type that could be integrated with Linotype composition in order to set both text and display type.

The Intertype Photosetter Font Library

Much smaller than the Mergenthaler Library and yet a sizable body of work, this library represent a different medium. The Intertype Photosetter was designed during the 1940s by Intertype Corpoartion in New York in response to the steadfast march of printing, starting in about 1910, from letterpress, relief printing to offset lithography. When it became obvious to Intertype that offset lithography would eventually displace most letterpress printing and accordingly displace the necessity to manufacture lead type, the company redesigned its linecaster to manufacture phototype. They did this by mounting film alphabets into traditional Linotype matrices. The machine was 10 years in development, introduced to market in 1950. The alphabets for this machine were film positive masters, strikingly different from the pencil drawings used for earlier systems. This alphabet collection was given to the museum by Rochester Institute of Technology.

The Photon Font Library

The museum owns the remains of the Photon Library. Photon Corporation, Cambridge, Mass., was the first company to manufacture electronically driven phototypesetting machines. These machines produced type using film masters, which sent light through the masters, creating an image on photosensitive paper. This type was then photographed and eventually printed using offset lithography. Much of this collection was destroyed but the museum has enough examples to show a different medium for making type. Manufacturing phototype completed the marriage of film-based letters and offset lithography, causing a 500-year history of relief printing to come to an end.

The Machinery and Product Library

The museum receives frequent inquiries about companies and or their products; consequently, a special library has been created to answer these questions. The library contains thousands of documents such as product specifications, information, operating manuals and parts lists. Also included in these files are internal documents about the companies to assist researchers in assessing the roles of the various companies in the competitive market.

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