Almost 15 years ago, I came into some huge binders of typeface samples when a professor was cleaning his office. I snatched up as many as I could carry, and poured over the pages when I got home. The samples were alphabetized and marveled when I got to the “M” section. And there were almost 50 typefaces simply labeled “Morgan No.__”.
But who was “Morgan”?
While I’d seen few of the typefaces before, a number of The Morgans (as I came to call them) were absolute beauties I still haven’t seen anywhere else. In an effort to find more samples of these typefaces or maybe discover and alternative name somewhere, I consulted the almighty Internet.
I looked high and low, but there was no luck on any initial searches of the usual type-sites. Nothing helpful from myFonts. Just a small entry of two low-res pages on Luc Deroye. However, that small entry gave me “Morgan Press” as a company name to search.
A National Treasure
The Morgan Press, and more notably Douglas Morgan, was responsible for one of the largest and rarest collections 19th century wood type. The collection was so massive and valuable to American printing culture that it’s now housed at The Smithsonian National Museum of American History. The collection is now known as the Morgan Press Type Collection.
And I had several dozen pages with the full character sets of these rare alphabets at my finger tips. These were the same typefaces that found their way to Push Pin Studios back in the 1960’s and helped visually define an era of graphic design. I could not believe my good fortune.
The Mister / Morgan Digital Collection
Just because something is old doesn’t mean it isn’t useful anymore. I’m taking this unique opportunity to perform a cross-century collaboration with the unknown, original designers fo this type.
I’ll be cleaning up curves, adjusting proportions, and adding language support. My objective with this project is two-fold:
- To honor the source material as much as possible.
- To take these typefaces accessible and usable to as many audiences as possible.
And I had several dozen pages with the full character sets of these rare alphabets at my finger tips. These were the same typefaces that found their way to Push Pin Studios back in the 1960’s and helped visually define an era of graphic design. The weight of tradition is not lost on me, and I want to bring the respect to these typefaces that the original designers deserve.