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Earl H. Emmons collection

Identifier: CSC-0065

Scope and Contents

The Earl H. Emmons Collection spans the period from 1920 through 1945 and contains his writings and more than 280 glass plate negatives, both of which document his interest in and devotion to the American type designer Frederic W. Goudy. The collection is divided into three series: Writings, Maverick Press Publications, and Photographs and Negatives.


  • Creation: 1920 - 1945

Biographical / Historical

Earl Harrison Emmons was born in Adair County, Iowa, on December 23, 1888, the son of George Wesley Emmons and Mary Miller Emmons. He began his career at age 13 working as a printer’s devil at a Greenfield, Iowa, newspaper, later moving up to linotype operator at papers in Iowa City and Des Moines; in his spare time, he wrote for trade publications. In 1914 he undertook his first editing job, at Printing Trade News in New York, and afterward at American Printer and Lithographer. Emmons enlisted in the United States Army reserves during World War I, and in 1920 accepted a one-year position staffing a fire tower in the Black Hills of South Dakota. In 1921 he returned to New York and was hired to take charge of The Composing Room for the Monotype Group; the publication soon became noted for his clever type and ornament compositions, as well as his humorous poems, news, and feature pieces. In 1935 Goudy gave Emmons an 8 x 12 Golding clamshell press, and the Maverick Press was founded. From his studio apartment Emmons turned out broadsides, small books, and ephemera as well as some more ambitious and limited-edition projects such as The Book of Ruth. In 1940 Emmons quit New York to return to Iowa, where he set up his Maverick Press in West Liberty.

Earl Emmons was married three times, in 1911 in Iowa to Alta Victoria Barnes; in 1925 in Washington, D.C., to Ruth E. Ordway (1898-1980); and by 1942 to his third wife Florence. He died of tuberculosis at the Oakdale Sanitarium, near Iowa City, on February 20, 1949, after having been a patient there for three years.


14 Box(es) (5.75 linear feet)



Other Finding Aids

In addition to this finding aid, an inventory is available below. For more information, please contact the Cary Graphic Arts Collection.

Earl H. Emmons collection

Index of glass plate negatives

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The material comprising the Earl H. Emmons Collection was removed from the Coggeshall–Goudy Memorial Workshop Collection in 2013.

Related Materials

Frederic W. Goudy collection, CSC-0008

Related Materials

Howard Coggeshall papers, CSC-0071

Related Materials

The Charles E. Pont Papers on Frederic W. Goudy, CSC-0016

Earl H. Emmons Collection
Sandra Markham
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Edition statement

Repository Details

Part of the Cary Graphic Arts Collection Repository

Rochester NY 14623 US
(585) 475-2408