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Frederic W. Goudy collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: CSC-0008

Scope and Contents

The Frederic W. Goudy collection contains materials from 1867 through 1964, with the bulk of the papers dated between 1920 and 1947.

This collection contains materials related to the life of printer, typographer, and type designer Frederic W. Goudy includes print items, proofs, manuscripts, type patterns and drawings, correspondence, photographs, memorabilia, ephemera, and realia.

Items of note include photographs of the Goudys in their home and workshop at Marlborough, drawings and patterns from some of Goudy’s type designs, and correspondence with friends and associates including Howard Coggeshall, Earl Emmons, Melbert Cary, and Charles Pont. Some type patterns included in this collection show evidence of damage in the 1939 fire.

The Frederic W. Goudy collection has been arranged into 6 series, 5 of which have been divided into subseries. This collection is housed in 28 boxes (17 clamshell boxes, 7 lid boxes, and 4 oversized boxes.)


  • Creation: 1867-1964
  • Creation: Majority of material found within circa 1920-1947


Biographical / Historical

Frederic W. Goudy (1865-1947) was an accomplished American printer and type designer credited with creating over 120 unique typefaces. Born on March 8, 1865, in Bloomington, Illinois, he passed away on May 11, 1947, in Marlborough[1], New York. His wife, Bertha M. Goudy (1869-1935), was also a talented designer and worked closely with him. Both of them were self-taught.

While working as a bookkeeper in Chicago, Goudy began his exploration of layout and printing. Chicago was “swept up in planning the Columbian Exposition of 1893, and design of everything from buildings to clothes was the topic of the day”[2]. William Morris’s work at the Kelmscott Press had a particular influence on Goudy and he immersed himself in the Arts and Crafts movement. During this period, he met Bertha Matilda Sprinks, and the two married on June 2, 1897, at the Sprinks home in Berwyn[3].

Frederic, Bertha, and Will Ransom established the Village Press in Park Ridge, Illinois in 1903. The press was founded on the principles of the Arts and Crafts movement and featured a typeface designed by Goudy titled Village. The Goudys relocated their operations to Hingham, Massachusetts, and then New York City. Unfortunately, in January 1908, a fire “wiped out the Parker Building at Fourth Avenue and 19th Street in New York City”[4], the location of Goudy’s studio, destroying all of the equipment and designs. The Goudys revived the press in 1912 shortly before they moved to 40 Deepdene Street in Forest Hills, Queens, New York. Starting in 1911, Frederic Goudy enlisted the skills of Robert Weibking (1870-1927) to engrave his designs onto matrices to cast metal type. However, Goudy, as a curious experimenter, decided to learn the craft himself.

In 1923, Frederic and Bertha moved their residence and press to Marlborough, New York, where they acquired a property that included an old flour mill. His vision was to expand the workshop and establish the Village Press Letter Foundry, allowing him to design type, print books, and cast type. They named the compound “Deepdene” after their former street in Forest Hills. At Deepdene, he constructed a matrix-engraving machine and assembled all the necessary tools to oversee the entire process of creating his typefaces, from design to the final product. “By making the patterns, cutting the matrices, and casting the type himself, Frederic Goudy could then retain complete artistic control over a typeface”[5]. The favorable working conditions at Deepdene significantly contributed to his productivity, and between 1925 and 1938, he crafted around fifty distinct typefaces.

From 1920 to 1940, Goudy assumed the role of art director at the Lanston Monotype Machine Company. On January 26, 1939, the mill at Deepdene burned down. The entirety of his type of production equipment—patterns, matrices, engravers, and casting machines—was lost. The fire was widely publicized at the time as Goudy was the most famous type designer in America. However, the terrible loss did not deter Goudy. He continued to work productively through the rest of his life, creating at least eight additional typeface designs.

As an extension of his work as a printer, typographer, and type designer, he was also a prolific lecturer and the author of 59 texts, including The Alphabet (1918), Elements of Lettering (1922), Typologia (1940), and his autobiographical account A Half-Century of Type Design and Typography, 1895-1945 (1946). He died at Deepdene on May 11, 1947. His ashes are interred with Bertha’s at Old Town Cemetery in Newburgh, New York.

Howard Wheeler Coggeshall (1878-1949) began his printing career at a newspaper in Otego, New York. After working as a reporter in Oneonta, New York, and Pittsfield, Massachusetts, he moved to Whitesboro, New York, in 1905 and opened a print shop. He later settled in Utica, New York, and operated his printing company in the Savage Arms Building. Coggeshall was a close friend of Frederic W. Goudy and often printed projects for Goudy with type cast at Goudy’s Village Letter Foundery. As a result, Coggeshall was in possession of eleven different Goudy fonts in January 1939 when Goudy’s foundry burned. The fonts, dating between 1921 and 1937, became known as the “lost” Goudy types, some of the last of Village Letter Foundery-cast types in large quantities.

1. Alternative forms to the location name Marlborough include Marlboro, Marlboro-on-Hudson, and Marlborough-on-Hudson. All of these forms are used seemingly interchangeably on documents throughout the collection. Marlboro is a hamlet (and census-designated place) in Ulster County, New York, and was the name used by its first European settlers starting in 1697. The hamlet of Marlboro is located in the southeastern part of the town of Marlborough, which was formed in 1788 and named after the Duke of Marlborough.,_New_York

2. Bruckner, D. J. R. and Frederic W. Goudy. Frederic Goudy, Masters of American Design. New York: Abrams, 1990, p 42.

3. Coggeshall, Howard. “Courtship and marriage” in Fred Goudy, 1948-1949, p 4.

4. Goudy, Frederic W. and George L. McKay. A Half-Century of Type Design and Typography, 1895-1945. Vol. XIII-XIV. New York: The Typophiles, 1946, p 15.

5. Thomen, Anne, “Frederic W. Goudy Correspondence 1935-1946” (Master Thesis, Rochester Institute of Technology. 1977), p 2.


19.65 Linear Feet (17 clamshell boxes, 7 lid boxes, and 4 oversized boxes)




This collection is divided into six series, five of which are further divided into sub-series. Files are arranged chronologically and alphabetically.

Series I. Correspondence, 1881-1946 Subseries A. Alphabetical files, 1881, 1925-1946 Subseries B. Chronological files, 1910-1946 Series II. Personal and Business Papers, 1927-1947 Series III. Writings, ca. 1910-1964 Subseries A. Texts written by Goudy, ca. 1910-1945 Subseries B. Texts written about Goudy, 1912-1964 Subseries C. Keepsakes and speeches, 1928-1954 Subseries D. Bertha M. Goudy book project, 1939 Series IV. Photographs, 1880-1940s Subseries A. People, 1893-1949 Subseries B. Places, 1880-1940s Subseries C. Items Series V. Print Material and Ephemera, 1894-1942 Subseries A. Typeface designs, 1938-1942 Subseries B. Mock-ups, drawings, proofs, patterns, 1894-1939 Series VI. Objects, 1933 Subseries A. Objects, 1933, undated Subseries B. Typographic realia

Other Finding Aids

In addition to this finding aid, a downloadable document is available. For more information, please contact the Cary Graphic Arts Collection.

Frederic W. Goudy collection

Custodial History

Marie Coggeshall donated the materials that formed the initial components of the Frederic W. Goudy collection to the School of Printing at Rochester Institute of Technology in 1960. These materials included Frederic Goudy’s “Lost Types” and were organized as the Coggeshall/Goudy Workshop, a study collection in the School of Printing. In 1975, several boxes of Goudy’s personal and business correspondence and assorted memorabilia were donated to the School of Printing. The material had passed to Goudy’s niece Neva J. Root after he died in 1947. In the 1960s, Root donated this material to Lanston Monotype Machine Co. for its planned memorial room honoring Goudy’s work. In 1970 Lanston Monotype ceased operations without having completed the memorial. The American Banknote Corporation, which had control of Lanston Monotype’s interests, donated the Goudy materials, with Root’s approval, to the School of Printing in 1975 for inclusion in the Goudy/Coggeshall Memorial Workshop.

Related Materials

Rochester Public Library Book Arts ephemera (CSC-0068)

Related Materials

Coggeshall, Howard. Goudy manuscript. (CC 094 G688x C676f)

Related Materials

Pont, Charles E. Some Letters by Goudy manuscript. (CC 094 G688x P811s)


Bruckner, D. J. R. and Frederic W. Goudy. "Frederic Goudy, Masters of American Design." New York: Abrams, 1990. (CC 094 G688x B888f)


Goudy, Frederic W. and George L. McKay. "A Half-Century of Type Design and Typography, 1895-1945." Vol. XIII-XIV. New York: The Typophiles, 1946. (CC 094 T9913 C462 No 13)


Lawson, Alexander S. and Press of the Good Mountain."The School of Printing, Rochester Institute of Technology: The First Half-Century 1937-1987." Rochester, NY: Press of the Good Mountain, School of Printing Management and Sciences, 1987. (Z 122.5 .U6 L38 1987)


Thomen, Anne, “Frederic W. Goudy Correspondence 1935-1946” (Master Thesis, Rochester Institute of Technology, 1977).
Frederic W. Goudy collection
Sandra Markham, David Shields
July 26, 2023
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Cary Graphic Arts Collection Repository

Rochester NY 14623 US
(585) 475-2408