Daniel Berkeley Updike

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Daniel Berkeley Updike
Born (1860-02-14)February 14, 1860
Providence, Rhode Island
Died December 29, 1941(1941-12-29)
Occupation American printer and historian

Daniel Berkeley Updike (February 14, 1860 — December 29, 1941) was an American printer and historian of typography. In 1880 he joined the publishers Houghton, Mifflin & Company, of Boston as an errand boy. He worked for the firm's Riverside Press and trained as a printer but soon moved to typographic design. In 1896 he founded the Merrymount Press.

Beginnings[edit]

Daniel Berkeley Updike was born in Providence, Rhode Island, on February 24, 1860. Updike stopped going to school when his father passed away on October 9, 1877. His first job was assisting at a local library because the librarian, at the time, had taken ill. In the spring of 1880 he went to Boston to work from the bottom in the publishing office of Houghton, Mifflin and Company.[1]

Daniel Berkeley Updike's mother and father were both English. His mother was traditional and had shaped the person Updike grew to become. His father's family had left and returned to New England, not liking it the second time and more than the first. Unfortunately, the fact that both his mother and father came from England, was the only thing that these two had in common.[2]

Updike was first introduced to how books are made working as an errand boy at Houghton, Mifflin and Company. Updike rapidly took an interest into the process of book-making. Daniel Berkeley Updike was very mature for his age. He was socially accepted in the firm, he shared a connection with them. A part of his daily routine was to carry proof between the offices on Park Street on Boston's Beacon Hill and the Riverside Press overlooking the Charles River in Cambridge. This was quite a tedious job, especially due to the fact that the travel method was horse-car. However, Updike made the best of his opportunity and used this as a way to expand his knowledge on the proofs that he was interested in delivery and in his mind he would think of the changes that he himself would have made to the proofs. Updike was first introduction to print making while he would wait for the prints, doing these errands. Updike's interest in print making was instantaneous. [3]

The Merrymount Press[edit]

In 1893 Daniel Berkeley Updike established his own studio with the idea of designing type fonts. In 1896 this studio of his grew into a printing company in which he named the Merrymount Press. It had been named the Merrymount Press in honor of Mount Wollaston, which was located south of Boston. [4] One of Daniel Berkeley Updike's first works with the "Merrymount Press" was "In the Old Days, A Fragment" written by his mother, Elisabeth Bigelow Updike. His mother wrote this in remembrance of her youth. Updike was a well known printer of the 20th century printing, but he was also as known for his rejection of William Morris’s philosophy. Initially he followed the style of William Morris and the Kelmscott Press but soon turned towards the historical printing of the seventeenth, eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. [5]

Updike was viewed as one of the finest representatives of the Arts and Crafts movement in American book arts, influenced by William Morris and founded "to do common work uncommonly well." [6] Updike made a name for himself as a liturgical printer for the Episcopal Church, but also undertook general jobbing and ephemeral work. John Bianchi became a partner in the press in 1915.[7]

Montallegro and Merrymount were two fonts that were specifically cut for Daniel Berkeley Updike, as he began to acquire fonts on his own. In 1896 he commissioned font designer Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue to design the Merrymount font for an altar book for the Episcopal Church. In 1904 Herbert Horne designed Montallegro for him, and noted graphic artist and print designer Rudolph Ruzicka (1883–1978) also produced designs for the press. In the same year, Updike purchased the Caslon face; other types included were Scotch Romans, Janson, Mountjoye and Oxford. Merrymount Press was the first American firm to use the widely familiar, Times New Roman font.[8]

In 1899 the Merrymount Press commercialized by printing Edith Wharton’s novels for Charles Scribner's Sons. The most substantial work of the press is considered to be the Book of Common Prayer (1930) financed by J. Pierpont Morgan. Without decoration, except a typographic leaf, initial letters, and rubrication, it was an austere and handsome quarto. [9]

The Merrymount Press is estimated to have produced 14,000 pieces of printing during its run. The majority of its creations was for the private collectors’ market and limited-editions clubs. However, the Merrymount Press also printed Christmas cards, bookplates, and advertising ephemera, as well as work for publishers, libraries, churches, and other institutions. [10]

The reputation of the Merrymount Press is of no comparison to any other bookmaking house. The Press catered purposely to an upper class society. This was due to them supporting Daniel Berkeley Updike's efforts in supplying a better quality of products than any ordinary bookmaking house. The press was motivated and established a reputation for delivering only the very best obtainable typography, impression, illustrations, binding. The status of this press maintained for some time. It was recognized for its excellence, its high standing in the local community, and in New York which stood for the rest of the United States.[11]

The majority of the Merrymount Press archives are conserved in the Boston Athenaeum. [12]

Recognition[edit]

Daniel Berkeley Updike was a name that was known throughout publishing firms all over the country. He could always rely on the general market for commissions in book printing. This firm had been preceded at Merrymount by Crowell which catered to a wider range reciprocal buyers, not solely from a cultural standing perspective, as did some of its competitors.This was the era of salesmanship. For example, a salesman such as Elbert Hubbard of East Aurora. He had created an eager book-buying clientele of customers for the small-town bookshops, looking for pictorial aspects in the book to go along with the reading aspect of the book. The effects of the press created what is known as mass culture. The press allowed acceleration in the book making process. It created a broader range of buyers and had a hand in the increase of literacy. The ultimate effect of the Merrymount Press was important and it left a permanent impression on bookmaking in the United States. [13]

Published works[edit]

Updike was greatly interested in the history of printing types, and in 1922 published Printing Types: Their History, Forms and Use. An extensively revised second edition was published in 1937. He was involved in the Anglo-American 'Typographical Renaissance' of the time, together with Frederic Goudy, Stanley Morison, Bruce Rogers and Theodore Low De Vinne.

Excerpt, Printing Types: Their History, Forms and Use "Ligatured letters became more common and more varied, and from this kind of writing the black letter ultimately is derived". [14]

In 1924 Updike created a collection of his writings on book making, published and titled it, "In a Days Work". [15]

Daniel Berkeley Updikes artwork is displayed in William S. Petersons, 2002, The Well-Made Book. This is a collection of virtually all of Updike's writings on the art of the book. Much of this timeless material has been hard to find, and some appears here for the first time. Complete with index, annotations and an extensive new introduction. [16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Winship, George Parker (1947). Daniel Berkeley Updike and the Merrymount Press of Boston, Massachusetts, 1860, 1894, 1941. Rochester, NY: The Printing House of Leo Hart. p. 1. 
  2. ^ Winship, George Parker (1947). Daniel Berkeley Updike and the Merrymount Press of Boston, Massachusetts, 1860, 1894, 1941. Rochester, NY: The Printing House of Leo Hart. p. 2. 
  3. ^ Winship, George Parker (1947). Daniel Berkeley Updike and the Merrymount Press of Boston, Massachusetts, 1860, 1894, 1941. Rochester, NY: The Printing House of Leo Hart. p. 8. 
  4. ^ Smith, J.P. (1975). Notes on the Merrymount Press & Its Work, San Francisco: Alan Wofsy Fine Arts. 
  5. ^ Winship, George Parker (1947). Daniel Berkeley Updike and the Merrymount Press of Boston, Massachusetts, 1860, 1894, 1941. Rochester NY: The Printing House of Leo Hart. p. 58. 
  6. ^ Hunter, Martin (September 2005). The Merrymount Press: An Exhibition on the Occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the Founding of the Press. Harvard University Press. 
  7. ^ "Influence in Private Press". Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  8. ^ Smith, J.P. (1975). Notes on the Merrymount Press & Its Work, San Francisco: Alan Wofsy Fine Arts. 
  9. ^ Smith, J.P. (1975). Notes on the Merrymount Press & Its Work, San Francisco: Alan Wofsy Fine Arts. 
  10. ^ Smith, J.P. (1975). Notes on the Merrymount Press & Its Work, San Francisco: Alan Wofsy Fine Arts. 
  11. ^ Winship, George Parker (1947). Daniel Berkeley Updike and the Merrymount Press of Boston, Massachusetts, 1860, 1894, 1941. Rochester NY: The Printing House of Leo Hart. p. 15. 
  12. ^ Smith, J.P. (1975). Notes on the Merrymount Press & Its Work, San Francisco: Alan Wofsy Fine Arts. 
  13. ^ Winship, George Parker (1947). Daniel Berkeley Updike and the Merrymount Press of Boston, Massachusetts, 1860, 1894, 1941. Rochester, NY: The Printing House of Leo Hart. 
  14. ^ Updike, Daniel Berkeley (1951). Printing Types: Their History, Forms and Use. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press. 
  15. ^ Updike, Daniel Berkeley (1924). In a Days Work. Cambridge: Harvard University. 
  16. ^ Peterson, William S. (2002). The well-made book: essays & lectures. West New York, NJ: Mark Batty, Publisher. 
  • David McKitterick, ed., Stanley Morison and D. B. Updike: Selected Correspondence 1990, ISBN 0-85967-589-0, Introduction at pp ix-xxxiv.

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