University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

Letters from Calligraphers
to Sidney Feinberg
and George Grady

1938 - 1976

Manuscript Collection Number: 338
Accessioned: Purchase, 1997.
Extent: .3 ft. (59 items).
Content: Letters, layout pages, pamphlets, booklets, and stationery.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: March 1997 by Anita A. Wellner.

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Table of Contents

Biographical Notes

Sidney Feinberg

While stationed in England during World War II, American book designer and calligrapher Sidney Feinberg began his interest in calligraphy. Several of the letters in this collection are responses from noted American or British calligraphers to Feinberg's inquiries about their work and how he might develop his calligraphic skills. Feinberg's interest in and practice of calligraphy became a life-long avocation.

Following the war, Feinberg lived in New York and worked as a book designer for American Book-Knickerbocker Press which later became American Book-Stratford Press. An example of his work is the cover design for Jack Dann's anthology of Jewish fantasy and science fiction, Wandering Stars (1974).

George Grady

George Grady founded the George Grady Press, a New York City firm which was noted for private and fine printing. Books which were printed by Grady are Geoffrey Hellman's Motor-Car Touring Society of the City of New York, 1907-1919 (1941), the Grolier Club's The Engraved and Typographic Work of Rudolf Ruzicka (1948), George Zabriskie's The Story of a Priceless Art Treasure: the Original Water Colors of John James Audubon (1950), the Metropolitan Museum of Art's French Painting from David to Toulouse-Lautrec...(1941), and Charles Joaquin Quirk's Sculptured in Miniature (1956).


Tebbel, John. A History of Book Publishing in the United States: Volume IV The Great Change, 1940-1980. New York: R. R. Bowker Company, 1981. pp.454-461.

Note: Biographical information was also derived from the collection.

Scope and Content Note

This collection of letters written to Sidney Feinberg or George Grady was originally assembled in a notebook labeled "Calligraphic Letters." The label suggests that the original intent of the unidentified collector was to gather samples of calligraphic handwriting. The fifty-nine letters and cards, spanning the dates 1938 to 1972, are fine examples of the handwriting employed by various noted calligraphers, printers, and graphic artists. Some of the letters include enclosures such as pieces of blank stationery, pamphlets or booklets, prospectuses, and edited layout pages. Folder notes identify the enclosed materials.

Among the correspondence to Feinberg are original Christmas cards created, and in some cases printed, by the sender. Christmas greetings from calligraphers Lili Cassel-Wronker, Tony La Russa, James and Ruth McCrea, Oscar Ogg, and George Salter demonstrate their designs and calligraphy. Other letters to Feinberg respond to his inquiries about calligraphy, bear personal greetings, discuss illuminating manuscripts in gold, compliment Feinberg's book designs, or review printing projects involving Feinberg.

The content of letters written to printer George Grady cover several topics, including book orders to J. M. Dent & Sons, Ltd. and Rampant Lion Press; Grady's effort to purchase stained glass windows with book arts themes; publications by the Society of Printers; and Paul Standard's suggestion to reprint Graily Hewitt's Handwriting.

Paul Standard's letters to Grady express their mutual interest in obtaining the rights from Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Company, Ltd. to publish Hewitt's book in the United States. The series of letters do not indicate whether the book was ever published by George Grady Press. Standard also suggests other printing projects for Grady, such as a book on calligraphy by Daisy Alcock.

Related collection:

Ms 289 Letters of William Graily Hewitt to Sidney Feinberg

Arrangement Note

The collection is arranged in three series: I. Letters to Sidney Feinberg, II. Letters to George Grady, and III. Miscellaneous material. In the first two series, the letters are arranged in alphabetical order by name of writer and then chronologically within folders. In series III the items are arranged in chronological order.

Contents List

Folder -- Contents

       Series I.  Letters to Sidney Feinberg, 1943-1972
               All letters are written by others to Feinberg unless otherwise noted.

F1   Angelo, Valenti, 1897-
     1953 Feb 15         ALS       1p

F2   Bank, Arnold
     1948 May 1          ALS       2p

F3   Cassel-Wronker, Lili, 1924-
     1948-1956           Letters   8p
               Note:  Some of the Christmas cards include original drawings, etchings or

F4   Ellis, Richard
     1966 Mar 27         ALS       1p
               Note:  Includes the layout of the title page for "The First Sixty years of
               Printing," with autograph notes by Ellis.  Also present are two layout
               pages for an article for Scholarly Press, with notes by Ellis.

F5   Foss, Glenn
     1951      Aug 29    ALS       1p
     [1955     Dec 20]   ACS       1p
     [1963     Dec 15]   ACS       1p

F6   La Russa, Tony
     [n.y.Christmas]     ACS       1p

F7   McCrea, James
     1952 [Dec 18]       Printed   3p
               Note:  This Christmas booklet titled "A Fable" is printed by McCrea.

F8   Ogg, Oscar
     1944 Jan 2          ALS       2p

F9   Pattberg, Gene
     [1949     Dec 13]   ACS       1p

F10  Reznikoff, Charles, 1894-1976.
     1959 Dec 15         ALS       1p

F11  Salter, George, 1897-1967.
     1943 Nov 25         ALS       2p
               Note:  Christmas card with printed illustrations by Salter and one paper
               book jacket.

F12  Shotwell, James Thomson, 1874-1965.
     1954 Mar 26         TLS       1p

F13  Standard, Paul, 1900-
     1947 Aug 27         ALS       1p
               Note:  Includes two samples of Standard's stationery.

F14  Wong, Jeanyee
     1953  Aug 10        ACS       1p
     [1954 Dec 23]       ACS       1p

F15  Woods, Miriam
     [1972 Feb 25]       ANS       1p

F16  Envelope to Feinberg, 1974 Nov 22

          Series II.  Letters to George Grady, 1938-1952
               All letters are written by others to George Grady unless otherwise noted.

F17  Carter, Will, 1912-
     1941 Feb 26         ALS       1p
               Note:  Includes a prospectus and order card for "Ecclesiastes" and a copy
               of the booklet "Irish Bulls," both of which are printed by Carter's Rampant
               Lion Press.

     Grady, George
        to Carter, Will, 1912-
     1941 Apr 23         TL (c)    1p

F18  Grady, George
        to J. M. Dent & Sons, Ltd.
     1940 May 3          TL (c)    1p

     J. M. Dent & Sons, Ltd.
        to Grady, George
     1940 Jun 6          TLS       1p

F19      McKay, George Leslie, 1895-
     1943 Jun 29         TLS       1p
               Note:  Includes a copy of the pamphlet, "Specimen Book of Types," for
               which Grady supplied the paper.

F20  Grady, George
        to The Sculpture Centre
     1939 Apr 17         TL (c)    1p

     Radnor, C. B.
        to Grady, George
     1939 May 4          TLS       1p

     Grady, George
        to Travers, Martin
     1939 May 13         TL (c)    1p

     Linton, Kenneth
        to Grady, George
     1939 May 27         TL        1p

F21  Ragg, T. Murray
        to Standard, Paul, 1900-
     1938 May 5          TLS       1p

     Grady, George
        to Standard, Paul, 1900-
     1940 Mar 6          TL (c)    1p

     Standard,  Paul, 1900-
        to Grady, George
     1940 Mar 7          TLS       2p
          Mar 7          TLS       1p
               Note:  Includes a carbon copy of Standard's letter to Kegan Paul Trench
               Trubner & Co. regarding Hewitt's book.
          Apr 24         ALS       1p
          [May 13]       ACS       1p
          Jun 4          TLS       2p
          Jun 28         ANS       1p
               Note:  Written on the bottom of a carbon copy letter to Kegan Paul, etc.
     1941 Nov 18         ALS       1p
     1942 May 4          ALS       1p

F22  Thomajan, Puzant Kevork, 1902-
     1952 Aug 20         TLS       1p

F23  Trenholm, George F.
     1944 Feb 21         ALS       1p
               Note:  Includes two pamphlets published by the Society of Printers.

          Series III.  Miscellaneous material,  1949-1976

F24  Wardrop, James
        to Blumenthal, Joseph, 1897-
     1949 Apr 8          ALS (x)   1p

F24  Letter from unidentified book designer, 1964 Jul 17

F24  Envelopes addressed to Robert Cheney and Bruce Fitzgerald, 1961-1976

F24  Graboff, Abner
        to Unidentified
     [n.d.]              ACS       1p
               Note:  Christmas card with original painted and cut design.

F24  "Calligraphic Letters" label, [n.d.]
     Label from the notebook which originally housed this collection.
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