University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department


Fridolf Johnson
Papers

1950-1985

(bulk dates 1960-1985)

Manuscript Collection Number: 298
Accessioned: Purchase, November 1990
Extent: 10 linear ft.
Content: Correspondence, photographs, greeting cards, broadsides, prospectuses, printing ephemera, books,
serials, clippings, articles, pamphlets, programs, keepsakes, exhibition announcements, catalogs, and bookplates
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: April 1994 by Kelly Baum

for reference assistance email Special Collections
or contact:

Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
(302) 831-2229


Table of Contents


Biographical Note

Author, illustrator and calligrapher Fridolf Johnson (1905-1988) studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and then remained in Illinois for nine years as art director for the Frankel-Rose Agency. He moved to California in 1942, free- lancing in San Francisco and operating Contempo Art Service in Hollywood. After ten years on the West Coast, Johnson left for New York in 1952 where he worked as a designer and professional calligrapher. From the 1950s into the 1960s, Johnson became increasingly interested in printing and typography. He established his own private press, the Mermaid Press, and became an active member of the Typophiles, Junkateers, Zamorano Club, and New York Chappel of Private Presses. From 1962 until 1970 Johnson was the executive editor of American Artist and contributed myriad book reviews and articles for the periodical. He wrote on topics ranging from contemporary graphic art, lithography, and printmaking to book illustrations, bookplates, and the artists Rockwell Kent and William Morris. Johnson also wrote A Treasury of Bookplates from the Renaissance to the Present, co-authored 200 Years of American Graphic Art, and edited Rockwell Kent: An Anthology of His Work. Examples of his calligraphy and print specimens can be found in the collections of several museums, galleries, and public libraries, including the New York Public Library and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Johnson resided in Woodstock, New York, until his death in July 1988.

 

Sources:

Obituary, The New York Times, 27 July 1988.

“Obituary.” American Artist. 52 (Oct 1988): 6.


Scope and Content Note

The Fridolf Johnson Papers consist of ten linear feet of material related to Johnson’s career as a printer, calligrapher, and writer, spanning the dates 1950 to 1985, reflecting Johnson’s interest in lettering, italic handwriting, and the fine and graphic arts. It includes prolific correspondence, photographs, greeting cards, broadsides, prospectuses, printing ephemera, keepsakes, books, serials, clippings, articles, pamphlets, programs, exhibition announcements, catalogs, and bookplates.

The collection is organized in three series: Series I Subject Files, Series II Miscellaneous, and Series III Printed Ephemera. The first series, a compilation of subject files created by Johnson and arranged in alphabetical order, consists of information on particular people and topics. This series represents one of the collection’s strengths, as it contains a vast amount of material on prominent graphic artists, printers, and typographers with whom Johnson worked or corresponded. Included in his archive are the names Albert Schiller, Eric Gill, John Lehman, Rudolph Ruzicka, Paul Bennett, Warren Chappell, Frederick Goudy, and Joseph Weiler. Johnson also accumulated extensive material on private presses and their operators, such as Charles Antin of Serendipity Press, John Anderson of Pickering Press, and John Lehman of Katydid Press. These folders contain correspondence to and from Johnson offering business advice or aesthetic opinions, suggestions for projects, clippings and articles, photographs, broadsides, prospectuses, and print specimens.

While active in the printing community, Johnson preserved profuse records on the Typophiles, Junkateers, New York Chappel, and Zamorano Club. (These include three files of photographs documenting Junkateer field trips.) Johnson also amassed a wealth of information while researching his articles; he preserved this material in his archives, frequently along with copies of the essays he wrote. These topics range from the artists William Morris, Donald Jackson, Roy Lindstrom, and Rockwell Kent to the history of bookplates. (The William Morris file includes a holograph signature by Jane Morris.) This first series also contains material on artists Walter Kuhn and Frank DeGioia, wood engraver Paul Forster, and illustrator Tom Cleland. Many of these files include photographs of the artist’s work or, in the case of Forster, actual prints. Johnson maintained several folders related to calligraphy and calligraphic organizations as well. These consist of newsletters, exhibition announcements, requests for Johnson’s own work, examples of calligraphy, and material on Jim Hayes and Oscar Ogg.

The second series is Johnson’s miscellaneous compilation of printed material. These folders contain catalogs, exhibition announcements, invitations, keepsakes, serials, and some of Johnson’s personal correspondence. The last series is composed of three subsections devoted exclusively to printed ephemera. The first subseries is a large collection of private press ephemera such as keepsakes, print specimens, advertisements, and prospectuses which Johnson acquired throughout the years. The second subseries contains keepsakes from Oxford University Press and the third contains several issues of The Minotaur, a serial published in California in the 1960s.

Related Collections:

Mss 209 Goudy, Frederic W., collection
Mss 297 De Pol, John, collection
Mss 304 Kent, Rockwell, letters to David Wesley
Mss 338 Feinberg, Sidney, and George Grady, letters from calligraphers to
Mss 358 A. Colish, Press of, archives
Mss 412 Hood, W. Russell, collection related to typography and graphic design

See also this guide to selected primary resources:

Printing and the Book Arts: the History and Technology of Printing, Papermaking, Calligraphy, Typography, Fine Press, Design, and the Book Trade: Selected Primary Resources


Series List

I.   Subject Files


II.  Miscellaneous

     1.  Catalogs
     2.  Exhibition announcements
     3.  Invitations
     4.  Keepsakes
     5.  Keepsakes
     6.  Personal correspondence
     7.  Print specimens
     8.  Print specimens


III. Printed Ephemera

     1.  Private Presses
     2.  Oxford University Press
     3.  The Minotaur

Appendix
     
Bibliography of books from the library of Fridolf Johnson

Contents List

Box -- Folder -- Contents

		  Series I.  Subject Files, 1950-1985
1 F1 Abrahms, George F2 Adams, Henry F3 Advertising Typographers of America F4 American papermaking F5 Antin, Charles Antin, Charles – Serendipity Press F6 (a) F7 (b) Anderson, John – Pickering Press F8 (a) F9 (b) F10 Angelo, Valenti F11 Archer, H. Richard F12 Archer, H. Richard – Hippogryph Press F13 Arellanes, Audrey F14 Aronin, Ben F15 Bahr, Leonard F16 Bank, Arnold F17 Barnes & Noble Bennett, Paul A. F18 Keepsake F19 (a) F20 (b) F21 Benson, John Howard 1 Bookplates F22 (a) F23 (b) F24 Bookplate art F25 Bookplate artists F26 Bookplate books F27 British F28 Bookplate history 2 F29 Bookplate Society F30 U.S.A. F31 Brussel-Smith, Bernard F32 California presses Calligraphers F33 Chicago F34 Society of Calligraphers (1950s) F35 Christmas cards Calligraphy F36 (a) F37 (b) F38 (c) F39 Exhibition F40 Jim Hayes F41 Oscar Ogg F42 Society for Calligraphy F43 Carnes, Burton F44 Carter, Will F45 Chappell, Warren Christmas cards F46 (a) F47 (b) Christmas ephemera F48 (a) F49 (b) F50 (c) Series I. Subject Files (cont’d) Cleland, Tom 2 F51 (a) F52 (b) F53 (c) F54 Dahlstrom, Grant – The Castle Press F55 Decorative line work F56 Dickman, Alfred O. Di Gioia, Frank F57 (a) F58 (b) F59 Early presses F60 European writings F61 Farrier, Herbert 3 F62 Filby, Bill F63 Firmback, Clifford F64 Fitterer, Jack F65 Forster, Paul F66 Gill, Eric F67 Giusti, George F68 Glasser, Howard F69 Gonzalez, Amado Goudy, Frederic W., ephemera F70 (a) F71 (b) F72 (c) F73 (d) F74 (e) 3 F75 Grabhorn Press F76 Hayes, James F77 Holtan, Gene F78 Italic handwriting F79 Jackson, David Jones, Robert – Gladhand Press F80 (a) F81 (b) F82 Jones, Theo F83 Junkateers Junkateer photographs F84 (a) F85 (b) F86 (c) F87 Keenan, J.P. Kent, Rockwell F88 General F89 Paintings F90 Prints F91 Klingspor Museum F92 Knopf, Alfred – Keepsake F93 Koch, Rudolf F94 Korean type Kuhn, Walter F95 (a) F96 (b) Lehman, John – Katydid Press 3 F97 (a) 4 F98 (b) F99 (c) F100 (d)
Series I. Subject Files (cont’d) F101 Lettering F102 Limited Editions Club F103 Lindstrom, Roy F104 Lippoczy, N. F105 Low, Joseph F106 Mermaid Press F107 Metzger, Phil F108 Miller, Edgar F109 Miniature books F110 Morgan, Willard F111 Morris, Henry Morris, William F112 (a) F113 (b) F114 Nemoy, Maurey New York Chappel F115 Keepsake (a) F116 Keepsake (b) F117 Keepsake (c) F118 Keepsake (d) F119 Meetings 5 F120 Rosters Nonesuch Press F121 (a) F122 (b) F123 (c) F124 Paper currency F125 Petty, G.H. F126 Press exhibitions Private presses F127 (a) F128 (b) F129 Prospectuses and broadsides F130 Prospectuses F131 Rike, George – Banter University Press Ruzicka, Rudolph F132 (a) F133 (b) F134 Ryder, John – Miniature Press F135 Salome Schiller, Albert – Advertising Agencies’ Service Co. F136 (a) F137 (b) F138 (c) Script F139 General F140 Early American F141 Print F142 Silver, Rollo F143 Simpson, Herbert 5 F144 Small prints F145 Society of Printer, Boston F146 Standard, Paul Stationery F147 1890 F148 Chicago F149 Stinehour Press F150 Tideline Press Series I. Subject Files (cont'd) 6 F151 Tomkins, Willis – Ogham Press F152 Torre, Vincent F153 Trajan Letter F154 Type ornament F155 Type – typographers Typophiles F156 (a) F157 (b) F158 Chapbooks F159 Keepsakes (a) F160 Keepsakes (b) F161 Monograph Series (a) F162 Monograph Series (b) F163 Watermarks F164 Watts, Steve F165 Weiler, Joseph F166 West Coast calligraphy F167 Wheelwright, Thea 6 F168 White, Lewis F169 Wirth, Robert Zamorano Club F170 (a) F171 (b) Series II. Miscellaneous Material 7 F1 Catalogs F2 Exhibition announcements F3 Invitations Keepsakes F4 (a) F5 (b) F6 Personal correspondence Print specimens F7 (a) F8 (b) F9 Serials F10 Unidentified negative Series III. Printed Ephemera Series III.1. Private Press Ephemera 7 F11 Lakeside Press, Marchbanks Press, Ogham Press F12 Golden Hind Press, Spiral Press, Stinehour Press Miscellaneous F13 (a) F14 (b) F15 (c) F16 (d) F17 (e) F18 (f) F19 (g) F20 (h) Series III.2. Oxford University Press Keepsakes F21 (a) F22 (b) 8 F23 (c) F24 (d) F25 (e) Series III.3. The Minotaur F26 Jan 1962-Jun 1965
 Bibliography of books from Fridolf Johnson
Archer, H. Richard and Ward Ritchie.  Modern Fine Printing:
     Papers Read at a Clark Library Seminar.  Los Angeles:
     William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, University of
     California, 1968.  Morris Library Z231.5 .P7 M6 1968

Baatz, Ronald.  Afternoon Plums Rising.  Tannersville, NY:
     Tideline Press, 1982.  Spec PS3552 .A154 A68x 1982

___________.  All The Days Are.  Tannersville, NY: Tideline
     Press, 1974.  Special Collections PS3552 .A154 A45x
     1974

Bacmeister, Ernst.  The Christmas Tree Auction.  Wood
     engravings by John De Pol.  Madison, NJ: Golden Hind
     Press, 1954.  Spec PT2603 .A237 C5713 1954

Beye, Holly.  Stairwells and Marriages.  San Francisco: The
     Print Workshop, 1955.  Spec PS3503 .E94 S73x 1955

Billias, Chris and Athena Billias.  Weak.  Drawings by
     Athena Billias.  Tannersville, NY: Tideline Press,
     1979.  Spec folio NC139 .B49 A4 1979

Bishop, Wendy.  Second Nature: 7 Poems by Wendy Bishop.
     Tannersville, NY: Tideline Press, 1980.  Spec PS3552
     .I7724 S4 1980

Blake, William.  Proverbs of Hell.  Harper Woods, MI: Adagio
     Press, 1982.  Spec PR4144 .P73 1982

Blaser, Robin.  Cups.  San Francisco: Four Seasons
     Foundation, 1968.  Spec PS3552 .L37 C8 1968

Byrne, Seamus.  Design for a Headstone: A Play.  Dublin:
     Progress House, 1956.  Spec PR6003 .Y48 D4

Claire, William F.  The Strange Coherence of Our Dream:
     Poems.  Riverside, CT: Magic Circle Press, 1973.  Spec
     PS3553 .L2252 S77x 1973

De Balzac, Honoré.  Jésus Christ en Flandre.  Strawberry
     Hill Press, 1928.  Spec PQ2167 .J413x 1928

Drachler, Rose.  Amulet Against Drought.  Tannersville, NY:
     Tideline Press, 1978.  Spec PS3554 . R16 A8 1978

Dreier, Thomas.  The Power of Print – and Men.  Brooklyn,
     NY: Mergenthaler Linotype Company, [1936].  Morris
     Library Z253 .D77


         Bibliography of books from Fridolf Johnson

Edwards, Hilton.  Elephant in Flight.  Dublin: Dolmen Press,
     1967.  Spec PR6009 .D733 E4x 1967

Eigner, Larry.  Earth Birds.  Guildford, England: Circle
     Press, 1981.  Spec folio PS3509 .I47 E37 1981

Franklin, Benjamin.  “He Snatched the Lightening from
     Heaven, and the Sceptre from Tyrants.”  Illustrated by
     John De Pol.  NY, 1956.  Spec PS746 1956

_______________.  A Quart of Oysters and other Bon Mots of
     Bon Homme Richard.  Wood engravings by John De Pol.
     NY, 1972.  Spec PS746 1972

_______________.  On True Happiness and Other Essays.  Wood
     engravings by John De Pol.  NY, 1958.  Spec PS745 .A2
     1958

Gorman, Leroy.  Only Shadflies Have Come.  [Oneonta, NY]:
     Swamp Press, [1979].  Spec PR9199.3 .G635 O55x 1979

How, Louis.  Narcissus and Two Other Poems.  NY: Harbor
     Press, 1928.  Spec PS3515 .O814 N3 1928

Kage.  Only the Ashes.  Santa Fe, NM: Tooth of Time Books,
     Amaranth Press, 1981.  Spec PL832 .A44 O513x 1981

King, Edith Morgan.  Harriet Hosmer, Yankee Sculptor.
     Stamford, CT: Overbrook Press, [1968].  Morris Library
     NB237 .H6 K5

Lehman, Barbara Shaw.  Poems with Titles.  Bainbridge, PA:
     The Katydid Press, 1962.  Spec PS 3562 .E427 P64x 1962

___________________.  Ten Poems.  Bainbridge, PA: The
     Katydid Press, 1957.  Spec PS3562 .E427 T46x 1957

Levy, Robert E.  Log: Five Days aboard the Schooner “Stephen
     Taber.”  Wood engravings by John De Pol.  Oyster Bay,
     NY: The Binnacle Press, 1962.  Spec VK211 .L48x 1962

Lifshin, Lyn.  Shaker House Poems.  Tannersville, NY:
     Tideline Press, 1975.  Spec PS3562 .I4537 S5x 1975

Lydenberg, Harry Miller, intro.  Peter Piper’s Practical
     Principles of Plain and Perfect Pronunciation.
     Brooklyn, NY: Mergenthaler Linotype Company, 1936.
     Spec GR486 .P47x 1936

         Bibliography of books from Fridolf Johnson

MacLeish, Archibald.  A Free Man’s Books: An Address.  Mount
     Vernon, NY: The Peter Pauper Press, [1942].  Spec
     PS3525 .A27 F65

________________.  Nobodaddy: A Play.  Cambridge, MA:
     Dunster House, 1926.  Spec PS3525 .A27 N6 1926

McPherson, Sandra.  Floralia.  Portland, OR: Trace Editions;
     West Burke, VT: Janus Press, 1985.  Spec PS3563 .A326
     F5 1985

Middleton, Richard.  The Ghost Ship.  Wood engravings by
     John De Pol.  Madison, NJ: Golden Hind Press, 1953.
     Spec PR6025 .I3 G4x 1953

Olson, Toby.  Two Standards.  Madison, Wisc: Salient
     Seedling Press, 1982.  Spec  PS3565 .L84 T86 1982

The Pied Piper’s Primrose Path: A Typographical Nonsense
     Book.  Stamford, CT: The Overbrook Press, 1940.  Spec
     Z116 .P65x 1940

Platov, Mariquita.  17 Sonnets.  Tannersville, NY: Tideline
     Press, 1975.  Spec PS3566 .L28 S48x 1975

Reiner-Bauer, Imre and Hedwig.  Alphabets by Imre and Hedwig
     Reiner.  St. Gall, Switzerland: Verglag Xollikofer&
     Co., 1947.  Spec NK3630 .R45 A47x 1947

The Revival of Art in Craft.  Wynkyn de Worde Society;
     William Morris Society, [1968].  Spec Z151.5 .R48x 1968

Root, Judith.  Weaving the Sheets.  [Omaha]: University of
     Nebraska; Abbatoir Editions, 1985.  Spec PS3568 .O65 W4
     1985

Snider, Karen A.  Dorothy During Wounded Knee (A Portrait at
     Sixteen).  Madison, WI; Salient Seeling Press, 1984.
     Spec PS3569 .N485 D6 1984

Stevenson, Robert Louis.  An Apology for Idlers.  Oakland:
     B. Kennedy, 1931.  Spec PR5488 .A7x 1931

Strong, Rupert.  Poems of the Ordinary.  [Dublin]: Dolmen
     Press, [1967].  Spec PR6037 .T856 A18 1967

Strouse, Norman H.  How to Build a Poor Man’s Morgan
     Library.  [Detroit]: The Book Club of Detroit, 1959.
     Spec Z987 . S77x 1959

A Swamp Press Primer.  Oneonta, NY: Swamp Press, 1977.  Spec
     PS615 .S93x 1977

         Bibliography of books from Fridolf Johnson

Toller, Ernst.  Brokenbrow.  London: Nonesuch Press, [1926].
     Spec PT2642 .O65 H53 1926

Torre, Vincent, ed.  Aesop’s Fables.  NY: The Inkwell Press,
     1969.  Morris Library PZ813 .T689a 1969

______________.  The Poetry of William Blake.  NY: The
     Inkwell Press, 1952.  Spec PR4142 .T67x 1952

______________.  20 Poems for Children.  NY: The Inkwell
     Press, [n.d.]  Spec PS3570 .O69 T94x 1960z

______________.  Wander-wood and Other Poems for Children.
     NY: The Inkwell Press, 1967.  Spec PS3570 .O69 W36x
     1967

WAD: The Work of W.A. Dwiggins. NY: The American Institute
     of Graphic Arts at the Gallery of the Architectural
     League, 1937.  Spec Z276 .D91x 1937

Wesling, Donald.  American Sentences: The History of West
     Seneca, New York.  Black Mesa Press, 1981.  Spec folio
     F129 .W4 W46x 1981

Wild, Peter.  Pioneers.  Tannersville, NY: Tideline Press,
     1976.  Spec PS3573 .I42 I85x 1976

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