Event—Public Programming

Chicago Modernism and the Ludlow Typograph

Newberry Curator Emeritus Paul Gehl discusses his new book, Chicago Modernism and the Ludlow Typograph: Douglas C. McMurtrie and Robert Hunter Middleton at Work.

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This program will be held virtually on Zoom. Please register for free in advance via the Caxton Club website.

NOTE: You can also watch a live stream of the program on the Newberry Facebook page or YouTube channel.

The years 1925 to 1950 were an exciting time for type design in Chicago. Influenced by the arrival of European modernism, American typographers and graphic artists were revolutionizing their craft. At Chicago’s Ludlow Typograph Co., typographers Robert Hunter Middleton and Douglas McMurtrie responded to the spread of modernism by creating a beautiful new style of typography.

The collaboration between the soft-spoken artist Middleton and the brash promoter McMurtrie is the subject of Newberry Curator Emeritus Paul F. Gehl’s lavishly illustrated new book, Chicago Modernism and the Ludlow Typograph: Douglas C. McMurtrie and Robert Hunter Middleton at Work.

In this program, produced by Chicago’s Caxton Club, Gehl will discuss his new book, the development of modernist typography in Chicago, and the unlikely collaboration between Middleton and McMurtrie.

Founded in 1895, the Caxton Club of Chicago brings together archivists, authors, binders, book artists, booksellers, collectors, conservators, designers, editors, librarians, printers, publishers, scholars, and others. Members from these diverse backgrounds form a community that shares a love of printed, handwritten, and digital books and related textual objects, such as pamphlets, broadsides, maps, and ephemera. The club provides a forum to learn about the arts, history, and technologies of these materials, as well as a space to share the joys of appreciating and collecting them.

About the speaker:

Paul F. Gehl became Curator Emeritus at the Newberry in 2016, after serving for thirty years as Custodian of the John M. Wing Foundation on the History of Printing, the Newberry’s special collection on history of printing, calligraphy, and the book. A historian with a PhD from the University of Chicago, Gehl has published on textbook history, Chicago calligraphy and design, and the history of the book trade. In recent years, his research has concentrated on the history of American book collecting.

This program is produced by the Caxton Club and cosponsored by the Newberry. Please register for free in advance via the Caxton Club website. You may direct questions to info@caxtonclub.org.

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