My newest toy arrived in the mail yesterday – volume 36/number 1 of the Monotype Recorder, from 1937. The issue’s cover story is on “Blackletter: its Origin & Current Use.” The article is a short summation of how blackletter developed out of the Carolingian Minuscule, and how French blackletters from the 15th century would be introduced to England, where say for special Coronation or “Churchly” uses, they would all have virtually died out by the 1930s. The article does briefly mention that other things with blackletter were going a foot in Germany, whose script development traveled along a completely different trajectory…
The back cover of the magazine shows a preview of Sachsenwald-Gotisch, a rather “1930s”-looking blackletter that Monotype was about to introduce, especially in the German market. I love Sachsenwald-Gotisch, because it smacks of beautiful irony. The type was designed by Berthold Wolpe, who by 1937 was living in London. Born in Germany, he had previously been a student of Rudolf Koch, and then a teacher in Offenbach, before loosing his post and receiving a professional ban because of his Jewish heritage during the Gleichschaltung. He came to England, where his first commercial typeface, Albertus, would be be finished (the words “art & mystery” in line two of the photo above are set in Albertus). Albertus’s design and production seems to have been pushed along by Stanley Morison, who may have been responsible for bringing Wolpe to safety.
Anyway, for a few years, Sachsenwald-Gotisch would be distributed and used in Germany, despite being designed by a Jewish émigré. Brilliant! Way to stick it to them. Although the design of the type looks too similar to typefaces that I don’t think anyone needs to celebrate, like Tannenberg, etc., I just love its story, and think that of all the “Schaftstiefelgrotesks,” this is the best of the lot.
I’ve wanted to buy this issue of the Recorder ever since I saw this back cover on display in the Berthold Wolpe retrospective at the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz last year. After a year of coveting, this new toy is finally mine! ;-)
The photo above in one I took at that exhibition. More images, as well as my write-up from back then, are here on TypeOff.
Another image from the issue, this time from an inside page.