• Steven Heller

Typefaces Extolling the Virtue of America

America the beautiful was expressed through type when the American Edwin Hooper Denby (1873/74–1957), an architect and member of the architectural firm Denby and Nute also designed typefaces as well as structures. The New York Times obituary from January 18, 1957 noted that in 1899 Denby opened offices in New York City and Bar Harbor, designing churches, schools, and residences all over the East Coast. “Mr. Denby also was a type designer, and he was made a fellow of the Institute of American Genealogy for his design of a genealogical chart.” He started the Coq d’or Press and was noted for his book “Specimen Sheets Set in Denby Types Notched for Spacing: The Use of a New Unit of Measure Called El in Typography” (1940). In 1942 he produced “Symposium Lincolniana: Patriotic Speeches by Abraham Lincoln and Poems by Victor Hugo in French and English, Various Display Prints in Denby Types.” He seemed to like looooong titles.

His typefaces used the model of inscription to wed architecture and grandeur to the words on which America was built. And words that would come in handy today.

The pages below are culled from his “symposium” on the importance of his all cap, Latin-iinspription-inspired typeface, ENORM Type. A face that he believed worked best to represent the monumental statements of America’s greats, like A. Lincoln. A reprint can be found here.

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