For some reason I cannot explain, Miriam Josefsohn, the main character in Blue Thread, is totally ga-ga over printing and graphic design. That’s fine for Miriam, but what about me? I knew next to nothing about typography in the 21st century, let alone in 1912. But Miriam was insistent (some characters are like that). A century-old book came to my rescue and found its way into the story.
Once we were back home, I went up to my room and put the design on paper. I copied ideas from the typographer’s Bible: The Art & Practice of Typography: A Manual of American Printing by Edmund G. Gress. My design was mediocre. To be honest, it bordered on wretched.
The book by Edmund Geiger Gress (1872-1957) was published in 1910 (perfect!) and contains chapter after chapter of what Gress describes as “an extensive review and elaborate showing of modern commercial typographic specimens.” This gem lives in the closed stacks of the central branch of the Multnomah County Library in Portland, Oregon. The kind souls at the library brought the book to me several times while I was writing Blue Thread.
I adore librarians!