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Mergenthaler Linotype Company Records

Mergenthaler Linotype Co.  Search this
Type designer:
Govil, Hari Govind, 1899-1956  Search this
Mergenthaler, Ottmar, 1854-1899  Search this
108 Cubic feet (257 boxes, 1 map-folder)
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Business records
Type specimens
These records document primarily the history of typeface development at the Mergenthaler Linotype Company of Baltimore, Maryland. The company supplied most of the typesetting machines used in the printing industry, both in America and worldwide. As changing technology ended the usefulness of the linotype machine the company pioneered new computer-driven, photo typesetting machines.
Scope and Contents:
The collection documents the development of typefaces and contains some company business records, including reports, memoranda, correspondence, marketing materials, and other business papers; and typeface examples.
The collection is arranged into 13 series. The series level arrangement scheme was imposed during processing to facilitate a more usable order for the records. Several series documenting typeface were combined into a single series, Series 2: Typefaces.

In most instances, original folder titles were retained. In circumstances where there was no folder title, the processing archivist created one derived from the nature of the materials.

Series 1: Organizational Records, 1929-1997

Series 2: Office Files, 1908-1992

Series 3: Typefaces, 1904-1991

Subseries 3.1: Typefaces, 1923-1993

Subseries 3.2: Designers of Typeface, 1929-1987

Subseries 3.3: Technical Development of Typeface, 1933-1985

Subseries 3.4: Matrix Data for Typeface, 1923-1974

Subseries 3.5: Typographic Committee Meetings (Standards), 1984-1988

Series 4: Licensing Agreements, 1939-1988

Series 5: International Files, 1956-1989

Series 6: Correspondence and Inter-Office Memoranda, 1968-1994

Subseries 6.1: Domestic, 1968-1994 Subseries 6.2: Marketing, 1984-1993

Series 7: Variable Input Phototypesetter (VIP), 1970-1977

Series 8: Conferences, 1986-1993

Series 9: Executives' Records

Suberies 9.1: Brian Boyajian Files, 1989

Subseries 9.2: Bruce Brenner Files, 1981-1991

Subseries 9.3: Jackson Burke Files, 1956-1961

Subseries 9.4: Stephen "Steve" Byers Files, 1973-1995

Subseries 9.5: Ames Gutierrez Files, 1990-01-1991

Subseries 9.6: Karl Heidenreich Files, 1983

Subseries 9.7: Jürgen Krufcyzk Files, 1989-1990

Subseries 9.8: Franklin J. Lassman Files, 1984-1985

Subseries 9.9: Mike Parker Files, 1969-1981

Subseries 9.10: Ray Pell Files, 1982

Subseries 9.11: Günter Zorn Files, 1990-01-1990-12

Series 10: Sales Materials, 1886-1982

Series 11: Project Files, 1977-1987

Series 12: Xerox Corporation Materials, 1982-1989

Series 13: Adobe Systems Incorporated Materials, 1983-1993
Ottmar Mergenthaler (born May 11, 1854 in Hachtel (today: Bad Mergentheim), Kingdom of Württemberg; died October 28, 1899 in Baltimore, MD) was part of a large wave of German immigrants who sailed to the United States and settled in Baltimore between 1861 and 1910. He arrived in 1872, at eighteen years of age, and started working for his step-cousin August Hahl, who ran a workshop for electrical equipment and patent models. It was during Mergenthaler's time in Hahl's workshop that he first discovered his true passion: print technology. In 1885, thirteen years after landing in the United States, Mergenthaler was awarded a patent for a typesetting machine that eventually became known as the Linotype. The invention was the result of a decade of intense engagement with mechanized typesetting machines and the surrounding literature. The Linotype represented a major milestone in the history of printing, and, by extension, the larger history of Mergenthaler's time. His invention revolutionized the printing industry, making it possible to print faster and more efficiently than ever before. Ultimately, Mergenthaler's Linotype opened a new chapter in the history of mass communication and determined the path of the printing industry for the next century.

Mergenthaler Linotype Company was founded in the United States in 1886 to market the Linotype machine invented by Ottmar Mergenthaler.


Tsaniou, Styliani. "Ottmar Mergenthaler." In Immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business Biographies, 1720 to the Present, vol. 3, edited by Giles R. Hoyt. German Historical Institute. Last modified July 26, 2013.
Related Materials:
Materials at the Smithsonian Institution

Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, Series: Printing and Printers

Smithsonian Institution Archives

Presentation of Mergenthaler Linotype Machine to the National Museum of History and Technology, now known as the National Museum of American History. (SIA Acc. 11-008 [OPA-1521])

Smithsonian Trade Literature Collection

Mergenthaler Linotype Company catalogs

National Postal Museum

Ottmar Mergenthaler, postage stamp, 1996. See 1997.2004.49.

Smithsonian American Art Museums

Ottmar Mergenthaler, sculpture, 1908. See IAS 08650110.

National Portrait Gallery

Ottmar Mergenthaler, sculpture, 1908. See NPG.79.77.

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Linotype Machine used by the Chicago Defender Publishing Company, 1902-1906. See NMAAHC-2012.18.

Materials at Other Organizations

University of Delaware Library, Special Collections Department

Mergenthaler Linotype Collection, 1881-1954

Eight linear feet of materials including letters, legal papers, and patents. The collection represents only a limited portion of the company's history.

University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center

Chauncey Hawley Griffith papers, 1903-1969, undated

Primarily of manuscript correspondence, drawings, and proofs that document typefaces designed and developed by Chauncey Hawley Griffith, William Addison Dwiggins, and Rudolph Ruzicka for the Mergenthaler Linotype Company in the early- to mid-twentieth century.

Syracuse University Libraries, Special Collections Research Center

William Addison Dwiggins Collection, 1927

Typewritten manuscript for an essay written by Dwiggins and related correspondence.

University of Maryland, Special Collections

William Addision Dwiggins Collection, 1902-1990

Includes over 130 volumes and over 30 pieces of ephemera documenting Dwiggins's design career, as well as works written about him.

New York Public Library, Manuscripts and Archives Division

Paul A. Bennett papers, 1925-1966

Personal and professional correspondence, research materials, typescripts of writings, and other papers relating to Bennett's career in advertising and his work with the Typophiles. Includes material relating to the Chap Book series, published by the Typophiles.
Separated Materials:
The Division of Culture and the Arts (now Division of Cultural and Community Life) holds objects related to the Mergenthaler Linotype Company that include books, models, linofilm system, matrices, typecasting and typesetting machine, reports, and letters.

See accessions: 1981.1011; GA.22989; GA.22952; GA 22984; GA.22948; GA.22951; 22949; GA.22953; ZZ.RSN85692F20; GA.24877; GA.23057; GA.24582; 1979.0372.1; GA.22988; GA.22950; GA.17070; GA.22947; GA.22959; GA.22961; GA.22986; GA.22987; GA.22955.
Donated by Mergenthaler Linotype Company in 1998 and 1999.
Collection is open for research.

Social Security numbers are present and have been rendered unreadable and redacted. Researchers may use the photocopies in the collection.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Linotype  Search this
Printing -- History  Search this
Printing industry  Search this
Printing -- Instruments  Search this
Printing machinery and supplies  Search this
Typesetting  Search this
Typesetting machines  Search this
Type designers  Search this
Brochures -- 20th century
Business records -- 20th century
Correspondence -- 20th century
Minutes -- 20th century
Type specimens
Mergenthaler Linotype Company Records, 1886-1997, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
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