W. A. Dwiggins

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Images from William Addison Dwiggins: Stencilled Ornament and Illustration
by Dorothy Abbe and Bruce Kennett, published by Princeton Architectural Press (2015)

Title page border for The Time Machine, 1931 (printed vertically in the book)
reproduced in William Addison Dwiggins: Stencilled Ornament and Illustration

Title page design for Tales by Poe (Lakeside Press, 1930)
reproduced in William Addison Dwiggins: Stencilled Ornament and Illustration

Elements used to build the Poe designs
reproduced in William Addison Dwiggins: Stencilled Ornament and Illustration

Decoration for “The Fall of the House of Usher” in Poe’s Tales, 1930
reproduced in William Addison Dwiggins: Stencilled Ornament and Illustration

Design for Warren’s Standard Printing Papers, 1920s
reproduced in William Addison Dwiggins: Stencilled Ornament and Illustration

From Attitudes, July 1927
reproduced in William Addison Dwiggins: Stencilled Ornament and Illustration

From Paraphs by W. A. Dwiggins (writing as Hermann PΓΌterschein), Knopf 1928
reproduced in William Addison Dwiggins: Stencilled Ornament and Illustration

Imperial stencil alphabet
reproduced in William Addison Dwiggins: Stencilled Ornament and Illustration

Announcements for Charles Hovey Pepper Exhibitions, 1920s
reproduced in William Addison Dwiggins: Stencilled Ornament and Illustration

Designs for The Treasure in the Forest by H. G. Wells, 1936
reproduced in William Addison Dwiggins: Stencilled Ornament and Illustration

Illustration from The War Against Waak, 1948
reproduced in William Addison Dwiggins: Stencilled Ornament and Illustration

There are many fine examples of Dwiggins’ work floating around the internet. Here are some from the Letterform Archive:

Cover for The Time Machine, 1931
via the Letterform Archive Dwiggins Gallery

Cover for Tales by Poe, 1930
via the Letterform Archive Dwiggins Gallery

Cover for The Creaking Stair, 1949
via the Letterform Archive Dwiggins Gallery

Cover for Marionettes in Motion, 1939
via the Letterform Archive Dwiggins Gallery
(Dwiggins was a big puppet guy)

Cover for American Alphabets, 1930
via the Letterform Archive Dwiggins Gallery

Catalog cover, circa 1920s (also see this)
via the Letterform Archive Dwiggins Gallery

“Type ornament, with landscape attached”
via the Letterform Archive Dwiggins Gallery

Infographic from An Investigation into the Physical Properties of Books
by W. A. Dwiggins and L. B. Siegfried, 1919 via archive.org

Unless otherwise noted, images in this post come from William Addison Dwiggins: Stencilled Ornament and Illustration by Dorothy Abbe and Bruce Kennett, published by Princeton Architectural Press (2015), with permission.
From a 1928 article by Paul M. Hollister:Mr. Dwiggins sits on a high stool and makes dotsβ€”but, from the standpoint of calligraphy, Mr. Dwiggins is painting a twelve-league canvas with brushes of comet’s hair. He is one of the few men who can respect the simplicity of a fly-speck, appreciate its possibilities in design, and…treat even dots in a new way.
Read a short post at Writers No One Reads about Dwiggins’ forgotten private-press fiction.
Final note: I look forward to digging through Paul Shaw’s series The Definitive Dwiggins.
This post first appeared on October 1, 2015 on 50 Watts

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