Dropped initial letters pre-date printing and appear, both plain and decorated, in the manuscript books that set the design parameters for the first printers. Appropriate then that Elizabeth Friedlander should be commissioned to produce a set, for she was employed as a calligrapher as soon as she finished college in 1928. Her work as the headline calligrapher for Die Dame, the most prestigious women’s magazine in Germany, continued until forbidden by the Nazi government.

Calligraphic work continued to underpin her subsequent career as a graphic designer, and she worked on everything from typefaces to book jackets, record labels, commercial packaging and anti-fascist propaganda, in Italy, in Britain, and after her ‘retirement’ to Ireland. It is in Ireland at the Boole Library in Cork University that you will find the archive of all that she was able to keep, her original artwork and printed examples. Publishers Cassell & Co of London commissioned these letters in 1948, exclusively for use in Winston Churchill’s History of the Second World War, for which she also drew maps and designed the endpapers. They were never cast in typemetal, but instead printed from zinc reproductions and stereo plates, the processes involved not showing the beauty of her letterforms to their best advantage.

From the original archived copies, Kathy Whalen at the Incline Press commissioned Ed Rayher of Swamp Press and Letterfoundry to create new matrices. From the matrices he has cast this fine set of letters, making them available for letterpress printing for the first time since they were drawn. To Friedlander’s originals he has added a long-tailed L for those brave enough to use it, but otherwise all the letters are faithful to her originals.

They were created to be used with continuous text set in Bembo type, and this leaflet is designed to indicate how they can be applied to other settings and other typefaces in a variety of applications. They are cast on a 42 point body, the J on a 48 point body to accommodate its descender. Thus there are no kerns to risk accidental damage in use.

Graham Moss,
Incline Press