Searching for Morris Fuller Benton


Morris Fuller Benton was the most prolific type designer of the hot metal era, but unlike Frederic Goudy, Bruce Rogers, or William Dwiggins—whose ideas about type design are well documented—Benton wrote nothing about his own work, nor was it the subject of analysis by others. Juliet Shen has made a meticulous study of his work, including a new enumeration of designs appropriately attributed to him. She gained access to papers from the ATF library (now housed at Columbia University) and places Benton in the context of American life at the turn of the 20th Century, when branding, advertising, and marketing were first becoming major factors in the economy. She compares his typefaces to similar ones from the same period, discovering the elements which he found important. As Roger Black says in the introduction, “Benton’s lean, driving, consistent style took over American printing in the pre-war era, and remains the bedrock of American typography.” Although the illustrations were printed via offset, the text was hand-set from contemporary castings of Benton’s types and printed letterpress.

  • Author: Juliet Shen
  • Foreword: Roger Black
  • Size: 7.5 × 10.25 inches 
  • Pages: 58
  • Binding: Hardcover with exposed binding
  • Edition: No. 69 of 75 copies, signed by the author
  • Publisher: Sherwin Beach Press, 2012