Oldies But Goudys: An Online Tribute to Type Couple Fred and Bertha

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By Stephanie Murg Comment

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We’ll admit to a protracted love affair with Goudy Stout (Jason Castle‘s recreation of the typeface that Frederic W. Goudy admitted to having created in “a moment of typographic weakness”) that endowed all of our high school papers with a festive circus air. Now typographer Goudy and his graphic designer wife, Bertha, are a few giant steps closer to immortality thanks to Goudy Fonts, a new web site that pays “tribute to two former bookkeepers who impacted American design and typography for all time.”

Created by a team of Goudy fans at Ascender Corporation,” the site is much more than a virtual storefront of Goudy fonts and their derivatives. There’s a blog for Goudynews (including a downloadable version of Steve Matteson‘s recent TypeCon talk on the couple’s work) and a slideshow of Goudy artifacts, among them a rather creepy plaster cast of Fred’s right hand. In the collection of historical press clippings, we found a 1933 Time magazine report from a gala celebration in New York City to honor Goudy as the country’s greatest type designer.


The article traces Goudy’s love for lettering to his childhood, “when he decorated his Sunday School room with texts redrawn from specimen letters in an old type book and cut out of fancy wallpaper.” And did you know that Hadriano “started with a rubbing taken from an inscription in the Louvre when guards were not looking, finished by 3 a.m. the next morning”? Meanwhile, Bertha is lauded for her reputation as “the world’s ablest woman printer,” and for her colorful hobbies. “Bertha Goudy has a collection of 29 lively tropical birds,” noted the writer. “Chief of the aviary is a parrot whose printable vocabulary is limited to ‘Tombo—precious boy!'”