Guide to the Mergenthaler Linotype Company Records
Portions of this collection are digitized

Collection ID:
Mergenthaler Linotype Co.
The collection is primarily in
, but multiple languages are present.
Physical Description:
108 Cubic feet
257 boxes, 1 map-folder
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
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.

Alison Oswald
Approximately .75 cubic foot of material relating to the Mergenthaler Linotype Company was donated by Lawrence Feller, May 24, 2013.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated by Mergenthaler Linotype Company in 1998 and 1999.
Processing Information
The collection was processed by Alison Oswald, archivist, 2018.
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.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
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.
Preferred Citation
Mergenthaler Linotype Company Records, 1886-1997, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Conditions Governing Use
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.

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.

More Information

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Brochures -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Business records -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Correspondence -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Linotype Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Minutes -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Printing -- History Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Printing industry Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Printing -- Instruments Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Printing machinery and supplies Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Typesetting Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Typesetting machines Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Type designers Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Type specimens Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mergenthaler, Ottmar, 1854-1899 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Govil, Hari Govind, 1899-1956 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012