The Rob Roy Kelly Wood Type Collection is a comprehensive collection of wood type manufactured and used for printing in nineteenth-century America. Comprising nearly 150 typefaces of various sizes and styles, it was amassed by noted design educator and historian Rob Roy Kelly starting in 1957 and is now held by the University of Texas. Although Kelly himself published a 1969 book on wood type and nineteenth-century typographic history, there has been little written about the creation of the wood type forms, the collection, or Kelly.
In this book, David Shields rigorously updates and expands upon Kelly’s historical information about the types, clarifying the collection’s exact composition and providing a better understanding of the stylistic development of wood type forms during the nineteenth century. Using rich materials from the period, Shields provides a stunning visual context that complements the textual history of each typeface. He also highlights the non-typographic material in the collection—such as borders, rules, ornaments, and image cuts—that have not been previously examined. Featuring over 300 color illustrations, this written history and catalog is bound to spark renewed interest in the collection and its broader typographic period.
Published by University of Texas Press in 2022. Hardcover, measures 12 x 9.6 x 1.6 inches, 408 pages. ISBN 9781477323687