Becoming a print historian is like being a time traveller. Here is my Tardis! Updike's two-volume tome of the history of typography, is an excellent primer into our shared history of printing. Authored originally from a series of his lecture talks from 1911-1916, Printing Types published in 1922 was intended as a practical and historic record, to inspire contemporary printers of the early twentieth century (and beyond). Updike's texts are beautifully illustrated with reproductions of celebrated examples of print that bring centuries of printing history alive for the modern scholar.
My copy is very special to me. Its value is not in it being a first edition. This is Volume Two of the second edition, and second printing, published in 1951. A personal value for me is in the monogram of its previous owner, Peter Isaac.
Peter Isaac established the British Book Trade Index (BBTI), in 1983, at the University of Newcastle. For my PhD study, Birmingham during the long nineteenth century, presents a case study in the development and deployment of the sanserif. The database is an exceptional tool, which records approximately 959 records for printers trading in Warwickshire, with a majority of 779 records in Birmingham. Since 2005, Dr Maureen Bell and Dr John Hinks have maintained the BBTI database, which has recently relocated to the Bodleian Library, in 2015. The BBTI is an excellent tool for Print Historians, for myself it demonstrates the diversity of occupation in Birmingham during my period.
Time traveling back to the early twentieth century and to Updike for the final word today, on display types of the nineteenth century, in particular his beautifully measured description of the Fat Faces of Robert Thorne as 'the vilest form of type invented!'.