Chicago Modernism & The Ludlow Typograph

Chicago Modernism & The Ludlow Typograph

This is the first book to provide a narrative account of type design in Chicago during the years 1925-50, when American typographers and graphic artists confronted the arrival of European modernism. Robert Hunter Middleton and Douglas McMurtrie were prominent in the period and spoke for Chicago in the national debates. Neither man was a Chicago native yet both worked for the Ludlow Typograph Co., a manufacturer of type setting machinery. As Paul Gehl examines their years of working side by side, it becomes clear that differing experiences of the city and its design world created two different modernisms that can be traced in the beautiful types on which they collaborated, Middleton as artist and McMurtrie as promotional man extraordinary. Gehl shows how the new typography championed loudly by McMurtrie and practised quietly by Middleton took root in Chicago a decade before the arrival of the New Bauhaus, usually described as the singular turning point in Chicago design history. The Bauhaus Boys , as Chicagoans called them, introduced new ideas, but the seeds of their success were sown in the work of Ludlow's two modernist pioneers.

The narrative is illustrated with more than fifty images, the most extensive documentation of Ludlow's specimens and promotional material ever to appear in one volume, some of it never before reproduced. Foreword by Robert McCamant.