Chauncey H. Griffith (1879-1956)
Born in Irontown, Ohio, Chauncey H. Griffith began his working life as a compositor and pressman. In 1915, he joined Mergenthaler Linotype's sales force. He rose to the position of sales manager, overseeing the installation of Linotype equipment as it became the industry standard for both newspaper and book production. By 1936, he was the vice president of typographic design for the company. In this position he worked closely with the designers William Addison Dwiggins and Rudolph Ruzicka. While with Mergenthaler Linotype, he was responsible for reviving several typefaces, including Baskerville, as well as instigating many new designs, such as the well-known Legibility Group.
He himself also developed various fonts, including in 1931, Excelsior, which was widely adopted by many American newspapers. In 1938, he created Bell Gothic Light specifically for the Bell Telephone Company's directories. During the Second World War, he worked for the American government, developing fonts to cope with every dialect between California and the Chinese coast using Linotype equipment. Of his creations, he claimed Monticello was his favourite.
He retired from Mergenthaler in 1948, but continued to consult for the company. He died in Butler, NY.
[LC, December 2009]