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Joseph W. Phinney (1848-1934)

Born in Nantucket, USA in 1848, Joseph Warren Phinney was a prolific 19th century type designer. His career started at the Dickinson foundry in Boston, where he worked in type design and management. Eventually in 1890, he acquired the business. In 1892, he was a key player in the formation of American Type Founders. He started in a position equivalent to artistic director and oversaw the consolidation of the member foundries' type collections into one library.

He purchased Goudy's first typeface for $10 - twice what the designer requested. He added a lower case to it, and the result was Camelot. Many of his own type designs were based on earlier ones; some were pretty straight copies, whereas others where full-on revisions. He rose to become vice president of American Type Founders, and retired from active work there during the Depression. He died in 1934, aged 86.

[LC, December 2009]

Fonts designed by Joseph W. Phinney

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