November 4

In a preface to a type specimen book dated this day at the French town of Sedan in the year 1621, a master printer named Jean Jannon wrote:

“So, seeing that for some time many persons have had to do with the art who have greatly lowered it (so far doth ignorance and the lack of skill corrupt the most beautiful things in time:) the desire came upon me to try if I might imitate, after some fashion, some one among those who honorably busied themselves with the art, whom I hear regretted every day: such as, among others, a Conrad at Rome, a Manuce at Venice, an Estienne at Paris . . . a Plantin at Antwerp, a Wechel at Francfort, and some others who were very celebrated in their time. And inasmuch as I could not accomplish this design for lack of types which I needed to this end: not even being able conveniently to draw upon the typefounder, some of whom would not, and others could not, furnish me with what I lacked: I resolved, about six years ago, to turn my hand in good earnest to the making of Punches, Matrices and Moulds for all sorts of characters, for the accommodation both of the public and of myself.”

Since Jannon had already used types secured from the Frankfurt typefoundry of Egenolff-Luther, the punches for which had been obtained by that founder from the widow of Claude Garamond, the Sedan printer was familiar with their general style. His own design naturally followed the pattern of the Garamond letter.

Jannon was printer to the Calvinist Academy at Sedan, and his types were made for the exclusive use of the Academy publications. In 1642, when the forces of Cardinal Richelieu captured Sedan, Jannon’s typefounding equipment and types were sent to the newly formed Royal Printing Office, where they were put to use in the setting of Richelieu’s memoirs. The types were then stored and forgotten, until they reappeared in a specimen book of the same establishment in 1845 under the heading of Caractères de l’Université. The fonts were then attributed to Garamond. In 1898 the printing office, then known as the Imprimerie Nationale, revived the types for the printing connected with the Paris Exposition of 1900. Their use for this purpose naturally enough brought the types to the attention of the world’s printers at a period when there was a tremendous interest in historic typefaces, following the 15th century revivals sponsored by William Morris at the Kelmscott Press.

The French National Printing Office still retained the exclusive use of the Jannon fonts, which were not allowed to be copied by French typefounders. Outside of France, however, there were no restrictions.

In the United States, Morris Benton of the American Type Founders Company, with the assistance of Thomas M. Cleland, cut a type inspired by the Jannon letter and called it Garamond. The “Garamond” revival had now really begun. The Monotype Company commissioned Frederic W. Goudy to cut a copy which was issued in 1923 and named Garamont. The Lintoype Company then brought out a Garamond, patterned from the true Garamond designs as shown in the famous Egenolff-Berner specimen sheet issued in Frankfurt in 1592. However, the Jannon features so evident in the ATF copy, were admired so much that Linotype found it necessary to cut a second Garamond identical to it, named No. 3. There are now Garamond cuttings from all the typefoundries of the world, some taken from the true Garamonds and some from the Jannon fonts, but none carry the name of the persecuted punch-cutter.

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