Skip to the good stuff!


Lance Hidy

The 2005 Winner

Lance Hidy on the Boston Society of Printers

The 2005 Fellowship supported Mr. Hidy’s research on Boston’s Society of Printers. The Society is celebrating its centenary this year with a special volume. The fellowship, providing an award of up to $2,000 for research in any area of the history of printing, will be used by Mr. Hidy research the Society’s role in perpetuating classical design while also embracing modernist ideas. Mr. Hidy’s proposal explains his purpose and the Society’s importance to American typographical design:

“Classical design implies “a long established style of acknowledged excellence”. This contradicts a fundamental principle of modernism which grew out of the Bolshevik revolution, insisting on a symbolic break with the past. While this repudiation made sense for many Russians, and for designers living in war-torn Europe or emigrating to America, it was less appealing to American designers and printers who revered the classical tradition of Ben Franklin and Isaiah Thomas. [….]

“However, rather than rejecting modernism, the classical-leaning SP members tended to support a pluralist view, with modernist ideas from members such as W. A. Dwiggins and Carl Zahn commingling with the classical ideals of D. B. Updike and Roderick Stinehour. At the same time, modernism met with less resistance elsewhere, winning over The American Institute of Graphic Arts and numerous other institutions where design was taught and promoted.

“…[T]he prevailing premise of twentieth-century graphic design histories … tell the modernist story in detail, while omitting, or touching lightly, the endurance of classical design.”

Mr. Hidy’s research on the Society intends to bring greater balance to the history of twentieth century graphic design.