Beatrice Warde: Manners and type
Sara De Bondt introduces a transcript of a rediscovered 1959 interview with Warde.
While preparing for the ‘Out of the Box’ archive event at St Bride Library, London (28 June), organised by Eye magazine, I discovered a small box of audio recordings in the library’s Beatrice Warde collection, writes Sara De Bondt.
I was allowed to copy digitally the magnetic tape of a radio interview with Warde, recorded in Adelaide, Australia, in 1959, so that Warde’s words could be heard in her own voice once again.
Portrait of Beatrice Warde, 1925, not long after her arrival in London. Photographer unknown.
Top: one of the spools of magnetic tape recording the Australian radio interview with Warde discovered by Sara De Bondt at St Bride Library. Photograph: John Bodkin.
From the archive of St Bride Library, London. Thanks to Dr Shelley Gruendler for caption information.
Interviewer: One of the few women typographers in the world has just visited South Australia. Although Mrs Beatrice Warde was born in New York, she has been associated with the Monotype Corporation in London for over 30 years. Her career there has brought her into close co-operation with leading typographers and book designers from many countries. Mrs Warde, what does your work actually involve?
Beatrice Warde: Well, it involves writing a good many articles and giving a good many lectures on the history and the design of the printed word, and advising innumerable people on how their printed matter should look: book publishers, periodical people, advertisers, professional people, all sorts of people.
I: Does this mean you had to go through the printing trade?
BW: No, the printing trade is barred to women, on the craftsman level. You can’t be apprenticed to the printing trade if you’re a woman, except in certain forms like binding and all that, and that’s been true for many centuries. But of course in design, anyone who has a good sense of design can make the grade if they know their stuff – whether he or she is a man or a woman …
First published in Eye no. 84 vol. 21, 2012
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