I love books and I love lettering. While I usually focus on fiction when I’m looking through old book stores and used book sales, occasionally a visit to the Art section will turn up a treasure like this, an ideal reference book for hand-lettering of the past. This one was published in 1914.
The title page with the author’s monogram. This book is pretty old-fashioned, leaning heavily toward Art Nouveau which was already going out of style I think, but it has lots of great work and interesting alphabets and lettering samples.
I look through it from time to time for ideas. I don’t do much hand lettering any more, but there are places where I can still use it, in my own prints for instance.
Berglin was clearly good at what he did, and published several other similar books that I haven’t seen. This one was reprinted in paperback by Dover Books at some point, though I don’t see it in their current catalog.
On Facebook, a group of letterers are talking about this similar book by Sam Welo from 1927.
Welo is another fine craftsman, and his book has been a long-time reference for ace letterer Tom Orzechowski.
Some of the pages could fit right in with the older book I have, like this one.
Others are more obviously from the 1920s, and lean toward Art Deco and showcard lettering of that period.
You can clearly see in it not only the styles used in advertising through the 1940s, but also the kind of logo and title design used in early comics as well as pulps, slick magazines, movie posters, film titles and so on. Lots more interesting ideas, and much of it can be found online HERE.
Styles have changed a lot, and this sort of thing is dated now, but still useful for reference and inspiration, especially when going for a period look. Keep an eye out for this sort of volume when you’re book-hunting.