Albert Bruce Rogers was a celebrated American type and book designer (b. 1870, Linnwood, IN, d. 1957, New Fairfield, CT). A graduate from Purdue in 1890, he worked in book design. It was not until 1901 that he cut his first typeface, Montaigne, a Venetian style typeface named for the first book it appeared in, a 1903 limited edition of The Essays of Montaigne. In 1912, Rogers moved to New York City where he worked both as an independent designer and as house designer for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was for the Museum's 1915 limited edition of Maurice de Guérin's The Centaur that he designed his most famous type-face, Centaur (1914). Like Montaigne, it was based on the Venetian typefaces of Nicolas Jenson. Wikipedia: Rogers considered this typeface to be a substantial improvement on his early Montaigne, both because his design had matured and because, on the advice of Frederic Goudy, he had employed Robert Wiebking as the punch-cutter, and Rogers used Centaur extensively for the rest of his career. The Centaur was produced by Rogers in Dyke Mill at Carl Rollins' Montague Press and is now one of the most collectible books ever printed.
In subsequent years, he designed books for Mount Vernon Press, and Harvard University Press, and served as typographic advisor at Lanston Monotype. To produce the Oxford Lectern Bible for Oxford University Press, an italic complement to Centaur was needed. Wikipedia: As he did not feel capable of designing the sort of chancery typeface that he thought appropriate, Rogers chose to pair Centaur with Frederic Warde's Arrighi, a pairing retained to this day.
Rogers died in New Fairfield, CT, and donated his books and papers to Purdue University, where they are in the Beinecke Rare Book and manuscript Library.
- Montaigne (1901, privately cast). Punches cut by John Cumming. Mac McGrew: Montaigne was designed by Bruce Rogers in 1901, and privately cast for the Riverside Press in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was derived from one page printed in the noted type of Nicolas Jenson, and made in one size only, approximately 16-point, with punches cut by John Cumming of Worcester. Massachusetts. Compare Jenson, Cloister, Centaur, Eusebius.
- Centaur (original) (1914). Development continued until 1931. Privately cast by Barnhart Brothers&Spindler. Matrices cut by Robert Wiebking of the Western Type Foundry. Centaur is a modern version of Nicolas Jenson's Venetian typeface Centaur. There are many digital age descendants of Centaur. Bitstream got that ball rolling with Venetian 301 (Cyrillic version by Dmitry Kirsanov, Paratype, 2006), and SoftMaker has its Cambridge Serial (2010). Type families called Centaur exist at Adobe, Monotype and Linotype. Related typefaces, but without Centaur's flaring, include Phinney Jenson (Tom Wallace) and Nicolas Jenson SG (Spiece Graphics). See also Centurion, Centus (URW), Coelacanth (2014, a free 36-style typeface family by Ben Whitmore), and Arrighi Italic .
- Centaur (Monotype) (1929, Monotype Ltd. and Mackenzie&Harris). Matrices re-cut for machine composition by British Monotype. Further developments based on or related to this typeface: LTC Metropolitan (Lanston; with Frederick Warde; also called Metroplitan Oldstyle; digital version by Lanston/P22), Poster (1918-1919), Goudy Bible (1947, designed with the collaboration of Sol Hess for Lanston Monotype). Mac McGrew: Centaur was designed by Bruce Rogers in 1914, based on the beautiful roman type first used by Nicolas Jenson in 1470, and a refinement of Mon- taigne (q.v.), designed a decade earlier by Rogers. Centaur was first cut by Robert Wiebking of BB&S as a private type for the Museum Press of the Metropolitan Museum of New York. In 1929 it was recut under the joint sponsorship of Lanston Monotype and Monotype Corporation, England, but issued only by the latter. Some critics have called it the best recutting of the Jenson letter. Arrighi (q.v.) was cut as an italic companion to Centaur. Compare Cloister, Eusebius, Italian Old Style, also Jenson. Discussion of Centaur by Don Hosek. About Centaur Monotype (1929), and its digital version, Dean Allen writes: Like Bembo, released for the Monotype machine the same year, Centaur was an exceptionally beautiful and eminently readable revival of Renaissance type. Unfortunately, the producers of the digital version made a common mistake: the shapes are based on the most basic starting point of Bruce Rogers designs. These designs were intended for metal type that would press into paper, the ink spreading as it absorbed into the fibre. The resulting printed shapes had a good deal more visual force than the original designs. The process was total: design anticipating application. This version of Centaur suffers from the perfection of the process of digital design and offset printing: the original shape is printed coldly intact, and thus its very difficult to set a well-made page in Centaur. In 2014, Jerry Kelly and Misha Beletsky coauthored The Noblest Roman (RIT Cary Graphic Ars Press) on the history of Centaur types by Bruce Rogers. The blurb: The history of the Centaur type, likely the most important American typefeace ever designed, has been recounted untold times in very general terms, following the official version of events, purported by its designer in several publications. Yet, as the new research by Jerry Kelly and Misha Beletsky shows, there is a number of gray areas to the story. The new data, culled from archival documents, some unpublished, as well as from a variety of published sources presents this important design and its history in a new light.
- LTC Fleurons Rogers (2005, P22 / Lanston) is a digital font based on fleurons drawn by Rogers.
Linotype link. FontShop link. Klingspor link.
Klingspor Museum page
Type designers ⦿
Type designers ⦿
Type scene in Indiana ⦿
Type scene in Connecticut ⦿
Chancery hand, cancellaresca ⦿
Venetian or antiqua typefaces ⦿
Frederic William Goudy ⦿
Floriated initial caps ⦿