James Mosley

T-55: Type, Lettering, & Calligraphy, 1830-1980

17-21 July 2006


1)   How useful were the pre-course readings?

1: Essential. 2: The pre-course readings were very useful although perhaps a little too extensive. 3: Very helpful for background regarding type designers, milieu, and graphic design. 4: Most useful. However, the workbook and bibliography was the best resource. 5: The pre-course readings were very helpful. I particularly enjoyed Nicolete Gray. While Meggs wasn’t really used in class, if you read it, you saw a great number of the types discussed used in print. A text on the private press movement would have been useful -- Meggs doesn’t cover this too well. If this text was on the bibliography, I missed it. 6: Good for background. You need to read some before you come. 7: Very helpful. 8: Very useful. 9: If there is any way to narrow or highlight sections in different books that would be most useful. A slightly shorter list of key readings would be helpful. 10: Very useful. The course was more fun because of the background knowledge.


2)   Were the course syllabus and other materials distributed in class useful (or will they be so in the future, after you return home)?

1: Yes. The notebook and bibliography will encourage further study. 2: Yes, all of Mosley’s handouts are fantastic, especially some of the type illustrations. 3: Yes. 4: The course syllabus and workbook were exceptional -- the workbook makes an excellent reference, and I especially appreciated having JM’s extensive bibliography. 5: Oh, YES! Everything will be very useful. 6: Yes. They will be used at home. 7: Excellent. 8: Yes. 9: Extremely. 10: Yes.


3)   What aspects of the course content were of the greatest interest or relevance for your purposes? Was the intellectual level of the course appropriate?

1: The overall history and influences on the development and dissemination of type design; also the technological/production process information and the demonstrations. Very appropriate. 2: The tracing of the evolution of type and letterforms across the 19th and 20th centuries. The intellectual level was very high. 3: Identifying aspects of type design, learning to look at letterforms, understanding of the making of punches, matrices, design, casting, &c. -- all are invaluable. The intellectual level of the course is appropriate. 4: It soon became clear that JM was presenting a living tradition: the companies of new faces or revivals with their antecedent old style faces was most illuminating and helpful. The intellectual level was appropriate, i.e., MOST HIGH. 5: YES! 6: I look at type and printed materials differently and after the course with JM. 7: Detailed history explained in cohesive contextual manner. Intellectual level appropriate. 8: Yes. 9: Calligraphy, type i.d., digital. 10: I mostly enjoyed the discussion of digital typefaces.


4)   If your course had field trips (including visits to the Dome Room, the McGregor Room, the hand printing presses in the Stettinius Gallery, the Etext Center, UVa’s Albert and Shirley Small Library, RBS’s Lower Tibet, &c.), were they effective?

1: Yes, very. The opportunity to see original examples added a dimension and depth to the topic. 2: Yes, the time in Special Collections was well spent. It could have benefitted from being slightly longer, as we were unable to see all of the books that were ordered. 3: The visit to SC was useful in being able to see actual printed pages at the proper size, and for a break from the projection screen. 4: Yes, of course: no time was wasted, and JM’s ability to read upside-down was remarkable! 5:Yes! Although, more time in SC might have been useful. 6: Time is well spent. It’s nice to actually see some books. 7: Yes. 8: Yes (but see no. 6). 9: Yes. 10: N/A.


5)   What did you like best about the course?

1: JM -- he is an expert and articulate instructor. I appreciate his conversational manner of presentation,. His depth of scholarship, his first-hand experience, and the deft way he combines the aesthetic, technical, cultural, historical, and human aspects into a coherent presentation. Also excellent and appropriate use of technology in teaching. 2: The instructor’s profound understanding of the subject. 3: See no. 3, above. 4: I liked best the “aura” of the course and the challenges presented to me. It was clear that JM felt a sense of freedom teaching at RBS, and thus was able to give us insights into “today’s dish” in addition to presenting well-prepared and well-paced lectures. I especially appreciated JM’s appreciation of Nelly Gable and Matthew Carter. 5: JM, he’s great -- a treasure. 6: JM is so knowledgeable about printing, fonts. His stories are not only amusing but educational. 7: Great visuals to support lecture, excellent handouts. JM is a charmer. 8: JM’s great skill in presentation, demonstrated both in lecturing style and in the choice and beauty of the images on the screen. 9: Without a doubt, JM. No one leads students through the hurly-burly of typography quite like him. 10: JM.


6)   How could the course have been improved?

1: More time. More comfortable chairs -- we sit a long time. 2: Compared with the first Mosley course, Type, Lettering, and Calligraphy 1450-1830, the chronology followed in this course was sometimes a little chaotic. 3: No complaints whatsoever regarding JM and his deep knowledge of typography and ability to import that knowledge. 4: Having access to the course workbook a week in advance would have been helpful. 5: A little more in digital type/technologies, but it’s always very hard to discuss something when you are in the midst of it (an era). Seeing Linotype set would be nice but not required. 6: Only way to improve course would be to make it longer. More on digital? 7: Content wise -- all great, but I would like to hear more about digital origins, technology. Physically -- the table area was too small for ten people. I was squeezed into an uncomfortable space, and I am a relatively small person, but it detracted from my ability to concentrate comfortably. Temperature more comfortable than in previous years. 8: Not possible. 9: Oxford DVD and/or type demo (SN’s schedule permitting) earlier in the week -- we talk so much about the making of type before the demonstration that it would be very helpful to have it earlier to contextualize. Second, have TB do a Linotype demo (also early). Third, are there any videos showing Monotype? Fourth, more on digital.. Fifth, obviously no Frutiger DVD.


7)   We are always concerned about the physical well-being both of the RBS teaching collections and of materials owned by UVa’s Special Collections. If relevant, what suggestions do you have for the improved classroom handling of such materials used in your course this week?

1: None. 2: No suggestions. 3: No suggestions -- handling of material was appropriate. 4: I loved having full access to RBS collections and was delighted to see books from UVa’s Special Collections.6: Books were well taken care of.


8)   If you attended the Sunday and/or Monday night lectures, were they worth attending?

1: Yes. TB’s lecture sounded a hopeful note for RBS. Vince Golden’s talk was very personal while painting an accurate picture of the newspaper preservation scene. 2: While I was very interested in the subject matter, I found the lecture quite tedious as it seemed primarily a recitation of statistics. 3: Yes– TB’s lecture serves as a perfect “gateway” into the RBS week, and VG is an excellent and entertaining speaker with good tales to tell. 4: Yes -- they are essential to the RBS experience. 5: Sunday-no. Monday- yes. 6: Both lectures were interesting. It is always good to hear TB and where RBS is going. VG was entertaining and instructive. 7: Newspaper -- quite entertaining. 9: Yes. 10: Yes. TB and VG both did a splendid job.

9) If you attended evening activities, was the time profitably spent?

1: Museum Night was very worthwhile -- I enjoyed the unhurried opportunity to use the RBS book collection. 2: Yes. 3: N/A. 4: Yes. 5: Video Night -- no. 6: N/A. 7: The movies were very outdated -- esp. how to handle a book. Papermaking - get a newer one. All had an outdated, corny feel. 9: N/A.


10) Did you get your money’s worth? Any final thoughts?

1: YES! Do the advance readings. It would have been nice to have the notebook in advance of the course -- not much time to read it during the RBS week. 2: Absolutely. This course was really fantastic and I urge prospective students to take advantage of JM’s encyclopedic knowledge while they can. At the very least, someone should do an extensive oral history with him. 3: Yes -- as TB noted in his Sunday talk, RBS is still the only place to receive such in-depth schooling on matters as arcane as these -- and as JM noted more than once throughout, the digital revolution has caused everyone to think about fonts and type usage in a new and more encompassing way. Thank you! 4: Of course! Do take a look at JM’s blog before coming to RBS. 5: Loved the class. Enjoyed the diversity and seriousness of my classmates found within the class. Yes, I would take another class -- especially with Mosley, Nelson, and in the history of the book. 6: Absolutely. This is an area sometimes overlooked in the history of the book, and it’s good to have a course on it. 7: O.K. 8-10: Yes.

Number of respondents: 10


Leave                       Tuition                    Housing                   Travel

Institution                 Institution                 Institution                 Institution

gave me leave            paid tuition               paid housing              paid travel

30%                            10%                            10%                            10%

I took vaca-                I paid tui-                  I paid for my              I paid my own

tion time                    tion myself                 own housing              travel

40%                            30%                            60%                            70%

N/A: self-                   N/A: Self-                   N/A: stayed                N/A: lived

employed, re-             employed,                  with friends               nearby

tired, or had              retired, or                  or lived at

summers off              scholarship                home

30%                            60%                            30%                            20%

There were two rare book librarians (20%), one archivist/manuscript librarian (10%), one general librarian with no rare book duties (10%), one teacher/professor (10%), one full-time student (10%), one museum employee not employed in the library (10%), and three marked other (30%).