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Bass, Saul (08 May 1920–25 April 1996), graphic designer, was born in New York City to Aaron Bass, a furrier, and Pauline Feldman Bass. He grew up in the Bronx and attended public schools, graduating from high school at the age of fifteen. From an early age, he was constantly drawing and sketching, and by his early teens he knew that he wanted to become what was then known as a commercial artist. After graduating from public high school in 1936 he received a scholarship to the Art Students League in New York City, where he studied until 1939. He had already launched his career as a freelance graphic designer after leaving high school, and he continued that career in New York until 1946. He also studied design at Brooklyn College during the academic year 1944–1945....

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Bayer, Herbert (05 April 1900–30 September 1985), artist, industrial designer, and architect, was born in Haag (near Salzburg), Austria, the son of Maximilian Bayer, a rural government bureaucrat, and Rosa Simmer. Bayer traced his lifetime interests in nature and art to early alpine treks with his father and to watercolor landscape painting encouraged by his mother....

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Theresa Leininger-Miller

Bell, Mary A. (02 July 1873–20 September 1941), artist, was born in Washington, D.C., the daughter of James F. Bell and Susanna County, probably laborers. Very little is known about Bell’s early life. As an African American, she presumably attended segregated schools. It is unlikely that she ever received artistic training; she declared that she drew “without human teaching.” She probably worked as a domestic servant, laundress, or seamstress beginning in her teenage years, and she may have traveled extensively; Bell said she “lived all around” before World War I. Since she does not appear in early twentieth-century city directories or census records in Washington, D.C., or Boston, Massachusetts, and because she apparently never married or had children, it is likely that she resided with her various employers....

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Chamberlain, Samuel V. (28 Oct. 1895–10 Jan. 1975), graphic artist, photographer, and gourmet food writer, was born Samuel Vance Chamberlain in Cresco, Iowa, the son of Dr. George Ellsworth Chamberlain, a surgeon, and Cora Lee Summers. In 1901 the family moved to Aberdeen, Washington, where Chamberlain undertook his early education. In ...

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Dwiggins, William Addison (19 June 1880–25 December 1956), typographic designer and calligrapher, was born in Martinsville, Ohio, the son of Moses Frazer Dwiggins, a physician, and Eva Siegfried. Following his childhood in Martinsville; Richmond, Indiana; Zanesville, Ohio; and Cambridge, Ohio, where he graduated from high school, Dwiggins went to Chicago in 1899 to attend the Frank Holme School of Illustration. There he studied lettering with ...

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Feininger, Lyonel Charles Adrian (17 July 1871–13 January 1956), artist, was born in New York City, the son of Karl (sometimes called Charles) Feininger, a violinist and composer, and Elizabeth Cecilia Lutz, a singer and pianist. While attending a public grammar school, Feininger studied violin with his father, giving his first performances at age twelve. Though his father had planned a musical career for him, Feininger showed an early interest in drawing and modern technology. He united these interests in detailed drawings of locomotives, ships, and bicycles. His parents, though apparently dismayed at Feininger’s interest in drawing over music, provided him with art training by Hilda Marshall, a former pupil of ...

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Fisher, Avery Robert (04 March 1906–26 February 1994), entrepreneur, graphic designer, and audio engineer, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the youngest of six children of Charles Fisher and Mary Byrach Fisher, both Russian immigrants. Young Avery was captivated by his father's extensive record collection and this began his lifelong love of classical music. He entered New York University (NYU) in 1924, majoring in biology and English. After graduating in 1929 he joined an advertising agency and came into contact with several publishing companies who were his clients. He got a job as a graphic designer with G. P. Putnam's Sons and then joined Dodd, Mead & Company in 1933, where he worked for the next ten years. He recalled his work in graphic design with great pride and claimed that designing books was his first love. He said that a beautiful typographic design was as pleasing to the eye as listening to music was pleasing to the ear. In 1941 he married Janet Cane; the couple had three children....

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Fortune, Amos (1710?–17 November 1801), tanner and bookbinder, was born in Africa and brought to the colonies as a slave while very young. Nothing is known of Fortune’s parentage, birth, or early years. It is estimated that he arrived in America around 1725, but little is known of his life in the colonies prior to the mid-1700s. Ichabod Richardson of Woburn, Massachusetts, purchased Fortune around 1740, kept him as a slave apprentice, and taught him the art of tanning. In December 1763 Richardson drafted a “freedom paper” granting Fortune’s freedom but died without signing it. Fortune remained a slave of the Richardson family until 1770, when a valid article of manumission signed by Ichabod’s sister-in-law, Hannah, secured his freedom....

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Goudy, Frederic William (18 March 1865–11 May 1947), typographer and printer, was born in Bloomington, Illinois, the son of John Fleming Goudy, a real estate broker, and Amanda Melvina Truesdell. The family moved to Shelbyville, Illinois, where, when he was sixteen, he received a commission to paste Bible verses to a classroom wall. He designed and cut some three thousand letters himself. In 1884 his family moved to Highmore, South Dakota (then part of the Dakota Territory), where his father was appointed federal probate judge. In 1888, after an attempt to establish a loan and mortgage company, Goudy moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to work as a bookkeeper for a department store. A year later he moved to Springfield, Illinois, but soon decided to return to South Dakota. As it happened he ventured no further than Chicago, Illinois....

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Nash, John Henry (12 March 1871–24 May 1947), printer, bibliophile, and typographer, was born in Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada, the son of John Marvin Nash, a mechanical engineer, and Catherine Cain. Though withdrawn from public school at age sixteen to begin his practical education by learning his father’s trade, Nash insisted on becoming a printer. He began his career in 1888 with an apprenticeship at James Murray and Company, a Toronto printing firm. Despite his thorough training and seeming determination to become a printer, Nash left the business after a few years and embarked on the life of a bicycle racer. A major fad in the 1890s, bicycle racing offered the opportunity for wealth and fame, and both appealed to him. He traveled the racing circuit from around 1890 to 1892, when his passion for the sport waned and he decided to go back to printing. Nash returned to Toronto to work for Brough and Caswell and then for Milne-Burgham Company, where he remained until 1894. In the winter of 1894 he left Toronto to work for App-Stotts in Denver, Colorado; he stayed there a mere four months, after which he relocated to San Francisco....

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Penfield, Edward (02 June 1866–08 February 1925), artist and designer, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Josiah Penfield, a merchant, and Ellen Locke Moore. He grew up in Brooklyn and attended schools there, but not much is known of his early childhood. In 1881 Penfield began working for Harper and Brothers in New York. In 1889 he enrolled in the Art Students League in Manhattan, where he studied periodically until 1895. At the Art Students League, he studied under George deForest Brush, an academic painter who also admired French impressionism and instilled in his students an appreciation for European art....

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Paul Rand Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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Rand, Paul (15 August 1914–26 November 1996), graphic designer, was born Peretz Rosenbaum in Brooklyn, New York, to Itzhak Yehuda Rosenbaum, a Polish immigrant, and Leah Rosenbaum (maiden name is unknown). The family, which also included his twin brother, Fishel, and an older sister, were strict Orthodox Jews who made their home in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, where the elder Rosenbaums ran a grocery store. Peretz and his twin were inseparable as children, attending both public school and yeshiva, and manifested independence from an early age, often venturing outside the neighborhood to explore the secular world and attempting to bend and break the rules of Jewish tradition. Peretz showed an artistic aptitude from the time he was a toddler, drawing and sketching whenever he could find pencil and paper. Newspaper cartoon strips, especially “Krazy Kat,” were an early influence, and much to his father's disapproval he became a devotee of comic books. As he grew older, he found himself confronting and rejecting the strictures of his religious tradition at every turn, beginning with his insistence on drawing human figures—a forbidden act in the eyes of Orthodox Jewry....

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Ruzicka, Rudolph (29 June 1883–20 July 1978), artist, typographer, and author, was born in Kourim in central Bohemia, the son of Václav Ruzicka, a tailor, and Josefa Reichman. Accompanying his parents to the United States in 1894, he settled in Chicago, where he completed seven grades of public school in three years while at the same time learning to speak English. He then left in 1897 to begin an apprenticeship at the Franklin Engraving Company, where he learned to engrave on wood and to work a Washington hand press. In subsequent employment in other firms, Ruzicka learned the electrotype and photogravure processes while studying art at Hull-House and the Art Institute of Chicago....

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Saul Steinberg. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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Steinberg, Saul (15 June 1914–12 May 1999), graphic artist, was born in Râmincul-Sarat, Romania, the son of Moritz Steinberg, a printer and bookbinder, and Rosa Iacobson Steinberg. In later years, Steinberg recalled Romania as “a masquerade country.” The work of Steinberg's life was largely concerned with masks of reality and the reality of masks. The only difference between Americans and others, he noted, was that they wore their masks more lightly....