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Steve Matteson

Loving Letters


Loving Letters

Hi Friends of the Press, and a very Happy Feast-Day of St Brigid to you all! We are most glad to celebrate this day with the launch of our latest book ~

Love Letters: An Abecedarium of Type Designs by Frederic W. Goudy

This project all began with the simple love of letters ~ letters beautifully designed, cast, printed, and shared. 

One of the most gifted and prolific type designers in American history, Frederic Goudy began his life’s work at his Village Press in Park Ridge, Illinois in 1903. Beginning in the 1890s and continuing until his death in 1947, he designed well over 100 typefaces, many of which are still in use today in both metal and digital formats. 

At St Brigid Press, we are honored to care for and print with a couple of rarer metal castings of Goudy’s designs. This book presents the gorgeous 60-point Cloister Initials and the elegant Friar in the form of an abecedarium, or “a-b-c book” ~ the large Initial letters are accompanied on each page by the name of another of Goudy’s typefaces, printed here in his Friar. The book was designed, handset in metal type, and printed on the circa-1915 iron handpress here at the Press by Emily Hancock.

If you want to see more of the process on printing a page of this book, please see our previous post, “Diary of a Printed Page.”

Steve Matteson, Creative Director at Monotype and historian of Frederic Goudy and his type designs.

Steve Matteson, Creative Director at Monotype and historian of Frederic Goudy and his type designs.

Frederic Goudy energized a new generation of type designers with his beautiful, time-tested work. One of those designers who takes inspiration from Goudy is Steve Matteson. Steve is one of the finest digital type designers in the world, serving currently as Creative Type Director at the legendary Monotype Corporation. His roots are in metal and cast iron, though — he and I met in the Fall of 2015, at the American Printing History Association’s conference celebrating the iron handpress, held at the Rochester Institute of Technology where Steve first studied typography. 

From the Droid font family to digital revivals of Goudy’s own types like Bertham Pro and Friar Pro, Matteson has a brilliant sense of lettering and typography. And history, too — we were thrilled when Steve agreed to write an introduction for Love Letters. In a few paragraphs, he manages to introduce us to Goudy the late-19th/early-20th century craftsman, and to bring the beauty of Goudy’s art and heart forward into our present age. 

We love letters. And Frederic Goudy's are some of the most beautiful ever designed. May they spark joy in you as well!

  • Edition of 45 numbered books.
  • 6 x 4 inches (closed)
  • Interior papers are Rives Lightweight mouldmade paper (cream), with accents of French Paper Company’s Parchtone Natural.
  • Covers are Chestnut-Pinto Lokta, handmade in Nepal.
  • Sewn side-bound with linen thread.
  • Preface by Emily Hancock.
  • Introduction by Steve Matteson.
  • Goudy Old Style type for the text was specially cast for this printing by Patrick Reagh in Sebastopol, California.

TO ORDER, please continue to our secure check-out HERE.


New Year's Greetings from the Press


New Year's Greetings from the Press

Dear Friends,

Gratitude is something that we aim to practice and cultivate here at the Press. With the turn of the calendar year, we are especially mindful of this today and want to share some of what's at the top of our Thankful list:


Without your friendship and support, St Brigid Press would not be able to continue. We are so deeply grateful for your active presence with us on this creative journey, and for your enthusiasm for and patronage of the work we do.


2016 saw the publication of our first book printed on the iron handpress, Reverie. (If you missed that exciting process, check out these previous posts: "Printing a Poem on the Handpress" and "Printing With Plants".)

2017 begins with two books in process: Love Letters (an abecedarium honoring the beautiful work of American type designer Frederic Goudy, with an introduction by contemporary type designer Steve Matteson), and Wind Intervals (a new chapbook of poems by Jeff Schwaner, illustrated with nature prints). More on these projects soon!


We are grateful to care for and print with an excellent collection of metal and wood type, and we give great thanks for folks who are still casting new metal type for us letterpress printers to use. Pat Reagh, of Patrick Reagh Printers in California, cast a gleaming font of Goudy Old Style for us this summer. And Michael and Winifred Bixler of The Bixler Press and Letterfoundry in New York created a gorgeous set of Bembo letters for us earlier in the year. These two castings will feature in the new books-in-progress.

In addition to metal type, we are honored to house the St Brigid Press Collection of Historic Wood Type. This collection received some wonderful TLC by graphic designer and 2016 Press intern, Julia Grammer. Julia identified, catalogued, and cleaned the type, and then produced some stunning letterpress printed type specimens of selected faces. We are very thankful for her excellent work of curating this collection.


In addition to the books-in-progress mentioned above, we have several new and extremely exciting irons in the Press fire. Over the next few months, stay tuned as we unveil these creative adventures, from a new wood type poster series to new vistas in poetry publishing! As always, we are grounded and guided by our mission to continually offer the daily bread of language, especially poetry, while practicing the traditional arts and crafts of printing and book making. Thank you, once again, for journeying with us!

With gratitude, and all best wishes,

Emily Hancock of St Brigid Press