Kelly's Wood Type Collection Celebrated in New Book | Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Kelly's Wood Type Collection Celebrated in New Book

March 01, 2023
An image with several wood block letters ready to be printed.

Professor Emeritus Rob Roy Kelly's wood type collection is being celebrated in a new book from the University of Texas.

Kelly originally began collecting wood type in 1957 for MCAD students to use. Over the years, this collection eventually reached 19,000 pieces before selling it to his friend (and MoMA head librarian) Bernard Karpel in early 1966. The collection is now currently housed at the University of Texas Austin.

A new book has been published detailing the history of Kelly's collection. The Rob Roy Kelly American Wood Type Collection: A History and Catalog goes into Kelly's life, career, the collection's organization, and the collection catalog.

David Shields, the author and the former collection caretaker from 2004 to 2012, has stated that the book "attempts to aggregate the full range of materials and primary sources that Kelly accessed during his research. My intention is to demystify his process and illuminate the full breadth of the collective labor of Kelly’s wood type project."

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