Ugly, misbegotten, hump-backed, and so forth

Some fonts just don't get much love. Papyrus and Comic Sans are well-known for being much loathed. And one font from that more distant past that would have appreciated their situation was Cheltenham. In Just My Type, a recently-published popular history of typography, Simon Garfield describes it as sharing some of the virtues and vices of a popular song: "Like the catchy tune, its appeal waned. It was a fairly charmless face, reliable and pliable, but not beautiful...."

Garfield's assessment is less than flattering, but hardly more unpleasant than that of Cheltenham's creator, Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, in this letter to Daniel Berkeley Updike:

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Jordan Goffin

Special Collections Librarian Jordan Goffin has been mining the wonders in the Library’s Special Collections since early 2011. If you’d like to stop in and spend some time with the historic and noteworthy books, manuscripts and ephemera at PPL, contact him by email at or by phone at 401.455.8021. Also, visit the Notes for Bibliophiles blog ( to read more about the exciting materials in Special Collections and to keep up with events and announcements.


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