Rob Roy Kelly: A Bottle of Scotch for Two Cases of Wood Type

Monday, November 5, 2018 6:30 - 8:30pm

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In a free, public talk, David Sheilds, an associate professor and chair of the department of graphic design at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, discusses the Rob Roy Kelly Wood Type Collection, a comprehensive collection of wood type, comprised of nearly 150 faces of various sizes and styles. Rob Roy Kelly (1925–2004) the noted design educator, collector, and historian began gathering the types in the late 1950s and continued adding to the collection through the mid-1960s. His decade-long research project culminated in the publication of American Wood Type, 1828–1900: Notes on the Evolution of Decorated and Large Types and Comments on Related Trades of the Period, which remains today to the preeminent history of wood type. Get tickets here.

David Shields is currently focusing his research on 19th century typographic form and visual culture arising from investigations of Rob Roy Kelly’s American Wood Type Collection. He keeps a slow blog of his research at Wood Type Research. His writing has been published in Slanted Magazine, Printing History, Design Inquiry Journal, and Ultrabold the Journal of the St Bride Library. He continues to practice as a designer at the studio he co-founded with Jennifer Elsner in Brooklyn in 2000, Viewers Like You, a full-service design studio that provides creative consultancy for graphic and editorial communications and specializes in branding, strategy, and positioning of both start-ups and established companies. Shields holds a BFA from Memphis State University and a MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art.

Located in the Frederick P. Rose Auditorium, at 41 Cooper Square (on Third Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets)

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.