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Victor Hammer's Andromaque

In 1959 the French type foundry Deberny & Peignot made a trial casting of what proved to be the last of Victor Hammer's types. He called it Andromaque, with the intention of using it for an edition of Racine's eponymous drama (later realized by Carolyn Reading Hammer, his widow). Some of that type can be still found at the King Library Press in Lexington, Kentucky, and there are also some surviving sorts at Wells College in Aurora, New York, where the original punches and matrices are held in their special collections library.


Sometime in the early 1980's Paul Hayden Duensing arranged to have electro-deposited matrices made from the Deberny & Peignot types, though it is unclear who provided the source materials. Those matrices have passed into the care of Patrick Goosens of Antwerp, Belgium, who has kindly loaned them for this new casting, which was first made on a 14 pt body due to the lack of a 12 pt. body piece for the Thompson. Those results were sufficiently encouraging to warrant a second casting in the more appropriate 12 pt. size thanks to a long-term loan of a 12 pt. body piece by Dr. David Macmillan, hence the two different specimens on display here, both printed for a meeting of the American Typecasting Fellowship

The text of the triptych keepsake printed in 2018 is taken from Victor Hammer's “Digression on the Roman Letter” where he discusses the origins of this somewhat idiosyncratic typeface that he called a “cursive uncial” – a blend of Roman and Greek letterforms. The rough sketch that inspired his punch cutting is reproduced in the center panel. 

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