A Typographer's Call To Arms
October 21, 2004 8:33 PM   Subscribe

Help is needed to save the Imprimerie Nationale, one of the greatest repositories of typographic material in the world. (If you have ever used a Garamond revival, or a Didot or a Fournier, you are indebted to the Imprimerie.) Their collection, which spans four centuries, is scheduled to be dissolved in the next twelve months.
quoted from Jonathan Hoefler's email that posted by benson to the typophile forums
posted by sixtwenty3dc (5 comments total)
serious shit. while perhaps the collection would be better served in a museum, i dont think there would be enough demand for it in the world to have it's own museum, nor would any museum probably have the exhibition space or capital to invest in such a collection. regardless, i agree that it should be kept intact.

sign, discuss.
posted by sixtwenty3dc at 8:37 PM on October 21, 2004

done. Even if it's stored in a basement of the Louvre or somewhere, it should be kept. Maybe a Museum of Printing somewhere? (I know there are Graphics Museums all over--maybe one of them would take/acquire it?)
posted by amberglow at 8:39 PM on October 21, 2004

and further discussion at typographi.com
posted by sixtwenty3dc at 8:43 PM on October 21, 2004

All the more reason to support the public domain... if everyone's copying it, you've achieved immortality. If you have to license it each time you want to use it, well, it'll go the way of the Do-Do.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:38 AM on October 22, 2004

Thanks for drawing attention to this, sixtwenty. It looks as if the French government is privatising its national printing office (the Imprimerie Nationale), just as the British government did with its national printing office (the HMSO) in 1996. (The privatisation of the HMSO was a colossal fuckup, with no one in government having the faintest idea how much the business was worth .. but that's another story ..)

Given the French reverence for 'patrimoine', I am not too worried about the fate of the historic library and archives. However, the petition implies that the Imprimerie Nationale collection could be split up, with the books and archives going in one direction and the non-book items (types, punches, lithographic plates, etc) going into storage somewhere else. That would certainly be a great pity -- and anyone interested in the history of typography will want to keep a very close eye on the fate of the collection.

The obvious solution would be to join forces with the struggling Type Museum in London to create a European Museum of the Book. But I can't see centuries of Anglo-French rivalry being overcome so easily ..
posted by verstegan at 6:46 AM on October 22, 2004

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