moorsfield press letterhead name caslon
                      itallics







Moorsfield



                                                          Press
                                                          letterhead for
                                                          Hugh McLellan


The Cas
lon Olde-Style and Old English Typefaces

of the Moorsfield Press

    In April of 1919, Hugh McLellan founded the Moorsfield Press in the cottage of his family's estate in the Village of Champlain, New York.  The establishment of the press renewed his boyhood hobby of printing.  McLellan's goal was to print booklets from his Pliny Moore papers using the style of 18th Century book printers.  This included the use of typeset that replicated the fonts used at the time as well as hand-made paper that looked and felt old.

      McLellan was interested in using the Caslon Olde-Style typeface for his publications.  This style of serif typeface replicated the style of the typeface designed by William Caslon I (1692–1766) in London.  Mr. Caslon was an engraver by trade and he designed this serif-style typeface.  Serif-style fonts are distinguished by the addition of a stroke on the end of characters.  The fonts also had long esses and swash characters that gave them a distinct look.  The original Declaration of Independence was printed with Caslon typeface. 

    Caslon's typeface was popular at the time of its creation and remained popular into the late 1700s before it was replaced by other typefaces.  In the mid-1800s Caslon made a comeback with the arts and craft movement which was focused on fine printing.  The H.W. Caslon & Sons foundry in London reissued Caslon’s original typeface as "Caslon Old Face."   A title page of an 1852 publication was one of the first publications to re-use Caslon.

    When McLellan founded his press, he consulted with Winfred Porter Truesdell who was a publishing friend living in New York City.  McLellan stated in a letter that he eagerly awaited his opinion on the use of Caslon font.  Truesdell sent McLellan a catalog produced by the American Type Founders Company and McLellan quickly ordered a large amount of Caslon Olde-Style typeface in various sizes and types (italics, bold, titles, fractions, etc).  McLellan's decision to use Caslon was an excellent choice for printing his 1700s and 1800s era historical documents. Truesdell used the Kennerley old-style serif font for his publications which was similar to Caslon but designed in the early 1900s by Frederic Goudy of New York City. 

    McLellan was also interested in using paper that looked and felt like paper made in the 1700s.  Truesdell recommended Glaslan paper which was hand-made by the Japan Paper Company (an American company).  Over the years, McLellan used Strathmore Highway Book paper (now Strathmore Bond paper), Aurelian paper and Warren's Olde-Style paper in his 1920s through 1950s publications (among other papers).  The Strathmore Highway Book paper used in his Antiquarian magazines replicates the look of 18th Century publications with its cotton feel and rough edges. 
   
    The following are examples of the Moorsfield Press' Caslon olde-style fonts in regular, italic and title characters.


    caslon olde style font used by
                                    the moorsfield press

moorsfield press antiquarian caslon
                                font

moorsfield press caslon font
                                itallics

caslon olde style font used by
                                  the moorsfield press


    McLellan also chose the Old English typeface and used it for titles in some publications.  This typeface is part of the Blackletter typeface family that was used in the Gutenberg Bible.  The Blackletter font is also referred to as Gothic, Fraktur and Old English.  The font style mimics thin and thick strokes of the pen and adds swirls on the end of the characters to create the look of script handwriting which was used during the Middle Ages. 


old english font used by the
                              moorsfield press

moorsfield press old english
                                  font

moorsfield press old english style
                              font

moorsfield press old english font

moorsfield press old english font


    The McLellans were very proud of their Caslon typeface.  Woody McLellan referred to the Moorsfield Press' typeface in a letter written in 1979 to another printer in Plattsburgh.  The letter is reproduced using the "Bookman Olde Style" font which was similar to Caslon, as previously noted:


    As to the Moorsfield Press.  As a youth and thru college my father had a printing press in his home in NYC and paid much of his college expenses thru it.  However, he became an architect, which he followed until his retirement in 1919.  We then came back to our “ancestral” home in Champlain, and he revived his printing activities as a hobby, primarily to print historical material from our historical collections.
    Altogether we published some 30-odd pamphlets, as well as an [sic] historical magazine for a few years.  Come depression years, and our printing office became of necessity commercial, which it still is, tho’ greatly restricted now.

    Our basic type-face was Caslon Olde Style, one of the most beautiful types ever designed, especially with its “long esses” and swash characters.

    The Caslon typeface has endured many revisions throughout the 1900s and a second set of revisions in the digital age with no one company owning the rights or standards to the style.  An alternative to Caslon was designed in the mid-1800s and was called Bookman Old Style.   This typeface is now bundled with Microsoft Office products according to Wikipedia.  This is the font used on this web page and other pages on this website.

    In the 1960s and 1970s, the Moorsfield Press used a more business style typeface for general printings.  The business still used the Caslon font for titles (top title shown below) in the 1970s and added two more unique fonts for major headings (last four titles below). The press printed the North Country Notes newsletter from 1960 to at least 1981 using these fonts.    

moorsfield press fonts caslon and
                              other fonts 1970s
(used by permission)



Below are examples of the Moorsfield Press' printings using the Caslon Olde-Style and Old English fonts. 
   All samples are from the website author's collection. 

Examples
                      of the Moorsfield Press Caslon Typeface
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                      of the Moorsfield Press Caslon Typeface
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                      of the Moorsfield Press Caslon Typeface
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                      of the Moorsfield Press Caslon Typeface
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                      of the Moorsfield Press Caslon Typeface
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                      of the Moorsfield Press Caslon Typeface
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                      of the Moorsfield Press Caslon Typeface
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                      of the Moorsfield Press Caslon Typeface
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                      of the Moorsfield Press Caslon Typeface
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                      of the Moorsfield Press Caslon Typeface
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                      of the Moorsfield Press Caslon Typeface
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                      of the Moorsfield Press Caslon Typeface
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                      of the Moorsfield Press Caslon Typeface
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                      of the Moorsfield Press Caslon Typeface
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                      of the Moorsfield Press Caslon Typeface
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                      of the Moorsfield Press Caslon Typeface
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                      of the Moorsfield Press Caslon Typeface
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                      of the Moorsfield Press Caslon Typeface
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                      of the Moorsfield Press Caslon Typeface
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                      of the Moorsfield Press Caslon Typeface
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                      of the Moorsfield Press Caslon Typeface
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                      of the Moorsfield Press Caslon Typeface
Examples
                      of the Moorsfield Press Caslon Typeface

An example of Caslon fonts by William Caslon, courtesy Wikipedia.org
(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/45/A_Specimen_by_William_Caslon.jpg)

caslon font from wikipedia


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