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Robert Hunter Middleton Papers

Identifier: Wing-Modern-MS-Middleton

Scope and Content of the Collection

Diaries, notes, original manuscripts of writings, design art, correspondence, personal and financial records, printed ephemera, and type specimens from the collection of Robert Hunter Middleton. There are extensive files relating to the Ludlow Typograph Co., Middleton’s longtime employer; to Cherryburn Press and Apprentice House, his private imprints; to the Society of Typographic Arts, and to other organizations. The extensive correspondence files include particularly significant exchanges with artists Egdon Margo and Paul Standard; printers Paul Duensing, Joseph Graves, Victor and Caroline Hammer, and Giovanni Mardersteig; and designers John Dreyfus, James Mangan, Leslie Sprunger, and Gordon Williams.

Examples of Middleton’s work are to be found in the cataloged collection. Related materials are in the Newberry Archives, the Caxton Club Archives, the Ernst F. Detterer Papers, the Douglas McMurtrie Papers, the Raymond F. DaBoll Papers, and the James Hayes Papers. Books and ephemera from Middleton’s library are also held by the Daley Library of the University of Illinois at Chicago.


  • Creation: 1921-1985



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Robert Hunter Middleton Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Robert Hunter Middleton Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of Robert Hunter Middleton

Robert Hunter Middleton was a type designer, lettering artist, graphic designer, and fine-press printer. Born in Scotland in 1898, he came to the U.S. at the age of ten. He graduated from the School of the Art Institute in 1923, after studying with Ernst F. Detterer. As principal designer for the Ludlow Typograph Co. from 1923 to 1970 he was responsible for the design of many typefaces widely used in advertising and newspaper work. He also served as Ludlow’s art director and, in the years before his retirement, on its board. Middleton completed graphic and lettering designs for such Chicago institutions as the Art Institute, Fourth Presbyterian Church, and Frances Parker School. His private press, named Cherryburn for the home of the English wood engraver, Thomas Bewick, specialized in exquisite prints made from original Bewick blocks, which Middleton collected (and later donated to the Newberry Library). In 1970 the Newberry published and distributed Cherryburn’s monumental portfolio of one hundred Bewick prints. Through Cherryburn, Middleton also collaborated with Chicago artist Dale Nichols (1904-1995). Another imprint Middleton founded, Apprentice House, published work in collaboration with Imre Reiner (1900-1987), Margaret Varro, and Phillip Reed (1908- ). Middleton was a founding member of the 27 Chicago Designers and the Society of Typographic Arts, an early participant of the Aspen Design Conference and the Association Internationale Typographique, and an active member of the Typocrafters and other design organizations. In retirement, he taught at Transylvania University, the University of Alabama, Yale, UCLA, and elsewhere.


39 Linear Feet (48 boxes, 14 record cartons, 3 oversize boxes)


Diaries, notes, original manuscripts of writings, design art, correspondence, financial records, printed ephemera, and type specimens from the collection of Robert Hunter Middleton, type designer and fine printer.


Papers are organized in the following series

Series 1: Biographical, 1921-1986
Boxes 1-5
Series 2: Writings, 1935-1971
Boxes 6-8
Series 3: Design Projects, 1922-1985
Boxes 8-12
Series 4: General Correspondence, 1921-1985
Boxes 12-27
Series 5: Ludlow Typograph Company, 1925-1971
Boxes 28-32
Series 6: Society of Typographic Arts, 1927-1985
Boxes 32-36
Series 7: Cherryburn Press, 1943-1985
Boxes 37-40
Series 8: Apprentice House, 1951-1964
Boxes 41-42
Series 9: Miscellaneous Organizations, Travel, etc., 1941-1984
Boxes 42-46
Series 10: Ephemera, 1925-1985
Boxes 47-53
Series 11: Type Specimen, 1925-1980
Boxes 53-54
Series 12: Oversize materials, 1930-1985
Boxes 54-58

Collection Stack Location

4a 30 10-12


Bequest of R. Hunter Middleton, 1985; further gifts from family members and from James Hayes, and Bruce and Margaret Beck, 1986-2007.

Processed by

Paul F. Gehl and Amanda Bolland, 1996-2007.

Inventory of the Robert Hunter Middleton Papers, 1921-1985
Paul F. Gehl and Amanda Bolland
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States