The Solotype Archive was begun in 1942 when I was 14. I was a kid printer for several years before that. At 16, after a quick three months of training, I dropped out of school and went to work full time as a radio actor and announcer in San Francisco. By 1962, I was completely burned out on radio, so I decided to see if I could make a living with my collection of antique types, which numbered about a thousand fonts at that time. Business took off immediately. The Solotype collection was one of four commercial collections at the time.
Two years into the business, I began to collect alphabets on paper for conversion to photo lettering, which was just becoming mainstream in the type business.
In 1974, I began to supply Dover Publications with mechanicals for books of 100 alphabets on a particular theme. I did 30 of these books over the years, and 30 more of printers’ ornaments, borders, and so forth.