Scope and arrangement
The Typophiles, Inc. records consist of the papers of Dr. Robert L. Leslie and the records he generated as a member and officer of the organization. The collection includes correspondence, cards, books, original art work, manuscripts, chap books, book orders, photographs, posters, meeting minutes, event schedules, financial records, printed matter and examples of calligraphy and hand-printed matter, flyers, posters, catalogs, and memorabilia, documenting the book arts and specifically Leslie's and the Typophiles' role within it.
The Typophiles, Inc. records document the main activities of the group which were social events, publication projects, membership and travel. The earliest records start in the 1940s with some general correspondence discussing chap book projects, meetings, orders for chap books and other regular activities of the group. Records dating after 1986 were gathered from officers and donated with the collection materials.
The Robert L. Leslie papers include a substantial amount of Leslie's personal correspondence, the records from his business, The Composing Room, Inc. and its related enterprises, Gallery 303 and The Heritage of the Graphic Arts lecture series. It also includes papers of his wife, Dr. Sarah K. Greenberg, who was a noted specialist in obstetrics and gynecology. Of particular interest is her correspondence with Dr. Catherine Lealtad of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, regarding her medical relief work and the conditions in postwar France and Germany and in China during the Civil War.
Examples of printing, calligraphy and printers' marks can be found in the printed materials subseries of The Typophiles, Inc. records and among the Composing Room, Inc. records, as well as throughout the collection, in cards and on correspondence. The Composing Room, Inc. records also include a section of reference materials on typefaces which may have been reference materials for the business itself, or a part of the Typographic Reference Library Leslie developed as a graphic arts consulting library.
The Leslie materials contain many awards and special gifts that were presented to him, such as the necktie that was hand-lettered by Lili Wronker, and the book of birthday wishes written on handmade paper by Leslie's many friends and kept in a specially made and decorated box.
There are many photographs in the collection, both formal and candid images, which are divided into several subseries. The Typophiles, Inc. records includes images of the social events they held, many individual members, and Junketeers trips. Robert Leslie's personal photographs include photographs of Leslie, his wife, family members, and friends. The Composing Room photographs includes images of the work areas, employees, linotype machines and other equipment, social events of the company, and of Sol Cantor and Dr. Leslie. There are many images documenting the Gallery 303 exhibits, as well as The Heritage of the Arts lectures, including photographs taken by member and photographer, A. Burton Carnes. Many of Carnes' negatives remain in the collection. Prints with corresponding negatives are noted on the box list.
There is one file representing Leslie's relationship with the American-Soviet Medical Society (Dr. Leslie was the business manager). The official records are located in the History of Medicine Division, National Library of Medicine, Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD.
The Typophiles, Inc. records are arranged in four series:
Photographs are divided in six subseries that follow the general outline of the collection: the Typophiles, Inc. photos; Dr. Leslie's personal photos; The Composing Room, Inc.; Gallery 303; and the Heritage of Graphic Arts Lectures. In many cases, photographs were removed from folders in the other two series and placed with in the Photographs series and given the same title; a separation sheet was left in its place to alert the reader. In the case of personal snapshots that came with correspondence from family or friends, the photographs were left in the folder. Photographs that were not in labeled folders were arranged by content.
This series includes two large flat boxes of black and white prints and contact sheets from various lectures, exhibits, or social events. Most are not identified; several prints are matted (see box 132 ); one is dated 12/3/1953. Box 131 contains an unusual and striking 11x17 black and white portrait of Dr. Leslie.
Please note that boxes 60, 98, 124, 133 contain oversized materials removed from a particular series. A separation sheet is included in the original folder directing readers to the new box, and a note was made in the container list entry. This series, in addition to oversized photographs, contains oversized paper items removed from other series as well as miscellaneous posters, advertisements, drawings, and birthday cards.
The collection also contains many plaques and framed awards and certificates. Photocopies have been made of the text on most of the plaques in boxes 61a and 61b. These copies are in the "Awards…" folder (box 60, folder 6). Three items did not copy well and unfortunately are not included. These are the National Conference of Christians and Jews Brotherhood Award, and two items commemorating Leslie's 90th birthday: a cooper plaque from the Goudy Society and a slice (approximately 9 inches round) of a tree trunk with birthday greetings carved into it.