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Cambridge University Library


The Dreyfus collection (CCA-F 52) is the library of John Dreyfus (1918-2002), who was a noted British typographer of the second half of the 20th century. He joined Cambridge University Press in 1939, and was involved in organizing the 1940 exhibition celebrating 500 years of printing in Europe. After war service he returned to Cambridge, becoming Assistant University Printer in 1949. In 1955 he succeeded Stanley Morison as typographical adviser to the Monotype Corporation, a post he held until retirement in 1982. His years with Monotype coincided with the shift away from hot-metal typography, first to photocomposition and then to digital character generation. He was by upbringing a cosmopolitan figure, and his library reveals his close contacts with typography and fine printing in the United States, France, Germany and elsewhere. He was in close contact with many of the great typographers of his time: Hermann Zapf, Maximilien Vox, Adrien Frutiger, Jan van Krimpen, Jan Tschichold, René Ponot, Max Caflisch, Raymond Gid, Harold Berliner, W.A. Dwiggins and others. Many of the books from Dreyfus's library contain personal inscriptions from the authors. His fondness for Cambridge remained after his retirement; in a letter to the printer Morris Gelfand dated 5th August 1993 he stated his intention "to ensure that my own collection eventually goes to the Cambridge University Library, where I learnt so much about typography while I was an undergraduate." In fact many items were passed to the Fitzwilliam Museum, while those with personal inscriptions came to the University Library and other material was given to the library of Trinity College, Cambridge.

Cambridge University Library also holds the papers of John Dreyfus as part of its collection of Printers' Papers. Other collections of typographical interest in the Library include the Broxbourne, Meynell and Morison collections.