Kelsey Co. Foundry Type

I just bought a 5x8 kelsey and it came with a few unopened sets of Kelsey brand type.

Is this pretty common stuff? I’ve searched for it, but nothing is really coming up.

I’m wondering if it has value to a collector or if I should just use it. If it has value I’d be more interested in trading it for typefaces I’m more suitable to my needs.

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Kelsey bought foundry type from ATF and other foundries, and Monotype from whomever was casting at the time. I have personally purchased type with Kelsey labels which had the series numbers from ATF cast in the appropriate places. You have to be aware of who was casting type at what period in Kelsey’s history to have a better idea of where their type came from. The sources for their types seemed to vary over the years, so it’s sometimes a crap-shoot in buying Kelsey type; you might get foundry one time, and Monotype another.


The easiest way to tell if your “Kelsey” fonts are ATF foundry type or are Monotype cast is to look at the label and see if it says “Connecticut Type Foundry” (all cast by ATF) or if it says “New England Type Foundry” (all cast on Monotype casters).

Kelsey also changed the name of the face on most of the fonts they offered. If you want to tell us what the names of the faces on your packages are, I would be happy to translate those into their original ATF or Monotype names for you. For example: Kelsey’s Margery is actually the Monotype version of Greeting Monotone. And, YES, there is a difference between ATF’s Greeting Monotone and Monotype’s version.


These are from Connecticut.

I’m interested to know what Hanging Hill #655 is.
Also 638 if you have a reference to the numbers.

i’m wondering if it’s worth finding a collector or selling/trading them. I don’t think they are faces I will need and hate to tear into the unopened packages just to experiment with if they have value. any ideas?

If you have Margery, I have been looking for it.

Is this a joke? There is no Hanging Hill.

There is no #655 nor #638 in Kelsey’s numbering system. #655 is ATF’s Bernhard Gothic Light Title and Monotype does not have a #655. The only two “hills” out there are Beacon Hill which was Kelsey’s Monotype version of Park Avenue or Murray Hill (regular and bold) from ATF.

Neither ATF or Monotype have a #638.

Park Avenue was issued as both an ATF face and a Monotype face. ATF’s is a better (original) version as Monotype’s had to be adjusted to fit their incremental mold system.



image: NIK_1178.jpg



image: NIK_1178-2.jpg


Here is a page from my old Kelsey catalog, which shows that 8-point No. 655 appears to be Buffalo, which was actually a Hansen face. It is possible that Kelsey was buying some type from them, at that time or had some mats of that face. 8-point No. 638 appears to be an Old-Style Light which I have not matched. It’s possible that names were given to these faces later. See:[email protected]/4548539660/sizes/l/in/set-7215...
Dave Greer

WOW!!!!!! I definitely stand corrected. I have several ‘old’ Kelsey catalogues, but mine are all of the mid-century vintage, which is what i based my statements on. Didn’t even consider that century-old catalogues would have had a whole different mix of faces (and numbers) offered.

Thanks Dave for posting the image of that ancient Kelsey page.

I’ll try to find the time in the next few days to I.D. those faces/numbers shown on your image. 655 does appear to be Buffalo.

The fonts Percival has truly are ancient and would definitely have more value than mid-cedntury or newer Kelsey offerings.


OK, I think I have a bunch of the faces ID’d from the images on the page posted by Dave Greer above. It is fairly difficult to see exactly what these small 6 and 8 pt. specimens look like on the screen, but I think that enough of them have enough character for me to take a stab at it.

If I had access to photocopies of pages of larger sizes offered in that catalog, it would make it a lot easier to home-in on the unidentified fonts. Many of them are fairly generic so a larger/clearer image would help to specifically nail them down.

I am curious as to what the approximate year is for the page Dave has shown. My range of Kelsey catalogues only goes back as far as the 1940/1950s.

Anyway, all that being said, here is my best estimate of the names of the faces on that sheet:

611, 612, 613 Victoria Italic
618 Abbey Condensed
619 DeVinne Extended
621, 622, 623, 624 Card Mercantile
626 Jenson Old Style
627 Lightface Celtic
628 Cushing Old Style
636 Engravers Old English (interesting that the number sequence changed)
632 Tudor Black
633 Buffalo
634 Lining Gothic Extended
641 Celtic
642 Law Italic
643 DeVinne Condensed
645 DeVinne
646 Jenson Old Style
647 Bradley
662 Engravers Old English (again a sequencial change)
649 Tudor Black
653 French Clarendon
654 Cushing Old Style
655 Buffalo
656 Engravers Roman
657 Condensed Gothic No. 1
659 Lightface Celtic
660 Spread
661 Lining Gothic Extended


Below, is the URL of the whole Kelsey catalog. It appears that they started numbering the type, from the smallest to the largest size, without connecting a number to a specific face. Thanks for identifying the faces.

I have dated the specimen book as “circa-1904,” but that was just a guess. It was incomplete until Paul Aken supplied the missing pages. I hope that you can use the information in it.[email protected]/sets/72157623770704347/


Absolutely fantastic!!!!!! I can open up and look at each picture, but the quality of the images is not even sharp enough for me clearly read the font numbers. I am a complete Luddite when it comes to computers and graphics. When I print the image of a page out, the overall image is even smaller than what appears on my screen.

I really would not mind trying to go through the whole thing and ID all the faces for posterity. I can do an Excel file and then someone can post that to an appropriate site.

What cool stuff!!!!!!!!!!!

My two oldest Kelsey catalogues have a 10-cent price on the cover, whereas my later copies (I’m guessing from the 60s and 70s) had a dollar cover price.

If nothing else, I’ll make some photocopies of Paul’s copy the next time I get by The Platen Press.


If you click on the image of a particular page (in the set of pages that Dave linked to in his flickr account) to get the full page by itself, and then do something like a right-click (or whatever the equivalent would be on your browser/computer combination) you should be able to get to a popup menu which allows you to view the “original” size of the photograph. The resolution of all of the images IS sufficient to make out all of the numbers.

You might also be interested in a scan that Stephen O. Saxe did recently of an 1878 Kelsey catalog. It’s online at:

Steve has been scaning a number of very interesting early catalogs relating to “amatuer” presses - Daughaday, Golding, Kelsey, and Sigwalt so far. There are three ways to get to these:

1. A sort of an index page for them at The Internet Archive:

(go down to the “Description” section and follow the links there)

2. In the 1878 Kelsey scan linked above, click on the link which says “Publisher: CircuitousRoot for Stephen O. Saxe” to get a list of all of the documents that Steve has scanned that I’ve uploaded to the IA.

3. I’ve got a page listing them at:

(Note that in each instance you almost certainly want to go to the version on The Internet Archive (it’s clearly indicated as a text (not icon) link). I also include the original unprocessed scans, but these are quite large and convey little more.

David M.


Thanks for the tips on getting a larger/better image of the pages. I managed to get it to work for me.I now have printouts of the c.1904 catalog’s type specimen pages and will get to work assembling an ID for all of them.

I did look at Steve Saxe’s 1878 catalog as well. That is truly incredible. I should be able to ID a bunch of them as well. The farther back you go, the tougher it gets to find the appropriate foundry catalogs. That might have to wait for another day, but so far this abnormally cold winter is keeping me indoors more than normal, so I will try to get to it.


I have finally finished trying to ID all of the type fonts offered for sale in the c.1904 Kelsey catalog.

These can all be viewed at[email protected]/sets/72157623770704347/ previously posted above by Dave Greer.
These are the images that I used to look up the faces so I may be a little off because they are a little ‘fuzzy’.

I have created an Excel file with the listing of names for these fonts, and that is about the total extent of my capabilities. I have no clue as to how to get this information posted to this site. I would be happy to forward this file to whoever might be able to post it here or elsewhere at aid others.

I don’t not by any means have an extensive collection of 19th-century foundry catalogs, but do have enough to have been able to find practically all of the faces shown.

One face I did not find at all, another I found in a European catalog, and the third I did not find either, but I do have a revival font of it in my shop and all of the information I have about it is that it is called Kelsey Ornate (Ornamented No. 747 - which is the number assigned in this catalog). I seem to remember years ago hearing that no one had been able to trace its original name or foundry or origin at that time.

So, if anyone wants me to forward this file to them (and can hopefully get this information posted) just contact me and I will forward it to you in an e-mail.


Whoops! Had a lowercase o instead of a zero (0) in the link mentioned above. It should be:[email protected]/sets/72157623770704347/


Rick, perhaps you should swap your keyboard for an Intertype board or rearrange the keys to resemble a California job case.

I was interested in why Kelsey named Hansen’s “Buffalo” type “Hanging Hill.” Not the kind of name founders usually give a type.

The answer, from Wikipedia:

Hanging Hills
Mountain range
The Hanging Hills of south central Connecticut, USA are a range of mountainous trap rock ridges overlooking the city of Meriden and the Quinnipiac River Valley 900 feet below.

With his kind permission, I’ve put Rick’s spreadsheet identifying these types online at:

David M.