Harry Carter (typographer)

Harry Graham Carter (27 March 1901 – 10 March 1982) was an English typographer, translator and writer.[1] He was a well-known historian of type.[2] He was the father of type designer Matthew Carter.

Harry Graham Carter
Born27 March 1901
Died10 March 1982(1982-03-10) (aged 80)
EducationBedales School
ChildrenMatthew Carter


Carter studied at the progressive Bedales School (where he was a friend of John Rothenstein), and at The Queen's College, Oxford "where he became competent in French, German, Spanish, and Russian".[3] (He would later learn Arabic, and design a Hebrew font.) Though he was studying law, Carter became interested in typography and bought a printing press.

His first work with type came in 1928 and 1929 as an apprentice at the Monotype Corporation.[1] At this time he formed friendships with Jan van Krimpen, Stanley Morison, Francis Meynell, and Oliver and Herbert Simon (cousins of his school-friend, John Rothenstein). He became involved the Curwen Press, and after leaving the Monotype Corporation worked briefly at the Kynoch Press in Birmingham. In 1931 he and Herbert Simon published Printing Explained.

From 1936 to 1938 he worked at the Nonesuch Press in London, as Meynell's book-designer. His son, Matthew Carter, was born in 1937.

In 1937 before the start of the war, Carter, Ellic Howe, Alfred F. Johnson, Stanley Morison and Graham Pollard started to produce a list of all known pre-1800 type specimens. This project was completed and published April 1940. Because of the war many libraries at the European continent were not accessible anymore.[4]

In 1942 he translated Erasmus' In Praise of Folly into English.[5]

During World War II he saw service in the Middle East. After the war, he worked for some eight years at HMSO, again under Meynell. In 1954 Carter was hired by Oxford University Press, where he worked for sixteen years. He was archivist and assistant to Stanley Morison as Morison worked on John Fell, published in 1967. He also cataloged thousands of matrices, punches, and fonts for the Plantin-Moretus Museum, and assisted Charles Enschede with his Typefoundries in the Netherlands.

Carter was the author and editor of books and articles on typography and the history of type. Notable among his writings are, The Wolvercote Mill: a study of paper-making at Oxford, 1957; A View of Early Typography: Up to about 1600, 1969; and A History of the Oxford University Press. Volume I to the year 1780, 1975.

Further readingEdit

  • Thomas, Martyn; Lane, John; Rogers, Anne (2005). Harry Carter: Typographer. Old School Press. ISBN 1899933115. OCLC 60667540.


  1. ^ a b "Harry Carter < Hyphen Press". Hyphenpress.co.uk. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
  2. ^ "Harry Carter, man of type: St Bride Library". Stbride.org. Archived from the original on 17 September 2008. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  3. ^ "Fine Press Book Association". Fpba.com. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
  4. ^ A list of Typespecimens, The Bibliographic Society, London, 1942, printed at the Oxford University Press
  5. ^ Office, Library of Congress Copyright (19 August 1973). "Catalog of Copyright Entries. Third Series: 1971: January-June". Copyright Office, Library of Congress – via Google Books.

External linksEdit