Skip to main content

Bruce Rogers Papers

Identifier: Wing-Modern-MS-Rogers

Scope and Content of the Collection

The collection consists almost entirely of incoming correspondence to Bruce Rogers; with a few outgoing letters, several items written and/or designed by Rogers, a small miscellany of associated material, and a group of photographs mostly of him.

The correspondence primarily relates to Rogers's professional life as a book designer from publishers, printers, small presses, paper suppliers, special libraries, collectors, friends and admirers. Among the correspondents are Merle Armitage, Willa Cather, Winston Churchill, Sydney Cockerell, Gordon Craig, Frederic Goudy, John Johnson, Rockwell Kent, John T. McCutcheon, Christopher Morley, Ezra Pound, Rudolph Ruzicka, Paul Standard, Chauncey B. Tinker and Daniel Berkeley Updike.


  • Creation: 1902-1951



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Bruce Rogers Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 5 folders at a time maximum, and items in each folder will be counted before and after delivery to the patron (Priority I).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Bruce Rogers Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of Bruce Rogers

Bruce Rogers was born in Linwood, Indiana in 1870, the son of a baker. Showing an early artistic aptitude, Rogers entered Purdue University at sixteen, where he concentrated on art studies and often contributed lettering designs and artwork to the university publications.

From 1893 to 1897, Rogers worked in Indianapolis on the quarterly Modern Art, completing decorations and design for almost every issue. His first contribution to book design was for the decorations for Homeward Songs By the Way by A.E., published in 1895. Rogers moved to Boston that year to work for L. Prang and Co., where Houghton, Mifflin and Co. noticed him and hired him to work at the Riverside Press. In 1900, Mifflin created the Department of Special Editions with Rogers in charge, which made him free to experiment with typography, paper and binding. There he produced about 60 Riverside Press Editions.

From 1911 to 1915, Rogers worked free-lance in New York City, and it was then that he designed the renowned Centaur typeface. From 1917 to 1919, he worked in England for the Cambridge University Press, producing 24 books and brochures. Back in the United States in 1919, he completed his professional commissions at William Rudge's printing house in Mount Vernon, N.Y., and also became printing advisor for the Harvard University Press. Now known as "B.R.," one of his great achievements was supervising the Monotype Corporation's cutting of the Centaur type for machine composition.

In 1932 Rogers designed, illustrated and supervised through the presses, the Odyssey of Homer, translated by T.E. Lawrence, and in 1935 he completed the lauded Oxford Lectern Bible. After 1932, Rogers worked on commissions at his home in Connecticut, among which were a dozen titles for the Limited Editions Club of New York, which included a 37-volume edition of Shakespeare's plays.

Much appreciated in his lifetime, Bruce Rogers, after designing over 500 books, in 1948 was awarded the gold medal for distinction in the graphic arts from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Bruce Rogers married Anne Baker in 1900; their only child, a daughter, died in her twenties. Rogers died in 1957.


0.8 Linear Feet (2 boxes)


Correspondence, a few works, and miscellaneous items relating to Bruce Rogers, an American typographer and designer of books.


Papers are organized in the following series

Series 1: Correspondence, 1902-1951
Boxes 1-2
Series 2: Works, 1903-1949
Box 2
Series 3: Miscellaneous, 1930-1958
Box 2
Series 4: Photographs, 1933-1949
Box 2

Collection Stack Location

4a 30 3


Gift of Bruce Rogers, 1950. Gift of Mrs. John T. McCutcheon, 1973.

Processed by

Virginia H. Smith, 2004.

Inventory of the Bruce Rogers Papers, 1902-1951
Virginia H. Smith
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States