Biography books a place in Oxford Dictionary
University of Wolverhampton Visual Communication lecturer, Jessica Glaser, has written a biography of one of the most influential females in the history of graphic design and printing.
Jessica, who works in the Wolverhampton School of Art, has focused her PhD research on Beatrice Warde (1900-1969) who raised the profile of printing, inspired print education and promoted typefaces which styled twentieth-century Britain.
The research has been included in the latest update to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography which was released this month.
The Oxford DNB is the national record of men and women who have shaped British history, worldwide, from prehistory to the year 2015. From March 2019 the Dictionary includes biographies of 63,277 individuals, written by over 10,000 contributors. It is freely accessible to members of most public libraries.
An American born typographer, Beatrice Lamberton Becker Warde moved to Britain in 1925 and spent the rest of her life here, working for the British Monotype Corporation where she publicised the new typeface Gill Sans.
Jessica said: “My research on Beatrice Warde is central to my PhD study investigating her place and influence on the printing industry. Her professional life extended throughout a period of significant change and her networks included important figures from publishing and politics, including T.S. Eliot, Eleanor Roosevelt and British politician Eleanor Rathbone. Through her endeavours Beatrice became one of the most influential figures in 20th Century printing.
“The circumstances of Beatrice’s death in 1969 meant that information on her life and work was lost until 2010 when an archive relating to her life and work was established at the Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham.
“Underpinning many contemporary attitudes and approaches to graphic design and typography Beatrice’s work continues to have relevance to contemporary graphic design and typography and as a result her ideas influence education in this area.”
Beatrice was renowned for her support for printing education which became a key aspect of her work and legacy. She was linked to Wolverhampton School of Printing (now Wolverhampton School of Art) supporting the staff and students and visiting the School for presentations and prize-givings during the 1940s and 50s.
Described as ‘A confident and inspiring speaker’, Beatrice lectured at schools of printing around the world, raising the repute of the subject by discussing its importance as a vital, powerful communication tool, and in so doing created an enthusiasm for typography and printing that stimulated and informed generations of students and teachers.
Picture caption: Beatrice Warde during her tour of South Africa in 1957 (Dotman Pretorius Studio of Photography).
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