The first TDC Beatrice Warde Scholarship

It was during a visiting class at the Type Directors Club headquarters last year that the question of “who was the first TDC female member?” came up. Strangely this had been the only time anyone had ever asked our Executive Director, Carol Wahler, this question. It takes a lot to stump Carol, so she made it her mission to find out.

The search began via the archives of meeting minutes starting from the birth of the club in 1946. The club was founded that year, in New York, by a group of ‘mad men’ from ad agencies such as J. Walter Thompson and McCann-Erickson. Milton Zudek was one of the founding members and this select group wanted to elevate their ‘type director’ profession and the quality of typography throughout the creative industry. During the TDC’s first exhibition opening in 1955, Zudek laid out the club’s mission: “We simply want to make more and more advertising people aware of the importance of the agency typographer. We want them to realize that the selection of type for an advertisement demands a sixth sense that goes beyond the basic knowledge of typefaces—that it demands, in effect, the same kind of artistic sense that people have learned to associate with Art Directors, but are still learning to associate with Type Directors.” Carol’s quest ended when she discovered that Beatrice Warde became the first female (honorary) member in 1960.

Portrait of Beatrice Warde, circa early 1925.

A sketch by Eric Gill of Beatrice Warde at work

A sketch by Eric Gill of Beatrice Warde at work.‘The Monotype Recorder’ (Title: ‘I am a communicator’) Vol. 44 no.1 Autumn 1970. Page 7. Copyright © 1970 Monotype Imaging Inc.

Beatrice Warde was born in 1900 and from a young age she began to show interest in calligraphy which later blossomed into a love of letterforms in general. Often labelled as an American communicator on typography, Beatrice’s name is also synonymous with Monotype.

Vikki Quick, Corporate Communications Manager from Monotype describes Beatrice as: “one of the strongest and most colorful ambassadors of typography that Monotype has ever known.” Beatrice joined the company in 1927 at a time when few women held careers—and fewer still in the male-dominated printing industry. By then, Beatrice had already built a respectable reputation, writing authoritative pieces on printing and typography under a male pseudonym (Paul Beaujon). Her articles, which included a piece on her discovery of the origins of Garamond, attracted Monotype’s management in London who recruited her for a position. Imagine their surprise when “he” walked in on Day 1 of her new job.

It was an enduring relationship. Beatrice stayed with Monotype for more than 30 years. She ran public relations for much of the time and frequently spoke on the importance of beautiful and effective typography. One of her most memorable contributions was her lecture given to the British Typographer’s Guild. The words of that speech, “The Crystal Goblet,” are some of the most famous ever spoken about good typography – words that still ring true today.


‘The crystal goblet: Sixteen essays on typography’ by Beatrice Warde. First edition published by Sylvan Press, London (1955). Image credit: Amazon UK

Beatrice was called “the first lady of typography” not only because she was passionate about the topic but also because she practiced it. Her broadside, “This is a Printing Office,” which showcased Eric Gill’s Perpetua family, has been reproduced countless times and was cast in bronze to hang on the wall outside of the U.S. government’s printing office.

This is a Printing Office.jpg
This is a Printing Office” by Beatrice Warde. Image licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Monotype Recorder 44 1970_cover

Front cover of the Monotype Recorder, Vol. 44 no.1 Autumn 1970. Title: ‘I Am a Communicator’. Copyright © 1970 Monotype Imaging Inc.

After Beatrice retired, she remained active by working with apprentices and lecturing at printing schools—activities she’d also been involved with throughout her career—and always with the desire to motivate students to become design-conscious experts in their craft.

Beatrice’s tireless enthusiasm fed into her need to educate and inspire through her work with printers, students and typographers. Despite the challenges that women faced in establishing and flourishing in careers that were rarely possible for them, Beatrice pushed through. She couldn’t settle for anything less—her passion, beliefs and will compelled her to persevere.

Education has always been an important part of the TDC’s mission, first offering lectures in 1947. These early lectures were called ‘Ten Talks on Type’, and they were given by James Secrest, Arnold Bank, Gene Ettenberg, Charles Felton, Milton Zudeck, O. Alfred Dickman, Joseph Weiler, Frank Powers, and Hal Zamboni. The series’ success led to it becoming an annual event which in later years turned into the salons and classes that you are familiar with today. Upon discovery that Beatrice was the club’s first female member as well as a known ambassador of education, it felt natural to create a scholarship in her honor. Graham Clifford, the TDC Chairman of the Board, proposed the scholarship for young woman, in partnership with Monotype.

Beatrice would no doubt be humbled to know she was the inspiration for a TDC scholarship. Monotype’s history is rich because of forward-thinking, dedicated people like her and they are proud sponsors of the TDC Beatrice Warde scholarship to recognize a deserving woman who is strongly connected with typography, reflecting the ideals that Beatrice would’ve loved to see carried forth.

This year we congratulate Rebecca Bartola as the very first TDC Beatrice Ward scholarship recipient! Rebecca will be awarded the Scholarship at the TDC61 and TDC2015 Opening Reception in New York City, showcasing the winners from our competitions, on July 14th. We invite you to join us on this night and tickets can be reserved online here.


Acknowledgements, announcements of the Best in Show, and the Best in Show Student Awards will also be presented. In addition, the 28th TDC Medal will be presented to Louise Fili by Paula Scher.

“People who love ideas must have a love of words. They will take a vivid interest in the clothes that words wear.” ~ Beatrice Warde