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Author: Daniel J. Pfeifer
Title: A New Newe Booke of Copies
Publication info: Ann Arbor, MI: MPublishing, University of Michigan Library
November 2000

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Source: A New Newe Booke of Copies
Daniel J. Pfeifer

vol. 3, no. 3, November 2000
Article Type: Software Review

A New Newe Booke of Copies

Daniel J. Pfeifer

  • A New Newe Booke of Copies (3 typefaces) £45 ($67)
  • A New Newe Booke of Copies (6 typefaces) £65 ($97)
  • Crazy Diamond Design, England
  • For Mac or PC

Fonts for Creative Historians?

Historians, for the most part, engage a fairly narrow spectrum of typography. The default settings in Microsoft Word or Corel WordPerfect are satisfactory. We view web pages in Times, Arial, or Helvetica. Several daring www sites are now using Verdana. And of course, we must not forget those students who squeeze out a couple of extra pages on their essays by using Courier. Fonts have been transparent (to use the popular computer term) to many historians for many years.

Upon further investigation, one begins to find that the historians' experience is not as narrow as one be initially assume. Many historians are very sensitive about the fonts they use. For example, a colleague recently searched long and hard for just the right Devanagari typeface. Another colleague informed me of the various types of Asian fonts and the difficulties one encounters when trying to use them. And of course, medievalists have been aware of typefaces, and multimedia for that matter, for a long time.


For either the precise or creative medievalist, the fonts provided by Crazy Diamond Design are worth a look. The six available fonts are Chancery, Bastard Secretary, Formal Text Hand, Secretary, Italic, and the Hand of the Court of the Common Pleas. They are available in both "ancient" and "modern" forms. For users of the "ancient" forms, the product also includes abbreviation marks, runes, ligatures, and other special characters that will be of interest to medievalists. The "modern" forms might be used effectively for certificates or title fonts on newsletters. The typefaces originally appeared in A Newe Booke of Copies, by Thomas Vautrouillier published in 1574. The designers also note that the accuracy of their work is supported by other contemporaneous documents. The developers are quick to mention their conscientious attention to detail. (Since I am not a medievalist, I encourage anyone with expertise to comment on the images that appear in this review, especially if you have seen a typeface in a text or know it was widely used.)

It is important to note that the author was not able to install the fonts because they were not available at the time of the writing this review, but fonts are generally easy to install. While medievalists might have a professional interest in the fonts, anyone who writes a newsletter or produces certificates might benefit from the typefaces as well.