For the past couple months I’ve enjoyed preparing to give a talk on October 11, 2019 about the Bentons, at the University of Michigan’s Clark Library, for the Ann Arbor Wayzgoose and Printing Festival.
Doing research is like detective work, like trying to put together a giant puzzle, but you have no idea what the final outcome will be. I added a lot of new material to this talk. For example, did you know that Linn Boyd Benton got a patent for a needle used to attach price tags to cloth?!
Researching the Bentons introduced me to very interesting people, some of whom became lifelong friends. In 1984 I spent hours listening to Morris Benton’s delightful daughter Caroline tell stories about her father and grandfather at her home in Milwaukee. Her son, Larry Gregg, corresponded with me for years, and attended the book opening here in Rochester. He still has some of Morris Benton’s magic tricks.
Just about two weeks ago I found some recent rebuttals to Beatrice Warde’s story about Garamond, and posted a new story about Morris Benton’s Hobo, thanks to Peter Zelchenko’s amazing essay, linked below. (I heartily disagree with Zelchenko’s analysis of Morris Benton’s character!)
Erik Larson’s “The Devil in the White City” gives the perfect backdrop for a Benton factoid: Linn Boyd Benton’s punch-cutting machine was judged to be the most perfect mechanical exhibit in the 1893 World’s Columbian Exhibition in Chicago. That detail didn’t make it into Larson’s book, but it’s on page 69 in the Benton book.