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The history of Bookman, or Bookman Old Style, begins with the introduction of a typeface named Old Style Antique by the Scottish foundry Miller & Richard, designed by A.C. Phemister as a boldface pairing for that foundry's Oldstyle about 1858. The design became popular and was soon replicated by other foundries, with MacKellar, Smiths & Jordan copying the design as early as 1869. When several smaller foundries combined to form American Type Founders in 1892, their libraries of typefaces had to be consolidated. ATF chose to issue the Bruce Foundry version of Oldstyle Antique, which they had called Bartlett Oldstyle. ATF added some special swash characters and logotypes and rechristed the new design as "Bookman Oldstyle."
Besides the special characters, there are other features of the font, which have endeared it to typographers since its inception. These features include Bookman's large x-height, short ascenders, moderate stroke contrast, heavy serifs, and he inclusion of a sloped roman as a part of the family instead of a true italic.
There have been several reinterpretations of the Bookman model. Sol Hess cut a version called New Bookman. Various phototype versions of the font added more and more swash variants of characters. Jason Walcott's Bookman is based on one of these phototype designs. Ed Benguiat redesigned the face, with the goal of making it more versitle for the International Typeface Corporation. ITC's version differs from other versions particularly in the design of the italic, which is a true italic instead of the customary sloped roman usually provided with the Bookman typeface.