Lettering from the Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World

toad42's picture

Lady Liberty holds a tablet engraved with:

JULY
IV
MCCLXXVII

This tablet was sculpted in 1883 by a team of builders in Paris based on a design developed between 1865 and 1875 by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi of Alsace. The lettering resembles a condensed version of Bank Gothic, which Morris Fuller Benton designed in 1930 for ATF, except that the angles of the terminals (e.g., C, J) are squared off rather than diagonal.

I spent part of today doing web searches for detailed information on the history of sans serif typefaces prior to Akzidenz Grotesk, looking for some hints, but I find instead everyone repeating the same history post-AG.

So . . .

Is the tablet's lettering original, or is it based on some contemporary, sans serif typeface?

And, where can I find a detailed history of sans serif typefaces prior to AG?

Sincerely yours,

Rick Marshall

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toad42's picture

Okay, moments after posting the above, I did find a good discussion of pre-AG sans serif typefaces, here on typophile of course!

toad42's picture

Anatomy of a Typeface by Alexander Lawson has a reasonable discussion of sans serif history in his chapter "Franklin Gothic and the Twentieth-century Gothics," but he like most authors skims through the nineteenth-century sans serif types. The other typophile thread gives fuller information on them, but not enough to identify Lady Liberty's tablet lettering, alas.

Any ideas?

Bald Condensed's picture

Agency Gothic is reasonably close.

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