Colonial Homestead in Hingham, MA with ties to early typography.

This Hingham home was built in 1757 for the Lincoln family on land first purchased by Stephen Lincoln in 1680 and the used as farmland. When their house was built, Job and Mercy Hersey Lincoln had only one child, a daughter Hannah, but over the next two decades they had nine more children, including Mitchel, Chloe, Priscilla, Edward, Xena, Francis, Abel and Bradford.

In 1772, they had another daughter and named her Priscilla after her sister who had died at 5 years old in 1667. Mercy died at 68 and Job lived until he was 81. Many of the Lincoln siblings also lived long lives with Bradford and the second Priscilla living 86 and 87 respectively. The home was in the Lincoln Family until 1818. Early in the following century, a couple named Frederic and Bertha Sprinks Goudy rented half of the house. They had moved from Illinois and operated the Village Press in Hingham before moving to New York City in 1906.

The couple published The Alphabet and Elements of Lettering. Frederic got his start painting the Ten Commandments text on his Sunday School walls and lettering the name on a bakery truck. He went on to design over 100 typefaces, including Goudy Oldstyle, and is described as a “titan” in lettering. Bertha ran the fine print publisher and set the presses.

Time magazine called her “the world’s ablest women printers.” She died in 1936 after suffering a stroke. Her illness was said to have been brought on by demanding work on an edition of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.” Frederic designed the typeface Bertham as a tribute to his late wife. He died in 1947. Goudy-designed fonts still in use include Copperplate Gothic, Goudy Sans, and Kennerley.


This post is not sponsored and was contributed by Ken Staffey.