The W.A. Dwiggins Lecture

While the Society is a private organization, it has co-hosted the annual W.A. Dwiggins Lecture for almost five decades in partnership with the Trustees of the Boston Public Library.

With its intent to be of interest to students, and practitioners in the typographic, graphic design, and publishing communities in Boston, the list of speakers has been diverse. In more recent years, the Society has attempted to choose speakers that are of particular interest to students.

The Society is dedicated to this annual event and wishes to thank the BPL for its continued support.


Past Speakers

Jan 15, 1974 Laurence B. Siegfried WAD: A Personal Recollection
Jan 14, 1975 John E. Benson Two Hundred Seventy Years of Monumental Lettering
Jan 14, 1976 Alexander S. Lawson Frederic W. Goudy: A Glance into the Archives
Jan 19, 1977 Philip Hofer WAD as I Knew Him
Jan 18, 1978 Charles A. Rheault, Jr. The Riverside Press in Retrospect, 1852-1971
Jan 17, 1979 Rollo G. Silver Daniel Berkeley Updike and the Merrymount Press
Jan 17, 1980 David R. Godine The Life and Work of Rudolph Ruzicka
Jan 15, 1981 Susan Otis Thompson The Gay Nineties and American Book Design
Jan 21, 1982 Peter Davison One Hundred Twenty-five Years of the Atlantic
Jan 18, 1983 Alan Fern More Than Books: The Library of Congress in All Its Diversity
Jan 19, 1984 Dorothy Abbe The Many-Faceted Dwiggins
Jan 17, 1985 Gay Walker Achievement in Excellence: The Meriden Gravure Company and Harold Hugo
Jan 16, 1986 Leonard Baskin The Intrusion of Expression in Anatomical Atlases: 1540-1850
Jan 15, 1987 Oscar Handlin Freedom of the Press: The Social Foundations, 1760-1850
Jan 21, 1988 Dietmar R. Winkler A Quest for Quality, a Question of Integrity
Jan 12, 1989 Matthew Carter & Carl Zahn Design of Type - Design with Type
Jan 18, 1990 Douglass Scott Eclecticism to Modernism: American Graphic Design in the 1930s
Jan 17, 1991 Sinclair Hitchings Dwiggins on Cornhill
Jan 16, 1992 Alvin Eisenman Ray Nash
Jan 21, 1993 Edward McDonald Jan Tschichold and W. A. Dwiggins: The Priest and the Tinker of Modern Typography
Jan 19, 1994 Sheila Levrant de Bretteville Q. What Is Worth Doing?
Jan 19, 1995 Steven Heller Lucian Bernhard: The Master Who Couldn’t Draw Straight
Jan 18, 1996 David Macaulay Taking the Shortcut
Jan 16, 1997 Peter Kindersley Better Ways to Communicate
Jan 22, 1998 Edward R. Tufte The Aesthetics of Information
Jan 14, 1999 Anita Silvey Children’s Books and Their Creators: An Illustrated Overview
Mar 1, 2000 Philip B. Meggs The S Word
Nov 13, 2001 Maira Kalman (un)Design
Nov 13, 2002 Joel Meyerowitz The Role of Photography and Social Consciousness: Creating the World Trade Center Archive
Nov 20, 2003 Chaz Maviyane-Davies Creative Defiance
Apr 27, 2005 Milton Glaser Milton Glaser
Apr 6, 2006 Ellen R. Cohn Benjamin Franklin
Apr 4, 2007 Sumner Stone The Essential Form
Apr 9, 2008 Erik Spiekermann Working Type
Apr 21, 2009 Matthew Carter & Jerry Kelly Hermann Zapf at 90
Apr 14, 2010 Khoi Vinh Ordering Disorder - KV on Interaction Design
Apr 14, 2011 Luba Lukova Graphic Guts
Apr 18, 2012 David Lemon Changing Traditions
Apr 3, 2013 Ben Fry Typography & Terabytes
Apr 24, 2014 Brenda Danilowitz The First Fifty Years of Josef Albers’ “Interaction of Color”
Apr 14, 2015 Fred Smeijers From Small to Big, and Back Again
Apr 12, 2016 Bruce Kennett The Power of Mirth | WAD & the Serious Business of Fun
Apr 11, 2017 Robert Bringhurst The Work of Hermann Zapf
Apr 3, 2018 Douglass Scott Alvin Eisenman: Typographer, Teacher, Technologist
Apr 10, 2019 Rick Poynor David King: Designer, Activist, Visual Historian
Apr 22, 2020 Steven Heller (via Zoom) The New Typography in America
April 2021 Cancelled due to covid
April 6, 2022 Alison Bechtel Text! Image! Action!