Goudy Cloister Initials - Inspiration and Application - SSMDesign

Goudy Cloister Initials - Inspiration and Application

November 01, 2017

Goudy Cloister Initials - Inspiration and Application

Quite literally everything from the turn of the century era was ornate and beautiful from the most common items, medicine bottles and fire arms, to architecture and especially jewelry. During that time items were crafted by hand with unparalleled attention to detail and pride in craftsmanship. I am fascinated and drawn all of it! I am a collector of many a vintage piece;  silk slips, lace, furniture, jewelry of course, and typeset (what they used to print newspapers) along with many other items.

My 1800s typeset cabinet rescued from a barn in Pennsylvania.

My collection of Goudy Cloister Initials is very precious to me and I've discovered I have much in common with Mr. Goudy! Each initials design is flowing, ornate, and prissy, floral and feminine, the stuff of fairy tails (literally, it's used as beginning text in fairy tail books). They do have their dark side though, as many of them pose a danger to my health if not handled properly and with care, some are constructed of lead while others copper.


Frederic William Goudy was an American printer, artist and type designer whose typefaces include Copperplate Gothic, Goudy Old Style and Kennerley. He was one of America's most prolific designers of metal type with designs numbering in the 100s. They are outstanding for their strength and beauty. He worked under the influence of the arts and crafts movement. Goudy taught himself printing and typography while working as a bookkeeper for credit and mortgage companies. In 1895, in partnership with a teacher of English, C. Lauren Hooper, he set up the Camelot Press in Chicago. He sold the first typeface he designed, called Camelot, to a Boston printer for $10. In 1903, in association with his wife, Bertha, and with Will Ransom, he started the Village Press in Park Ridge, Illinois. After several moves, Goudy and the Village Press settled in Marlboro, New York in 1923. Unfortunately, the workshop and associated type foundry burned to the ground in 1939 and many unpublished type designs were lost. During this time he created his Cloister Initials 1918, a set of floral initials designed to be used with Morris Fuller Benton's Cloister Old Style typeface. Thankfully they were not lost in said fire. Heralded by many, myself included, Goudy's Cloister Initials are the most detailed and ornate of his designs.

I own and use many old letterpress type font styles to create my Inspiration and Monogram jewelry designs, but Goudy's Cloister Initials, for their intricate detail and ornamentation, are my favorites by far! 

Ornate Goudy Closter Initiaal NecklaceSmall Goudy Cloister Initial Necklace

credits;  wikipedia.org, linotype.com, britannica.com 

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Tools and guides to help you find your correct jewelry size.


If you are unsure of your ring size I offer inexpensive reusable sizing bands. You can also visit a reputable local jewelry store and ask to be sized.



How to measure for a bangle bracelet