Anna Simons

Biography

Lettering, book design, exlibris, posters . Born 8 June 1871 in München-Gladbach. 1896-1903: attended the Royal College of Art, London. ‘At the time of Mr [Edward] Johnston’s appointment [in 1902] to the Royal College of Art I had the good fortune to be a student there for at that time women students were not admitted to Prussian Arts and Crafts Schools… .After having passed the entrance examination I took the prescribed course in order to gain the A.C.T. certificate …’. Simons initially studied with Walter Crane, then, becoming interested in lettering, with Johnston…‘Muthesius, the architect attached to the German Embassy in London, after his return to Berlin advised the Prussian Ministry of Commerce to invite [Johnston] to lecture at a holiday course held in 1905 for a group of Arts and Crafts School teachers at the Royal School of Arts and Crafts in Düsseldorf. As Mr Johnston was unfortunately unable to come I, as his pupil was asked to undertake this work in his place. These courses have been continued during the last 30 years in a number of towns… .I have always felt grateful and proud to have been a pupil of this great artist and teacher, and favoured that I was instrumental in bringing his methods and principles to my own country.’ (Quoted from Anna Simons, Edward Johnston and English Lettering, 1937; see below.) 1905-10: taught lettering course for art teachers at the newly organised Düsseldorf Kunstakademie upon the recommendation of Johnston; she was assistant to the director Peter Behrens. 1906: awarded Gold and Silver medals, Kunstgewerbe exh ., Dresden. 1908: Simons brought an exhibition of English book art to Weimar (where she was also teaching), later shown in Berlin, and Hamburg in 1910. She translated Johnston’s influential Writing and Illuminating and Lettering of 1906 (Schreibschrift, Zierschrift & angewandte Schrift, published in German 1910, Leipzig: Klinkhardt und Biermann), and other English publications. Summer 1909: taught lettering course at Neubabelsberg; the director was Peter Behrens. 1911: awarded Gold Medal, Turin. August 1912: Committee member for the lettering exhibition at the Fourth International Congress for Art Education, Dresden. (AS 1912 residences: Fernsicht 4, Hamburg, and Rosenstrasse 20, Düsseldorf.) 1913: taught at the Munich Staatliche Kunstgewerbeschule; organised an exhibition of German book art in London. From 1914: designed titles and initials for Willy Wiegand’s Bremer Press (as Johnston had done earlier for the Doves Press in London) ; first Bremer Press book with her lettering: Cornelius Tacitus, Deutschland. 1914: Secretary, English Committee to the special exhibition of women’s art, ‘Die Frau im Buchgewerbe und in der Graphik’, part of the international exhibition (Bugra) in Leipzig; member, Women’s Guild of Arts, London. 1918: lettered the text for the Marées-Gesellschaft edition of J.W. von Goethe’s Prometheus, Dramatisches Fragment (limited edition of 23 copies, published 1918-20). From 1918: taught lettering courses in Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Hamburg and Zurich. 1920s: commissions from the publisher Drei Masken. 1928-33: taught lettering at the Staatliche Kunstakademie, Dusseldorf. 1928-34: taught the lettering class (Schriftschreibekurs) at the Staatsschule für angewandte Kunst (earlier: Kunstgewerbeschule), Munich. In about 1934 she gave Berthold Wolpe letters of introduction to her friends in England when Wolpe was preparing to leave Nazi Germany. ‘…[ I]n World War II, during the bombing of Munich, the Bremer Presse building was demolished with complete loss of documentary material, and Anna Simons’s personal belongings and collections were lost too, when her home was likewise destroyed. She was able to salvage few examples of her work. Later, gravely ill, she was cared for by relatives and spent her last years in Prien on the Chiemsee in Bavaria.’ (Abrams, 1986) Simons died in Prien 2 April 1951 shortly before her 80 th birthday. Anna Simons, with her assistant Franziska Kobell, had designed some 1400 titles and initials for the Bremer Press. She had been a member of the Deutscher Werkbund, the Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society (UK), an Honorary member of the Society of Scribes and Illuminators (UK), and an Honorary associate of the Women’s Guild of Art (UK). With Rudolf von Larisch she was ‘one of the pioneers of German lettering’. (Gebrauchsgraphik, 1935). ‘She was one of the best students Johnston ever had and certainly one of those who exercised the greatest influence afterwards, for she disseminated his teaching throughout Germany where it was perhaps more fruitful, even, than in England.’ (P. Johnston, 1959)

Writings by

  • 1910-29: (AS, tr.), Edward Johnston, Schreibschrift, Zierschrift & angewandte Schrift, Leipzig: Klinkhardt und Biermann, 1910 (2 nd ed.: 1921)
  • ‘Der Staatliche Schriftkurs in Neubabelsberg’, Kunstgewerbeblatt, March 1910, pp. 101-5, 106, 107 (AS’s students pp. 108-13)
  • (AS, tr.), Edward Johnston, Hand- und Inschrift-Alphabete, Leipzig, 1912
  • (AS, tr.), Edward Johnston, Lettering and the Teaching of Lettering (Fourth International Congress for Art Education), 1912
  • ‘Die Wiedererweckung der Schriftkunst’, Kunstgewerbe, Berlin: Bund der Kunstgewerbeschulemänner, 1922, p. 46
  • ‘Cobden-Sanderson’ (obituary), Die Bücherstube, 1923, pp. 79-83 (includes biblio. of Doves Press)
  • review of The Fleuron, in Die Bücherstube, 1924, pp. 52-3
  • review of Peter Jessen, Meister der Schreibkunst aus drei Jahrhunderten (pp. 364-5), and On Type Faces (London/Boston: Medici Society, 1923) (p. 370), in Die Bücherstube, 1924
  • review of S. Morison’s Meisterdrucke aus vier Jahrhunderten (AS, tr.), in Die Bücherstube, 1925, pp. 184-6
  • Titel und Initialen für die Bremer Presse, Munich: Bremer Presse, 1926 (limited edition
  • 20 sheets and a breathtaking typeset introduction. The text reproduced in J. Lehnacker, 1964, pp. 72-3, 75: see below)
  • Die Geschichte der Schrift (A history of writing), Berlin/Leipzig: Heintze & Blanckertz, 1928
  • 1930-present: ‘Moderne englische Pressen’, Imprimatur, 1931, pp. 135-84 (includes bibliographies of the presses and list of the writings of Stanley Morison)
  • Die Geschichte der Schrift (A history of writing), Berlin/Leipzig: Heintze & Blanckertz, 1934 (2 nd ed.)
  • numerous works reproduced in Anna Simons, Munich/Berlin: Oldenbourg, and Zurich: Corona (Schriften der Corona VIII), 1934 (see below in Lit)
  • Edward Johnston and English Lettering (Edward Johnston und die englische Schriftkunst) (bilingual monograph), Berlin/Leipzig: Heintze & Blanckertz, 1937
  • ‘Edward Johnston and English lettering’ (talk at Schriftmuseum Rudolf Blanckertz exh.), Die zeitgemässe Schrift, Berlin/Leipzig: Verlag für Schriftkunde Heintze & Blanckertz., July 1936, pp. 13-32
  • ‘Die Technik des Vergoldens [gilding] in der Schriftkunst’ (pp. 37-40), and ‘Zur Geschichte der Buchstabenschrift’ (pp. 41-6), in E. Hölscher, Anna Simons (monograph), Berlin/Leipzig: Heintze & Blanckertz, 1937 (photo of AS, p. 4)
  • ‘Lettering in book production’ in Lettering of To-day, special number of The Studio, 1937, pp. 57-63, 82-6
  • Wilhelm Hermann Lange, Rudolf Koch, ein Deutscher Schreibmeister (AS, tr.), Berlin/Leipzig: Heintze & Blanckertz, 1939
  • ‘Friedrich Heinrichsen, Hannover’, Die zeitgemässe Schrift, Berlin/Leipzig: Verlag für Schriftkunde Heintze & Blanckertz., Oct. 1940
  • ‘Neuzeitlicher Schriftlehrgang’, Die zeitgemässe Schrift, Berlin/Leipzig: Verlag für Schriftkunde Heintze & Blanckertz., July 1941.

Writings about

  • Katja Schneider, Burg Giebichenstein, Weinheim: VCH, 1992
  • work of 1916-25 shown in Heinrich Wieynck, ‘Schreibkunst’, Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., 1925, v. 1, pp. 49-76 Hermann Delitsch, review of Edward Johnston’s Schreibschrift, Zierschrift & angewandte Schrift (tr. Anna Simons), Zeitschrift für Bücherfreunde , 1911/12, Band II, p. 239
  • A comprehensive reference is J. Lehnacker, 1964
  • see below.
  • Vierter internationaler Kongress für Kunstunterricht Zeichnen und angewandte Kunst, Dresden, 1912
  • Jahrbuch des Deutschen Werkbundes, 1920, pp. 12, 13, 21 (lettering)
  • F.H. Ehmcke, review of Edward Johnston’s Schreibschrift, Zierschrift & Angewandte Schrift (tr. Anna Simons
  • 2 nd ed.), in Das Plakat, Nov./Dec. 1921, p. 661
  • F.H. Ehmcke, ‘Das Gebrauchsexlibris’, Die Bücherstube, 1924, pp. 328-338
  • Joseph Blumenthal, letter in Fine Print, Oct. 1986, pp. 235-6
  • 1911-34: Stephan Steinlein, review of Edward Johnston’s Schreibschrift, Zierschrift und angewandte Schrift (tr. Anna Simons), Archiv für Buchgewerbe und Gebrauchsgraphik, Leipzig: Deutsche Buchgewerbeverein., Oct. 1911, pp. 319-20
  • F.H. Ehmcke, ‘Deutsche Gebrauchsgraphik’, Klimschs Jahrbuch, 1927, pp. 9-37
  • Biblia (titles and initials by AS), Bremer Presse, 1928 (limited edition)
  • ‘Professor Anna Simons’, Philobiblon, Sept. 1928, pp. 145-6
  • Handprinted books of the Bremer Presse (exh. cat.), Munich, London: John & Edward Bumpus, 1929
  • Fritz Homeyer, ‘Germany’, in ‘A survey of the making of books in recent years’, The Dolphin I, 1933, pp. 264-88
  • Anna Simons, eine deutsche Schriftkünstlerin (Festschrift), Munich/Berlin: Oldenbourg, and Zurich: Corona (Schriften der Corona VIII), 1934 (with contributions in English or German by F.H. Ehmcke, Peter Behrens, Willy Wiegand, Edward Johnston, and others) (photos of AS: pp. 9, 21, 23)
  • F.H. Ehmcke, ‘Das Gebrauchsexlibris’, Das Zelt, v. 5/6, 1935 F.H. Ehmcke, ‘Das Werk von Anna Simons’ (speech at opening of AS exhibition, Schriftmuseum Rudolf Blanckertz, Berlin, 3 December 1934), Das Zelt, v. 7, 1935, pp. 1-4 (special no. on AS)
  • Bremer-Presse letters, in Archiv für Buchgewerbe und Gebrauchsgraphik, Leipzig: Deutsche Buchgewerbeverein., Aug. 1932, p. 336
  • Julius Zeitler, ‘Frakturausstellung in Schriftmuseum Rudolf Blanckertz (Berlin)’, Archiv für Buchgewerbe und Gebrauchsgraphik, Leipzig: Deutsche Buchgewerbeverein., Jan. 1934, pp. 23-4
  • Julius Rodenberg, review of Anna Simons, eine deutsche Schriftkünstlerin, in Die zeitgemässe Schrift, Berlin/Leipzig: Verlag für Schriftkunde Heintze & Blanckertz., Oct. 1934, p. 35
  • 1935-40: Eberhard Hölscher, ‘Anna Simons und ihre Schule’ (exh.), Die zeitgemässe Schrift, Berlin/Leipzig: Verlag für Schriftkunde Heintze & Blanckertz., April 1935, pp. 3-8 (German, English)
  • AS opens exhibition of English lettering at Berlin Schriftmuseum, Archiv für Buchgewerbe und Gebrauchsgraphik, Leipzig: Deutsche Buchgewerbeverein., June 1936, pp. 294-5
  • E. Hölscher, Anna Simons (monograph), Berlin/Leipzig: Heintze & Blanckertz, 1937 (includes Rudolf Blanckertz, ‘Anna Simons and the German Script Movement’, pp. 31-5, and photo of AS)
  • Lettering of To-day, special number of The Studio, 1937, pp. 82-6
  • Walther G. Oschilewski, ‘Anna Simons und die Kunst des Schreibens’, Der Bücherwurm, v. 10, 1939, pp. 267-72
  • Heinrich Jost, ‘Die neue Buchkunst in Deutschland’, Imprimatur, 1939/40, pp. 105-28
  • Annemarie Meiner, ‘Anna Simons’, Die Welt der Frau, H. 8, 1948
  • HS, 1952, pp. 29, 30, 49
  • Josef Lehnacker, ‘Anna Simons zum Gedächtnis’, Form und Technik, 1953, pp. 297-300
  • Paul Standard, ‘The restoration of calligraphy’, Graphis 50, 1953, pp. 428-43, 492-4
  • Priscilla Johnston, Edward Johnston, London: Faber and Faber, 1959
  • Josef Lehnacker and others, Die Bremer Presse/Königin der deutschen Privatpressen, Munich: Typographische Gesellschaft, 1964 (includes bibliography)
  • Bernhard Zeller and Werner Volke, Buchkunst und Dichtung. Zur Geschichte der Bremer Presse und der Corona (exh. cat.), Munich: Prinz Carl-Palais, 1966
  • GKS, 1978
  • Herbert Lechner, ‘Von der Steglitzer Werkstatt zum Kathodenstrahl’, Graphik, 1979, 12, pp. 41-5
  • 1981-present: HN, 1985
  • George Abrams, ‘Anna Simons: Calligrapher, Letterer, Teacher, and Type Designer’, Fine Print, April 1986, pp. 103-7
  • Wilhelm H. Lange, ‘Schriftkünstler von heute’, Archiv für Buchgewerbe und Gebrauchsgraphik, Leipzig: Deutsche Buchgewerbeverein., Jan. 1939, pp. 59-70, esp. p. 63
  • 1941-80: E. Hölscher, ‘Anna Simons zum siebzigsten Geburtstag’, Die zeitgemässe Schrift, Berlin/Leipzig: Verlag für Schriftkunde Heintze & Blanckertz., July 1941
  • Helga Kambartel, ‘Buchgestaltung durch Frauen?’, in Walter Kambartel (ed.), Buchgestaltung in Deutschland 1900-1945 (exh. cat.: Universitätsbibliothek, Bielefeld), Bielefeld: Granier, 1987, pp. 125-30
  • R. Müller-Krumbach (foreword), Die Cranach-Presse des Grafen Kessler in Weimar (dealer’s cat.), Ramsen, Switzerland, and Rotthalmünster, Germany: Heribert Tenschert, 1994 (items 95-101)
  • Gunter Quarg, ed., Anna Simons (exh. cat.), Cologne: University and Stadtbibliothek, 1996
  • Die Rupprecht-Presse zu München (auction cat. XLVI), Ramsen, Switzerland: Antiquariat Bibermühle, and Rotthalmünster, Germany: Antiquariat Heribert Tenschert, 2001
  • RK, 2004.
  • Kurt Biebrach, ‘Urkunden und Drucksachen des Reichs’, Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., 1925, v. 2, pp. 23-5
  • Walter von Zur Westen, ‘Die Schrift in der Gelegenheitsgraphik’, Die zeitgemässe Schrift, Berlin/Leipzig: Verlag für Schriftkunde Heintze & Blanckertz., July 1934, pp. 7-23, esp. p. 12 (exlibris)
  • note on Anna Simons. Eine deutsche Schriftkünstlerin, Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., Feb. 1935, p. 67
  • note on Edward Johnston’s Schreibschrift, Zierschrift & Angewandte Schrift (Anna Simons, tr.), Berlin: Klinkhardt & Biermann, 1936 (4 th ed.), Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., Aug. 1936, p. 65
  • note about Edward Johnston und die englische Schreibkunst, in Archiv für Buchgewerbe und Gebrauchsgraphik, Leipzig: Deutsche Buchgewerbeverein., April 1938, p. 157
  • Julius Zeitler, ‘Vom Pressendruck in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart’, Archiv für Buchgewerbe und Gebrauchsgraphik, Leipzig: Deutsche Buchgewerbeverein., 1939, pp. 187-202 (esp. pp. 192, 193)
  • E. Hölscher, ‘Anna Simons’ (obituary), Gebrauchsgraphik (International Advertising Art), Berlin: Phönix Illustrationsdruck und Verlag GmbH (later: ‘Gebrauchsgraphik’ Druck und Verlag GmbH), 1933-71. Published from Munich from 1950., May 1951, p. 60

Exhibitions

  • Schriftmuseum Blanckertz, Berlin, Nov. 1933-Feb. 1934
  • AS and her students: Schriftmuseum Blanckertz, Berlin, Dec. 1934-Jan. 1935
  • Kunstgewerbemuseum, Zurich, 1936
  • Albrecht-Dürer-Verein, Nuremberg, 1942
  • University and City Library, Cologne, 1996.

Collections

  • Klingspor Museum, Frankfurt a.M.