Cherokee Type

Designed by a Cherokee genius called Sequoyah, cast in metal by ” a typefoundry in Boston” way, way back, long before the Trail of Tears event. Does anyone know which foundry, and wether the matrices were cut in colonies, or imported from abroad. A very
small amount of this face has survived, dug up by treasure hunters at the site of the Cherokee print shop at their ancient capital of New Echota - left in the press yard after its destruction by the ”Florida Militia” That type was paid for by the then Cherokee Council, and presumably that surviving is still in fact their property. Any info welcome. This does NOT refer to various facsimilies made since 1900.

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On-line I found a book that mentions the type foundry where the author claims the Cherokee type was cut and cast: Baker and Greele [other sources misspell it Grelle or Greene] of Boston. According to Maurice Annenberg, Baker and Greele were the original proprietors of the New England Type Foundry, from 1824-c1829. They apparently cast and sold the type and shipped it, along with a press to New Echota. Here is the link to the page:

Cherokee Editor: The Writings of Elias Boudinot, By Elias Boudinot, University of Georgia Press, 1983, p. 145:

There is very little known about Baker and Greele, though Harvard has a specimen book from c 1827. It’s doubtful, but maybe it has a showing of the Cherokee typeface. Edwin Starr was also associated with the beginnings of this company.

A recent book, which I have not seen and may be hard to find (a copy is in the British library) looks to be quite interesting: Cherokee Phoenix, Advent of a Newspaper: The Print Shop of the Cherokee Nation 1828-1834, by Frank Bannon published in 2005. Here is the description of the book:

Letterpress, limited edition book describing the advent of the Cherokee Phoenix newspaper in New Echota; last capital of the Cherokee Nation in the eastern United States. New information reveals the exact type of printing press used, and an initial exploration of metal type that was excavated in 1954 at New Echota. The likely location of the papermill in Knoxville, Tennessee, which produced paper for the first issue of the Phoenix, is also described. Hand bound and printed on handmade cotton paper.
1. Text was letter-pressed on handmade-cotton paper and hand bound. Seventy-four copies were bound using muslin for the spine, and sides of handmade paper. The seventy-four books contain full-size reproductions of the hand impressions made of excavated New Echota type.
2. Includes bibliographical references (pages 93-102).

I hope this is helpful in some way.


I believe that Ed Raher at the Swamp Press has the ability to cast the Cherokee Type. You might try to see some more historic tidbits from him.