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Walter and Dorothy Donnelly Family Papers

Identifier: SC-033

Scope and Contents

The collection is arranged in two series, Family Papers and Typophiles. The first series contains Family papers, including photographs, memorabilia, poetry, and collected information on printers, printing and typography.

Series II, Typophiles, consists of materials collected by the Donnelly's as members of the organization of printers, typographers and appreciators of bookmaking. Materials include Chap Book Commentaries, fine press published information about the typophiles as a group, similar to an organizational newsletter that includes a colophon. Keepsakes were items created for an event such as Christmas to exhibit typographic skills. The Monographs are small examples of printing that exemplify the best of design, typography, and technique.


  • Created: 1887-1976
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1941-1958


Conditions Governing Access

The entire collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished records are protected by copyright. Permission to publish quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biographical or Historical Information

Walter Donnelly and Dorothy Boillotat Donnelly collected thousands of fine books between 1920-1994, for their family library at 612 Lawrence Street, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Walter (1900-1981) was Editor of the University of Michigan Press when he retired in 1970. Dorothy (1903-1994) was an award-winning poet. They have three sons, Jerome, Stephen, and Denis.

In 1931 Dorothy and Walter were married, Dorothy completed her Master’s Degree from the University of Michigan, and she won the Avery Hopwood Contest. The $1,500 prize enabled the couple to live in France and Italy for a time. Dorothy wrote several acclaimed books of poetry as well as numerous articles for the magazine transition (always spelled in the lower case), publishing work by writers such as Hart Crane, Ernest Hemingway and Carl Jung. Eugene Jolas, the French editor of transition, wrote Dorothy in 1931, "You are the only one in America whose writing seems to me to be going in the right direction."

Walter also published some poetry and wrote plays with playwright and screenwriter Paul Osborn when the two were in college at the University of Michigan. After living in Greenwich Village and Paris, he returned to Ann Arbor to accept a position at the University of Michigan editing Museum Publications as well as doing editorial work for the Press.

The Donnelly's had a keen interest in the printing arts. Collected materials include examples from the best paper-makers, type designers, typographers, book binders, and printers as well as those artists involved in book illustrations. Notable in the collection are numerous publications of The Typophiles, a small group of graphic arts professionals based in New York, including luminaries like Bruce Rogers and Frederic W. Goudy. The Typophiles, who began meeting around 1932, are still meeting and publishing today.


0.75 Linear Feet (1 Box)


The materials show the Donnellys’ diverse and far-reaching interests, primarily in the humanities. A majority of the materials are about typography and typophiles, including monographs and chap books.

Method of Acquisition

The Donnelly sons donated their parents’ collection to the University of Central Florida Library in 1999 (CFM1999_08).

Separated Materials

Books donated with the Walter and Dorothy Donnelly Family Papers have been cataloged individually. Please search the Library Catalog using the series Walter and Dorothy Donnelly Collection.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Nadine Helm and Elizabeth Konzak; finding aid created by Nadine Helm and Elizabeth Konzak. The materials were organized and foldered. Some materials have water damage and were freeze dried in August 2006.
Walter and Dorothy Donnelly Family Papers
Nadine Helm and Elizabeth Konzak
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the UCF Special Collections Repository

Special Collections & University Archives
University of Central Florida Libraries
P.O. Box 162666
Orlando Florida 32816-2666 US
(407) 823-2576