Morris Fuller Benton
“his scores of remarkably successful designs . . . form the backbone of American type design.”
Morris Fuller Benton is accredited with being the most prolific type designer in American history, with an output twice as great as that of Fredric Goudy (although in fairness Goudy did not start his career until a later age). The fact that Benton's father worked at the foundry until an advanced age did in all probability place an added strain on the younger man, but seems not to have diminished his remarkable output. Anonymity was his position as an in-house designer, but it was a position that suited his retiring character: when pressed he would put his successes down 'lady luck'.
Benton has been credited with inventing the concept of the type family and although this is not the case he did do his best work expanding faces into families and adapting existing type styles for ATF. Between 1900 and 1928 he designed 18 variations on Century, including the popular Century Schoolbook. Morris Benton also worked closely with his contemporary at ATF, Henry Lewis Bullen, Collector of the company's famous library and mentor of type publicist and scholar Beatrice Warde.¹