David Gimbel commissioned Frederic Goudy to design type for the exclusive use of one of his stores, Saks Fifth Avenue.
During the course of this work, Mr. Gimelís secretary arrived at Goudyís studio, Deepdene, in Marlbourough-on-Hudson, New York, on the west bank of the Hudson River. She saw him engraving brass and thought it was gold because of its untarnished brightness.
Goudy explained the process and the metal, but he soon received from Mr. Gimbel a small bar of gold to do an uppercase G. Goudy ruined several tools trying to engrave the gold which does not react as brass does. Mr. Gimbel always explained the ĎGí was for Gimbel, but Goudy explained it otherwise.
After his death, the 'G' engraved in gold was given to the library at Vassar College across the river from Marlbourough-on-Hudson (now Marlboro).
The type was finished in 1934 and was named Saks-Goudy. The first use of the face was in the New York Times in September. Saks Fifth Avenue ran several ads complementing Goudy on his splendid work and they sponsored an exhibit of his work.
In 1939, the Deepdene studio burned to the ground, destroying most of Goudyís drawings, matrices, and tools including all his work on Saks-Goudy.
Saks Fifth Avenue continued to use Saks-Goudy until after World War II when it seemed outdated when compared to the sans serif type becoming so popular at the time. The printer that held all of the Saks-Goudy type went out of business and the type was apparently junked for its lead.
Beatty had to photograph the Saks Fifth Avenue ads from 1934-35 to get enough examples of each letter in the typefaces to replicate the types. These samples together with a single finely-printed sample from the Smithsonian Institution provided the basis for the resurrection of these faces despite the ashes of Deepdene.
The regular fonts have kerned text numerals. The Small & Swash Cap fonts have kerned Lining numerals, Inferior numerals, and Superior numerals.
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