Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission

Welcome to the Scriptorium:
Calligrapher and Teacher Lloyd J. Reynolds

Internationally known calligrapher Lloyd J. Reynolds [1902-1978] taught at Reed College for forty years, 1929 to 1969, and at the Portland Art Museum School beginning in 1950. He founded the Western Branch of the Society for Italic Handwriting in 1968. That organization today is known as the Portland Society for Calligraphy.

Controversial in his era, as noted in Michael Munk's The Portland Red Guide, Reynolds was one of three Reed professors targeted in the 1954 HUAC hearings. He refused to answer their political questions.

Reynolds continued teaching in the community following his retirement. In 1972 Oregon Governor Tom McCall honored Reynolds as the worlds first Calligrapher Laureate and in 1977 he received the Aubrey R. Watzek Award from Lewis & Clark College. His lasting legacy was his ability to teach and engage his students in his creative writing, art history, and studio art classes.

Few creative figures, both directly and via talented disciples who extended his vision, have had the local and global impact of Lloyd Reynolds. His holistic humanist view influenced and inspired generations of calligraphers, teachers, type designers, artists, poets and writers including: poets Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, William Stafford and Carolyn Kizer, Apple computers Steve Jobs, screenwriter Ben Barzman, type designer Chuck Bigelow and thousands of others.

Presenters are: Bettye Lou Bennett, Inga Dubay, Jaki Svaren, Barbara Getty, Margot Voorhies Thompson, Kim Stafford and invited special guests. Lois Leonard made an exceptional effort to organize this program

Lloyd Reynolds


In 1953, I read about Lloyd in Richard Neubergers Saturday Evening Post story on Reed. I wanted to study calligraphy, and Reed had a veterans program. I came to Reed with two young children and a Korean-war-weary husband. Although I had a job as well as the family, I enrolled in Humanities, Philosophy, and Graphic Arts, whose classes at the top of Eliot, were magical hours. Lloyd opened up his world to meletters and their history, literature, and Eastern ways of thought.

I taught with him at the Portland Museum of Art school, and am teaching still. Although I never intended for calligraphy to be my profession, it has been the string along which all my other professionsas photojournalist, writer, artisthave been strung. Whether it is the negative shapes of sky between winter branches, beautiful signs along the way, an envelope or thank-you-note from a calligraphy friend, calligraphy is always present in some form, creating an awareness with which I constantly appreciate the world anew, enriching my life, year after year.

Kajira Wyn Berry in Reed, August 2003

With felt pens squeaking across vast sheets of butcher paper mounted on an easel before us, Lloyd moved with ease through the evolution of two thousand years of western letterforms. His speech was audacious. The intricacy of information imparted through his demonstration and accompanying commentary was exciting and seductive, all of it delivered in his inimitable style, a dazzling performance of insights. At the end, he stood before us, exhaling hard and smiling owlishly, having seen the spark lit in some of us.

Margot Voorhies Thompson in Reed, August 2003





You are the garden. Sharpen up your spade.

Flower can be a verb.Flower!

Sunlight under dark soilcomes up dandelions.

Lloyd Reynolds inThe Calligraphy of Lloyd J. Reynolds







Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letters combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science cant capture, and I found it fascinating
And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography.

Steve Jobs, co-founder Apple computers, in his 2005 Stanford University commencement address
referring to calligraphy class taken from Reynolds hand-picked successor Robert Palladino


Lloyd J. Reynolds Selected Material


A Festschrift for Lloyd J. Reynolds. Portland, Ore: Reed College, 1966.
Benson, John Howard. The First Writing Book: Arrighis Operina. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1954.
Berenson, Bernard. Aesthetics and History. New York: Doubleday and Co., 1954.
Coomaraswamy, Ananda K. Christian and Oriental Philosophy of Art. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1956.
Fairbank, Alfred. A Book of Scripts. Baltimore, Md.: Penguin Books, 1968.
Focillon, Henri. The Life of forms in Art. New York: Zone Books, 1992.
Gunderson, William and Charles Lehman. The Calligraphy of Lloyd J. Reynolds:
A Contemporary American Writing Master. Portland, Ore: Alcuin Press, 1988
and 2nd ed. Oregon Historical Society Press, 1989.
Johnston, Edward. Writing, Illuminating and Lettering. London: Pitman, 1906.
Oregon Public Broadcasting (OEPBS). Italic Calligraphy & Handwriting with Lloyd Reynolds.
20 broadcast lessons, Portland, Ore: 1976.
Portland Art Association. Calligraphy: The Golden Age & Its Modern Revival. Portland, Ore: 1958.
Reed, Calligraphy issue focused on Lloyd. J. Reynolds, Robert Palladino & students/colleagues, August 2003
Reynolds, Lloyd J. Handwriting & Calligraphy. Oregon Rainbow: 4 (1976) 32-39.
Reynolds, Lloyd J. Italic Lettering & Handwriting: Exercise Book. Portland, Ore: Champoeg Press, 1963.
Reynolds, Lloyd J. Weathergrams. Portland, Ore: Society for Italic Handwriting, Reed College, 1972.



Compiled by Lois Leonard, OCHC

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Lloyd J. Reynolds Timeline


1902 Born in Bemidji, Minnesota, June 18
1904 Family moves to Spokane, Washington
1914 Family moves to Portland, Oregon
1920 Graduates, Franklin High School
1924 BS Forestry, Oregon State University
1925 Marriage to Virginia Bliss
1926 BA English Literature, University of Oregon
1927 Teaching fellow, Roseburg High School
1929 MA, University of Oregon
Employed to teach English Literature , Reed College
(later Creative Writing & Art History)
1930 Birth of son John
1932 Birth of son Richard
1949 First Graphic Arts Workshop at Reed, 3rd floor Eliot Hall (former chemistry lab)
1950 Begins teaching calligraphy classes, Portland Art Museum (PAM)
1954 House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) interview
1958 Organizes exhibition Calligraphy: The Golden Age and its Modern Revival
at PAM with Max Sullivan and Francis Newman
1959 Sabbatical in Germany, The Netherlands, England and Italy, manuscript hunting & schmoozing
1967 Chosen for television program Men Who Teach, one of six outstanding teachers selected
1968 Reed College commencement address: Grow It!
1968 Founds Western American Branch of the Society for Italic Handwriting (WABSIH);
renamed Portland Society for Calligraphy (PSC) in 1983
1969 Retires from Reed as Professor Emeritus (continues teaching and lecturing elsewhere)
1970 Death of wife Virginia
1972 Named Oregon State Calligrapher Laureate by Governor Tom McCall
Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Reed College
1974 Statewide option for Italic Handwriting in Oregon schools, thanks to his influence
1975 Marriage to Judith Reynders
1977 Receives Aubrey R. Watzek Award, Lewis and Clark College
1978 Dies in Portland, October 4

Complied by Georgianna Greenwood, Berkeley, California


Created for a Discovering Oregon Originals program (last of the 11th season) produced by Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission in partnership with Portland Society for Calligraphy. Special thanks to Reed College, Oregon Public Broadcasting &First Unitarian Church.


Editing & Design David Milholland

www.ochcom.org PO Box 3588 Portland, OR 97208
www.portlandcalligraphy.org PO Box 4621 Portland, OR 97208

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Reach OCHC: PO Box 3588, Portland, OR 97208-3588encanto@ochcom.org