Monday, May 8, 2023

Lettering: Frank Bartuska, Lettering Artist

Frank John Bartuska was born on April 4, 1902, in Chicago, Illinois, according to his World War II draft card. In the 1910 United States Census, Bartuska was the only child of John, a metal polisher, and Antonia, who was born in Bohemia. The family resided in Chicago at 1532 North Ridgeway Avenue. 

The Bartuskas were counted at the same address in the 1920 census. Seventeen-year-old Bartuska was an artist at a studio. 

Around 1927 Bartuska married Thelma. The 1930 census said they lived in Chicago at 1744 Albion Avenue. Bartuska was an artist at a commercial art studio. Some time after 1935, they moved to New York City. 

The 1940 census said they were Manhattan residents at 57 West 55th Street. Bartuska was a commercial artist who highest level of education was the fourth year of high school. He earned $4,730 in 1939. 

On February 15, 1942, Bartuska signed his World War II draft card. His home address was unchanged. Bartuska was self-employed and had an office at 143 East 45th Street. His descriptions five feet ten inches, 150 pounds, with blonde hair and blue eyes. 

Advertising Layout: The Projection of an Idea (1946) dust jacket and cover designed by Toni Bonagura and Frank Bartuska. Heck-Cattell Publishing Company, 1946 

Lettering and Calligraphy in Current Advertising and Publishing exhibition, at the A-D Gallery in New York City., presented the work of 25 letterers and calligraphers including Bartuska (below). The catalog was reprinted in Print, Fall 1945

Bartuska has not yet been found in the 1950 census. 

Art Direction, October 1953, printed an Photo-Lettering advertisement announcing the transfer of photographic alphabets by Bartuska and Tony Bonagura. Art Direction, November 1953, reported the transfer of photographic alphabets. 
Photo-Lettering adds alphabets
Ed Rondthaler has been abroad securing European alphabets for Photo-Lettering Inc. and one-man calligraphic and lettering shows for the Alphabet Gallery. 

Toni Bonagura and Frank Bartuska have transferred their entire “Custom Lettering” line of nearly 100 photographic alphabets to the Company’s library. This line includes many versions of both contemporary and classic designs. A brochure displaying these designs is available from Photo-Lettering, Inc., 216 East 45th Street, New York City.
Art Direction, October 1955, said
Photo-Lettering catalog shows 2750 styles
Today’s nearest approach to an encyclopedia of lettering is found in “A Manual of 2750 Alphabet Styles” (Photo-Lettering, Inc., 216 East 45th St., New York. $5). The book displays the work of over a hundred letterers, calligraphers and type designers, including such artists as Pete Dom, Tommy Thompson, Tony Bonnagura [sic], M. M. Davison, C. E. Coryn, Andrew Szoeke, Frank Bartuska, Oscar Ogg, Emil Schaedler, Tony Stan, Edw. Benguiat, Acey Cypres, etc.
Art Direction, May 1957, said
Poster technique for fashion ad
A departure from for the usual high fashion elegance in this color page for Glenhaven Suits. AD Norbert Haber designed the page with headlines in black and red—the large “you” backgrounding model Dovima is in red. Frank Bartuska and Milton Crown did the lettering for large type. Photographer: Bill Ward. Copy: Andrew Weiss. Agency: Webb Associates. This page is one of five in new campaign, all ads to use same design, only differing feature to be suited model.
Industrial Marketing, January 1959, said
Plastics World . . has changed to a square (11 1/4 x 11 1/4") format. In addition to a new cover, designed by Frank Bartuska, changes have been made in page layout, typography, use of color, and illustrations. These changes have been made under the guidance of the Syracuse University Communications Research Center. The magazine is a property of Cleworth Publishing Co., Cos Cob, Conn.
The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Third Series, Volume 12, Part 1, Number 2, Books and Pamphlets, July–December 1958 had several entries for Bartuska’s lettering and design on children’s books by Merrill Company Publishers.

The Encyclopaedia of Type Faces, Blandford Press, 1983, said
Page 38: Caslon Antique ... There are also much later-dated adaptations such as Caslon Old Face Heavy, and Old Face Open and an Old Face Open Heavy. The Caslon italic of American Typefounders has additional swash letters. Other series for this typefoundry were redesigned by Frank Bartuska. 

Page 311: News Gothic… New additional weights were added 1958–66, including designs by Frank Bartuska for American Typefounders. 
Bartuska passed away on February 2, 1975, in Pinellas County, Florida. 

Further Reading
Luc Devroye, Frank Bartuska 

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