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Hennies Brothers Letterpress Printing Shop: Printing Outputs and Typographic Repertoire From Germany to Brazil

The first printing press was established in Brazil during 1808. Printing in São Paulo city started in 1827 and expanded into the early twentieth-century, enabling the city to be the main Brazilian editorial and printing centre. Many of the early São Paulo city printing shops were founded by German and Italian immigrants and produced printed artifacts recognizable by their communities. Typographia Hennies Irmãos, or Hennies Brothers Letterpress Printing Shop, is a prime example of this. The company was founded in 1890 by two German emigrant brothers, Heinrich and Teodoro Hennies, and was passed down three generations until it closed down in 1992. This research aims to uncover the company typographic repertoire, investigate its origins and influences during its centennial trajectory, and as a contribution to studies on graphic memory and material culture within these geographical and temporal boundaries. The sources include queries to original printed publications and the Hennies family heirs private collection composed of documents, photographs, and graphic supplies catalogues. There have been more than 450 printed publications including books, magazines, newspapers, and annual reports discovered, and over 45 typefaces identified from a type specimen book and imported from at least one Italian and nine German foundries. This research is in collaboration with the digital platform, ‘Tipografia Paulistana’, which provides information about the beginning of the history of printing in the city of São Paulo. The results include publications aimed at immigrant communities in seven languages that emphasize on the typographic repertoire, the typefaces identified, and the relationship with the European foundries that were part of the printing history and printing culture in São Paulo.


Jade Piaia

Jade Samara Piaia is a postdoctoral researcher at the Visual Design Research Lab (LabVisual) at the University of São Paulo in the School of Architecture and Urbanism (FAU USP), Brazil. Piaia has a background in graphic design, and both a master's and PhD in Visual Arts from the University of Campinas (Unicamp) Art Institute. Piaia’s research project is titled, “The typographic repertoire of Tipografia Hennies: contributions to São Paulo city graphic memory,” which was supervised by Dr. Priscila Lena Farias. Paia’s interests are in typeface, print culture, design history, information design, and visual communication.