“Mundus ante nos est.” Class of ’84 graduation card
In January 1884 Herman Ihlenburg patented Arboret, a complex typeface made of decorative gothic letters reversed out of a black, bordered band and ornamented with leaves and berries (or olives). Like Ihlenberg’s later Arboret No. 2 and Stipple, the type’s background pattern is continuous, disguising the separate metal pieces and binding lines of letters together in a seamless way.
This card, found by ephemera collector Alan Mays, celebrates the “Class of ’84” from an unknown institution. If it was printed in that same year it would be one of the earliest uses of Arboret. It could well have been printed later than 1884, however.
The charming and curious italic at the top of the card matches a face called Fantaisie by French foundry Berthier & Durey. Its origin is unknown and it was probably available from other companies (including American foundries) under different names.
The italic names are set in one of the many generically named Modern or Scotch typefaces of the Victorian period.