Notes & Queries
Another Witton/Witkowski coincidence: In my article on Edgar Ederheimer in this present 60th anniversary issue of Biblionews I refer to two coincidences in respect to Dr Nic Witton and his family, originally named Witkowski. In my 2005 Insel article I hypothesised momentarily, on p. 68, that it might have been a certain Hans Schmoller who had transmitted the concept of the illustrated Insel books to the Penguin publishers that gave rise to the King Penguins, but dropped the hypothesis on the grounds that he had only joined Penguin ten years after the King Penguins began to appear.
One of the books the ever generous Patrick Fox sent me was Hans Schmoller, Typographer: His Life and Work, which appeared as Number 6 in the New Series of The Monotype Recorder of April 1987, guest edited by Gerald Cinamon. This volume contains articles by a number of contributors on the life and work of Hans Schmoller, a gifted Jewish typographer, who left Germany for England in 1933 intending to return in a few years, but for obvious reasons could not, and who, after some years in Africa, moved back to England in 1947 and joined Penguin in 1949, where he played a crucial role in the design of their books during his time with the publishing house.
The volume is richly illustrated with photographs and reproductions of book covers, title pages, corrected drafts of printed texts, documents etc. However, on p.2 of Cinamon’s own opening contribution, “Hans Schmoller, 1916-1985”, there is a small photograph with the long caption:
In the composing room at Scholem [the prewar Jewish book-printing firm of Siegfried Scholem, BT], 1934: (left to right) the apprentices’ ‘Meister’ – Herr Vogt [-], Hans Schmoller and Emil Witkowski watch a compositor at work. Witkowski (later Witton) emigrated to Australia where he became a printer. His contribution to the Recorder appears on page 16.
This Emil Witkowski is thus none other than Dr Witton’s father. In his contribution on pp. 16f. Emil Witton (Witkowski) mentions that Hans Schmoller and his wife Tanya had visited Emil and his wife Hannah in Sydney in the late 1970s, a visit that Nic Witton recalls. Anyway, that is Coincidence Number 3 in this issue of Biblionews.