Born in Austria in 1882, Victor Hammer—a typographer, painter, sculptor and printer—spent his early years in an apprenticeship under the architect and painter Camillo Sitte. Hammer later transferred to the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna where he began to cast and cut his own type. In 1921, Hammer produced his first type design—Hammer Uncial—that aimed to “fuse roman and black letter into a new unity.” This led to his eventual move to Florence, Italy where he set up his own printing press—Stamperia del Santuccio.
Hammer accepted a post as a professor back in Vienna in 1936, but fled the country a few years later in 1939, immigrating to the U.S. to escape the war. After a lengthy teaching position in New York, Hammer spent his retirement as an artist-in-residence at Transylvania University in Lexington, KY where he established a traditional printing press and continued to refine his Uncial type. Though Hammer practiced book craftmanship in the old-world style and seemed to have side-stepped the burgeoning modernist revolutions; his spare, considered layouts and often reductionist approach offers a warm alternative to the usual 20th Century minimalisms. There is certainly much in his work to be admired.