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The Cary Collection Remembers William F. Wheatley

On November 18th, the Cary Graphic Arts Collection lost our friend William F. Wheatley. “Wheatley,” as he was known to family and friends, was a pioneer in the field of Phototypesetting. A 1956 graduate of RIT’s School of Printing, he worked for several major companies, including a notable tenure at the Varityper Corporation. Wheatley joined Varityper in 1965 as an Assistant Director of Typography and from 1972 to 1978 was the corporation’s International Type Manager, establishing their European type design center. He later worked for the Compugraphic.

Corporation and Itek Composition Systems. His distinguished career is documented in a RIT Masters thesis by Melissa Kaup titled “William Wheatley: A Retrospective.”

Wheatley’s legacy lives on in the Cary Collection. Throughout his career, he collected material related to phototypesetting systems. He later donated this archive to the Cary Collection, where it is now preserved and used by researchers. It’s a vital collection in the history of printing, because much of the surviving evidence of the phototypesetting period has not been saved or studied.

Wheatley’s passion for printing never waned. He spent his retirement in Spartanburg, South Carolina teaching letterpress printing at the West Main Artists Co-op and continued his own research on the history of printing and typesetting systems.

Through the years Wheatley remained close to those of us at the Cary Collection.  We will miss his regular phone calls, and hearing about his latest projects. Most of all, we will miss his lighthearted spirit and generosity of knowledge.