This is a little bag of Selectric elements, the Selectric typewriter was a wonderful innovation in typewriter design that allowed people to switch to different fonts and Italic and whatnot. And in the late 70s and early 80s I was doing some Russian language work, Russian’s my native language, and I wanted to have a Cyrillic element. So I had to order one and I had 3 choices. It could be looks alike, which is the Russian R looks like the English P; sound alike, which is the Russian R is in the space where the English B is on the keyboard; or it could be what I chose (because I was a very macho young woman) which is the Sylvia keyboard layout, which is in many ways similar to the US keyboard layout and that’s the one that is in this bag. [… M]y roommate and I were sharing a Selectric typewriter, so I got some neon green Avery dots and I drew the Cyrillic characters on them and drew them over the keys. I was woken up the next morning to a blood curdling shriek, and [my roommate] with her coffee had stumbled into the room with the Selectric typewriter and found all the keys were in Russian.
This belongs in the Museum of the History of Typography as an Element in Industrial Design
Exhibited by Nina Sandliu
Transcript edited by Serena Washington