1900 Born Leipzig, Germany into wealthy Jewish family; commerce in furs and lumber. Mother was half-American; her German Jewish father visited the US around 1850 and returned with an American wife. Father was Czech. Grew up in Berlin; made his first book at 11: a catalog of his father’s library, hand bound and decorated with Gothic initials; started collecting books.
1922 PhD in Art History or Literature [sources vary] from University of Leipzig. As student was politically active and head of a student pacifist group.
1922-1926 Kurt Wolff Verlag, Munich; began publishing work.

Deutsche Verlag Anstalt, Stuttgart; in art books department, worked as editor of classical art books; learned publishing/production process and scheduling at a full service publishing house with in-house production.

1926 Left Germany for US because Czech government tried to draft him. No work in publishing because English not sufficient; sold German books in Brooklyn; used letter of introduction from a customer to meet Alfred Knopf.
1926-1928? General designer for Alfred A. Knopf, publisher.
1928-1931 Art director and foreign editor for Doubleday, Doran, publishers.
1931-1943 Head of design department, H. Wolff Manufacturing Co., book manufacturers for many publishers.
1931? Established Roman Press, personal imprint.
1932 AIGA 50 Books award received for the first time: “Blood and Oil in the Orient.”
[early 1930s] Married Hortense Ansorge, artist.
1943-1945 Type director, Foote, Cone & Belding, advertising agency.
[mid 1940s] Divorced Ansorge; married Miriam Brudno, Cleveland bookseller.
1945 Designer of first ‘instant book’ about atomic bombing of Japan.
1945-1955 Founder and head of Archway Press, publisher of gift and art books.
1948 Daughter Ruth is born.
1951 Curated (with Merle Armitage, John Begg, S.A. Jacobs, and Marshall Lee) exhibition, Books for Our Time.
1955 Established Ernst Reichl Associates, specialists in books with graphic arts challenges in production; general corporate design.
1960-1970 Designed most trade books published by Hold, Rinehart and Winston.
1967 AIGA 50 Books award, 26th and last award, “Forbush and the Penguins.”
1979 Last book designed: “Jesus, His Life and Times.”
1980 Died September 19, New York, NY.
Professional affiliations
American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), Type Directors Club, The Typophiles
Professional Activities for AIGA
director, member, chair of book clinics, chair of Trade Book clinic, chair of Magazine clinic, chair of Text Book clinic, juror for 50 Books (twice)
Awards
1932-1967 AIGA 50 Books award for 26 books
1949, 1950, 1951 Certificates of Excellence, AIGA
Published Writing / articles
8/2/1930 “Harmony in Book Design,” Publishers Weekly
9/1935 “Let’s Learn from the Meat Packers,” Production Manager
1/1937 “First Impression,” Publishers Weekly
4/1937 “First Impression,” Publishers Weekly
1/7/1939 “Type and the Men,” Publishers Weekly
6/5/1943 “Yes, We have no War Books,” Publishers Weekly
4/7/1945 “The Designer’s Art, Publishers Weekly
8/7/1948 “Look, Ma, I’m Designin’!,” review of Young Designers’ Show, Publishers Weekly
8/6/1949 “Legibility, Basic Rules of Etiquette,” Publishers Weekly
12/1953 “A Catalogue Production Story,” Productionwise
3/3/1955 “Somebody’s Been Drawing in Your Book,” review of Children’s Book Show, Publishers Weekly
Published Writing / book
1949 “Legibility, A Typographic Book of Etiquette,” McKibben
Public Lectures
2/4/1970
Composing Room, NYC, Heritage of the Graphic Arts series, “What is Modern?”
spring 1977 Jerusalem Book Fair, lecture on using computer composition for the Bible
11/16/77 Composing Room, NYC, Heritage of the Graphic Arts series, “Book Designing or Book Directing”
Teaching
1969
Professor of graphic design at NYU Center for the Graphic Arts
1970 Assistant adjunct professor of graphic design at Center for Publishing and Graphics, NYU School of Continuing Education