The memos were written using a proportional typeface, where letters take up variable space according to their size, rather than fixed-pitch typeface used on typewriters, where each letter is allotted the same space. Proportional typefaces are available only on computers or on very high-end typewriters that were unlikely to be used by the National Guard.
The memos include superscript, i.e. the “th” in “187th” appears above the line in a smaller font. Superscript was not available on typewriters.
The memos included “curly” apostrophes rather than straight apostrophes found on typewriters.
The font used in the memos is Times Roman, which was in use for printing but not in typewriters. The Haas Atlas
—the bible of fonts —does not list Times Roman as an available font for typewriters.
The vertical spacing used in the memos, measured at 13 points, was not available in typewriters, and only became possible with the advent of computers.
When I mentioned the memos to my wife the other day, she noted that the White House spokesperson seemed unusually calm when fielding reporter’s questions about this latest scandal. Since I don’t watch much TV news, I wouldn’t have been able to pick up on that detail.
Regarding the efforts to compile the data I listed above… wouldn’t that be a cool job? Using my finely honed paper-grading skills to determine the political fate of a nation!
“It is a curious thing,” remarked Holmes, “that a typewriter has really quite as much individuality as a man’s handwriting. Unless they are quite new, no two of them write exactly alike. Some letters get more worn than others, and some wear only on one side. Now, you remark in this note of yours, Mr. Windibank, that in every case there is some little slurring over of the ‘e,’ and a slight defect in the tail of the ‘r.’ There are fourteen other characteristics, but those are the more obvious.”
“A Case of Identity,” Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle.