Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Type Tuesday - Happy Halloween!

Features from our Kemble Collection on Western Printing and Publishing to celebrate All Hallow's Eve! 

A witchy evening to you all!

A hodge podge of Halloween ornaments from Ludlow Typograph Company.

Not enough treats? Here is a recipe for Impossible New England Pumpkin Pie from Paul and Joyce Quyle's Philter Press.

Jaime Henderson,

Monday, October 28, 2013

All Dressed Up - Halloween Costume Inspiration

A fun selection of creative and homemade ideas for your Halloween finery.

Women wearing over-sized masks on the beach in Venice, ca.1930 CHS-33248

Children in costume during a dramatic presentation, ca.1930 CHS-40297

Woman wearing an ethnic costume, ca.1930 CHS-40298

People in Middle Eastern costumes posing in front of a camera, [s.d.] CHS-48629

Even the California Bear gets into the Halloween spirit.

Small bear cub standing in a clearing and wearing a costume, ca.1930 CHS-9750

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Type Tuesday - Graphis magazine

In today’s Type Tuesday we look at Graphis, the International Journal of Visual Communications. First published in by Walter Herdeg and Dr. Walter Amstutz in 1944, the magazine detailed the work of fine artists and illustrators in the formative years of graphic design.  The Graphis website includes an archive of all of their dynamic covers.

Issue number 50 from 1954 (seen at left) celebrated the magazine’s 10th birthday and included American calligrapher Paul Standard’s article The Restoration of Calligraphy. In his article Standard blamed the technology of the Victorian age for the demise of calligraphy. He wrote, “The infinitely promising machine was to be the world’s salvation; craftsmanship was a quaint notion of a curious past, best forgotten.”  Standard then acknowledged post-Victiorian era craftsmen such as England’s Edward Johnston, Germany’s Eric Gill and America’s W.A. Dwiggins and Stanley Morison for reviving the practice of calligraphy in a variety of printed material, from book and magazine covers to ephemeral items such as letterhead and advertising pamphlets. Shown below are examples of some of Standard’s favorite calligraphy from the first half of the 20th century. 

Jaime Henderson,

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Type Tuesday - French Types

The American Type Founders Company offers its customers beautiful French Type!

This colorful type catalog features typefaces inspired by 18th century French designers Nicolas Cochin and Pierre Simon Fournier.

Nicolas Cochin was a copperplate engraver whose work was so admired he was appointed perpetual secretary of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture. The American Type Founders Company notes his work as eminent among the lettering done by French copperplate engravers in their descriptions of engravings and on the frames of their portraits. His work provided the inspiration for their Nicolas Cochin series, seen below.

Nicolas Cochin series by American Type Founders Company

The Fournier series was a reproduction of a type design originally created by distinguished type founder Pierre Simon Fournier in 1764. According to the American Type Founders catalog, Fournier's work was exceptional in his use of decorative ornamental types as there "were not decorative type faces, except certain initial letters, until the dawn of the eighteenth century."  Here his florid ornament and type were featured in examples of advertising print to be had by the American Type Founders Company.

Fournier series by American Type Founders Company

Jaime Henderson,

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Type Tuesday - Los Angeles Public Library Bookplates

This week the California Historical Society will be visiting Los Angeles for the LA Archives Bazaar. In honor of our visit down south, today's Type Tuesday features beautiful bookplates from the Los Angeles Public Library.  

Joan L. West's handsome volume, The Bookplates of the Los Angeles Public Library, was published in 1971 as the LAPL  was approaching its 100th anniversary. The LAPL started as the Los Angeles Library Association in 1872 as a subscription library. Bookplates were used in the library's early days and provided information such as whether the book had been given or loaned to the library, from whom the book came from, and whether it was to be circulated or not. Below is an example of the bright yellow bookplate used by the Los Angeles Library Association. 

In 1879 the Library Association officially became the Los Angeles Public Library and by June of 1889 it had moved its seven thousand volumes to its new location at LA's new City Hall. The Board of Library Commissioners decided a new bookplate was in order and offered to the public a prize of $10.00 for the winning design. P. Dore of the Crocker Lithograph Company took the prize with the design seen below, featuring an angel aloft high above Los Angeles, holding a torch and two palm fronds. 

Dore's design graced the pages of LAPL's books until it was met with criticism. One fickle patron described the image as something "which looks like nothing so much as a popular malt tonic label." In 1903 the library opted for a more staid bookplate, seen below.

The Los Angeles Central Library was constructed in 1926. To commemorate the occasion a new official bookplate was created. Designed by Norman Kennedy, the bookplate included a scroll at the bottom which could be used to denote a special collection. The first bookplate including the special collection scroll was for the Samuel F. Baker collection of scientific books. Below is Norman Kennedy's bookplate with a notation for the Oak Amidon Memorial collection, named for Oak Amidon, the principal of the library's sociology department.  

The acquisition of special collections added breadth and scope to not only the LAPL materials, but also their bookplates. As bookplates grew more popular many fine artisans began designing for the library. Ruth Saunders, a prominent Los Angeles bookplate designers, created the plate seen below for the Jaroslow de Zielinski collection around 1923. 

The bookplate featured in West's book commemorates the 100 year anniversary of the library is shown below. Printed on mauve colored paper the design features the grizzly bear and star from the Original Bear Flag of California. 

The Kemble Collection on Western Printing and Publishing at the California Historical Society features a number of books on bookplates and its own collection of bookplates used throughout the state of California. Stop by and take a look!

Jaime Henderson,

Friday, October 4, 2013


Trade cards, a popular advertising medium passed on to shoppers by retailers in the 1870s through the 1890s, are a common ephemeral material found in the California Historical Society collections, but rarely do we see a trade card serial. In the above series a rough and tumble fight between two tom cats for the affections of a delightfully accessorized feline ends with the orange and black tabby broken and battered but his confidence fully intact. 
While arranging materials in our California business ephemera collection I first located numbers 1, 5, and 6 of this series in the file for F.H. Atwater, a store in Petaluma that sold a wide variety of goods. Sadly, I could only imagine what sort of ferocity was inflicted upon this smitten tabby by his romantic rival in the missing cards 2, 3 and 4. My curiosity was not appeased until I came upon the file for Hale Brothers & Company, a department store chain, also with a store in Petaluma, which included the cards 2, 3, and 4 from this series. Whether the serial is an early example of a partnership between the stores to cross-market or just a delightful coincidence where one collection filled the gaps of another, it is an example of the many surprises we come across in the CHS collections.

Jaime Henderson,

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

MacKellar, Smiths and Jordan Co.

Today's Type Tuesday features a few samples of business cards from MacKellar, Smiths and Jordan's Handy Specimen Book.

Amongst the types, cuts and rules on display in this tome are these delightful mortised business cuts fit for advertising a variety of business and services. 

Choice cuts for all indeed!

Jaime Henderson,