Leader Board Ad

Monday, December 28, 2015

Found Photos (with new captions)

It is sad to see old photos with no explanation, no date or identifying marks. It means they were not archived properly and are destined to be cast off. I have other plans...for me they will become part of the educational material I will give away during my talks on Urban Archeology. For now, I will display them with a made up caption. (Place tongue "a" firmly in to cheek "b")
Demanding the right to hold the same positions as men - here we see the earliest known image of 3 Lumberjanes.

Looking to give momma a hand with the washing - Susie prepares to hang her wet dress on the clothesline - with it on.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Beer Belongs...1947 Illustrated ad

Here is another in the series of the "Beer Belongs" campaign. This was the first one I posted.  Brought to you by the US Brewers Foundation. The illustration, an awesome work of art from Douglass Crockwell is titled "New Beau."
This introducing of new beau to dad is going to go smoothly once mom brings out the beer. In just a few minutes they'll all be yucking it up and feeling like all is right with the world - thanks to beer. The new couple may just be allowed to sit together closer on the sofa.
An interesting note about the illustrator - who created many iconic ads and Saturday Evening Post covers - his style was his own, but his name was so close to that of Norman Rockwell's that you won't often see him sign an illustration with his full name. Note that the above ad is signed just "Douglass." Read more about him here.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Your Cubic Feet Smell Like Gas

This is a gas bill from 1906 for a property listed as 323 Putnam Ave. A neat piece of the past and a curious amount of fine and not-so-fine print. Especially on the reverse.
  While it may 80 cents per 1000 cubic feet the courts will decide if the company may charge a $1 for that same area. That's a heck of hike in the rate considering how far a dollar went in those days.

Friday, December 18, 2015

A Letterhead so nice you'll want to use it twice (1925)

If this looks a little familiar, it should. I recently changed the header image for this blog after some editing. At a time in America when cheap cars made exploring possible it seemed as though the number one past-time was motoring and camping, a company like Carnie Goudie did well selling tents.  This illustration just spoke to me.

I felt that after 90 years, it deserved to be renewed. What ever happened to Carnie Goudie?

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Illustrated Mind of Bernie Burroughs (and another coincidence)

My hobby qualifies me as the luckiest guy on Earth. If you have an eclectic/nostalgic interest there is no better way to appreciate all that has come before than to just go out and look for it. In 2013, I found my way to a Westport, CT estate sale in the midst of a clearing-out. The owner, Esta Burroughs, was moving into assisted living.  Inside, I found a home that was filled with the evidence of a spirit similar to mine. Esta's husband, Bernie Burroughs (died 1993), had created the type of things I enjoy most - advertising illustration. More specifically, advertising illustration from the mid-20th century.
This Camay ad isn't one of Bernie' Burroughs' though I could be wrong. It was among thousands of clipped samples I found when I purchased his "morgue." Essential to artists/illustrators who need a sample of a person, place or thing in just the right light or position, a morgue is a collection of clippings that may be used as a model to create a new illustration for a client.

When Bernie couldn't find the exact model/angle clipping he needed, he would just grab his trusty Polaroid and pose for it himself. Who says "selfies" were only a 21st Century thing? 

You are seeing the birth of an illustration from somebody who was there, working hard to satisfy an agency and their client. Do I know where this finally landed in the published world? Unfortunately not.
 The sad yet amazing coincidence is that when I decided to begin composing this post, I had no idea that I would discover that Bernie's wife Esta just passed away Friday at the age of 102.  Whenever I ask myself, "Why I am I doing this Urban Archeology thing?"  - The universe gives me an answer. Make of it what you will.
Rest in Peace, Bernie and Esta.  You can read a heartfelt post about Esta's passing here and several more articles relating to the Burroughs' and Westport CT in Dan Woog's terrific blog.