This photo is another mystery from the junk shop. Its only clue is a date in each corner (I cropped it out): 1960. My assumption is that this is kids art, although it appears as if it was displayed in the school’s boiler room!
I tried CSIing the image in order to ascertain just what in the heck the character on the right side is doing to the main character’s arm. I couldn’t get much more than a blur. My best guess is that he is sick and she is a nurse administering treatment via needle. But what is wrong with her nose?
There is always something intriguing about finding someone else’s high school yearbook. No matter what the year, there are common curiosities that make just about any of these bound generational time capsules fascinating.
Obviously all those faces locked in time are a huge draw. Whether it’s the 1980’s and I can recognize versions of myself and my high school classmates or it’s a 1940’s Catholic school in Toledo, Ohio and the faces all seem so much older than they were. It’s basic, people are interesting.
All these kids in high school at the height of World War II… cheering their teams, putting on plays, editing their yearbook, hoping to capture themselves as they are. All of the nicknames… Nobby, Dizzy, Babs, Chick, Bugs, Big Jim, Duff, Bull, Sharpy, Blackie, Lulu, Rufus, Pinkie, Katty, Doc, Butch, Dimples, and Squirrel and the sad rare kid with no nickname — their photo feeling that much more wistful.
One of my favourite things to find at the junk shop are little bundles of letters, notes, and documents. These bundles can often form an instant collection around the life of their previous owner or maker.
Today I came home with a bundle of cancelled cheques from the account of a F.P. Anderson with transactions spanning the late 1920’s and early 30’s. I find these things fascinating. The writing, the cost of things, the design of the cheques themselves, the variety of cancellation perforations, and the endorsement stamps on the reverse. They are simply packed with archival curiosities.
Not surprisingly, it’s also the story of Mr. Anderson — someone completely unknown to me — told for these few distant years through the outgoing sums of his Iowa savings account. How much did he spend on a radio? Did he just buy a new car? Those frequent payments to “self”. It’s a sort of casual anthropology I engage in.
From the New York Public Library’s collection of the scrapbooks of 19th-century illustrator Alexander Anderson.
Just some of the thousands of images created by Alexander Anderson and preserved incredibly in multiple 100-page scrapbooks. Just amazing. Each page of every volume is just stunning on its own. I pulled out these few type and logo related images in particular because it feels like such an interesting comparison to contemporary portfolios and also such a primary source for the current trend in type and branding work that mimics this aesthetic.
Click here to see a large version of the photo.
I have no idea who these people are, where this was taken, or when. It is a mystery. The letters “Au” is all that remains of what may have been a clue, ripped off from the large chunk that is missing on the right side. My best guess is that they are staff of an hotel, estate, or… who knows. All of the women are wearing a similar uniform: pleated long, dark skirt, white blouse and tie, but for one woman whose skirt is flat-front (not pleated), and wearing a presumably coloured blouse with a ruffle. Perhaps she is the head of house, front counter staff, a manager, owner… I don’t know, but it’s fun to guess.
Photos by Gayla Trail. Crazy quilt by Unknown.
These images from the New York Public Library’s Digital Collection are the poster cards from a 1918 set of magic lantern slides promoting the library and its services for children and adults.
The lantern slides (glass plate positive photos) and their projector were made by Williams, Brown & Earle, Inc. of Philadelphia in the early 20th century. The processes to produce the slides and the new relative safety and portability of the projection equipment meant that slides like this could be produced in readymade sets and shipped to branches for the early 20th century’s version of a Powerpoint presentation.
There’s an earnestness to the text and also something that feels oddly like Jenny Holzer’s Truisms. Please remain seated.
There is something about the way we allow things to look when we aren’t worried about who is looking. We let go, allow for messes, and are liberated from the tyranny of worrying about how we will be judged.
I picked up these three 1962 issues of Art International Magazine from the junk shop (shocker). Besides encapsulating a particularly mutable time in contemporary art history, what struck me about them was the swath of gallery ads that run at the front of each issue.
The magazine’s editorial and advertising share a sort of blended Swiss style — Art International was published by James Fitzsimmons in Lugano, Switzerland. The type and imagery sit somewhere between Armin Hofmann’s posters and Reid Miles’ Blue Note album covers.
These issues came on the cusp of a graphic surge in the art world. The American strain of Pop Art was just about to hit. The names Warhol, Dine, Thiebaud, Lichtenstein, Johns, and Rauschenberg are bold and new on these pages.