1. Lovely Penguin paperback spines, ca. 1963–64.

     
  2. A good historical example of mainstream political publishing, much of which influences people at a certain moment and then disappears without further comment. Here, a British aristocrat meets Hitler, Göring, Hess, etc. and writes this tract right before the war (1938)—the Nazis aren’t so bad, they’re just misunderstood! Before the war, there were quite a few people in elite social positions in the UK and the U.S. who thought that Hitler, Mussolini et al. were swell. Kudos to Penguin for including this cover in Penguin by Design: A Cover Story 1935–2005.

     
  3. Charley Harper illustration for Betty Crocker’s Dinner for Two Cookbook (1958). I needed help to see the perspective of this one—looked too quickly and had to ask someone, “What in the world is that thing on the left?” and she explained that it’s a bird’s eye view of a table. Oh, right, thanks!

     
  4. Fish scalers, Colombia, ca. 1000 CE. Flint in clay. From the book Jack Lenor Larsen: Creator and Collector.

     
  5. Round House in East Hampton, NY, designed by Jack Lenor Larsen and Robert Rosenberg, 1960–64. There were many superb designs on Long Island, such as this one, up to the 1960s, but quality of the architecture since then has taken a nose dive, as in the rest of the country generally.

     
  6. From the WWII-era “DuBarry Success Course,” one of those mail-order feminine self-improvement courses that taught women to practice walking with books on their heads to improve their poise and eliminate bad posture, and promised to improve the figure, skin, etc. Some of their wartime ads claimed that these self-improvement programs were a matter of patriotic duty: “The Success School has taught me how to live for my Country!”

     
  7. Frank and Fran were making their way through the early evening shadows when I spotted them in this “life-size” paste-up on N. Mississippi Ave. Jim Woodring’s book Fran was one of the bright spots of 2013. I met Jim earlier this year and heard straight from the horse’s mouth that he’s working on a sequel to Fran. *whinny!*

     
  8. "In the 1920s, indoor fireworks served as parlor entertainment to celebrate the 4th. Such examples included large crackers shaped like people, buildings, cannons, clowns, top hats and boots. Each caused an explosion of gifts when lit. … Laughing Uncle, shaped like a man`s head wearing a top hat, exploded a quantity of entertaining parlor jokes. Others threw out coins, cones, riddles, fortunes, colored balls, dice, flags, cotton balls and everything else from love letters to butterflies." (Anita Gold)

     
  9. Actress Loretta Young, aged 17, photographed by Edward Steichen for Vanity Fair, 1930. His technique in the 1920s and ’30s was unsurpassed in the world of commercial photography. From the book In High Fashion.

     
  10. Gary Cooper, photographed by Edward Steichen for Vanity Fair, in 1930, shortly after he became a major star. From the Steichen book In High Fashion.

     
  11. Jeanne Jacqueline Harper in a costume by William Weaver for the Persian Fête at the Plaza Hotel, 1924 (a benefit for the Big Sisters charity). Photo by Edward Steichen for Vogue. She was barely 16 here. She would later marry, becoming Mrs. Fal de Saint Phalle and the mother of the sculptor/painter Niki de Saint Phalle, who was born in 1930 shortly after the family was wiped out financially by the Stock Market Crash of 1929.

     
  12. Nina Simone, aka Eunice Waymon, a musician beyond category. This is a version of a photo by David Redfern that appeared in the UK magazine The Wire.

     
  13. 1979 ad featuring Muhammad Ali selling “beautiful” roach traps. Ali also appeared in a TV commercial for d-CON in which he points at the viewer and says, “I told you, I don’t want you living with roaches!”

    This is from Taschen’s All American Ads books.

     
  14. A 1978 ad for Gay Bob, “the world’s first gay doll for everyone.” It is anatomically correct. “Take me to the office, your boss will love me.” I like the use of Tango font.

    An angry guy named Al wrote to Ann Landers to protest the “pollution of the mind” that this doll represented, predicting that it would open the door for other dolls such as “Priscilla the Prostitute” or “Danny the Dope Pusher.” Ann Landers’s reply: “Dear Al. ‘Gay Bob’? I’ll believe it when I see it. And I can’t believe I’ll see it in the kind of respectable stores I like to do business with.”

     
  15. Peanuts panel on vintage newsprint, from Peanuts: The Art of Charles M. Schulz