Vintage Book Covers Spotted in the Wild

Some more vintage book covers I snapped recently, my favorite being the Jugendstil-ish Prince of the House of David. No credit was given for that illustration or for the calligrapher who did the hand-lettering on the Pakistan cover. However,  the Steinbeck cover and interior were illustrated by Paris Review founding art editor, William Pène Du Bois, a prolific children’s book author in his own right.

1940s Office of War Information Victory Garden Posters

From well before there were multi-national mega-corporations churning out the genetically modified nonsense that passes for food these days, these posters — mostly from the Office of War Information and War Food Administration (real things) — encouraged Americans to take ownership of their food supply by planting victory gardens and putting food up for long-term storage. Novel ideas, I’d say.

Walruses as Architectural Details

Somewhere in downtown Seattle, these walruses adorn a mysterious (to me, at least) pre-war building that backs up to a parking lot on a hill. These are at least a few stories up from the building’s entrance around the corner and I doubt too many folks notice them when entering or leaving the building. Folks parking cars, however, get a walrus’-eye view. Click to enlarge:

1897 Map Depicts Original Lot Grants in New-Amsterdam

new-amsterdam

Happy birthday, New Amsterdam (1653). An engraved map from 1897 is described as follows:

Map of the Original Grants of Village Lots from the Dutch West India Company to the Inhabitants of New-Amsterdam, (Now New-York.) lying below the present line of Wall Street. Grants commencing A.D. 1642.

Click here to view a larger version.

1884 U.S. Census Maps Show Forest Trees of North America

Officially titled “Sixteen Maps Accompanying Report On Forest Trees Of North America, By C.S. Sargent, 1884,” this beautiful collection of maps-as-info-graphics produced by the U.S. Census provides a Victorian era view of forests in North America by genus of tree, density, and position. Thanks to Rebecca Onion who runs Slate’s history blog The Vault (@SlateVault) for posting this article, which contains link to high-res images for zoom-in fun.

Railroad Passenger Car Lettering

We recently took our daughter on the “North Pole Flyer,” a two-hour there-and-back passenger rail excursion that comes complete with a wooden train whistle gift from Santa himself. While it was fun to ride in some older passenger cars and see the cramped quarters that were supposedly “first class” back in the day, the real treat for me was seeing the typography on the exteriors of the cars. Since the train was made up of a hodgepodge of cars from several different (defunct) lines, it provided a variety of graphical styles from at least a few eras. Here are some of the snaps I took:

 

Spiratone Enlarging Focuser – Vintage Package Design

Remember these?!? Yes, I’m that old and so are some of you, apparently. I snatched this up for a buck at a local thrift store and it looks untouched both inside and out. Nice hand-lettered “Spiratone” logo pairs well with the Cooper Black and the mod deep blue bars finish up a nice and simple package design. Well done.

spiratone-enlarging-focuser

There are Now Over 600 Photos in My Hand-Painted Signs Gallery

I’ve been snapping photos of hand-painted signs (or otherwise handmade) for as long as I can remember and only just today went over the 600 mark. After a recent trip to visit my former home, NYC, I discovered several new “reveals” that were the result of City Gates or Coca Cola awnings being removed during renovations. Luckily I had a decent enough camera on my phone to capture them with. After all the years of having this obsession, you’d think I’d never leave the house without my digital SLR. Click here to view the photos.

Seeing is Believing: Seed Catalog Covers and the Search for the Perfect Vegetable

A rotating exhibit at the Lillian Goldman Visitor Center of the Seed Savers Exchange highlights some beautiful seed catalog covers from days gone by.  I’m nowhere near Decorah, IA, but if you aren’t either, don’t fret. They’re updating this Facebook photo album with samples from the exhibit. Hopefully they’ll be adding more as this is merely the inaugural selection. When you’re done, you should also check out another album of “Early 1900’s Seed Catalog Tin Signs & Magnets,” which they’ve re-issued as tin replicas that you can buy in their online store.

Nikki Villagomez – How Culture Affects Typography – Talk at AIGA Austin

Those of you who frequent this website should appreciate the relevance of this AIGA Austin presentation: On Thursday, March 27, 2014, designer, blogger and typophile Nikki Villagomez will share her thoughts on how culture affects the decision-making processes of everyday life. Her presentation includes pictures taken throughout her travels accompanied by a discussion of the comparisons (and contrasts) in typography choices based on location.

I’ll be there:

Thursday, March 27, 2014
6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

thirteen23
506 Congress Ave. Suite 200
Austin, Texas 78701

Register here.