Friday, May 27, 2016

I’ll trade you a “House That Jell-o Built” for a “Bradley Fertilizer Company”

In my last post I said that American Heritage is one of my favorite magazines, now sadly defunct. What appeals to me are well-written articles on historical topics, but also the beautiful layouts of articles like “Trade Cards,” which appeared in the issue dated February 1967.

These cards, according to author William G. McLoughlin of Brown University, were popular from the 1870s until after the turn of the century. The cards shown are outstanding examples of the craft of advertising when color printing was still a novelty. As eye-catching as they are, my favorite is the one with a child running in the path of a promote a cold remedy! That is what I would call shock and awe advertising.

The article is Copyright © 1967 American Heritage Publishing Co.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

I’ll buy that for a dollar!

I love books. I am always looking for books. I buy a lot of books

The past few years I’ve had a lot of luck in thrift stores, with good books for reasonable prices, $1.00, $2.00…sometimes more. Just the last two weeks I seem to have been lucky with things I have found, all for $1.00 each. I thought I’d show what I found.

I love American Heritage magazine. I think it is the finest magazine published in the past 50 years. For many years it was published in a hardcover format. It was expensive, so people tended to hold onto them. Now I can sometimes find them in local thrifts for $1.00 each. I recently found several from the mid-‘60s.

What I like about AH is that while the articles are comprehensive and historically accurate, they are not like articles found in more scholarly publications. No footnotes, for instance. The magazine was criticized over its lifespan for its general appeal, but I believe it was a perfect magazine to make reading about history enjoyable. Many of the articles are well illustrated, too. Sadly, the last issue of American Heritage was published in 2013, and there has been no word if it will be continued.

I have shown a couple of articles from the magazine in this blog. Here are a couple of posts scanned from AH that have been accessed the most from my archives:

“P.T. Barnum’s London Scrapbook”, and “Trader Horn and the one-time-only movie star”.

Stay tuned; I have another article scanned and ready to go very soon.

I am always interested in books on cartooning and drawing for myself and for my young grandkids. I have been lucky to buy some really excellent books since the first of the year.

Although some of Jack Hamm’s drawings may seem dated, his advice is still great. These are two of the best how-to-draw books I have in my collection.

Tom Richmond is a great cartoonist who has made a lot of appearances in Mad, but no, the title of his book on caricature, The Mad Art of Caricature, has nothing to do with Mad, the magazine.

There are also graphic novels, or even informational books. Rock Toons is a history of rock ‘n’ roll originally published in French, translated into English. Mark Alan Stamaty is a cartoonist who sometimes does books for young readers, including this book on his Elvis impersonator act when he was in elementary school. Tom Tomorrow has a well-known satiric weekly panel called This Modern World, and this is a fabulous and comprehensive collection of his work, published in 2003.

Next time you pass a thrift store, pop in and check out the books. You can also find old vinyl record albums, video tapes, CDs and DVDs, usually at reasonable prices. Around my area VHS tapes are usually about 50¢, and prices on DVDs are around $2.00 or $3.00, but I have picked up some good ones, including whole seasons of TV series for a few dollars.