4.24.14 / Get Your Irish Up
The Catholic Truth Society of Ireland was founded in 1899, its mission to expunge the “scourge of foreign influence, in the form of British and American books, films, magazines and newspapers,” wrote Naill McCormack, editor of Vintage Values: Classic Pamphlet Cover Design From Twentieth-Century Ireland and author of Vintage Irish Book Covers blog. The CTS’s target audience was attracted to the covers that had a somehow pulp allure and The Church, it seems, had no problem using it for their ends. I asked McCormack to tell us more about CTS and its design legacy.
Where does this stand along the spectrum of historic Irish graphic design?
George Altendorf and Karl Uhlemann, both Irish born to German fathers, are probably the best known of the cover artists and both had long and prolific careers. Altendorf studied at Dublin’s Metropolitan School of Art under Austin Molloy while Uhlemann gained much of his early experience at The Sign of the Three Candles Press under Colm Ó Lochlainn.
How popular were these books and pamphlets?
How did you assemble your collection?
Shortly afterwards I was contacted by Lir MacCárthaigh, Art Director at Veritas, who informed me that they hold a full archive of the pamphlets and have details of the cover artists behind each of the designs. The Catholic Truth Society of Ireland became Veritas in 1969 and is still active today. Thankfully the company have held onto the archive and understand it’s cultural and historic importance.
So they not considered heresy by the Church?
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is the co-founder and the co-chair of the MFA Designer as Author program at the School of Visual Arts. He writes the Visuals column for the New York Times Book Review and the Graphic Content blog for T-Style. He is the author, coauthor, and/or editor of more than 120 books on design and popular culture, including the recent book Born Modern: The Life and Design of Alvin Lustig (Chronicle).