Obsessions

Illustrated Aviation Books By Assen Jordanoff

As a kid, whenever I’d visit my Grandmother’s house in Columbus, OH, I’d make a beeline to her bookshelf. It consisted of books on public health and education (she worked with the Ohio State Department of Health), as well as books my Dad had gotten as a kid. Books like original Edgar Rice Burroughs...

Hirschfeld, Do Re Mi, and Peacock Feet

  I’ve always loved Al Hirschfeld’s work. It seems so timeless and each image he created was always a treat to visually wander through—even without his playful “Ninas.” He had solidly established his style of designed caricature by the mid 1930’s and it changed little until he passed away in 2003. While browsing in...

Covering Print Magazine, 1940-1953

The magazine we all call Print has had a half dozen different names since its inception in June of 1940. It was originally a limited-edition periodical that discussed the endless techniques used in the graphic arts industry, and even included original prints and tipped-in features within. From its first edition up to Volume VII,...

Ambassadors of Goodwill: Vintage Matchbook Advertising and Design

I picked up this salesman’s catalog for the Mercury Match Corporation of Zanesville, Ohio, about 25 years ago at the big antique show in Brimfield, Massachusetts. I remember the purchase vividly—I was over the moon, but tried to act all cool as I attempted to barter the price down from $35 to the far...

Don't Turn Your Back on History

What is disconcerting about the tour of Italian Fascist architecture in Rome I’ve been on for the past few weeks is that the buildings, signs, and symbols are still intact, more or less undisturbed, as monuments to the past. Mussolini may have intuitively understood that after his downfall and execution, his portraits and busts...

A Miniature Obsessive's Maximum Overload

If you have been reading The Daily Heller for a while, you’ll know I am obsessed with miniature things—food, people, furniture, mannequins, and even caged domestic animals (but that’s another story). You can see the various articles and posts here: 1. Just folks 2. Japanese food 3. Miniature Modernist furniture 4. Especially miniature chairs...

Graphically Seasoned Greetings!

Last year at this time, I did a post on past holiday cards that J.J. Sedelmaier Productions, Inc. has sent out over the years. This year I’m presenting some of the greetings the studio has RECEIVED throughout the years! They all speak for themselves . . . and my apologies to Steven Heller and...

Many Happy (Tax) Returns: A Marxist Doctrine

With all of us looking at the Fiscal Cliff on the horizon, who better to explain things than Marx . . . . . . GROUCHO Marx. About 15 years ago, I traded my signed copy of The Groucho Letters to the animation creator/director Tom Warburton for his 1942 edition of Groucho Marx’s second...

Winsor McCay Illustrates Temperance — or Prohibition?, 1929

While strolling through a used-books store in Los Angeles over 20 years ago, I spied the dust-jacketed binding of a book with a familiar illustration style. Much to my delight, I’d found a little-known 1929 first edition volume published by the Hearst Company concerning Prohibition—and primarily illustrated by the brilliant comic-strip artist and animation...

Watty Piper's 1930 “The Little Engine That Could”

When I was a very young child (circa 1960), one of the first books I was given was a 1930 edition of Watty Piper’s The Little Engine That Could. I’ve loved trains since I was a kid and I’m convinced this little tome was an early contribution to what’s become an obsession. It would...