In 1936, the former speakeasy and NYC restaurant-club, Jack & Charlie’s “21″ (what we now know as The 21 Club) published, “The Iron Gate.” Compiled as a self-promotional tool, this 194-page leather-spined volume featured the articles and illustrations of many of the establishment’s famous clientele. It also served as an opportunity for advertisers to promote their association with the venerable Manhattan institution. The book is like a vintage Society Of Illustrators annual, or a “Dutch Treat Yearbook.” It contains lots of tasty drawings — all done especially for the publication.
In 1950, “The Iron Gate” was revised and re-issued to act as a memorial to Jack Kriendler, one of the two original owners who’d recently passed and also to commemorate the 25th year of the restaurant’s founding. Although some of the original illustrations and articles were included, most of the revised edition is new material. It’s also interesting to see how much the motion picture industry had become a part of the mix.
I’ve scanned selects from both editions to show how well they define each era of illustration and even print advertising. Enjoy!
The 1936 edition of “The Iron Gate”
The 1950 Memorial Re-issue of “The Iron Gate”
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