This is going to be a crazy quilt of material concerning aspects of the Chicago Tribune that have injected themselves into my personal and professional life. It was originally going to be exclusively about the Chicago Tribune Tower Competition and the book of entries published in 1922, but the more I started writing, the more I realized that there were several fun and interesting elements I could cover. . .
Here goes. . .
. . . the most recent (shameless self-promotion) first.
In 2004 our animation production studio created and produced a rebranding campaign for The Chicago Tribune that still ranks as some of my favorite work ! It all stemmed from having done some pro-bono (free) work for the ad agency DDB Needham in Chicago, and being in the right place at the right time to participate as an integral part of the agency’s pitch for the work. Not only was I thrilled to have been in on the ground floor of the project, but the people I worked with were fabulous ! Consisting of a TV, theatrical, print, transit, outdoor and web presence, it was truly a dream project ! But what was even better than the work we were able to do, was the chance to work with an organization that had been a thread in my life since I was a kid. Here are two examples from the TV campaign: “Anthem”: https://vimeo.com/41875017 – “Cafe”: https://vimeo.com/41875251 – and here’s a film showing the overall campaign: https://vimeo.com/92971489
Next. . .
My interest in “The Trib” started with its comicstrips – especially the Sunday color pages ! I also had an extra reason to be enthralled with its comics – my mom shared a college address at Chicago’s “Three Arts Club” with Jean Gould, Chester Gould’s daughter. He created and drew “Dick Tracy”, also one of my dad’s favorite strips while he was growing up. Gould was kind enough to do a sketch of Tracy and “Junior” for my mom and it remains a treasured memento. . .
Chester Gould’s pen & ink drawing done for my mother Maria Svolos – 1955.
Gould in his Tribune Tower studio – February 1932.
. . .and there’s this. . .
As a kid, I spent a lot of time in resale and junk shops around Chicago and Evanston. One of the things that always seemed to be available for next to nothing, were small oblong publications called “The Linebook”. They were filled with charming collections of poems and writings reprinted from the Trib’s column “A Line o’ Type or Two” started in 1901 by Bert Leston Taylor. When Richard Henry Little took over the column in 1924, he established “The Linebook” – an annual compilation of material from the column. The first issue’s cover design displayed his silhouette in full, ungainly length, but as of 1926 they employed colorful and playful wraparound covers to grab fans of the column. These covers more often than not depicted Little’s image designed by a long list of talented graphic designers. Bit by bit I gobbled them up and eventually collected up the entire 1924 to 1948 run presented below. . .
The Linebook’s first printing.
A copy of the publication’s second run.
An “letter to the editor” from January 9, 1941 that explains why there was a reprinted version of the first printing of “The Linebook”.
Design/illustration by well known Chicago Tribune cartoonist John T. McCutcheon.
This piece by John McCutcheon titled “Injun Summer”, first appeared on the Trib’s front page in 1907. It proved so popular that it was reprinted annually from 1912 to 1992.
Boris Riedel, artist. Riedel also did the first cover of the short lived (and “New Yorker” inspired) 1920’s magazine, “The Chicagoan”. The 1926 Linebook had several iterations, most utilizing versions of Riedel’s design.
Riedel’s design in miniature on the cover plate.
The verdant inside front cover of the edition above signed by Riedel.
Yet another version of the 1926 edition with a binding of velvet.
Cover design by cartoonist Peter Arno (1904-1968). Arno was a well known personality in artist and performance circles. His contributions to “The New Yorker” magazine were frequent between 1925 and 1968 as both a cover designer and cartoonist within. He was one of the “Roaring 20’s” icons.
Artist – “Boris” signed at very bottom of the front cover. I doubt that it’s Boris Riedel however.