The Daily Heller: Saul Bass Memorabilia-cum-Trivia

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Saul Bass (1920–1996) attended the James Monroe High School in the Bronx, the same school as my father, Milton (1917–2011). Bass graduated in 1936. My father graduated in 1934. I wonder if they ever passed in the hallway, or said hello.

Even in high school, Bass was bound for graphic design. The yearbook page below shows the bespectacled Bass credited as art editor (“art director” would mean that he, not the yearbook printer as was common, selected the typeface). Bass inscribed it to a classmate, Florence Rabinowitz: “To the one that’s always laughed at my cracks! (Thanks!) Good luck. Saul.” Sounds just like my dad’s peculiar dry wit (and mine).

Moreover, according to Florence’s daughter, Victoria Fisch (note: Fisch and Bass) in an email to Arnold Schwartzman (who provided the images): “My mother also insisted that the artist El Lissitzky was a cousin on her mother’s side (her mother was Mary née Lissitzky) but I have never been able to prove it genealogically, as there are not enough records available online.”

Bass in an undated photo years after high school.