Vintage Heller: The Real Truth About Babies, Voila!

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Editor’s Note: Over the years, Steven Heller has written thousands of installments of his blog, The Daily Heller. With Vintage Heller, we’re exploring entries from the archives. This post first appeared in January 2017.

From the Lester Beall–esque cover (no, he did not design it) to the simple vector-like illustrations, this 1953 brochure issued by New York State is a pretty modern look at “The Gift of Life.” It goes into vivid diagrammatic detail and takes the immaculate out of conception. Although there is a subtle religious connotation on the cover graphic, the book itself gives “the facts and nothing but the facts, ma’am.” Even the genitalia is there, albeit in a modern-icon/symbolic simplicity.

In fact, as these decidedly controversial and toughly vetted booklets go, this contains a level of enlightened sophistication that is rare in terms of text and visuals, from that rather uptight, couples-sleep-in-separate-beds period of American history.

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