Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Type Tuesday - Bruce's New York Type-Foundry

Supplements of unbound sheets featuring a type foundry's newly available fonts were made available to the foundry's customers, to be inter-leafed into the last published and bound type specimen catalog. The supplement we feature today was first made available in May of 1877 to compliment Bruce's Abridged Specimen Book, originally published in 1869.

 The supplement featured some outstanding types, including the two-line Great-Primer Ornamented No. 1051, seen below in the third line.

Another great is seen below in the fourth line - Double Great-Primer Ornamented, No. 1527.

My personal favorite was featured on the cover of the supplement, which is the first image featured in today's posting. Deserving of a closer look, I present the four-line Pica Ornamented, No. 1055. 

Jaime Henderson,

Monday, April 13, 2015

Opening of Base Ball Season 1912, Recreation Park, San Francisco, Cal. April 2 1912, Seals vs Oaks.

Opening of Base Ball Season 1912, Recreation Park, San Francisco, Cal. April 2 1912, Seals vs Oaks, Dick Dobbins Collection on the Pacific Coast League, courtesy, California Historical Society, MS 4031.020
Opening of Base Ball Season 1912, Recreation Park, San Francisco, Cal. April 2 1912, Seals vs Oaks, Dick Dobbins Collection on the Pacific Coast League, courtesy, California Historical Society, MS 4031.020 

MS Monday—PPIE Part 3: The girl who named the fair

Another unexpected gem from the James Rolph, Jr. papers is this letter from Virginia Stephens to then mayor James Rolph, Jr.:

Virginia Stephens letter to Hon. James Rolph, Jr., James Rolph, Jr. papers, MS 1818, California Historical Society

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Carleton Watkins' Yosemite

River View, Cathedral Rock, Yosemite by Carleton Watkins, 1861
For those of you who visited CHS to see our recent exhibit, Yosemite:  A Storied Landscape, and were awed by the spectacular nineteenth century mammoth plate photographs of Carleton Watkins, you might like to know that the handful of images on display were just a small selection of prints by Watkins that are part of CHS’ collections.  Recently, sixty-seven of Watkins’ mammoth plate photographs of Yosemite were processed and cataloged.

Yosemite Falls from Glacier Point by Carleton Watkins, 1879-1881
Watkins made the photographs during several trips to Yosemite over the course of years.  His photographs of 1861 have special significance.  It was in 1861, two years after Charles Leander Weed made the first photographs of Yosemite, that Watkins decided to have a unique camera constructed that could accommodate 18 x 24 inch wet glass-plate negatives (because of their size they are commonly called mammoth plates) and a new type of wide angle lens, which would enable him to capture more of Yosemite’s grandeur in each image.  Watkins photographs of 1861 were exhibited at the Goupil Gallery in New York in December of 1862, and California Senator John Conness is thought to have shown them to Abraham Lincoln the following year.  If this is true, these photographs most surely played a part in Lincoln’s decision to sign the Yosemite Grant Act of 1864, which set aside and protected the land for “public use, resort, and recreation.”

Nevada Fall, Yosemite by Carleton Watkins, 1861
Living in a time when taking a photograph can be accomplished by the split-second push of a button on a cell phone, it’s worthwhile (not to mention, mind-boggling) to stop and think about what amazing effort it took to make photographs such as these.  Using mules, Watkins packed in two thousand pounds of equipment over seventy-five  miles from Mariposa to Yosemite Valley.  Along with the cameras and glass plates, he would have brought a dark tent for developing, tripods, plate holders, lenses, and volatile chemicals.  He would have trekked all these supplies to dizzying and precarious vantage points.  This is to say nothing of the bugs, dirt, and sun that could wreak havoc on the glass plates covered with collodion, a gelatinous liquid made of gun cotton, ether, and alcohol.  The result of this massive endeavor is a body of work that has never been surpassed, though Eadweard Muybridge would soon create his own magnificent mammoth plate prints to stand alongside those of Watkins.

El Capitan, Yosemite by Carleton Watkins, 1861

The California Historical Society holds collections of Yosemite mammoth plate prints and stereographs by Carleton Watkins and Eadweard Muybridge, as well as work by George Fiske, Ansel Adams, Gustav Fagersteen, and many unknown amateur photographers.  These collections are available to researchers for viewing in our library.  We do require advance notice to view the Watkins and Muybridge collections.   Please contact our reference desk to make an appointment: reference@calhist.org.

The finding aid to the Carleton Watkins mammoth plate photographs of Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove, 1861-1881 is available on the Online Archive of California:  http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/c8057k72/

Additional Yosemite photographs from our collections can be viewed on our Flickr Commons page:  

Wendy Welker
Archivist & Librarian

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Type Tuesday - American Type Founders Company Chap-Books

 A recent discovery in our Kemble Collections on Western Printing and Publishing is a short run (1904-1905) of American Type Founders Company Chap-Books. Each of these little books is exquisitely designed and contains writings by Will Bradley, a popular American illustrator and artist who acted as a consultant to American Type Founders Company. In this chapbook from November of 1904, Bradley discusses the use of borders and ornaments in advertising, reminding users that the use of such decorative material must be well considered and not "tacked on or added to a design apparently as an afterthought."

These samples from the November 1904 publications demonstrate correct and effective use of borders and ornaments, all brought to you by the designers of the American Type Founders Company. 

Jaime Henderson,

Monday, April 6, 2015

MS Monday—PPIE Part 2: Anti-Japanese discrimination and the fair

On April 2nd and 3rd, 1915, the Consul General of Japan, Y. Numano, addressed an unequivocal appeal to PPIE president C. C. Moore and San Francisco mayor James Rolph, Jr., expressing his concerns about anti-Japanese discrimination at and during the Panama Pacific International Exhibition in San Francisco. Although the California Alien Land Law of 1913 (aimed at excluding Japanese immigrants from land ownership) was not explicitly mentioned in the letters, it undoubtedly influenced the Consulate’s concerns about the anti-immigrant and anti-Japanese climate in San Francisco and throughout the state. In the letters, Numano demanded, on behalf of the Japanese government, a “written guarantee or assurance” that:

1) All Japanese “shall be accorded just and impartial treatment,” not only on Exposition grounds, but throughout the entire city.

2) No Japanese “shall be subjected to discriminations [sic] of any character whatsoever,” not only on Exposition grounds, but “in all places and on all occasions,” including “hotels, restaurants, barber shops, places of amusement and other public resorts.”

3) No Japanese shall be harassed or discriminated against by organized labor. In his letter to Moore, Numano went further: the Exposition Company “shall guarantee that it will use its best endeavors to prevent the introduction into the California Legislature of any measures of an anti-Japanese nature, and, further, that it will in case such measures are introduced, use all its power and influence to procure the defeat of same.”

Y. Numano, Acting Consul General of Japan, letter to Hon. James Rolph, Jr., Mayor of San Francisco, 1914 April 3, James Rolph papers, MS 1818, California Historical Society
PPIE President C. C. Moore responded to Numano’s communication the following day, guaranteeing unconditionally that the Administration of the Exposition would do everything in its power to assure that all Japanese be extended “just and impartial treatment,” promising that “every influence, prestige and authority” would be brought to bear not only in the city of San Francisco, but also at the state legislative level.

These extraordinary letters can be found in the California Historical Society’s collection of James Rolph, Jr. records, which includes several boxes of manuscript materials documenting PPIE and Rolph’s role in the exhibition as mayor of San Francisco and vice president of the Exposition Company Board of Directors.

Marie Silva
Archivist & Manuscripts Librarian

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Type Tuesday - Keystone Type Foundry

The ornaments found in the pages of the Keytone Type Foundry's 1901 specimen of nickel-alloy types have made me think of Spring days and the enjoyment of all things that can be done outdoors (certainly, the Bay Area's recent stretch warm weather has also been an influencing factor!)

Jaime Henderson,

Monday, March 30, 2015

MS Monday—PPIE Part 1: the “lady champion rifle shot of California”

On June 11th, 1915, The Hebrew announced that “the greatest shooting festival ever held in America” would be celebrated at Shell Mound Park in Emeryville in August and September in connection with the Panama Pacific International Exposition. According to Arms and the Man, men and women from around the world evinced a “lively interest” in the upcoming Grand Prize Shooting Tournament, in part due to “the war in Europe, the revolution in Mexico and other disturbances between warring nations which emphasize the vital importance of superior marksmanship” (June 10, 1915).
Target, 1915?, San Francisco Shuetzen Verein records, MS 4007, California Historical Society
The Hebrew and other San Francisco Bay Area newspapers continued to cover the festival with great excitement, leading up to and following its opening day on August 8, 1915. On the second day of the tournament, the prize was taken by “the lady champion rifle shot of California” (San Francisco Chronicle, August 10, 1915), Mrs. Captain Chris (or Christian) Krempel, who scored a bulls-eye in her first shot. The Oakland Tribune captured PPIE’s own Annie Oakley on camera, declaring this marvel of sharpshooting a “modern Diana” (August 15, 1915). A native of Los Angeles, Mrs. Krempel held the Middle West championship title for rifle shooting; a regular 32-40 Winchester rifle was her weapon of choice. 

Official programme of the Grand Prize Shooting Tournament, 1915, San Francisco Shuetzen Verein records, MS 4007, California Historical Society
The California Historical Society holds records and realia of PPIE’s Grand Prize Shooting Tournament as part of its collection of San Francisco Schuetzen Verein records. Founded in 1859 as a militia and shooting society for Germans in San Francisco, the Schuetzen Verein evolved into a social and athletic club that sponsored shooting festivals and events throughout the Bay Area. The group was critically involved in the organization of the San Francisco International Shooting Festival Association (incorporated in 1912), which hosted the 1915 shooting tournament. 

San Francisco International Shooting Festival Association 1915 stock certificate, San Francisco Shuetzen Verein records, MS 4007, California Historical Society
The collection includes a wonderful array of records, publications, manuscripts, ephemera, and realia documenting the festival, including programs, tournament entry cards, a shooting record book, a scrapbook (from which the quotations above were gathered), an assortment of targets with bullet holes, a metal box, and a still-working embosser. 

Marie Silva
Archivist & Manuscripts Librarian

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Type Tuesday - T.J. Lyons Antique Type Collection for Visual Graphics Corporation's Photo Typositor

Today's Type Tuesday features samples from typography's more recent history. The Visual Graphics Corporation (VGC) was a phototypesetting foundry based in North Miami, Florida. VGC was active in the phototypesetting phase of printing history, introducing the Photo Typositor, a machine that used a photographic process to reproduce characters onto photographic paper. After a few chemical baths the photographic paper would be ready for paste-up. 

Although implementing a cold-type process, the Photo Typositor captured the warmth and richness of fonts belonging to printer and collector of antique metal and wood type, T.J. Lyons. The VGC re-issued types for photo-lettering from Lyon's collections. Here are some samples from an undated VGC catalog. Each advertising sample is followed by the specimen from which the font was selected. 

Jaime Henderson

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Type Tuesday - Ludlow Typograph Company's Record Gothic Family

Today we feature the Ludlow Typograph Company's Record Gothic Family. 

This sans serif, hot metal type was designed in 1927 by Robert Hunter Middleton, typographer for the Ludlow Typographic Company. 

Jaime Henderson,