Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Type Tuesday - Barnhart Brothers and Spindler's Advertisers Gothics

Barnhart Brothers and Spindler's are a Type Tuesday favorite, particularly for their use of bold colors and stylish, modern type design. 

Barnhart Brothers and Spindler's type specimen is certainly eye-catching and their design for Advertisers Gothics unique - its letters do not have any descenders, creating a sturdy, resolute typeface. 

Jaime Henderson,

Monday, August 18, 2014

Manuscript Monday—Don't use big words!

Advertisement for Dickson's Crown Mucilage, circa 1880-1889, Clarence J. Arper scrapbook, MS 76, courtesy, California Historical Society. 

Enough said.

Marie Silva
Archivist & Manuscripts Librarian

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Type Tuesday - Geo. Bruce and Co.

Today we feature examples of work from one of the oldest type specimens in the Kemble Collection, the George Bruce and Company's Specimen of Printing Types and Ornaments, published in 1833. 

George Bruce had learned to cast his own type while experimenting, along with his brother David, on how to accomodate type for the stereotyping printing process. In 1818 the brothers opened their own foundry on Chambers Street in New York, with George concentrating on developing the type-founding business and David giving his attention to the stereotype process. 

David's ill-health forced him to retire from the business, and George continued on with type-founding, publishing Specimen of Printing Types and Ornaments in 1833 and making himself known among printers for his tasteful designs. 

Jaime Henderson,

Monday, August 11, 2014

Manuscript Monday—Leonardo Barbieri and an ill-fated filibuster expedition to Sonora

Decades ago CHS wisely used Library Fund monies to purchase a small collection of papers of a little-known portrait artist from a Parisian book dealer. Although Bruce Kamerling used the collection in his deeply researched article on Leonardo Barbieri, "California's Leonardo: The portraits of Signor Barbieri" (California History, December 1987), the papers remained uncataloged. Now cataloged, they present an intimate glimpse into the extraordinary life of Barbieri, and his friendship with the quixotic French count, Gaston Raousset-Boulbon, who led an ill-fated filibuster expedition to northern Mexico in hopes of establishing an independent republic of Sonora. After losing the Battle of Guaymas in 1854, the count was executed. Presumably his army (in which Barbieri may have served as a  lieutenant) was scattered to the four winds. Barbieri hastened to Peru, where he founded an art academy.

Leonardo Barbieri, 1870, Leonardo Barbieri papers, MS 110, courtesy, California Historical Society, MS 110_001.jpg
The papers themselves are a multilingual, cosmopolitan mixture of French, Spanish, and Italian, beautifully written with more than a touch of melancholy. The letter pictured below, in Spanish, to an unidentified friend and pupil (probably Barbieri's friend, the Comte de Monclar) is Barbieri's impassioned defense of Raousset-Boulbon, written after Barbieri read a booklet about that count that inspired him with such strong emotions that he could no longer remain in silence ("...estando aún palpitando las fuertes emociones que acabo de experimentar, no puedo permanecer en silencio").

Barbieri describes Raousset-Boulbon with great respect and tenderness, as a jovial man with an undercurrent of quiet sadness that alarmed the artist: "su carácter era jovial, pero se dejaba [sentir] un mal estar, una sombría tristeza, que en varias ocasiones me alarmaba...." In 1853, Barbieri attempted to capture the Count's complex character in a portrait—which, remarkably, is found in the CHS collection as well. Looking at a reproduction of the painting, one wonders: was the Count a tragic figure (as Barbieri suggests), a quixotic fool, or a vicious opportunist? Is it possible for a man to be all of these things?

Leonardo Barbieri letter, undated, Leonardo Barbieri papers, MS 110, courtesy, California Historical Society.
Marie Silva
Archivist & Manuscripts Librarian
California Historical Society

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Type Tuesday - Elongated Characters

American Type Founders Company's popular Stymie series (1931) stands tall with the introduction of Stymie Elongated Characters. The strechy ascenders and descenders of these lean, lanky letters were just what advertisers needed to give their publicity printing an extra punch. 

Jaime Henderson,

Monday, August 4, 2014

Manuscript Monday—A father's financial advice, 1903

Between 1902 and 1914, Keystone Consolidated Mining Company secretary Charles E. Anderson wrote a series of fascinating letters to his adult son Charles M. Anderson in New York City. These letters (two pages of which are reproduced and transcribed below) are full of insider tips and cautionary financial advice, reminding one of the cyclical crises to which our economic system is prone.

Letter, 1903 July 17, Charles M. Anderson letters to his son Charles E. Anderson and family, MS 55,  courtesy, California Historical Society
Don't branch out, keep steadily on, and you will succeed. In the long letter I wrote you, I spoke pretty freely of the dangers ahead. A panic which will convulse the whole Country, I hope is some ways off. But one never knows when it is going to strike. You may have noticed the liquidation that has taken place the past two weeks. Stocks have not been as low in over two years as they were this week. Some are obliged to sell. Large operators will pick up those they know are good, and that will continue to pay Dividends, and turn the market up for a while. But that is for the Gamblers. It will help you, as some people may have to sell, and others will want to buy desirable pieces. Of course the Real Estate Agent will try to make a trade for either, that's his business, make your money legitimately and keep it. Don't invest in Leases, which I consider extremely hazardous. Have a Safe Deposit Box at $5.00 or $10.00 a year and stow away your coin. You may have to keep a small running [account] for convenience sake, in a convenient Bank. But when trouble comes, the Banks will go by the hundreds. These are things which must not be talked about. A big conflagration ensues from a very small beginning. But one must think for themselves and keep their own counsel. 

Marie Silva
Archivist & Manuscripts Librarian

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Type Tuesday - Barnhart Brothers & Spindler's Parsons Series

Designed by Will Ranson (1878-1955) and cast by the Chicago firm Barnhart Brothers & Spindler, the Parsons Series became a smash hit.


Barnhart Brothers & Spindler's Parsons Series catalog features this quote from Fred A. Cook, of Los Angeles, California: 
The more I see and use Parsons, the better I like it. It is a wonderfully different and pleasing type. Seems to catch the eye of even the most unobserving who notice no difference in the general run of type faces. So much variety is possible with Parsons type and its auxiliaries that it will not grow tiresome to the printer nor the public for a goodly number of years, I judge, and, together with the Bold and Italic, will have a large sale.

The public did get many chances to view the Parsons series - it was a common type used in dialogue cards in silent films. 

Jaime Henderson,

Monday, July 28, 2014

Manuscript Monday—Central American refugees, then and now

On November 17, 1983, the ACLU issued a thoroughly researched and persuasively argued release, demanding an end to the deportations of Salvadorans from the United States during the Salvadoran Civil War. A copy of this release (the first page of which is reproduced below) forms a part of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California records, held at CHS. Spanning the years 1900 to 2000, this collection documents major social and political conflicts in California and nationwide, from the 1934 waterfront and general strike to the Central American human rights and refugee crisis in the 1980s.

ACLU News release, 1983 November 17, American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California records, MS 3580, courtesy, California Historical Society
The ACLU's 1983 release echoes many of the issues raised by the humanitarian crisis at the Mexico/U.S. border today. Along with other groups, the ACLU advocated for the extension of Extended Voluntary Departure (EVD) status to Salvadoran nationals due to pervasive war conditions and "an ambiance of violence" in El Salvador. Although the Reagan administration had extended EVD status to refugees from Ethiopia, Poland, Afghanistan, and other countries, it argued that individual Salvadorans could apply for asylum status, making more broadly applied EVD protections unnecessary. The ACLU countered that the asylum process was insufficient to address the Salvadoran refugee crisis: "EVD is intended not for those who fear individual persecution, as in cases of asylum, but rather for those with a fear of generalized violence." Moreover, they argued, extending EVD status would ease pressure on the already overburdened immigration courts.

In November 2013, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued its Mission to Central America: The Flight of Unaccompanied Children to the United States (available online at http://www.usccb.org/about/migration-policy/fact-finding-mission-reports/upload/Mission-To-Central-America-FINAL-2.pdf). Echoing some of the arguments the ACLU made thirty years earlier, they assert:

A significant number of migrants, particularly youth, have valid asylum claims. While the popular perception of many in the United States is that migrants come here for economic reasons, the delegation found that a growing number are fleeing violence in their homelands. The increased number of those requesting asylum shows a more complex picture, with many children, for example, entering the United States to join family members in search of security. Denying them asylum and sending them back to the gangs and drug traffickers persecuting them could ensure their demise.

Marie Silva
Archivist & Manuscripts Librarian

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Ambassador's Tour: George Thomas Marye and America enter the First World War

At the end of July 1914, on the outbreak of World War I, banker George Thomas Marye (1849–1933) walked into San Francisco’s temporary city hall on Market Street and took the oath of office as the new ambassador to tsarist-era Russia. Before Marye (pronounced Marie) left San Francisco on August 1 for Washington, D.C. and his subsequent relocation abroad, Emperor Nicholas II had mobilized the Russian army.

Marye’s primary duty was to negotiate a reinstatement of the Russian-American Treaty of 1832, which had formalized trade protocols existing at that time. Under President William Taft, in December 1911, the treaty was abrogated in response to a highly politicized dispute over recognition of passports held by American Jews who were trying to visit Russia.

The ambassador also found himself in the unenviable dual-role of representing Austro-Hungarian and German interests, since those countries had declared war upon Serbia—Russia’s ally—following the assassinations of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, in Sarajevo. Marye served until the end of March 1916, resigning due to poor health. On November 17 the following year, seven months after the United States entered the war, normal diplomatic relations with Russia abruptly ended.

In 1949, Helen Martha Marye Thomas gave her father’s personal effects to the California Historical Society, including this formal photographic portrait of the ambassador in full-dress uniform, made shortly after his arrival in Petrograd, as well as his insignia bestowed by Emperor Nicholas II and the letter from Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs announcing the bestowal.

Marye recounted his experiences and observations as a wartime ambassador in his published memoir, Nearing the End in Imperial Russia (London: Selwyn & Blount, 1928). He is buried at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park in Colma, California.

By Cheryl Maslin, Registrar, California Historical Society

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Type Tuesday - Ornamental initials from Martius Truelsen

Today's Type Tuesday is a bit of a mystery as the text in the type specimen is in Danish. Published in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1901 typographer Martius Truelsen's Type Og Tryk, No. 3 features spectacular ornamental initials that speak for themselves!

Jaime Henderson,