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,

Monday, July 21, 2014

Manuscript Monday—Labor unrest in the Mother Lode

Newly cataloged are the records of the Kennedy Mining and Milling Company, which operated the Kennedy Mine near Jackson in Amador County, Calif. By the 1890s, the Kennedy Mine was the most productive gold mine in California, with a vertical shaft of 5,912 feet, the deepest in the United States. The records provide an extraordinarily detailed account of the daily operations of the mine—including mining shaft dimensions, ore quality and yields, expenses, and supply needs—but they are as fascinating for what they leave out as for what they so thoroughly document. In the superintendent's correspondence and reports, there is little mention of the miners themselves and of the conditions of their work.

The documents below are the exception. They refer to a 1916 injunction issued by the United States District court against twenty-nine men, barring them:

... from preventing or attempting to prevent the employees of plaintiff [Kennedy Mining and Milling Company] from free and peaceful access to the mining property of plaintiff described in the complaint herein, by means of any violence or threats of violence, or hostile demonstrations, or any other acts calculated to injure or frighten or intimidate said employees, or by in any way obstructing or blocking the free passage of plaintiff's employees over the roads and trails and other means of access to plaintiff's said premises.

In 1916, the Amador County mines were rocked by labor strikes that lasted for almost two months. Many mines were shut down, but this injunction suggests that the Kennedy Mining and Milling Company pursued an aggressive legal strategy in order to stay in business. The names of men are interesting, too: Italian, Spanish, and Slavic, they point to the ethnic diversity of the miners and union organizers who challenged some of the largest mining companies in the West.

Metson, Drew & MacKenzie letter to Kennedy Mining and Milling Company, 1916 November 11, Kennedy Mining and Milling Company records, MS 49, courtesy, California Historical Society

Injunction, 1916, Kennedy Mining and Milling Company records, MS 49, Courtesy, California Historical Society
Marie Silva
Archivist & Manuscripts Librarian
California Historical Society

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Type Tuesday - Periodicals

One of the many treasures held within the California Historical Society's Kemble Collection on Western Printing and Publishing is a vast collection of periodicals on printing, lithography, graphic design, typography, book collecting and many more subjects that have to do with the print and publishing industries. Both national and international periodicals are available and range from early publications from the 19th century to the mid-century modern graphic design magazines from the 1960s. While these periodicals are highly valuable for their research content, I think their usefulness as inspiration for new design is truly invaluable! Just take a look at this feature, "An Alphabet of Litho-Graphics" from the Fall 1965 issue of Lithopinon: The graphic arts and public affairs journal of Local One, Amalgamated Lithographers of America. 

Periodicals can be accessed in the CHS library, open Wednesday through Friday from 12 -5. Need some inspiration? C'mon by and visit us!

Jaime Henderson,

Monday, July 14, 2014

Manuscript Monday—Stunning Civil War find

Last week I discovered this faded Civil War letter, written by the poet Charles Follen Adams to his brother John Swasey Adams while Charles was on picket near Belle Plain Landing, Virgina. The letter was written on January 1, 1863—the historic day on which President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation—and documents the reaction of African Americans in the area, who immediately began heading North, to Washington, D.C.

A reproduction of the letter follow, with excerpts transcribed:

Charles Follen Adams letter to John Swasey Adams, 1863 January 1, Ira Winchell Adams papers, MS 16, courtesy, California Historical Society

In the first place, a "Happy New Year" all around, which I hope I shall enjoy myself as I have made a good commencement this morning. Myself & 2 others from our company started from camp at 8 1/2 a.m. & are to remain 24 hours on picket about one mile from our camp. It is a very pleasant day and as there is no officer in charge of us we do just as we d--m please ("if I may be allowed the expression"). 

After breakfast I took a trip over to a negro plantation and went into some of their houses & sat down & talked about the President's Proclamation & as it was about luncheon time I got some boiled meat & hoecake for which I gave them some thread and needles which I happened to have about my trousers [?] & which tickled them mightily.

Charles then observes a group of twelve African Americans, men, women, and children, some riding and the rest walking. He asks one of the men where they are headed, and the man replies: "to Bill [sic] Plain" & from there to Washington. Tell anyone that thinks the Proclamation of no account to "put that in their coffee & cool it."

Marie Silva
Archivist & Manuscripts Librarian

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Type Tuesday - Rudolf Koch's Eve Series

Last Tuesday we featured Rudolf Koch's Kabel series, a straightforward type displayed by European Typefounders Inc. in decidedly male adverstisements. Today we feature another of Koch's designs, Eve (commonly known as Antiqua, but offered in the United States as Eve) also made available by European Typefounders Inc. 

Eve featured a curvier, more embellished font. Eve italic looked almost like cursive writing. In fact, Koch Antiqua Kursiv, created at the same time as the Eve/Antiqua series, but not shown in the specimen featured today, included oversized capital letters with floral decorative touches. 

Like the Kabel series, the adverstisements displaying the Eve font were geared toward a specific audience. A more feminine font than Kabel, the advertisements featured homegoods, romantic fashions and an emphasis on beauty. 

Jaime Henderson,

Monday, July 7, 2014

Manuscript Monday—California Aeronautic Company

This delightful stock certificate was issued by the California Aeronautic Company in 1876 and illustrated by the African American artist and lithographer Grafton Tyler Brown.

California Aeronautic Company stock certificate, 1876 April 3, MS 21, California Historical Society, MS 21_001.jpg
Brown's biographer Robert J. Chandler describes the apparatus soaring over the San Francisco Bay as a "hummingbird with propellers aft," although to this viewer it looks more like a robotic Dumbo. Either way—like so many dreams—the California Aeronautic Company's flying machine never got off the ground.

Marie Silva
Archivist & Manuscripts Librarian

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Type Tuesday - Rudolf Koch's Kabel Series

The Kabel Series was designed by German Rudolf Koch in 1927 and originally released by the Klingspor Foundry. Here it is offered by the European Typefounders, Inc. of New York. 

Offering a geometric sans-serif face the straightforward type evokes simplicity and strength, especially Kabel Heavy as seen in this advertisement for power tools. 

Clearly marketed as a font for the straightforward, strong, smart man who, as the following ad states "knows what he wants and wants - - always."

Next week, we will take a look at Koch's Eve Series, a type also gendered in its promotion and usage. 

Jaime Henderson