Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Unknown Soldier and Crane's Papers

Some time ago, we took a first look at a large book with bound-in direct-mail folders created for Crane's Business Papers between 1921 and 1926. Displayed among these pages are illustrations of historical scenes from prominent advertising artists, such as Rene Clark, with typography from the likes of Frederic Goudy.

I ran across another wonderful example of Clark's work for Crane; this time with some direct historical significance. The image shows a British soldier demonstrating papermaking in what was to become Crane's first mill in Milton, Mass.

The accompanying copy reads:

"If it hadn't been for a certain British soldier stationed in Boston in 1760, whose name has been forgotten (some accounts say his name is Hazelton) there might never have been any Crane's papers.

"There was a paper mill at Milton near Boston at that time, but it had shut down because no one knew how to run it. The Royal Governor of the Province, on being told that there was an enlisted man among the King's troops who was a paper-maker, arranged to have him furloughed from his regiment. He started the mill going and remained in charge until others had learned the art of making paper.

"This was the very mill where Zenas Crane learned the trade of paper-maker. If it had been shut down at the time he was ready to become an apprentice, he might have gone into some other trade.

"But thanks to the unknown soldier, the mill was ready when Zenas Crane was. On such slight events do great issues hang."

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