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."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Uncovering History with a Pair of Stone Hands

For quite a few years, I've looked at this piece of paper in a case at the Crane Museum of Papermaking and said to myself, "I need to get this thing translated." The case in which it is displayed is full of moments in American history chronicled on invitations or announcements on Crane paper. As their anniversaries roll around, I'll blog about them.

So, during a visit to the Museum earlier today, I vowed to do something about getting this thing translated. I figured I would take a picture and go to my go-to peeps who read The Crane Insider here and on Twitter.

While endeavoring to place the paper back in the case, Stone Hands Hopkins dropped it on the floor.

It landed upside down......I mean, why would I ever bother to turn it over during all those years!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bringing Correspondence Back with Elle and Maggie

By Guest Blogger
Mindy Lockard
Manner of the Month

Ty’s parents are gone for the month. We miss them because they are wonderful people and because they are hands-down our best babysitters! Today two letters arrived in the mail, one for each girl. The short letters shared tales of their adventures and sweet sentiments of missing us.

The girls without a poke, prod, or firm suggestion got out their personal stationery and with their very best simple sentence structure, limited vocabulary, and pictures were responding to the letter the best way they knew how. They didn’t worry about the notes being perfect, they simply wanted to respond.

Yes, we could have saved time and money by sending over an e-mail, picking up our cell phones or skyping. All of which we can do. But instead we shared a longstanding tradition: pen to paper and heart to heart!

Some say handwritten correspondence is a dying art. To save this beautiful gesture, I ask you to join me. Here’s how. The next time you have the urge to send an e-mail telling someone how much they mean to you or just to say “hi”, get out your stationery instead. Trust me, not only will you pleasantly surprise the recipient, you may even surprise yourself with how beautiful it feels to extend such a gracious act. Truly. If you should need help, I’m on my way armed with a gracious living defibrillator and a few Justin Timberlake moves ready to bring correspondence back!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Highlighting Gold Stationery Highlights

I noted with interest the other day that the price of gold has topped $1,000 per ounce. The only gold I have is engraved on Crane's stationery. For those of you who possess some of that magic metal, you can part with only a shaving or two to own some of these:

Word icon correspondence card by kate spade

Engraved gold thank-you note

Engraved three-letter monogram on aqua.

Engraved gold note on flame red

Martha Stewart Engraved Gold Crown wedding suite

And for the rest of us, with no gold on hand, here's a brand new monogrammed note in Amethyst!

Buy low, sell high!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Two Words Shouted or Three Words Written

U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson's spontaneous eruption during the president's address to Congress last night left me shaking my head, wondering where our sense of community, of common purpose, of dignity, respect and courtesy have gone.

His shouted two words: "You lie!" were so reflective of our disappearing civility toward those with whom we disagree. We see it 24/7/365 on talk radio, on editorial pages, cable and network news, at town hall meetings and on street corners.

When I peruse the extensive archives of written correspondence that has been received by Crane & Co. over more than 200 years, I see plenty of disagreement: "Dear Messrs. Crane & Co. We are in receipt of your samples of the 25th inst. and find them to be lacking......" The sender might be quite put out, but he is civil, courteous and respectful. The same is true of the letter written by Crane to the aggrieved party.

Sitting down, composing your thoughts, and taking up pen and paper almost unfailingly creates an aura of civility. There's nothing spontaneous about writing someone. One gives thought and weight to their words. And they expect thought and weight to be returned by the recipient.

So, imagine if Joe Wilson had listened respectfully and civilly and gone back to his office and pulled out a piece of his personalized House stationery and instead of shouting two words, he starts by writing three:

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Martha Stewart Holiday Cards - Yes, It's That Time

It's the day after Labor Day and it still feels like summer, but protocol calls for stowing away the seersucker jacket and white pants until next season. The nights are cooling off here in Vermont, some trees are starting to show some color, and dinner tonight is lamb and roast potatoes.

Yes, I'm gearing up for fall and among the many annual autumnal activities is the search for the perfect holiday card. As you can imagine, I don't mean the rack at the drug store; I'll write more about that later on.

So, to help get you started on the quest for that perfect card, here are some brand new offerings from the Martha Stewart boxed holiday collection:

Friday, September 4, 2009

Making Money in Maine - Currency Hot Off the Press

I recently had the great pleasure of attending the 2009 Northeast Kingdom Typography Congress held in Portland, Maine, at Wolfe Editions and at Ascensius Press in South Freeport.

The main theme of the congress was printing money - no not counterfeit money - but artistic impressions in the spirit of money.

Using the extensive collection of presses, type, ornaments, ink and paper at David Wolfe's Pleasant Street studio, here are the results:

These note are obviously not real. But the one that follows is all-too-real. This $100 Trillion note from Zimbabwe was brought to the Congress by banknote expert Mark Tomasko from his extensive collection. Back in April, you could buy some eggs for breakfast with this.