Category Archives: Miscellany

Wednesday Miscellany: Paper doll servants, a puzzling puzzle, and a bad ad

Look, kids! Paper doll servants to order around!

Paper doll servants, Ladies' Home Journal, 1918.

Ladies’ Home Journal, March 1918

Can someone help me out with this Illustrated Zigzag? STICT RICK SUES can’t possibly be right.

Illustration for Illustrated Zigzag puzzle, St. Nicholas magazine, 1918.

St. Nicholas magazine, March 1918

I wonder how many people had to sign off on this before it was green-lighted.

Fisk Tires ad with dark-skinned men carrying things on their heads next to palm trees, 1918.

Harper’s Bazar, March 1918

Garish New York hotels are apparently not just a contemporary phenomenon.

Christopher Morley poem, To a Broadway Hotel, Smart Set magazine, 1918.

Smart Set, March 1918

And finally, an Erté serenade.

Harper's Bazar cover by Erté showing masked man serenading a woman, March 1918.

Harper’s Bazar, March 1918

Wednesday Miscellany: Congressional courtesy, $100 apartments, and other bygone notions

I’ve been neglecting the New York Times lately. Here are some recent snippets.

With four special elections in New York, control of the House of Representatives, held by the Democrats in coalition with some small parties, was on a knife-edge. The result? A Democratic sweep, and courtesy all around.

Paragraph from New York Times about congressional balance of power, March 6, 1918.

New York Times, March 6, 1918

A defeated Republican candidate’s gracious response:

New York Times article quoting a defeated Republican candidate saying "I was beaten by a better man," 1918.

New York Times, March 6, 1918

Sigh…

This was the first time women in New York were able to vote. They did so in large numbers and–good news!–did not get up to all kinds of silly nonsense.

New York Times editorial discussing how New York women voted, March 1918.

New York Times, March 7, 1918

Now for some fact checking. John Francis Hylan, the Tammany mayor of New York, has told a story about a kind man on the shore at Palm Beach rescuing a toad that was being eaten by a jellyfish. Dubitation ensues.

New York Times editorial discussing dubitation over a story the mayor told, March 1918.

New York Times, March 6, 1918

On to the classified ads. Hey, I want one of those too!

New York Times ad for a three-bedroom furnished apartment, $100 a month, March 1918.

New York Times, March 6, 1918

Now that you’re caught up on the news, it’s time to party! Make a momentous decision on what to wear,

B. Altman ad, The Question of Spring Clothes, March 1918.

New York Times, March 3, 1918

put on your favorite hat,

Hat ad, New York Times, March 1918.

New York Times, March 3, 1918

and head on out to the the hottest joint in town!

Churchill's Restaurant ad, New York Times, 1918.

New York Times, March 3, 1918

(These articles were accessed at https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/browser. I make fun of the Times a lot, but I’m very grateful for this valuable resource.)

Friday Miscellany: The artistry of 1918 magazine ads

There wasn’t a lot of room for color in magazines in 1918–often just the cover and a few pages of ads. The advertisers made the most of their limited opportunities. Here are a few ads that caught my eye.

These two make me want to spend my next vacation in 1918 magazine ad California.

Del Monte advertisement showing bowl of apricots in front of mountain scene, 1918.

Woman’s Home Companion, March 1918

Blue Ribbon peaches ad showing peaches in front of a field, 1918.

Woman’s Home Companion, March 1918

This one almost makes me want to go scrub the kitchen.

Old Dutch Cleanser ad showing tiny woman cleaning a kitchen floor, 1918.

Cosmopolitan, January 1918

And this one makes war seem like an absolute pleasure, as long as you have your Murads.

Murad cigarette ad showing a sailor and soldier lighting cigarettes, 1918.

Scribner’s, March 1918

Wednesday Miscellany: Virile modernists, “quotation marks,” and a masterpiece on the way

An ad for The Egoist in The Little Review: “Obviously a journal of interest to virile readers only.”  In that case, I want my $1.60 back.

Also: “It is not written for tired and depressed people.” Sorry, Egoist, but in our day only tired and depressed people read T.S. Eliot.

“Transforming the whole conception of poetic form.” Okay, I’ll give you that one.

Little Review ad for The Egotist, "obviously a journal of interest to virile readers only."

Little Review, February 1918

An ad for next month’s Little Review: “We are about to publish a prose masterpiece.” Okay, if you’re publishing Ulysses, and your other contributors are Wyndham Lewis, Ezra Pound, and Ford Madox Hueffer (aka Ford), then you’re entitled to a little attitude.

(In case you’re wondering what they had in store for February that made them reduce Ulysses to a footnote, it was a full issue devoted to French poets, in French. Cool, but no Ulysses.)

Little Review ad for Ulysses serialization, February 1918.

Little Review, February 1918

One last Little Review ad, showing us that “overuse” of “quotation marks” is not a strictly “contemporary” phenomenon. I do like “Solve Your Food Problem” as a restaurant slogan, though. Sometimes, it’s just that simple.

Little Review, February 1918

Wednesday Miscellany: Romantic magazine covers and a Hoover-themed valentine

Strange as it sounds, government administrators were huge celebrities in 1918. And none was more famous than Herbert Hoover, head of the U.S. Food Administration. (Yes, that Herbert Hoover.) To reduce consumption so that food could be sent to Europe, he led campaigns for “Meatless Mondays” and “Wheatless Wednesdays.” Ads for food and cooking equipment touted their effectiveness in helping housewives “Hooverize.” Good Housekeeping magazine called him–with a wink, presumably–“the man who made food famous.”

In that spirit, here’s a 1918 valentine to all of you:

1918 Hooverizing-themed valentine.

Magazines in 1918 were pretty conservative about portraying any kind of romantic activity, but judging from the cover of the February 1918 Cosmopolitan, soldiers got a free pass.

Harrison Fisher Cosmopolitan cover, soldier kissing wife, February 1919.

Harrison Fisher, Cosmopolitan, February 1918

Finally, the February 1918 cover of Vanity Fair…not Valentine’s-themed, but definitely romantic.

Vanity fair cover, three topless nymphs dancing in front of a tree, February 1919.

Warren Davis, Vanity Fair, February 1918

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

Wednesday Miscellany: Erté, boys’ fashion, and fast cars

Erté, the artist and designer whose name is synonymous with Art Deco, was only twenty-five in 1918, but he was already making a name for himself. (A fake name: his real one was Romain de Tirtoff. Erté comes from the French pronunciation of his initials.) He got his start designing covers for Harper’s Bazar. I’m not sure what this one means, but an online slideshow of classic covers at the magazine’s website says that it “suggests a dadaist influence.”

Erté Harper's Bazar cover, February 1918, masked woman looking out window at man.

Erté, February 1918

I had the impression that everyone drove around in Model T’s in 1918, but the magazines were full of ads for all different kinds of cars. This one, the Marmon 34, set a new coast-to-coast speed record in 1916: 5 days. 18 hours. 30 minutes.

Marmon 34 ad, 1918, car on black background.

Harper’s Bazar, February 1918

Clothes for the well-dressed boy. The Palm Beach suit costs $7.49–a week’s pay for an office boy at a New York law firm.

Macy's boys' clothing ad, Harper's Bazar, 1918.

Harper’s Bazar, February 1918

Friday Miscellany: Cigarette poetry, comics, and more vermin for children

Apparently no one knows whether British Corporal Jack Turner, who supposedly wrote this poem, was real or not. If he was a figment of an ad writer’s imagination, it makes me mad. If he was real, it makes me want to cry.

…Then you think about a little grave, with R. I. P. on top,
And you know you’ve got to go across–altho’ you’d like to stop;
When your backbone’s limp as water, and you’re bathed in icy sweat,
Why, you’ll feel a lot more cheerful if you puff your cigarette.

Poem, Fags, Murad cigarette advertisement, 1918.

Judge magazine, February 2, 1918

What was it with St. Nicholas magazine and the vermin?

Poem, A Soldier Brave, St. Nicholas magazine, 1918.

St. Nicholas magazine, February 1918

I haven’t read any 1918 comics yet, but this gets me pretty much up to speed.

Cartoon, "The cartoon-supplement artist's paradise," Judge magazine, 1918.

Judge magazine, February 2, 1918

Wednesday Miscellany: Oh and by the way we’re publishing Ulysses

I can’t wait to find out what surprise the Little Review has in store for February 1918 that’s so huge that they can casually toss off “oh, and we’re publishing the first installment of Ulysses in March.”

The Little Review announcement of Ulysses publication, 1918

The Little Review, January 1918

The best art of 1918 is found in some surprising places. For example, ads for constipation medicine.

Nujol constipation ad, painting of mother holding baby. 1918.

Woman’s Home Companion, January 1918

Support the troops! Send them cigarettes from the enemy!*

*Actually just pretend-Turkish: really Liggett & Myers tobacco.

Wednesday Miscellany: Women’s clothing, or lack thereof

She: What do you think, Kate–shall I take off another stitch or two?
He (sotto voce)–Take off another stitch! Dear, dear! I had better absent myself without delay!

This is about as racy as 1918 gets.

Judge, January 12, 1918

Note to advertisers: if you want to get a half-naked woman into the New York Times, make her an Egyptian goddess.

From the New York TImes rotogravure: the “new wartime evening gown” with a knitting pocket. Waltzing…sharp needles…what could go wrong?

New York Times, January 13, 1918 (All the photos in the rotogravure were this bad.)

Wednesday Miscellany

An ad in The Egoist, the British literary journal where T.S. Eliot was assistant editor. I love how proudly they quote the criticism. Dissatisfying! Very unequal! Missing the effort by too much cleverness!

Advertisement for Prufrock by T.S. Eliot.

The Egoist, January 1918

Judge was a humor magazine that managed almost never to be funny–more on that later–but they had some great illustrators. My favorites from the January 3, 1918, issue:

Judge cartoon, what if the movie men managed your elopement, January 3, 1918

Judge Cartoon, soldiers pass through Yapp's crossing, Johnny Gruelle, January 3, 1918.

Johnny Gruelle