Spotlight on J.C. Leyendecker

J.C. (Joseph Christian) Leyendecker was one of the most prolific illustrators of the early to mid 20th century. His easily identifiable style has graced more than 400 magazine covers, and many dozens of magazine advertisements (most notably the iconic Arrow Collar ads). He is most closely associated with the Saturday Evening Post, where he was commissioned to paint 322 covers! The men he paints are strong and athletic. The women, graceful and feminine. To this day, his work is beloved and much sought after. The following are some of our favorite examples of his work.






Nipper, the RCA Victor Dog

Few people could look at this scarce old ad and not recognize “Nipper,” the iconic RCA dog. Francis Barraud, a struggling painter, adopted the dog after his brother Mark’s death, and painted him cocking his head inquisitively at the horn of a phonograph. The painting “His Master’s Voice” went on to be used by Eldridge Johnson for his Victor Talking Machine Company. And the rest, as they say, is history!


Say It Ain’t So, Santa!

“Forget chocolate chip cookies. Just leave me a pack of Luckies!”

1936 Lucky Strike Ad ~ Santa Smokes

1959 Vintage Pepsi Ad ~ White Poodles

This 1959 Pepsi ad was illustrated by Roy Besser. We love the great retro style!

This Just In: Antique Victorian Valentines

Valentines Day is right around the corner . . . we just acquired a bunch of antique Valentines including Pop-Up, Mechanical, and Honeycomb. Okay, so maybe our favorite holiday is not right around the corner, but it doesn’t have to be Valentines Day for you to fall in love with these wonderful creations!

First Hostess Cakes, Now Kodak!

First it was Hostess Cakes, and now it’s another American icon, Kodak. The struggling company, which has been around for over 100 years, has also filed for bankruptcy.

I used to work at Grand Central Station and will always remember seeing the huge Kodak “Colorama” on display. The Colorama, promoted as the world’s largest photograph, was a backlighted transparency measuring 18 feet high and 60 feet across. The picture changed every 3 weeks, and it was always fun to see the new colorful photo on display.

Here’s a look back at some Kodak print advertising throughout the years.

We love this early 1903 ad for the “Kodak Developing Machine:”

Who doesn’t remember the Kodak Brownie? Here’s a 1924 ad for the Brownie Gift Box (“The Whole Shootin’ Match All in One Box.”):

Not quite as well know as the Brownie, were the “Vanity” kodaks in 5 colors. Here’s a 1928 ad showing the set:

In 1930, to commemorate their 50th Anniversary, Kodak put aside 500,000 cameras, and offered them free to children born in 1918:

In 1942, Kodak unveiled this two page ad boasting of all the medals Kodak scientists had won.

And finally, who doesn’t remember the little “Fotomat” booths where you could drop your film off in the parking lot. Here’s a 1971 ad complete with 50¢ off coupons:

We hope Kodak can make it through their struggles. We’d love to be able to show 50 more years of Kodak ads!

Hostess Brands Files for Bankruptcy

ATTENTION TWINKIE LOVERS!! . . . the next Twinkie you eat might be your last! In case you haven’t heard, Hostess Brands filed for bankruptcy this week. That means all your favorite treats (Twinkies, Sno Balls, Ho Hos, and Ding Dongs, to name a few) may soon be a thing of the past. Here are some Hostess Treats that already cease to exist. Do you remember any of them?

Hostess Chocolate Cupcakes, 1928 Vintage Ad:

Hostess Zesty Lemon Loaf, 1929 Vintage Ad:

Hostess Devil’s Food Bar, 1929 Vintage Ad:

Vintage 1939 Facts About Macy’s Booklet

We’ve been very lax about updating our blog lately, and we apologize. There are so many things we want to share with you . . . if only there were more hours in the day!

We just listed a bunch of vintage and antique booklets and catalogs but one of our favorites is this vintage 1939 booklet from one of the world’s most famous department stores: Macy’s.

Filled with photos and facts about the Macy’s of 70+ years ago. More or less a Q&A with questions such as:

  • How many selling floors are there in the store?
  • Did you ever count the different things you offer?
  • How many people work in Macy’s?
  • Where does Macy’s staff come from?
  • Are they college people?
  • Do Macy people ever get a vacation?
  • What about convalescence?

And so on.

Fun facts from this booklet:

  • Macy’s had 55 passenger elevators and 58 escalators.
  • They made their own electricity by diesel and steam-generator
  • The value of the goods in the store back then was about sixteen million dollars
  • They did not accept credit cards, but they did have what was called “Depositors’ Accounts.”
  • Macy’s had their own hospital on the 19th floor.

A fun look back at this enduring store. And my, how things have changed!


Website Update: Vintage Magazine Covers

We just added another batch of vintage magazine covers to our website. Some of our favorites—from antique issues of Country Life Magazine—feature animals. We’d like to share a few with you.



At top left is 1917 Country Life Magazine Cover with gorgeous peacock art by Charles Livingston Bull. Top right is 1928 Country Life Magazine Cover with Macaw art by ornithologist Karl Plath. Bottom image is 1910 Country Life Magazine Cover with Irish Wolfhound & Scottish Terrier.

For those of you searching for even more visual stimulation, there’s a great website devoted to magazine art. Check them out at

Vintage Ad Spotlight: 1945 WWII Dixie Cup Ad, Canteen Hostess

The snow is finally melting, the birds are singing, and we’re looking forward to Springtime! No more shoveling, no more hauling wood, and no need for six layers of clothing to step outside.

We can finally get back to business. So here we present another one of our most popular vintage ads. The latest and greatest as clicked on by you, our faithful customers.

This time we have a 1945 ad for Dixie Cups featuring a WWII Canteen Hostess. In addition to a regular Dixie Cup, she also holds our favorite . . . the Ice Cream Dixie.

1945 Dixie Cup Ad, Canteen Hostess

Just a little bit of history on this chilly treat:

Manufactured by The Individual Drinking Cup Company, the Dixie was initially called the Health Kup. The flu epidemic after WWI led more companies to enter the cup-making business, so to set it apart from it’s competitors, the name was changed. In 1919, the Health Kup became the Dixie Cup, named after a line of dolls made by Alfred Schindler’s Dixie Doll Company in New York.

Why would they name a paper cup after some dolls? I couldn’t tell you.

After 1923, an idea came about to merchandise an individual serving of ice cream in a Dixie Cup. The company’s first contracts were with Weed’s Ice Cream Company of Allentown and Carry Ice Cream Company of Washington, D.C. A 5 oz. cup would sell for ten cents. The first experiments were a disaster, but the company soon developed a smaller, more rigid 2 1/2 oz. cup that would not absorb moisture or crumble in the filling process, that would sell for five cents. After that, Mojonnier Brothers, authorities on the engineering of filling devices, created an automatic machine to fill a paper cup with two flavors of ice cream at one time. Ice Cream Dixies earned almost instantaneous consumer acceptance.

So there you have it. The Ice Cream Dixie!