Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Here, Then Gone, Then Back Again

Have you ever read a book that changed your life?  I have, but it's not "Wuthering Heights" or "Catcher in the Rye" or "Pride and Prejudice" or any other wonderful classic.  It's this book here - "Symbols of America", by Hal Morgan.  I've talked about this book before, but I'll tell the story again:


My freshman year of college, 1986-87, was a lonely one for me.  All of my friends were still in high school and the only person I knew at school was my own mom, who was finishing up her B.S. in Social Work (my mom was super popular at UWGB so for most of that year I was known as "Susie's daughter").  My mom's classes went longer than mine, so I would while away the hours on the 4th floor of the Library Learning Center (now known as the Coffrin Library).  One day, while perusing the reference books (GEEK ALERT!), I came across it.....


It was like the ephemera/history/advertising heavens opened up and presented me with the PERFECT book.  Truly, I felt like Hal Morgan read my mind and emptied its contents on these pages.


History of Campbell's Soup - fascinating!

Because it was a part of the reference library, I couldn't check the book out.  So for several months, that was the routine:  mosey up to the 4th floor, find the book, and enjoy countless hours of logo geekdom.  Those days where someone else deigned to find the book and enjoy it for themselves were long days indeed.   Thank goodness that I received this wonderful book for my 18th birthday!  It's still one of my favorite gifts.


When I last wrote about the book, I said that I still owned it.  Sadly, that was not the case!  I guess I was so secure in the knowledge that it sat on one of my many book shelves that I never noticed that it was gone.  I don't even have a recollection of the last time I read it, so it could've been misplaced any time after 2003, when my first husby and I separated.  It could've gotten lost in a move, or I could've left it behind, or it could be buried in the basement.  Whatever the case, when I realized I no longer had it, I quick looked to see if it was available online.


Oh, how I loved that more recent Mr. Donut logo!  Too bad
they no longer exist here in the States - only in ASIA!

BINGO!!!  I am happy to report that I snagged a copy for $3.99 and it arrived in the mail yesterday!  It's not a nice hardcover like my original, but it's the same book.  God bless the Internet.  :)  Here's the weird thing - for some reason I remembered the book to have color illustrations.  If the book were written today it would be full color, but alas, that was not the case in 1986.


So, this is the story of the book that changed my life.  I discovered that I LOVED history, when explained through advertising logos.  I've always had a knack for dates, so reading about logos and what year they were copyrighted was a huge step toward finding my favorite ephemera at antique shops and, later, online.  It also helped me to discern between genuine and reproduction ephemera, something that has also helped me immeasurably and set the tone for my particular style of art work.


Hal Morgan, wherever you are, thank you for setting the stage for this wonderful career I've chosen.  I owe much of its origins to you.  :)



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