October 30, 2011

Hotel Stationery: Shula's Hotel and Golf Club

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It's no secret, if you're a reader of this blog, I love letterhead. What may not be so obvious, however, is how much I crush on hotel stationery.

When first entering a hotel room, many people run to check out the bathroom or jump on the bed; I go to the desk to see if there's hotel specific stationery. Hotel stationery is an extension of a time gone by, when people would go on holiday for weeks on end, settle into a hotel or club - actually put their clothes in the provided bureau or armoire - and use their vacation digs as a temporary home. To accommodate this regular use, and the upper class convention of having engraved stationery for each of their homes, hotels and clubs provided stationery for guest use.

Today, unfortunately, few people are able to stay in a hotel long enough for use of its stationery to be anything more than a novelty. So, most folks I know don't bother to even check for stationery in their vacation accommodations, but I collect it. I get such a kick from it, my wife brings it back for me on her vacations as a souvenir. It's cheaper than a t-shirt, right?

Call it a quirk. Am I alone?

October 27, 2011

Roll of Attorneys

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Despite technological advancements, pens and paper still hold an important place in the American tradition. A striking example may be found in the legal profession.

While doctors have a coating ceremony at the beginning of medical school, courts carry on the tradition of having newly sworn members of a bar sign the roll of attorneys. Signing into the roll is the final step to becoming a licensed practitioner before any particular court. Similarly, being 'stricken from the roll' is the final act of removing a member from the bar.

The rolls are kept by court and eventually archived. To this day, you can still go to courts and see the names of famous attorneys in their rolls. Abraham Lincoln's name, for example, can still be found in the roll in the office of the clerk at the Supreme Court of Illinois.

The actual act of signing is a tad unceremonious. You wait in line, chatting, for your 10 seconds to write your name, but it was my favorite part of swearing into the Maryland Bar - so I had a member of the court staff take the above picture for me.

I wasn't sure if the paper would feather or bleed too terribly, so I used a favorite ballpoint pen to sign. An inexpensive pen, I still like the way it looks and writes. Can anyone name it?

October 23, 2011

Adventures in Letterpress: Wedding Invitation

Misty and James' Wedding Invitation

Way back in April 2010, I posted about a run of Save the Date cards I printed on my Anchor Easy Photo (makeshift) printing press. Several months, I created and printed a run of invitations on Crane Lettra 110 lb. paper, for the same wedding. The above card was affixed on top of another card containing directions and website information, separated by perforation from the response card, with black grommets. To summarize the process for wedding guests, the below video was posted to the front page of the couple's wedding website.


As I've mentioned before, my printing process is a tad unorthodox. Maybe it's just to make me feel better about the finished product, but I like to think the imperfections, e.g. the uneven ink coverage, add character - helping pull together the vintage and modern design elements.

From feedback I received, the invitations were well received! To continue the design theme, I also created wedding programs, dinner menus, and dance cards for the event, using the same production method.

I haven't done much letterpress printing lately... but who knows when inspiration will strike.

October 20, 2011

Whimsy Goes With Everything


I'm not sure what it is, but when the leaves change color - I watch Gilmore Girls. The episode containing the above clip about mailboxes found its way onto my screen this week.

If I lived in a place where I had a roadside mailbox, you better believe it'd be whimsical.

October 19, 2011

London Bridge in the Mail

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Sometimes simple is better. For a thank you card I wrote, I used a card with a black and white image of a famous London bridge - from the same box as this card, placed it in a white envelope with a shiny black liner, and stamped it with a London travel stamp.

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This particular note had absolutely nothing to do with London or travel, I just wanted to make it stand out. See, simple.

October 16, 2011

Letters and The Law: Letter to the Editor!

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On a not-so-recent trip to my hometown, St. Paul, Minnesota, I paid a visit to the old federal building, now called Landmark Center. While touring the courtrooms of the floor once occupied by the federal courts, I ran across a provocatively titled placard:

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In the midst of World War I, Congress passed and the President signed the Espionage Act, which in part, "empowered the postmaster general to declare any material that violated any provision of the Espionage Act or that urged "treason, insurrection, or forcible resistance to any law of the United States" unmailable. Use of the mails to transmit such materials was punishable by imprisonment and a fine." Source. While no one was convicted of espionage or spying under the Act, federal prosecutors used the Act's lesser provisions to obtain over 1,000 convictions.

One of those prosecuted under the Act was Rose Pastor Stokes, a known Socialist who, despite disavowing the party's opposition to the war and being married to a member of the armed forces, was found guilty at trial and sentenced to ten years in prison for transmitting a prohibited message via post to a local newspaper:
No government which is for the profiteers can also be for the people, and I am for the people, while the government is for the profiteers.
It seems it took some Minnesotan sensibility to determine Mrs. Stokes' right to free speech trumped an aggressive reading of the Espionage Act. Two years after her trial, a Minnesota judge authored the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals decision overturned Mrs. Stokes' conviction. And, with the war then over, the federal prosecutors declined to press forward with the case, leaving Mrs. Stokes free to continue advocating her causes and writing letters to the editor.

October 10, 2011

Handmade Personalized Stationery

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What do you do when you haven't any fancy stationery on which to write a letter to your pen pal? Why, if you're All My Hues, you create your own. Every letter I've received from her has given me a kick, and every letter has been kept. That's the power of personalized correspondence.

October 9, 2011

If They Can Find the Time...

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I learn the darndest things in the most unusual places. Though I already knew Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a major philatelist from an exhibit at the National Postal Museum, it took me a trip to the Hummingbird Inn to discover how thoughtful the 32nd President of the United States and his wife really were.

During FDR's first term in office, following the textile workers' strike of 1934, Eleanor Roosevelt went to inspect conditions at the Stillwater Springs textile mill, nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, in the town of Goshen. A brief visitor, Mrs. Roosevelt spent only one night in Goshen, as guest of Pearl Teter-Wood and her husband, Joseph, proprietors of what is now the Hummingbird Inn.

Upon her departure, the Woods sent a basket with Mrs. Roosevelt as a gift for the President. A short time later, the Woods received a pair of notes.

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It seems the basket found its way to the President, and he appreciated it.

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From Mrs. Roosevelt's account, the President appreciated the basket a bit too much, as she was caused to "promptly take it away from him." In addition to kind letters of thanks, Mr. Wood received a call to lunch with the First Lady, and to meet the President.

If the First Family can find the time - in the midst of the great depression - to write thank you notes, surely any of us in the 21st century can do the same.

October 7, 2011

Friday Night Favorite Reads

Arco Light at Bleubug

Creative Inspiration at Rhodia Drive


Advertising Cameos at Letter Writers Alliance

Zombie Stationery at Fountain Pen Geeks

Additional Resources* at ENG 101: American Letters

*Check out the link below "Diana Hacker Online"