Illustrated is a "Cook Book" published in 1917 by the Washburn-Crosby Company, purveyors of Gold Medal Flour. The cover, above, has a neat little illustration in the center—a colonial cast-iron pot over a fire, supported by sticks in a sort of teepee shape. I think it's "tastefully" presented so small, smaller than the four-sided border in fact, a great layout touch, and extremely subtle for a what was meant to be a public relations/marketing tool. I've actually scanned this cover before, in 2001, when I was designing the bicentennial book for West Point *. I used the beautifully aged background and aqua border as my sidebar template on the interior of the book. The book measures 8 1/2 x 11 inches and is 76 pages including cover and back cover.
From the back cover:
From the prairies of Dakota; from the wheat lands of Minnesota; from the banks of the Red River of the North, comes the wheat that made this flour.
Pure and strong with the strength of the sturdy grain which bore it, carried by rail and steam to the Atlantic and the Pacific and the lands beyond the far horizon, where the deft fingers of a woman will knead it, and men and children will take strength from its vital substance.
* Amazon is no longer carrying my almost-10 year old West Point book, so I can't furnish a link. I'll scan my copy soon and post it. It was one of my best looking books and it received rave reviews when it was published. There were a few different books by various publishers on their bicentennial that year, but I was told that the Commandant picked mine to keep in the office for reference.
A typical recipe page—Each section, Soups, Meats, Poultry, etc, have great little illustrations and extraordinary typography. The type is really small, hard to read even in the original, with tons of recipes crammed onto every page. In the back of the book are six coupons, which the homemaker was supposed to give to anyone enquiring about the book. One coupon and ten cents would secure a new copy. Such a deal! There are tips located throughout the pages, all having something to do with Gold Medal Flour of course. The execution and tone of the book is friendly and helpful, and not at all a pushy "buy this product" that a similar book published today would most likely be.
This artwork is typical of the look used throughout this nearly 100 year old book. All of the women illustrated have this type of clothing and cap, the dutiful cook and chief bottlewasher.
Another delightful illustration I just had to scan and include here. I love the way they worked in the Gold Medal Flour logo in the background on a billboard. The two-color printing, orange and black, is used to great advantage here, with multiple shades of each. This lends the book a very rich appearance when the use of only two colors can be very cheap looking. This early 20th century designer knew what he was doing, and I feel confident in saying it was probably a "he" as women unfortunately had not really entered the job market at that time. They were too busy "kneading the dough" as mentioned on the back cover of the book!
B T W :
This recipe was found inside the Gold Medal Cook Book, but was clipped from an old newspaper. I included it here for two reasons. The first is that the recipe sounds great and includes capers, olives, piccallili and parsley in addition to the usual potato salad ingredients. The second reason is the typography of this newspaper item which is also probably close to 100 years old.
The entire clipping is a shade less than two inches wide and 1 1/2 inches tall—everyone's eyes must have been much better then, lol. The compositor used ligatures for the "f i " connection, which I've mentioned in this blog before. The two letters are combined into one character, so that the ascender of the "f" and the dot of the "i" don't hit each other. It's a minor touch that adds immeasurably to the elegance, and readability, of a typed piece, and I insist of using ligatures in every publication I design. Also notice that the lowercase "u" is missing part of its character in every usage, as if it's a bad key on a typewriter. I'm not really sure how hot lead works, but I thought they were different pieces for each letter. I'll have to do some research on this old printing process. I saw it being done at the newspaper my father worked for in the early 1960s, but I was only about 5 years old and it's a blur to me now.
I scanned this Potato Salad recipe in higher resolution than usual, so it should be totally readable when clicked on and enlarged.