1881? C.D. Cobb & Bros. Advertising Magazine. C.D. Cobb & Bros.. Paperbound. Boston: C.D. Cobb & Bros. Advertising Magazine. $9.99 from Dr. StrangeGoods through eBay, April, '09.
This is a curious circular put together apparently by a store with a main location and three branches in Boston and further branches in Westboro and Fitchburg. This 32-page stapled pamphlet combines various advertisements with vocal music, instrumental music, needlework companion, drawing lessons, and texts of fables. The fables, each with a moral, start on 7 and continue on every odd-numbered page through 29. There are no illustrations for the fables. I cannot find an easy match of the texts with a well-known set of fables. The surprise of this magazine for me is that its advertisements are for other merchants! An advertisement on 26 includes some claims with dates; it is from those 1881 dates that I guess that the magazine appeared that same year. For a picture of this advertising pamphlet, consult "Advertising" under Aesop Artifacts.
1900? Le Renard et la Cigogne. Jean de La Fontaine. August Vimar. Paperbound. Paris: Imp. M. Moreau. €15 from St.-Ouen, August, '15.
This little (3⅞" x 5") booklet presents a challenge, because it is both advertising for "Au Bon Marché" in Paris and a booklet in its own right. Vimar goes through the fable in lovely duochrome illustrations. Among the best illustrations is that of the stork trying to do something with the soup served in a shallow dish. This version makes clear that some time passed before Madame Stork offered her invitation to Monsieur Renard. The monocle does not help poor Monsieur Renard in these last pictures! While the last picture inside the book has the two characters in the same space reacting to the vase, the back cover has the stork flying away while Monsieur Renard, hat in hand and downfaced, walks away from the encounter.
1920? Comic Fables with Morals Advertising Washburn Crosby's Gold Medal Flour. Pamphlet. $9.98 from Joann Cummings, Colfax, Iowa, through Ebay, April, '00. Extra copy in poorer condition but on different paper for $6 from Richard Graham, Oswego, NY, through eBay, June, '05.
This lovely little pamphlet, in surprisingly good condition, has the printed stamp on its back of Grant Ramsey of Grinnell, Iowa, one of the many grocers happy to sell Gold Medal Flour. The multi-colored pictures are excellent. In the first of the six fables, a tramp broke several teeth biting on a pie crust which he had expected to be hard. It had been made with Gold Medal Flour, and so his hard chomp was unnecessary! These simple stories show that Gold Medal Flour brings women proposals of marriage, praise, success, and prizes. The Moral to "The Fable of the Rich Man and His Appetite" is "Healthy Food is better than Health Foods." I will keep the extra copy in the collection because of its different-textured paper. To see a sample page, click here.
1908 "An Ivory Soap Fable (With apologies to Aesop and Geo. Ade)." Ivory Soap advertisement from The Literary Digest sometime apparently in 1908. Art by Clyde James Newman. 8½" x 11". $6.49 from Anita Belling, West Brookfield, MA, through Ebay, Feb., '03.
Two strong large black-and-white illustrations show a man wearing out the soles of his shoes and a woman having her hands treated. The man walked to work and in a month he saved almost enough to have his shoes half-soled. His wife shortly afterwards became economical too. She decided to save money on soap. And so she stopped washing her dishes with Ivory. At the end of six months, she had saved almost enough to have her hands "treated." They had become very coarse and rough. But besides saving 43 cents that she could not find, she had lost her temper fifty-two times because her husband had said things about the china and eighty-three times because her hands were "all shrivelled up." "So she stopped Trying to Economize on Soap." In typical Ade style, many nouns are capitalized for emphasis. Newman did the art apparently in all of George Ade's books of fables.
1920 "The Strength of Universal Service." BS advertisement for American Telephone and Telegraph Company. February, 1920. 6½" x 9½". $5.95 from Robert Neighbours, Simsbury, CT, through Ebay, Jan., '01.
I cannot tell what magazine this advertisement came from, though it is clear that it was Page 75. AT&T makes the case that, since they are one system, they have the power of unity. The black-and-white illustration shows one of the sons trying to break the bundle of sticks.
1920? Fables for Little Folks. Pamphlet. Colgate's Ribbon Dental Cream. $8.03 from Bob Niederhauser, Anamosa, Iowa, through Ebay, June, '99. Extra copy for $11.05 from Paul and Teresa Fisher, Pottstown, PA, through Ebay, Sept., '00.
Pamphlet 3.3" x 4.25" containing seven short prose fables with exquisite colored illustrations. The cover has a stage of animals with an audience of two children, the center page a rebus poem, the last page children's height being measured by a giant "Colgate's Ribbon Dental Cream" package ("Growing Up With Colgate's"), and the back cover the same two children reading "Fables for Me" and dreaming of animals. A random check does not place the texts among those I have processed. The fables are: LM, "The Kid and the Wolf," "The Donkey, the Cock and the Lion," "The Tortoise and the Eagle," GB, "The Peacock and the Crane" (my prize-winner for best illustration), and WC. This kind of popular and off-the-beaten-track kind of find is what I treasure especially! I crosslist this item among books.
1930? Orange Crush Fables from Aesop. Pamphlet. Text and image from The Aesop for Children. Inside: "The Fox and the Goat." On the back is a page of advertising for Orange Crush from the Orange Crush Bottling Company of Cleveland, OH. $9.99 from Signs of Age, Catasauqua, PA, through eBay, Jan., '04.
This is a single-fold pamphlet 4¼" x 5½" containing one prose fable with Milo Winter's fine colored illustration. The back cover proclaims of Orange Crush "They like it, Mother" and urges "Give Children freely this drink so rich in vital Energy." The page indicates that there are four other fable booklets like this one.
1941 "People differ about constipation." Black-and-white TH advertisement for Kellogg's All-Bran. Farm Journal and Farmer's Wife, April, '41. Page 56. $4 from John Schiller, Sterling Heights, MI, through Ebay, Feb., '01.
This advertisement may well strike us as funny today. The ad copy finds All-Bran superior because it has both the hare's speed and the tortoise's tenacity. When it comes to discussing delicate matters, it is often best to use a fable.
1950 "Inside San Francisco and the Bay Area." Guide to the Bay Area from The Gray Line. This copy is stamped as "Your Complimentary Copy, Fable Restaurant, Cameo Cocktail Lounge, Drake Wilshire." San Francisco: Howard A. Young & Leonard Ralston, Publishers. Lithography by Schwabacher-Frey Co. $7.50 from John Barton, Louisville, KY, through Ebay, Nov., '99.
Curiously, the Fable Restaurant is not featured inside this brochure! Time has changed what would show up in this brochure today. The changes would start with the Gray Line! It is very nice to see that some favorite spots were already thriving fifty years ago. See also the postcards of the Fable Restaurant's murals.
1955? "La Fontaine aurait dit…" Advertisement for Fèves de Fuca Bouxin. Art signed by SM Bertin. "La Femme qui veut se faire ausse svelte que le veuf."
The fable on the verso is a clever parody of OF. Fèves de fuca is, among other things, a laxative. One can find fèves de fuca in all pharmacies! The image of La Fontaine against the black background is very strong! This card seems more of an advertisement than a trade card, but one never knows….
1958 "A Fable about a man who rode around in a Jaguar . . . ." Advertisement for Road & Track. R. Rich. Page 11 of Road & Track, October, 1958. $7.25 from Janelle Chenoweth, Silverthorne, CO, Feb., '00.
This full-page advertisement presents a dramatic cartoon of a man riding around inside a jaguar (the animal, that is). The story is about a young man who read this magazine and bought a jaguar car. Though the neighbors criticized him, he did well and moved on. Now they still remember and talk about him. The moral is that it is more important to influence the 130,000 readers of the magazine than the people on one's block.
1960 "The fable of the pig and the Boxcar." 3¼" x 4½" fold-out brochure by Southern Pacific Railway asking users of their railroad cars to clean them afterwards. $4.95 from Chuck Simmons at The Paper Chase, Moscow, ID, through Ebay, Sept., '00.
Now this is wild! The simple title-page opens out like an accordion to seven pages. The central five tell the story of a "monstrous pig shipper" who returned railroad cars stinking with "rubbish." There is a predictable moral about using consideration, and then one reads "Aesop said: 'When you unload…unload clean.'" (Somehow I do not find this statement in all my morals from Aesop….) A last page is titled "On the Serious Side." It speaks of the National Clean Car Program and thanks shippers for the recent drop in unclean returns. I never thought Aesop would end up here!
1962 Full-page magazine advertisement for Container Corporation of America picturing TH. Black and white. Artist: Herbert Bayer. Great Ideas of Western Man Series. 11" x 8". $9.99 from Thomas Ostrowski through eBay, August, '05.
This black-and-white advertisement shows the tortoise reaching (a planet?) ahead of the sprinting hare. The page tells the last phase of the story and mentions Aesop. The style looks like that of The New Yorker.
Click on the picture to see it expanded.
1964 Advertisement in red and black for John J. McKendry's Aesop: Five Centuries of Illustrated Fables published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 11¼" x 15", folded into six quadrants. Gift of William Jenkins, Kenmore, NY, Jan., '92.
This advertisement is extremely clever. The large sheet of heavy paper is folded down to a brochure of about 5" x 5½". As one opens the brochure, one finds four progressive views. First a simple Ulm woodcut detail without words invites a viewer to open the brochure from the left. The next view, of the same size, uses Calder's WC and proclaims "It wasn't an easy task." The next opening offers a view three times as large and uses a sole lion, an LM illustration, and Grandville's TH to describe the complexity of the task. The final foldout makes its offer with a clever remark for each of four illustrations. Thus accompanying Hollar's illustration of the crab and her mother we read "with lessons for parents and children alike." It is a joy to see ingenuity expended on a project like this! For now, I can offer views of only the two first panels.
Click on either picture to see both expanded.
1964? Fables from the Golden Age for Modern Dry Cleaners. By PPG Chemicals. Paperbound. Pittsburgh, PA: Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company. $5.69 from Victor Sirianni, Youngstown, NY, through eBay, Sept., '08.
This twelve-page pamphlet has nothing to do with fables. In it, Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company's Chemical Division advertises its product Perchlor to dry cleaners. Each of its pages presents a black-and-white photograph of a classical piece of sculpture, a quip by the subject of the sculpture, and a rhyming quatrain making the point, usually about Perchlor. Sometimes the point is about good salesmanship or other aspects of dry cleaning. Thus the quip for a picture of a caryatid is "If it falls off this time, Aphrodite can take her old Charm School and ..." The quatrain is "So much of her charm/Most every girl knows/Comes from dry-cleaning/Of her finest clothes." Hercules holds out his lion-skin and says "Look, Bud. The sign says 'one hour.' Now, either you have this suit ready or ..." The quatrain here reads "Fast cleaning action,/Economy,too/Are yours when Perchlor/Is used by your crew." Now, this is a piece of ephemera! I will list it also under advertisements and shelve it with the books.
1965 Invitation from The Pierpont Morgan Library to the opening of an exhibition "Fables from Aesop to Thurber." January 13, 1965. The invitation's front features WC from Pierre Sala, about 1520. The invitation is accompanied by a New York Times review of the exhibition by Sanka Knox, January 14, 1965. Gift of William Jenkins, Kenmore, NY, Jan., '92.
William was a dear collector of things having to do with fables. Now in 2002, perhaps ten years after I received these things from him, I am finally able to include them in the collection's catalogue. The review highlights the acquisition of the ninth-century Phaedrus Rosanbo manuscript in Latin.
1980 "The Tortoise and the Heir." Magazine advertisement for DOC optique.
This gift from my sister is a riot! The one element of color in the black-and-white photograph works together perfectly with the outrageous pun.
1986 Newspaper advertisement for "Aesop's Tables," a restaurant in Wellfleet, MA. The advertisement is taken from page 134 of Cape Cod Guide for July 18, '86.
What a lovely play on words! The restaurant offers "Nouvelle New England Cuisine" and invites readers to "Rediscover Classic Cape Cod in Wonderful Wellfleet!"
1988 Newspaper advertisement for Duracell batteries featuring TH. People Magazine, 1988. ©1988 Duracell, Inc.
A first panel shows the tortoise lying on his back, with only the words "Yesterday's DURACELL battery." The second panel, on a new page, gives a picture—with the script "Today's DURACELL battery"--and a moral.
1988 AT&T advertisement featuring members of the "Tortoise and Hare Running Club." The advertisement starts with "Now that fast crowd you once ran around with is closer than you think." ©1988 AT&T. Two copies from different magazines.
On the picture itself is a handwritten note: "Six miles and I ran every step!!!" "Tortoise and Hare" appears not only on the red running shirts of the contestants, but also on their white race badges. The ad copy starts "Pick up the phone and catch up with your fast friends."
1990 The Sun and the Wind. Woodcut by David Schorr to advertise his show: "Illustrations for Norman Shapiro's The Fabulists French: Verse Fables of Nine Centuries" at the Davison Art Center, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, August 28-October 18, 1991.
Like Schorr's work generally, as I have known it, this illustration is strong, vigorous, and engaging. The two figures present "wrapping" and "unwrapping" dramatically.
1992 Ad copy for Merrill Lynch's advertising campaign: glossy pictures, large format, big margins. CP, FG, TMCM, "The Legend of the Dragon," and a double-sized spread including GA, "Two Goats," FG, TMCM, and CP. All are ©Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith,Inc. Gift of Mary Pat Ryan, Summer, '92.1992 The Investor's Guide to Merrill Lynch Mutual Funds. Merrill Lynch Asset Management. Published in the U.S.A. Gift of Mary Pat Ryan, Summer, '92.
This glossy little booklet twenty-six pages long uses detail and full illustrations from the advertising campaign. The full illustrations tend to have an explanatory moral under them, e.g., "Lacking a long-term plan, the grasshopper sang a different tune when winter came." Their interpretation of TMCM may not be that of most of the tradition, for they write "The city mouse ventured out in the wider world and found a veritable feast of opportunity."
1993 Card soliciting contributions to the Graduate School Fund, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. Gift of Rev. Francis Paul Prucha, S.J.
The envelope proclaims "Morale monet gratarium reciprocam retributionem." The card translates "One Good Turn Deserves Another" and attributes the saying to Aesop. The illustrations are taken from a "17th century edition of Aesop's Fables, now in the Houghton Library."
1994 Four stickers comprising an 8.5" x 11" page, the four advertising Jan Brett's Town Mouse, Country Mouse. Gift of the author, Jan., '95.
The four stickers are identical with, but smaller than, the masks of the four mouse-characters in her book. See the larger versions under "Masks."
1994 Le Renard et la Cicogne (fable de La Fontaine). Affiche de André Dahan pour l'eau de Vichy, 1970. Bibliothéque Forney E 198283. Edité par la Société des Amis de la Bibliothéque Forney, Paris. Gift of Anne Stevenson Hobbs, Dec., '97.
With a bottle of Vichy water in the foreground, the fox in bib is asking the stork, with its beak down the vase catching frogs (in Vichy water?) "Et ton foie?" ("And your liver?") and receiving the answer "Mon Foie connais pas" ("My liver? Don't know"). David Vanderbough was helpful to give me a sense of the play on "Ma foi." How nice of Anne to think of sending this to me!
1995 Brochure inviting school groups to "La Fontaine: The Power of Fables" exhibition at The New York Public Library. NY: The New York Public Library. Mailed to me by the Library, Jan., '95.
The brochure folds out into a large tan-brown, black, and white poster with fox, crow, tortoise, hare, and La Fontaine on it.
1995 Poster advertising "The Power of Fables" colloquium at Hunter College, April 12-13, 1995 in conjunction with the La Fontaine exhibition at The New York Public Library. Mailed to me by Roseanne Fitzgerald, April, '95.
Now here is an event I would have loved to attend! The poster folds out to 11" x 17" size.
1996? Jeep television advertisement using TH. 30 seconds. Gift of the advertising department at Jeep.
The tortoise takes a Jeep and crosses the line first. The producer of the spot advertisement assured me that no animal was harmed in the filming of this advertisement. I think she first read me on the phone as an activist against what she had done. When she found out I was only a harmless collector, she was happy to send me a copy of the advertisement. I will keep this entry also under "video cassettes."
1997? "What Are The Long-term Effects of Instant Gratification?" TH Nuveen advertisement. The New Yorker. Nuveen are specialists in tax-free investments. Pages 58-59. Which issue is unknown.
This advertisement recalls the story of the tortoise and hare. "It was the dogged determination and single-mindedness of the tortoise that triumphed in the end." The picture of the tortoise moving past a tree is engaging. The extensive prose of the two-page advertisement soon leaves the story behind.
1998 Postcard from Anchor graphics addressed to Thomas Joyce advertising "Aesop's Fables: An Exhibition of Prints by Joel Feldman" with an opening on Friday, November 20, 1998. Pictured on the card is "The Sheep and the Crow." Sent to me by Tom, Nov, '98.
The art is strong in its use of black and gray. The first impression is something ashen like a post-nuclear landscape. The crow is caught, and a human being rushes up to lay hold of him.
1999 Card soliciting contributions to the Midlands Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society for its 1999 Annual Fund Drive. Omaha. Gift, Oct, '99.
The cover of the note proclaims "No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." The quotation is attributed to "Aesop, The Lion & the Mouse." I have searched for this short sentence among those versions of this fable which I have scanned. Among those, no one has this exact statement. Milo Winter comes closest: "A kindness is never wasted."
1999 A folded-over cardboard booklet attached to a sample of Fable Eau de Parfum, distributed by Hope Diamond Collection, Inc., NY. Made in the USA. Gift, Dec., '99.
"Centuries of mystery captured in a legendary fragrance! The great grandson of Evalyn Walsh McLean invites you to experience FABLE, an elegant, hypnotic blend of floral, woody, and delectable essences. Notes of Plum, Ivy, Iris, Pimento, Crème Brulée, and Sandlewood are interwoven…." The booklet traces the history of the Hope diamond, including the comment "Over the next few centuries its fable grew." Evalyn Walsh McLean bought it at the turn of the century. Today it can be found in Washington, DC.
2000 A twice-folded-over heavy paper brochure advertising "An Aesop Odyssey" by Cleveland Opera On Tour. Gift of student Kelly Norris, May, '00.
The brochure advertises a fifty-minute children's opera available on tour. The cast includes Country Mouse, City Mouse, Tortoise, Hare, Cricket, Ant, Dog, Northwind, and Sun. How nice of Kelly to think of me!
2001? Postcard and business card advertising Fables of Bay Head (NJ). Photo by Bob Terlizzi. Gift of Mary Pat Ryan, August, '01.
This shop offers antiques, country furniture, quilts, gifts, and ice cream. "Fables" seems to be a perennially attractive name for all sorts of things!
2003 A 4" x 8" stiff card advertising "Kompositum Fabel: Die Fabel ist tot - es lebe die Fabel!" presented by Wilfried Liebchen (Fabeln) and Klaus-Jürgen Prohl (Illustrationen) at Kunststation Kleinsassen from February 23 to April 21, 2003. Unknown source.
Sorry, but I cannot make out the colored illustration on the card. Should I be trying to--or able to? The verso includes an invitation to the opening, with speeches and music.
2005 Card soliciting contributions to the Nebraska Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society for its 2005 Annual Fund Drive. Omaha. Gift of Mary Pat Ryan, Oct, '06.
The cover of the note proclaims "No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." The front is identical with that used by the Midlands Chapter of the National Mutiple Sclerosis Society six years earlier. As I mention there, the quotation is attributed to "Aesop, The Lion & the Mouse." I have searched for this short sentence among those versions of this fable which I have scanned. Among those, no one has this exact statement. Milo Winter comes closest: "A kindness is never wasted."