Monday, July 16, 2012

1943 Detroit Book Drive Photo

(click for larger view)
I just bought the above 8 x 10 photo on eBay. It was a publicity photo which appeared in a Detroit newspaper in February 1943. The original caption read, "St. Charles Church Book Drive: Boy Scouts John Uren, Fred Fournier, and James McGill. Mrs. James M. Payne and Mrs. Arlon B. Clarke." Based on their uniforms I can tell the women are members of the American Women's Voluntary Services. You can see the pin at left on the women's caps. This organization and the Boy Scouts both participated in the Victory Book Campaign in 1943.

From a graphic designer's point of view I was also interested to see how this photo was touched-up to print in the newspaper. First of all, there are grease pencil marks on the sides to indicate where they wanted the image cropped. Areas that were too dark (like the jackets) were highlighted with a little brushed on white paint. The edges of some of the faces were outlined in pen to differentiate from backgrounds that are the same tonal range. And it's interesting to see the rather sexist way of naming the two women. We don't learn their first names, only the names of their husbands: "Mrs. James.." and "Mrs. Arlon..".

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