Raymond Kane Collection of Progressive Proof Books
Scope and Contents
The Raymond Kane Collection of Progressive Proof Books spans the period from 1890 through 1939 and contains forty-two books holding progressive proof prints made with lithographic stones prepared for chromolithographed package labels. The books were kept in stone storage rooms as records of the color separations for jobs printed by four firms: Schmidt & Company, Heywood, Strasser & Voight, American Lithographic Company, and finally, Consolidated Lithographing Corporation, which had acquired the other three companies through industry mergers. Labels include those for tobacco goods, cosmetics, medications, linens and clothing, food and beverages, and personal care products. The proof books provide visual evidence of an important printing technology of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, as well as classic examples of advertising graphics from that period.
The proof books are organized in three series by size, and chronologically within each series. The books range in size from 5 by 7 inches to 20 by 24 inches with the largest to hold labels for cigar boxes. The shapes and sizes of the books also reflect the type of labels within: the book holding bands for Henry Maillard candy packages measures 7½ by 30 inches. The labels range in complexity of design from grained wood for cigar boxes to stylish and colorful representations of old Egypt for Murad cigarettes. There are many examples of gracious advertising artwork: a turn-of-the-century label for the laxative Sylgar has a simple design featuring a woman at a plow in a furrowed field, with low mountains in the distance; the picture was delivered in eight colors. At another end of style is El Roi Tan cigars which pairs dapper tuxedo-clad smoking gentlemen with streamlined modern furniture. A label for Vosbugh’s Bokara face powder took nine colors plus gold to create its complex design, while ten colors were used for a Partosoap wrapper meant to look simulate satin tied with pink ribbons. The label for Roelly Chemical Company’s Beau Brummell nail polish features an endorsement by the popular actor Richard Mansfield (1857-1907). Some of the labels do not have identified manufacturers or even products associated with them: three similar labels featuring carnations, lilies of the valley, and violets use a similar design and ten colors each to create their sophisticated images, presumably for a cosmetics company.
Printer and date attributions for the proof books were assigned in 1992 by the donor’s cataloger, L. Glenn Westfall, an author and historian on the history of the tobacco industry. Each proof book is accompanied by Westfall’s catalog worksheet.
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open to researchers.
Biographical / Historical
Raymond Kane, the donor, worked for the Consolidated Lithographing Corporation in New York, one of the largest printers of paper labels during the early decades of the twentieth century.
1 Linear Feet (3 boxes)
The Raymond Kane Collection of Progressive Proof Books spans the period from 1890 through 1939 and contains forty-two books holding progressive proof prints made with lithographic stones prepared for chromolithographed package labels. The books were kept in stone storage rooms as records of the color separations for jobs printed by four firms: Schmidt & Company, Heywood, Strasser & Voight, American Lithographic Company, and Consolidated Lithographing Corporation. Labels include those for tobacco goods, cosmetics, medications, linens and clothing, food and beverages, and personal care products.
Cary Stacks, 13B
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Raymond Kane, 2004.
The collection was processed by Sandra Markham. Finding aid entered by Rachel Sheehan.
- Raymond Kane Collection of Progressive Proof Books
- Cary Graphic Arts Collection
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description