The Definitive Dwiggins no. 67—Drawings that Sell Goods

In the spring of this year I traveled to Boston to hear Bruce Kennett deliver the annual W.A. Dwiggins Lecture at the Boston Public Library. It was a good talk. Although there were a few mistakes, I learned some new things about Dwiggins. One of them was that Dwiggins had parodied three of his contemporaries in an article he had written (under the name of his alter ego) about illustrations in  advertising. I had read  “Drawings that Sell Goods” by Hermann Püterschein several decades ago, but had never paid much attention to the illustrations attributed to Frederic W. Goudy, Thomas Maitland Cleland and Walter Dorwin Teague. [1] The only illustration in it that I never forgot was the one by Dwiggins himself. I knew that something was odd about it, but it never occurred to me to question the others. But Kennett had, discovering that they were really done—with subtle humor—by Dwiggins in the style of each of the other men. Püterschein’s captions for each illustration amplified and completed the parodies.

Kennett showed each illustration, pointing out several of the hidden jokes Dwiggins had inserted in them, and read the captions. But he did not elucidate the article any further since it was only a small part of his talk on Dwiggins. This installment of The Definitive Dwiggins is an attempt to explain who each of Dwiggins’ targets was, why they were chosen, why the article was written in the first place (and under Püterschein’s name), and what the references in the main text and captions are.

The Text
“Drawings that Sell Goods” was the third public appearance of Hermann Püterschein, but the first to a broad audience. [2] At the time only a few people, all close friends of Dwiggins, knew that Püterschein was an alias so readers of The Printing Art would not have suspected any jokes. The topic of the article was in keeping with an era when illustrations (and ornamentation) dominated American advertising. Dwiggins himself was part of the trend with a steady diet of work for advertising agencies and job printers. Some of that work had been showcased four years earlier in “Designs to Be Used with Type; Illustrated by the Work of W.A. Dwiggins” by D.B. Updike in The Graphic Arts. [3] The title illustration, apparently made expressly for the article, showed a carnival scene with a barker trying to attract a crowd—an oblique but early indication of Dwiggins’ distaste for hucksterism.

"Designs to Be Used with Type Illustrated by the Work of W.A. Dwiggins" by D.B. Updike in The Graphic Arts vol. III, no. 2 (February 1912). Illustration and lettering by W.A. Dwiggins.

“Designs to Be Used with Type Illustrated by the Work of W.A. Dwiggins” by D.B. Updike in The Graphic Arts vol. III, no. 2 (February 1912). Illustration and lettering by W.A. Dwiggins.

Dwiggins, in the guise of Püterschein, opens “Drawings that Sell Goods” with a bit of nostalgia about the medicine-show, a companion to the carnival:

If you grew up in a small town, at least one of your evenings was spent under the magic, gasoline flare of a wagon-tail medicine-show. The medicine-show was a compound of entertaining and selling with a subtle accent on the selling. I trust, for the sake of your complete education, that yours has been one of the cluster of torch-lit faces beneath the wagon-bed stage of a Saturday night, intrigued, in spite of your sophistication, by the incisive black-face balladry that preceded and interlarded the real business of the evening. [4]

But just as one expects him to link medicine-show entertainment to the illustrations used in advertising, he instead makes a different link, claiming that there is a parallel between medicine-shows and magazines. At this point Dwiggins’ commentary—a more apt word than argument—veers off into a strange discussion of Robert W. Chambers, a name without any resonance today.

Why are the editors announcing through their megaphones the names of popular writers? Why do they offer you astonishing bargains in first-chop literature?

Practically free!

Ah! the song stops, and your attention is delicately diverted to a fascinating presentation of all wares. Charmed and bewildered by the melody of Robert W. Chambers you are taken off your guard and seduced into a state of mind where there is nothing for you to do but buy, buy, buy!

I apprehend that the real business of the evening is in the back of the book.

They, “those others,” the cold-blooded, ingenious, editorial nostrum-vendors are selling us cure-alls. I can prove it to you by a single fact.

Are the most accomplished designers, wood engravers, illustrators, typographical ornamentalists embellishing the text of Mr. Robert W. Chambers? They are not. They are supplementing a selling argument forty pages farther on. Their taste now goes to the making of advertisements. Mr. Chambers is left to the tender illustrating mercies of one less than himself. [5]

The key to understanding Dwiggins’ screed is knowing that Robert W. Chambers (1865–1933) was a novelist and short story writer, “The most popular writer in the country.” [6] He wrote in a wide range of genres including romance, decadent literature, historical fiction, science fiction, the supernatural, and horror. Chambers also wrote social novels and books for children. He was criticized for being too prolific and wasting his talent on hurriedly-written books. “So much of Mr Chambers’s work exasperates, because we feel that he might so easily have made it better,” wrote the literary critic Frederic Taber Cooper. [7]

But Dwiggins was not interested in Chambers’ profligacy or the quality of his writing. Instead, he was focused on how his short stories (and those of other writers) were used by magazines to lure readers to see advertisements. At which point Dwiggins pivots and instead of attacking artists for enhancing the lure of the short stories, he asserts that the most accomplished ones have chosen to illustrate advertisements instead. He names no names and his assertion flies in the face of reality since the leading artists of the day illustrated Chambers’ novels and short stories. [8]

This convoluted commentary culminates in Dwiggins (as Püterschein) proclaiming, “The astounding fact is that the artist—the fabricator of the quality of distinction—finds a more sympathetic patron in the advertiser than in the editor.” He believes (hopes?) that the “merchant-idealist” has found dollar value in art: “Perhaps the quality of his advertisements will so affect him that in time he will be led to make even tolerable Tombstones.” [9] This short text—with its dizzying mix of cynicism, satire and sarcasm—is really about Dwiggins’ own ambivalent feelings about being a commercial artist and using his talents as “selling-bait” for furniture, jewelry, bonbons, and whatnot. [10] That is one reason, among several, that it was written under the nom de plume of Hermann Püterschein.

There is no explicit connection between the Püterschein/Dwiggins text and the four examples of “advertisements” designed by Goudy, Cleland, Teague and Dwiggins that follow it. However, the fact that they are parodies makes an implicit one.

Zephyr Veiling by Frederic W. Goudy
Although Goudy is known today as a type designer, arguably the most prolific one during the first half of the 20th century, in 1916 he was still working as a commercial artist specializing in lettering. [11] Dwiggins chose to show Goudy first because he was most familiar with him and his work. He had studied lettering and ornament under Goudy at the Frank Holme School of Illustration in Chicago and then worked with him both there and in Hingham, Massachusetts. Dwiggins thoroughly knew Goudy’s artistic tendencies.

Zephyr Veiling advertisement attributed to Frederic W. Goudy in "Drawings that Sell Goods" by Hermann Püterschein in The Printing Art vol. XXVIII, no. 1 (September 1916). Designed by W.A. Dwiggins.

Zephyr Veiling advertisement attributed to Frederic W. Goudy. From “Drawings that Sell Goods” by Hermann Püterschein in The Printing Art vol. XXVIII, no. 2 (October 1916). Designed by W.A. Dwiggins.

The design of the Zephyr Veiling advertisement is spot-on Goudy, so much so that the only clue that it is a parody is the fictitious product and company name. [12] But no contemporary reader of The Printing Art would have been likely to note that. Dwiggins has completely captured Goudy’s love of both classical Roman capitals and blackletter—and his frequent mixing of the two; his penchant for initials with ivy leaf or white vine decoration; his use of cartouches to frame modern trademarks; and, at least in his Chicago years, his tendency to rely on heavy Jenson-inspired lettering for the copy in an advertisement. (The cartouche here encloses a pair of ink daubers, a typical Goudy reference, but one wholly inappropriate to fabric company.)

Quarter-page advertisement for Marshall Field & Co. Reproduced in Temple Scott. Design by F.W. Goudy.

Quarter-page advertisement for Marshall Field & Co. Reproduced in Temple Scott. Design by F.W. Goudy. Reproduced in “The Work of Frederic W. Goudy, Printer and Craftsman” by Temple Scott in Barnard’s Monographs on Design, Illustration, Photography, Printing in Relation to Advertising (New York: Charles H. Barnard, 1912), p. 10.

Your Printer (September 1908). Cover design by Frederic W. Goudy. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Your Printer (September 1908). Cover design by Frederic W. Goudy. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Here is the Püterschein/Dwiggins commentary on the Zephyr Veiling advertisement:

Mr. Frederic W. Goudy is beyond question the pioneer in America of the application of correct design to advertising. An exponent of the Victorian revival of printing, his drawings have great virility. The quality of vigor is obviously an invaluable equipment for the designer of advertising and is one of the secrets of Mr. Goudy’s success. The design above allows me to point out how a delicate subject may be treated without embarrassment if it is attacked frankly and with confidence. [13]

It is too straight-forward to give the game away. The phrasing, while a bit archaic to 21st century ears, is typical of the time. For example, here is The Printing Art praising the work of Everett R. Currier:

…printing as Mr. Currier practices it is more than typography. Backed by the experience of the practical printer, it includes the sparing use of decoration, always by the right artist, the judicious use of color, and the selection of suitable papers. ¶ The fine restraint which is the true keynote of Mr. Currier’s success was first learned in the production of fine books under Bruce Rogers at the Riverside Press. That training has been supplemented by six years of experience in producing the promotive printing of the Curtis Publishing Company. [14]

It is only with the Cleland “advertisement” that Dwiggins’ parodies begin to reveal themselves.

Decorative frame for title page (1908) by T.M. Cleland.

Decorative frame for title page (1908) by T.M. Cleland.

Marble Stove and Foundry Company by Thomas Maitland Cleland
T.M. Cleland has been largely (and lamentably) forgotten today except perhaps as the first art director of Fortune magazine and as the author of Harsh Words, a diatribe against modern design. [15] But Cleland was more than an anti-modernist reactionary. He was one of the most respected designers in the United States. “Mr. Cleland, who is still a young man, has long been known as the foremost master of typographic design in this country,” declared The Bookman in 1913. [16]

Cleland was the second person to be profiled by The Graphic Arts in their long-running series about contemporary designers and illustrators. The author, W.A. Bradley, had this to say about him:

…I have commented on the work of Thomas Maitland Cleland as, in my opinion, embodying more of the qualities demanded in this department of art [decorative design in printing] than that of any other designer in America to-day. Indeed this way of stating the case is scarcely strong enough to characterize properly the relative rank of a man who, in his chosen field, stands almost alone and gives a notable example of taste, judgment, executive ability, and painstaking study and research at a time when, not only in this country, but in the world generally, the typographic arts of design have sunk to a level of crass ignorance and slovenly workmanship. [17]

Marble Stove and Foundry Company advertisement attributed to Thomas Maitland Cleland. From "Drawings that Sell Goods" by Hermann Püterschein in The Printing Art vol. XXVIII, no. 1 (September 1916). Design by W.A. Dwiggins.

Marble Stove and Foundry Company advertisement attributed to Thomas Maitland Cleland. From “Drawings that Sell Goods” by Hermann Püterschein in The Printing Art vol. XXVIII, no. 2 (October 1916). Design by W.A. Dwiggins.

Bradley’s profile of Cleland emphasized his use of decorative designs of the past: “He [Cleland] has carried it [decorative design] to the point of making veritable decorative illustrations and has invented what is to all intents and purposes a new genre for use in books and magazines.” [18] The claim was absolutely true as an examination of American magazines and advertising from the period shows. Among those influenced by Cleland was Dwiggins.

Nearly all of the examples of Cleland’s work shown in The Graphic Arts include notes about their sources: “in the Louis XVIth style”; “in the Louis XVth style”; “drawn in the French XVIIIth Century style of Louis XVth”; “Frame in French eighteenth century style”; “after the manner of Watteau”; “in the manner of the sixteenth century French architect and decorator, Du Cerceau”; “in the style of the Italian Renaissance”; and “drawn in the style of the French Renaissance”. Whew! No wonder that Dwiggins felt compelled to parody Cleland.

Dwiggins’ commentary on the Marble Stove and Foundry Company advertisement mocks Bradley’s article, not only in the nods to Cleland’s  infatuation with Renaissance and 18th c. French decoration, but specifically in the mention of his library. It also has some sly allusions to other aspects of Cleland’s career.

Mr. Thomas Maitland Cleland is inspired by Roman formulae, and by their renaissance in the work of Bodoni, to the achievement of some of the most stylistic designs in the history of advertising. He is notably successful in the infliction of an austere restraint both upon himself and his client. The above design for a spring catalogue cover was taken from a 4th Century Sicilian cook-book in the artist’s library. The lettering might have been done by Mr. Bruce Rogers as a special favor, but unfortunately Mr. Rogers does not do commercial work. [19]

The comment about Bodoni is a double reference: 1. to a talk on the Italian printer that Cleland gave (at the insistence of D.B. Updike) to The Society of Printers on April 22, 1913 (and its publication in 1916); and 2. to Cleland’s use of ATF Bodoni in his advertising and catalogue work for The Locomobile Company. [20] The latter was heavily lauded in the design press. [21]

The Locomobile Book (Bridgeport, Connecticut: The Locomobile Description of the Latest Models, 1915). Title page design by T.M. Cleland.

The Locomobile Book (Bridgeport, Connecticut: The Locomobile Description of the Latest Models, 1915). Title page design by T.M. Cleland.

Though thoroughly amusing, Dwiggins’ comments about Bruce Rogers, the noted book designer, seem oddly out-of-place. But they turn out to be a reference to an actual advertisement that Rogers and Cleland collaborated on for The Locomobile Company. It was reproduced in the August 1916 of The Printing Art and was thus fresh in Dwiggins’ mind. The caption read, in part, “The border was taken from a seventeenth-century book in Mr. Cleland’s library, and the hand lettering was done by Bruce Rogers as a favor to Mr. Cleland, because Mr. Rogers does not like to do commercial work.” [22] What seemed to be a satirical jibe by Dwiggins at Rogers was actually straight reportage!

Locomobile advertisement (1917). Designed by T.M. Cleland with lettering by Bruce Rogers. Reproduced in The Printing Art vol. XXVII, no. 6 (August 1916), p. 550.

Locomobile advertisement (1916). Designed by T.M. Cleland with lettering by Bruce Rogers. Reproduced in The Printing Art vol. XXVII, no. 6 (August 1916), p. 550.

Dwiggins’ deft imitation of Cleland eschews any reference to 18th c. French decoration. Instead it emphasizes the Renaissance motifs Cleland used a decade earlier in his career, at the time that both men were doing work for D.B. Updike and the Humanists’ Library editions of The Merrymount Press. (Dwiggins’ decision may have been determined by the exigencies of time as the French rococo decoration Cleland was enamored of was labor intensive.) The ribbons, festoons, garlands, panels,and tablets are all Renaissance elements. But hidden amidst them are a crossed mop and broom, a wooden bucket with scrub brush, a coal bucket, a bowl, clothespins, and cutlery. [23]

It takes a bit of close inspection to notice those incongruous items. And it takes more scrutiny to note the strange date of MDCCBC and the tiny D on the right side of the stove that indicates Dwiggins was the artist and not Cleland. [24]

Advertisement by Walter Dorwin Teague
With each fake advertisement Dwiggins became bolder and bolder in his satire. The third  “advertisement,” attributed to Walter Dorwin Teague (1883–1960), has no text, product or company. Teague is primarily known today as a pioneering industrial designer. His career as a commercial artist is almost entirely forgotten. One reason is that the work he did in that vein is extremely decorative, a sharp contrast to his work as an industrial designer. Teague was the quintessential commercial artist, talented as an illustrator, ornamentalist and letterer. He may even have surpassed Cleland as the best draughtsman of that time. His distinctive decorative frames for advertisements for a wide range of clients (The Locomobile Company, Community Plate, Adler-Rochester Clothes, Arrow Shirts, The Billings & Spencer Company, Pratt & Lambert, and Bulova Watches) were so familiar that, by the 1920s, “Teague borders” had become a generic term—even for frames created by others. [25]

Although much of Teague’s elaborately ornate work was done in the latter half of the 1910s, there were already glimmers of it at the time that “Drawings that Sell Goods” was written. In fashioning his parody, Dwiggins pounced on those designs, such as the one for The Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Co. shown below. (Teague’s design was described in The Printing Art as “One of a series of advertisements designed as decorative frames for colored illustrations, in the manner of Houbracken.”) [26]

Advertisement for The Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company by Walter Dorwin Teague. (Painting by Hollister.) Taken from The Printing Art vol. XXI, no. 1 (March 1913).

Advertisement for The Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company by Walter Dorwin Teague. (Painting by Hollister.) Taken from The Printing Art vol. XXI, no. 1 (March 1913).

Dwiggins, in the advertisement he attributed to Teague, piled up frames, borders, panels, wreaths, swags, sprigs, shells, and other decorative furbelows. At the center of all of this excess is a tiny illustration of an automobile within an oval frame. And, if one looks very carefully, the accompanying text (so tiny it is not readable) can be found inside a smaller oval frame at the top. The decoration has overwhelmed the product, the copy, and the company. This is Dwiggins’ parody at its zenith. (Possibly to soften the blow to Teague, who he did not know unlike Goudy and Cleland, Dwiggins took credit for the illustration by editing Teague’s WDT signature so that it became his own WD.)

Advertisement attributed to Walter Dorwin Teague. From "Drawings that Sell Goods" by Hermann Püterschein in The Printing Art vol. XXVIII, no. 1 (September 1916). Design by W.A. Dwiggins.

Advertisement attributed to Walter Dorwin Teague. From “Drawings that Sell Goods” by Hermann Püterschein in The Printing Art vol. XXVIII, no. 2 (October 1916). Design by W.A. Dwiggins.

Dwiggins’ commentary on the fictitious Teague advertisement is a parody of the portfolio piece captions found in The Printing Art or The Graphic Arts. He has managed to capture their tone and content perfectly. But the rote recitation of Teague’s skills, sources, and successes disguises a savage critique.

Mr. W.D. Teague forms his style upon a formula derived from the French engravers of the 18th Century. The ornamental properties of this period have qualities of great distinction, and Mr. Teague employs them in a distinguished manner. I have chosen his design from an astonishing wealth of material because it shows the artist’s facility of adaptation, but particularly because it is an excellent example of how an ornamental border may be used around an advertisement to focus attention upon the thing advertised. [27]

The choice of an automobile at the center of the fake advertisement may be reference to Teague’s woe for The Locomobile Company. Dwiggins may have gotten the idea of tunneling in that far from seeing Teague’s cover design for “The Carnival of Schumann,” a booklet for the Aeolian Company that was reprinted in The Printing Art. Although it does not have a surfeit of frames and borders, its title seems overwhelmed by decoration.

"The Carnival of Schumann" cover design for the Aeolian Company by Walter Dorwin Teague. Reproduced in The Printing Art vol. XXI, no. 1 (March 1913).

“The Carnival of Schumann” cover design for the Aeolian Company by Walter Dorwin Teague. Reproduced in The Printing Art vol. XXI, no. 1 (March 1913).

Nemesis Cigarettes by W.A. Dwiggins
The final advertisement is by Dwiggins himself. It is not a parody in the same manner as the others. The design is not a caricature of Dwiggins’ work in advertising, the great bulk of which at that point in his career was for Paine Furniture. [28] Instead the designs of his that resemble the Nemesis Cigarettes advertisement are his covers for the October and November 1914 issues of The Cornhill Booklet, both of which have the same Pierrot figures. Instead of making fun of design tics, Dwiggins was satirizing cigarette advertising.

Dwiggins had worked on advertising for Egyptienne Luxury, Murad, and Egyptian Deities cigarettes, the latter a few months earlier in 1916. (Unfortunately, none of these advertisements are in the Dwiggins Collections at the Boston Public Library and I have been unable to locate them either in other archives or online.) [29] His use of the Pierrot figure may have been a direct reference to a 1912 Murad advertisement or simply to the exoticism that several of the Egyptian and Turkish brands of the time emphasized. Certainly the name “Nemesis” (the Greek goddess who enacted retribution against those who succumbed to hubris) was intended to simultaneously evoke ancient mythology and critique the cigarette industry.

Nemesis Cigarettes advertisement by W.A. Dwiggins. From "Drawings that Sell Goods" by Hermann Püterschein in The Printing Art vol. XXVIII, no. 1 (September 1916).

Nemesis Cigarettes advertisement by W.A. Dwiggins. From “Drawings that Sell Goods” by Hermann Püterschein in The Printing Art vol. XXVIII, no. 2 (October 1916).

Murad cigratte advertisement (1912) from the Stanford Research Into the Impact of Tobacco Advertising website.

Murad cigarette advertisement (1912) from the Stanford Research into the Impact of Tobacco Advertising website.

The Cornhill Booklet (November 1914). Cover design by W.A. Dwiggins.

The Cornhill Booklet (November 1914). Cover design by W.A. Dwiggins.

The real humor of the Nemesis Cigarettes advertisement lies not in the name of the product, but in the tagline, testimonial and company name. It is described as “A common-sense cigarette made in a pure factory” by H. al Reched (Bagdad) [The odd spelling was common then.] “My visit to the Nemesis factory was most conclusive proof of the beneficent [sic] effect on the system of smoking this cigarette,” attests Sir Arthur Montmorency, M.D., in the London Lancet, “The cigarette makers, many of them at the ripe old age of 70 years, smoked from 30 to 50 daily.” The notion that cigarettes may be healthful is laughable to us today, but was commonplace in cigarette advertising prior to the 1960s. [30]

Dwiggins (as Püterschein) pokes fun at himself in the caption to the Nemesis Cigarettes advertisement, though much more gently than he does Cleland and Teague:

Mr. W.A. Dwiggins has the unusual gift of combining pathos with selling value. Over all subjects he succeeds in throwing an atmosphere of pensive sadness. By appealing to the customer’s deeper nature his designs create a relation of sympathy and trust between buyer and seller that leaves the buyer helpless. In the above design, he has crept up on the subject from a singularly novel angle and has produced an advertisement of extreme poignancy. [31]

The gentle tone is not Dwiggins going easy on himself, but rather a disguised bit of self-criticism. The “atmosphere of pensive sadness” seems to be a indirect reference to his sorrow at being complicit in applying his skills as an artist to advertising. Nearly a decade later, Dwiggins was more direct in his complaint that “atmosphere” in advertising was unethical. As he was trying to extricate himself from the advertising business he wrote an article entitled “Advertising Uses Seduction to Exploit Weaknesses of Mankind” for Direct Advertising. [32]

"Illustrations that Help the Imagination—and Sell Goods" in The Printing Art vol. 26, no. 1(March 1916), p. 44.

“Illustrations that Help the Imagination—and Sell Goods” in The Printing Art vol. XXVII, no. 1(March 1916), p. 44.

Why did Dwiggins write “Drawings that Sell Goods” in the first place? The immediate inspiration—certainly for the title if not for the entire thing—may have been the publication of a page in the March 1916 issue of The Printing Art labeled “Illustrations that Help the Imagination—and Sell Goods.” [33] But there had to be something more than that bothering him for him to have taken the time and effort to create four fake advertisements. [34] Although it is well known that in the early 1920s Dwiggins was unhappy devoting his efforts to advertising, there is no explicit indication he felt that way in 1916.

There is no evidence in Dwiggins’ account books of any significant change involving clients or the amount of advertising work he was doing. His two most important relationships in this arena—with the Cowen Company, an advertising agency, and the Paine Furniture Company—did not come to an end until 1918. He worked on Egyptian Deities advertisements before he wrote the article and again after its publication. Dwiggins’ decision to write “Drawings that Sell Goods” may simply have been the culmination of feelings about advertising over the course of several years being immersed in it.

One factor that may have encouraged Dwiggins to go public with his complaints was the invention of his alter ego Hermann Püterschein a few years before. Over the course of his career he used Püterschein to say things he felt he could not say directly. “Drawings that Sell Goods” may have been a trial run for this method of getting things off his chest without alienating his clients. [35] Fear of biting the hand that fed him would explain to some extent why his message was written in such an obtuse manner.

The more one analyzes “Drawings that Sell Goods,” the clearer it becomes that Dwiggins wrote it solely for his own sake, and not for the readers of The Printing Art. Who, other than his cousin Laurence B. Siegfried and his close friend Carl Purington Rollins, would have understood the parodies? [36] Was C.F. Whitmarsh, the magazine’s managing editor, in on the joke? He must have been aware of the real identity of Püterschein since Dwiggins would have sent copies of the first two numbers of The Fabulist to The Printing Art. And he may have facilitated the production of two of the fake advertisements by using the University Press, the magazine’s printer, to set type for them.[37]

The targets of Dwiggins’ parodies would have understood the jokes and, at least in the cases of Goudy and Cleland, probably appreciated them. Dwiggins knew both men well and could have confidently anticipated their reactions. [38] But he did not know Teague, which makes me wonder what he thought of the harsh parody of his work.

Finally, what did the readership of The Printing Art think of “Drawings that Sell Goods”? I believe they would have seen the article and its accompanying advertisements as the real thing, another look by the magazine at how illustrations and ornamentation could be used in furtherance of promoting commerce. There was no reason to think otherwise. The real identity of Püterschein was not revealed to the average American printer until decades later; and detecting the satire in the fake advertisements required close perusal. If my surmise is correct, then Dwiggins’ criticism must have fallen on deaf ears. [39]

1. “Drawings that Sell Goods” by Hermann Püterschein in The Printing Art vol. XXVIII, no. 2 (October 1917), pp. 97–101.
2. Hermann Püterschein first appeared in Vague No. 7 (the only issue ever published) as an illustrator and one of its three pseudonymous editors. He contributed four illustrations and one advertisement. The magazine, a spoof of avant-garde art and literature, was mailed out to a small number of Dwiggins’ friends and professional acquaintances in February 1915. The Püterschein family was officially introduced in “Genus Püterschein” by Laurence B. Siegfried in The Fabulist No. 1 (Autumn 1915). The magazine, produced by Dwiggins and Siegfried, was distributed to the same small audience as Vague.
3. “Designs to Be Used with Type; Illustrated by the Work of W.A. Dwiggins” by D.B. Updike in The Graphic Arts vol. III, no. 2 (February 1912), pp. 109–120. This was the fourth in an ongoing series of “exhibits presenting the work of illustrators and designers about whom those seeking information concerning the resources of the graphic arts field should be informed.” The first person to be profiled was Adrian J. Iorio in the October 1911 issue. By the time The Graphic Arts ceased publication at the end of 1915, it had showcased the work of thirty-seven illustrators and designers. Among them was Thomas Maitland Cleland but not Frederic W. Goudy or Walter Dorwin Teague.
4. “Drawings that Sell Goods,” p. 97. Although Dwiggins spent his teenage years in Cambridge, Ohiio, the small town that he was recalling could have been either Richmond, Indiana or Zanesville, Ohio. He grew up in those towns before moving to Cambridge in 1895.
5. “Drawings that Sell Goods,” p. 97.
6. The claim, made by the New York World, was used as a blurb in an advertisement for a list of novels by Chambers at the back of Guinevere’s Lover by Elinor Glyn (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1913), pp. 465–466. The two-page advertisement lists twelve of his books.
7. Some American Story Tellers by Frederic Taber Cooper (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1911), p. 81. Cooper claimed that, as of 1911, Chambers had written thirty-six books in seventeen years.  His full analysis of Cooper’s oeuvre is found in pp. 68–89. Given Dwiggins’ love of 19th-century fantasy and science fiction (e.g. H.G. Wells and H. Rider Haggard) I wonder if he had read Chambers when he was younger.
8. Dwiggins’ decision to single out Chambers may have been sparked by the series of eight illustrated short stories that he wrote for Hearst’s Magazine between June 1914 and February 1915. Among those who illustrated Chambers’ novels and short stories were W. Herbert Dunton, Henry Hutt, Fred Pegram, G.C. Wilmshurst, and Edmund Frederick. Interestingly, Chambers studied art at the Art Student’s League where he was a classmate of Charles Dana Gibson. Was Dwiggins hinting at this when he declared that, “Mr. Chambers is left to the tender illustrating mercies of one less than himself.”?
9. “Drawings that Sell Goods,” p. 97.
10. For a sustained investigation of the psyche of the early commercial artist see Artists, Advertising, and the Borders of Art by Michele Bogart (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1995).
11. Goudy Oldstyle, Goudy’s most famous typeface, was released in May 1916 by American Type Founders Company. See The Inland Printer vol. 57, no. 2 (May 1916).
12. Whether Dwiggins knew it or not zephyr cloth was a real product, though it does not appear to have been light enough to use as veiling. See Good Housekeeping (January 1891), p. 81.
13. “Drawings that Sell Goods,” p. 98.
14. “Simplicity in Typography as Exemplified in the Work of Everett R. Currier” in The Printing Art vol. XXVII, no. 2 (April 1916), p. 115. Currier hired Goudy, Dwiggins and Cleland to design promotional items while he was at the Curtis Publishing Company.
15. Harsh Words by T.M. Cleland (New York: The American Institute of Graphic Arts, 1940). Keepsake no. 62. The text is from an address delivered by Cleland at the opening of the Eighteenth Annual Exhibition of the Fifty Books of the Year on February 5, 1940.
16. The Bookman vol. XXXVII, no. 2 (April 1913), p. 123. The comment was made in conjunction with Cleland’s redesign of the magazine’s cover.
17. “An Exhibit of Typographic Designs by Mr. T.M. Cleland with Introductory Text by W.A. Bradley” in The Graphic Arts vol. II, no. 6 (December 1911), p. 390. It should be noted that Bradley (not to be confused with Will H. Bradley) worked with Cleland at McClure’s Magazine. They hired Dwiggins to execute several jobs in early 1908.
18. Ibid, p. 391.
19. “Drawings that Sell Goods,” p. 99.
20. Dwiggins designed and printed the keepsake for Cleland’s talk to The Society of Printers in 1913. The publication was the first item printed at the White Elephant, his short-lived private press.
21. Cleland’s designs for the 1915 and 1916 The Locomobile Books were tours de force. Of the former, Edmund Gress wrote, “Mr. Cleland is a student of the best printing of past centuries, and his refined taste and wonderful skill with the pen enable him to produce effects that would be envied by the master printers of old.” The American Printer vol. 62, no. 2 (January 20, 1916), p. 26.
22. The Printing Art vol. XXVII, no. 6 (August 1916), p. 550.
23. It should be noted that Bradley was aware of contemporary criticism of Cleland: “It is upon the success of the latter element [traditionalism] that the success of the former has in large measure depended, although it has given rise to the customary charge of imitation, and even of plagiarism, in such cases. No artist, however clever, can make himself wholly independent of the past.” See “An Exhibit of Typographic Designs by Mr. T.M. Cleland”, p. 391.
24. The meaning of the date is unclear. Is it to be read as 1700BC or as 1700 “before Cleland”? Early in his career Dwiggins signed his work with a simple D, instead of the more familiar WAD. But to most readers of The Printing Art in 1916, the letter would have been seen as the signature of Harvey Hopkins Dunn.
25. Wikipedia entry for Walter Dorwin Teague.
26. See “Some Examples of Lettering and Design, Mostly for Commercial Purposes Done by Walter Dorwin Teague, New York” in The Printing Art vol. XXI, no. 2 (April 1913), pp. 96–106. Although all of the first designs on the first nine pages have frames, only one of them suggests the overabundance of them that Dwiggins homed in on. (The tenth page has very early work by Teague; a set of pen-and-ink illustrations imitating woodcuts.) As evidence that Teague’s more complex border designs occurred after Dwiggins wrote his article, see “Some Recent Examples of Decorative Design and Lettering Done by Walter Dorwin Teague” in The Printing Art vol. XXIX, no. 1 (March 1917), between pp.  47 and 49; and The Printing Art vol. XXXVII, no. 1 (March 1921), p. 157 regarding “An Exhibition of Decorative Design in Color & in Black and White by Walter Dorwin Teague” at The Weyhe Gallery in New York (1921).
27. “Drawings that Sell Goods,” p. 100.
28. Between 1910 and 1916 Dwiggins contributed illustrations, lettering and (on a few occasions) borders to over 200 different advertisements for the Paine Furniture Company. He did use elaborate frames like those of Cleland and Teague for one design for Alghieri Chef and another for Bigelow Kennard & Co., but usually his advertising work was distinguished by its simplicity and use of white space.

Chase & Sanborn advertisement in The Boston Evening Transcript February 4, 1916. Design by W.A. Dwiggins.

Chase & Sanborn advertisement in The Boston Evening Transcript February 4, 1916. Design by W.A. Dwiggins.

29. Dwiggins recorded work for Egyptian Deities via Cowen Co. on January 15–18; February 1 and 5; and December 1 and 11, 1916. See his account books in Box 81(1), 1974 Dwiggins Collection, Boston Public Library. The Nemesis Cigarettes advertisement was not an anti-tobacco statement. Dwiggins was a cigarette smoker at that time and later in his life he was a pipe smoker.
30. See Tobacco Advertising: The Great Seduction by Gerard S. Petrone (Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, 1996). The name Arthur Montmorency was most likely cribbed from King Solomon’s Treasures by John de Morgan (1887), a parody of King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider Haggard (1885), one of Dwiggins’ favorite writers.
31. “Drawings that Sell Goods,” p. 101.
32. “Advertising Uses Seduction to Exploit Weaknesses of Mankind” in Direct Advertising vol. XI, no. 2 (1925), pp. 25–27. Dwiggins did not condemn all advertising, only the kind that he felt tried to trick the reader/consumer into buying something.
33. “Illustrations that Help the Imagination—and Sell Goods” in The Printing Art vol. XXVII, no. 1 (March 1916), p. 44. There are other articles that may have contributed to Dwiggins’ sense that the time was ripe for some parodies. For instance, see “Illustrations of Significance in Advertising” in The Graphic Arts vol. VI, no. 5 (May 1914) pp. 269–276; “Artistic Considerations of Advertising” by Max A.R. Brünner The Graphic Arts vol. VII, no. 6 (December 1914) pp. 229–231; “Eye-Arresting Art and Layouts in Newspaper Advertising” by C. Foster Browning in The Graphic Arts vol. VIII, no. 1 (January 1915), pp. 17–20; and “Borders, Their Use and Abuse” by Edward DeWitt Taylor in The Printing Art vol. XXVII, no. 3 (May 1916), p. 177–181. Thomas Dreier’s column “The Department of Printed Salesmanship” in The Printing Art may also have contributed to Dwiggins’ irritation, given that his captions in “Drawings that Sell Goods” mimic its tone. For example: “A border that bulks large and yet gives the effect of lightness,” wrote Dreier about an advertisement for M. Reischmann & Sons, Inc. in The Furniture Record. “Department of Printed Salesmanship” by Thomas Dreier in The Printing Art vol. XXVIII, no. 1 (September 1916), p. 45.
34. Dwiggins records working on “Püterschein article” August 22–24, 1916 in his account books. See Folder 4, Box 81(1), 1974 Dwiggins Collection, Boston Public Library.
35. One clue to Dwiggins’ state of mind in 1916 and his means for expressing himself is contained in a letter he wrote on December 1, 1915 to the poet William Rose Benét:

As for me, myself… I am a designer, not too successful, and all out of key with publications as they are published. I am old enough to know better—35—but cannot tolerate the 20th century magazine and edition book—as to their physical scheme, I mean. This state of mind has crowded me out of periodical work quite altogether, and I have dropped back—ten years ago—into advertising of not too stimulating a kind! The White Elephant is a hand-press in my home, so called for obvious reasons (the house is small). It is used to relieve my fretful spirit when it tires of things as they are. The various issues, Fabulists and things, are protests, subtile [sic] protests.

See William Rose Benét Papers, Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. The complex relationship between Dwiggins and Püterschein will be explored in a future issue of The Definitive Dwiggins.
36. Laurence B. Siegfried collaborated with Dwiggins on The Fabulist and was a co-conspirator in the creation of the Püterschein family. He was Jacob Püterschein, Hermann’s brother. Rollins, then operating the Montague Press at Dyke Mill in Montague, Massachusetts was Dwiggins’ closest friend in the design community.
37. Dwiggins could have set the Caslon type used in the Nemesis Cigarettes advertisement at The White Elephant, his toy press at home. But someone else had to have provided the Bodoni type in the Cleland parody since Caslon was the only type Dwiggins owned.
38. Although Cleland is known for his dyspeptic attitude toward modern design, he had a dry sense of humor. It is evident in much of his work, including the overly ornamented back cover of The Locomobile Book (1915) which includes, along with gryphons, sphinxes and caryatids, an engine block being lowered into an automobile.
39. The Printing Art did not have a “Letters to the Editor” column so there is no way to know how its readers responded to “Drawings that Sell Goods.” What may have been seen as a logical follow-up article appeared in the magazine the following month. See “Selling the Goods with Small Type” by B.J. Bigelow in The Printing Art vol. XXVIII, no. 3 (November 1916), pp. 185–187.