Post Script: Stationery Trends Founder Sarah Schwartz

Next year, Stationery Trends magazine will celebrate its fifth anniversary, a statement to the perseverance of the people who cherish the art of handwritten correspondence. For the magazine’s founding editor, Sarah Schwartz, stationery and letters were a natural extension of a feisty, book-fueled imagination. Here, the former summer camp letter writer extraordinaire talks about pen pals, lunch box notes and why we should think of Abraham Lincoln the next time we’re angry with someone.

stationery trends founder sarah schwartz

When did your interest in the epistolary world begin?
To me, writing letters and corresponding is a natural extension to the world of reading. From the time I learned to read at age four, I have loved entering and creating imaginary or past worlds. A great letter is just that, really — a little glimpse into another very personal world.

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From the Archives: Vintage Crane & Co. Advertisements

Being around for more than 200 years will build quite an archive. It’s an absolute delight to sift through old engraving dies, ledgers and, our favorite, advertisements. We had advertisements geared toward the “Business Man,” the “Presidents of Savings Banks” and, of course, brides. Ones highlighting the fact that our paper is made from cotton rags. Ones highlighting how great it is to use with a typewriter. And ones about what using Crane says about you (hint: really good things).

Below are some of our favorites…

1. For your paper trousseau: This ad from the 50′s spoke to the classic bride, suggesting the kinds of papers she should use for her wedding and beyond. “Assures correctness… confers distinction” is the tagline, assuring her that choosing Crane is both proper and special.

vintage wedding stationery advertisement
2. Wedding gifts by telephone: This print ad from 1924 plays to the aspirational woman and her desire to make the most proper impression. No well-bred girl would do such a thing, the ad suggests of acknowledging wedding gifts by telephone. She also wouldn’t type her wedding invitations, send a “dowdy letter of acceptance” for a party or write a letter on “the only paper you could find,” and instead lives by this ad’s tagline: “Style is a greater social asset than beauty.”


3. What does the letter say, Jean? The dialog in this ad — printed in The Ladies’ Home Journal in 1921 — is between two girlfriends or sisters, discussing a letter the one has just received. When asked what the letter said, the recipient’s response is that the letter says the writer has “good taste” and “a fine appreciation of what is correct.” Of course, the punchline is that the recipient is referring to what the paper (Crane, of course) says about the sender, ending with this mantra: “Writing paper tells much more than many people think.”


4. Stationery should reflect station: We love the angle this 1926 ad takes when appealing to the “Business Man.” The copy sets the scene, a meeting between the Business Man and his lithographer. The latter suggests Crane, suggesting that one’s stationery should reflect one’s station in life. The former balks at paying more for his letterhead. The lithographer’s pitch: A company should take its paper “out of the classification of office expense and put it in the advertising and selling budget.”

business stationery letterhead advertisement
5. To the Presidents of Savings Banks: This ad from 1936 is one of our favorites because of how well it represents a time very much in the past — a time when relationship between banker and bank account customer was more than just the Customer Service contact on a website. The ad suggests using Crane to send letters of welcome to “new depositors” as well as to keep in touch with old customers, as “no other paper lends so much dignity and distinction to correspondence.”

banking stationery advertisementCare to see more of our vintage advertisements? They’re all available to peruse on our Pinterest board!

In Celebration Of: The Monogram

engraved monogram detail final“A striking monogram, combining the first letters of the full name or the first and last name is an enviable possession,” wrote Jean Wilde Clark in A Desk Book on the Etiquette of Social Stationery.

The book was printed by Eaton, Crane (yes, that Crane) and Pike in 1910. However, the monogram is still a possession envied — one that, in the age of e-communication, is as coveted as ever.

It is with this modern day appreciation that we take a look back at the history of the monogram — an art form most near and dear to Crane & Co.’s social stationery heart.
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Post Script: Nancy Sharon Collins, Author of “The Complete Engraver”

Next month, graphic designer and engraving expert extraordinaire Nancy Sharon Collins will publish The Complete Engraver, an informative and elegant homage to the classic art. Seeing as how said classic art and our paper go together like Fred and Ginger, we thought Collins a perfect addition to our Post Script Q&A series. Here, the former New Yorker (and current Louisianan) shares stories of her parents’ notes, a New Orleans estate filled with paper and a small stack of treasured love letters.

When did your interest in social stationery engraving begin?
1976 during graduate school at the Hartford Art School. I was introduced to Lehman Brothers in New Haven and I fell in love with commercial engraving: going on press knocks my socks off; I love the smell of ink and paper and the sound of small presses (metal against metal, fly wheels, iron and steel.)

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In Celebration Of: The Pen

Antony and Cleopatra. Romeo and Juliet. Scarlett and Rhett.

We love a good love story.

But our favorite is that of Pen and Paper.

Thus, we were delighted to pick the brain of Rick Propas — a specialist for Swann Auction Galleries, where he directs the newly created Department of Fine and Vintage Writing Instruments — whose first pen was given to him more than 50 years ago.

Rick Propas, lefty.

“In the Jewish tradition, it’s customary to give a boy a fountain pen at his bar mitzvah,” Propas explained. “I didn’t get one, and when I complained to my dad, he pulled out his own pen and gave it to me.”

Propas has been collecting vintage pens ever since.

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A Quote for Mother’s Day by Maurice Sendak

where the wild things are book by maurice sendak“Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters — sometimes very hastily — but this one I lingered over.

I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim: I loved your card.”

Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.”

Rainy Day Writing Activities Your Kids Will Love

We’re so excited to welcome guest blogger Mindy Lockard, aka The Gracious Girl, to our humble little space on the World Wide Web. As we mosey on out of April and into May, we thought she would be perfect to share her tips on rainy day activities to do with kids. Enjoy!

It’s said that April showers bring May flowers…

and with all of the rain we’ve had out wet, I mean West, this year…  I’m looking forward to more than just a bouquet come May.

That said, we’ve found a fun way to pass the time inside by showering our loved ones with handmade treasures in the mail.

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Post Script: Samara O’Shea, LetterLover.net

Samara O'SheaSamara O’Shea has loved to write and receive letters for as long as she can remember. So it wasn’t surprising that, in 2005, she launched letterlover.net, a letter-writing service that eventually turned into a book as well. “I write letters on behalf of any person who feels he doesn’t have the words,” O’Shea said. Thankfully, she has plenty of words to share about everything from a 1930s pen pal to why summer camp has a special place in her heart.

When did your interest in the epistolary world begin?
I don’t remember. I remember passing notes in class and writing letters to boys I had crushes on, and I decided I didn’t want that to go away in a world where most communication is digital.

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