We are now past the days of long, hand-written letters, post marked with stamps you had to lick and sent with the care that said “this is a paper based expression of me.” But just how expressive can a small piece of paper be? In the case of these vintage letterheads, very. These personal designs of the past were a tangible expression of the person sending it, designed with the knowledge that soon it would be held in the hands of a friend or fan and possibly cherished for years to come. The letterheads we bring you here, found on the phenomenal and extensive site Letterheady.com, include examples from entertainers, writers and even inventors, from Groucho Marx to Thomas Edison, all showing their distinctive choice of how to represent themselves.
It makes me wonder what we have lost with the near complete passing of hand-written communication? Is our relatively new “electronic mail” just as meaningful and personal as these not so distant forms of contact? While the ease of email is an amazing convenience, the care and thought that went into our older forms of conversation is often left out of the quick type and send. Wouldn’t it be nice to one day soon see some form of email letterhead become the standard, each of us sending one another our own personal, even artistic expressions of ourselves? See all the letterheads here, then head to Letterheady.com for more classic inspiration.
Above: The Muppet Show Fan Club, 1981
Below: Woody Harrelson, 1988
Groucho Marx, 1943
Gene Roddenberry, 1968
Marcel Marceau, 1994
Thomas A. Edison, Inc., 1927. Below it reads “Dictated to and transcribed from the Ediphone.”
Bill Watterson, 1991
Harpo Marx, c.1930
Hunter S. Thompson, 1969
August Baggenstos, c.1930, general representative, Hermes Typewriters, Switzerland.
Steve Jobs, 1982
Barnum & Bailey, 1909