Monday, May 29, 2023

Lettering: A Book of American Trade-marks & Devices

Joseph Sinel
Alfred A. Knopf, 1924
The book is available for viewing and downloading at the Internet Archive.
Highly recommended. 

The American Printer, November 5, 1924, profiled Sinel and mentioned his book of trademarks. 
A designer who likes the forest primeval
Early this year I was introduced to a young artist who had come out of the west some months before, and who while in San Francisco had been associated with Edwin and Robert Grabhorn on some of their interesting productions. He showed me a dummy of a book on trademarks that he had in mind, and I had not before realized that there were so many American trademarks that were attractive in their design. Mr. Sinel himself redrew these designs in a poster manner and it was very likely the quality of his drawing that made them so interesting. Later I was pleased to learn that this book was to be published, and at this writing it is almost ready for delivery. It is being printed by Pynson Printers and published by Alfred A. Knopf.

Joseph Sinel is the namesake of an uncle who is a famous geologist and naturalist, and who at the present time is curator at the museum on the Island of Jersey in the English Channel. This fact is interesting when one learns of our Joseph Sinel’s love of nature and of his life in the wilds. In California, Mr. Sinel enjoyed his vacations on the top of the Sierra Nevada mountains, where on Lake Susie he built himself a shack. This shack is pictured by Mr. Sinel in one of his drawings that I am showing. While the picture of my artist friend posed with my cane on Forty-fourth Street was taken with my little cameras, the other picture is one of Mr. Sinel as he looked out there on the mountains of California.

Joseph Sinel was born in Auckland, New Zealand. After some experience in printing offices, art schools and in a lithographic plant as a draughtsman, he went to England and was with the Carlton Studios. He was art director of the C. H. Higham stores, and had much to do with that firm’s advertising. From England Mr. Sinel went to Australia, and from there to the Pacific Coast, where he did poster work with Foster & Kleiser of San Francisco. 

Mr. Sinel came to New York in May, 1923. After six months with Calkins & Holden he became a free lance, and now has a studio at 154 West Eleventh Street, New York.

Further Reading
Industrial Design, May-June 1975

Related Posts

Monday, May 22, 2023

Creator: Designers Dr. Mehemed Fehmy Agha, William Golden, Will Burtin and Cipe Pineles

A Few Details About Dr. Mehemed Fehmy Agha

Dr. Mehemed Fehmy Agha was born on March 11, 1896, in Nicolaieff, Russia, (Mykolaiv, Ukraine) according to his naturalization documents at Who Was Who in America, Volume 7, 1977–1981 said Agha’s parents were Yossouf Agha and Anna Khoroz. Agha graduated, in 1913, from the Emperor Alexander Technical School; studied economics at Polytechnic Institute of Emperor Peter the Great in Petrograd, Russia to 1918; and studied political science at Ecole Nationale des Langues Orientales Vivantes, Paris, Dip., in 1923. Agha was studio chief of the Paris, France division of Condé Nast publications from 1924 to 1927. In Berlin, Germany, Agha was art director of Vogue magazine from 1927 to 1929. 

In 1928, Condé Nast traveled to Europe to find an art director for Vogue magazine in New York. In Berlin, Nast interviewed and hired Agha. Nast returned to New York on August 28 according to a passenger list at

On March 13, 1929, Agha and his wife, Claudine, were aboard the steamship Rochambeau when it departed Le Havre, France. They arrived in the port of New York on March 23. The couple planned to stay six months. (See lines 3 and 4)

Time, September 30, 1929, said “… a Russo-Turk named Mehemed Fehmy Agha whom Publisher Nast brought to the U. S. last month and made art director of all the Nast publications.” 

On November 2, 1929, Agha and his wife boarded the Delaware and Hudson Railway train in Montreal, Canada. They crossed into the United States at Rouses Point, New York. Agha married Claudine Dementieff on December 11, 1928 in Berlin, Germany. She was born on November 13, 1892 in Tumen, Russia. 

Agha and his wife began the naturalization process on January 30, 1930. 

The 1930 United States Census was enumerated in April. Agha resided in Manhattan, New York City at 5 Prospect Place. His occupation was art professor. 

The Inland Printer, April 1930, highlighted Time magazine’s response to Agha’s elimination of capital letters in Vanity Fair

On February 4, 1936, Agha and his wife became naturalized citizens.  

Agha appeared in Life, September 6, 1937. 

The New York Sun, January 19, 1940, said 
An option granted to M. F. Agha to purchase 2,000 shares of common stock of Conde Nast Publications, Inc., at $5 per share, which expired by its terms on December 31, 1939, has been extended to December 31, 1941.

In the 1940 census (enumerated in July), Agha lived in Pound Ridge, Westchester County, New York at South Salem – High Ridge Road. In 1935, he lived in Darien, Connecticut. The art director earned $5,000 in 1939. 

On April 25, 1942, Agha signed his World War II draft card. His address was 212 East 48th Street, New York City. Condé Nast Publications was his employer. Agha was described as five feet eight inches, 180 pounds, with brown eyes and black and gray hair. 

Vogue’s First Reader (1942) included three articles by Agha: “The Passing of the Blops”, “Raphaels Without Hands” and “Woman’s Place Is in the Dark Room”. 

Two of Agha’s co-workers were William Golden and Cipe Pineles who married in 1942. 

The 1950 census said Agha lived at 140 West 57th Street near Carnegie Hall. He was a self-employed art director.

Agha’s wife, Claudine, passed away on April 15, 1951 in Manhattan. 

Agha was a member of the Dutch Treat Club

Art Direction, July 1956, said 
Dr. M.F. Agha
—floating kidneys and sliced Bodoni—
One of the real pioneers of modern design in advertising and publishing, Dr. M. F. (for Mehemed Fehmy) Agha now to a consulting art director to a number of publications, advertising agencies and retail stores. Born in Russia of Turkish parents, he says he speaks “four languages well and three badly.” He has written many articles and delivered many lectures on photography, typography and the graphic arts. A past president of the Art Directors Club of New York, he was one of the founders of the National Society of Art Directors.
Art Direction, July 1957, said 
. . . The AIGA Institute Medal was presented to Mehemed Fehmy Agha. consulting AD and former president of AIGA, by Ilka Chase at AIGA’s 43rd annual meeting . . . 
The Patent Trader (Mount Kisco, New York), May 15, 1960, said 
Miss Caroline Hunter of Trinity Pass, long a resident of Pound Ridge, has sold her home to Dr. M. F. Agha of New York. Ruggles Barnard was the broker in the sale.
At some point, Agha moved to Malvern, Pennsylvania. Who Was Who said Agha passed away on May 27, 1978, in Malvern. 

Further Reading

Searching for William Golden and Finding William Goldberg

William Golden was born William Goldberg on March 31, 1911, in Manhattan, New York, New York. His birth surname was found at birth and census records. Golden’s family was found in censuses through a list of survivors in his obituary at The New York Times, October 24, 1959. 

Golden’s World War II draft card said he was born on March 31, 1911. The New York, New York Birth Index, at, does not have a William Golden born on that date. There was a William Goldberg born on March 21, 1911. 

A closer look at the low quality image showed 21 was actually 31. There was a transcription error in the database. William Goldberg was born on March 31, 1911.

The obituary named Golden’s surviving siblings: Abraham, Herman, Joseph, Murray, Max, Michael, and Clara. Those names closely match the Goldberg family in the 1910 United States Census. Murray and Herman were Morris and Hyman. 

In the 1961 book, The Visual Craft of William Golden, is a profile of Golden. He grew up in Manhattan’s Lower East Side and was the last of twelve children. According to Nine Pioneers in American Graphic Design (1989), Golden’s parents were “Aaron Golden” and “Tobia Entin Golden”. The 1910 census said the father was Harry, who would be Aaron in later census enumerations. Tobia’s name also changed. The Goldberg family resided at 328 East 8th Street. The census listed eight children. Golden was born the following year. 

The Goldberg family has not yet been found in the 1915 New York state census. 

According to the 1920 census, the Goldbergs were Bronx residents at 464 East 141st Street. 

The 1925 New York state census recorded the Goldbergs in the Bronx at 966 East 181st Street. Visual Craft said Golden attended the Vocational School for Boys (138th Street and 5th Avenue) where he learned photo-engraving and basic graphic design. Sometime in the late 1920s he moved to Los Angeles, California.

In 1930, Golden/Goldberg resided at 716 North Irving Boulevard in Los Angeles. He was an artist working in photo-engraving. 

Visual Craft said
… A few years later he returned to New York where he became a member of the promotion department of the Journal-American.

The turning point of his career came when his talents were spotted by Dr. M. F. Agha, the noted Art Director of Conde Nast publications, who invited him to join House and Garden. After serving an apprenticeship under Dr. Agha who, in Golden’s own words “. . . forced the people who worked for him to try constantly to surpass themselves,” he left in 1937 to join the Columbia Broadcasting System. Three years later he was appointed Art Director of CBS.
Golden has not yet been found in the 1940 census. On October 16, 1940, Golden signed his World War II draft card. His address was 405 East 54th Street. Golden’s employer was the Columbia Broadcasting System. His description was five feet ten inches, 165 pounds, with blonde hair and blue eyes. His brother, Michael Golden, was next of kin. 

On October 10, 1942, Golden and Cipe Pineles obtained, in Manhattan, marriage license number 20975. Visual Craft said they married the next day. 

Visual Craft said
… In 1942 Golden took a leave of absence from CBS to work in the Office of War Information in Washington, D.C., and a year later entered the United States Army as a private. After serving as Art Director of Army training manuals in Washington and, later in Europe, with the Army’s Education and Information Division, he was discharged in 1946 with the rank of Captain. He resumed work at CBS, and in 1951 became Creative Director of Advertising and Sales Promotion for the CBS Television Network.
Golden passed away on October 23, 1959, in Stony Point, New York. 

Further Reading

Advertising Requirements, June 1959, “Typographic Design Is Not Art!”

Art Direction, December 1959

Industrial Design, January 1963, Ralph Caplan review of The Visual Craft of William Golden 

Rochester Institute of Technology

A Few Details About Will Burtin

Will Burtin was born Wilhelm Buertin on January 27, 1908, in Cologne, Germany, according to his Declaration of Intention naturalization application and World War II draft card. His Social Security application has the seventh as the birth day. 

On July 6, 1938, Burtin and how wife, Hildegard, departed on the steamship Statendam from Rotterdam, Netherlands. They arrived at the port of New York on July 13. 

Burtin started the naturalization process on November 25, 1938.

The Brooklyn Eagle (New York), September 24, 1939, reported Burtin’s appointment. 

2 Instructors Added to Pratt Art School

Two additional appointments to the faculty of the Pratt Institute School of Fine and Applied Arts were announced yesterday by James C. Boudreau, director of the school.

... Will Burtin will become an advertising design instructor in day and evening sessions at the institute. Mr. Burtin designed the official souvenir book of the New York World’s Fair and was also the' designer of the WPA exhibit at the Fair.

The 1940 United States census recorded Burtin and his wife in Manhattan at 15 West 97th Street. He was a self-employed commercial artist. 

On October 16, 1940, Burtin signed his World War II draft card. His address was the same. Burtin was an instructor at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. He was described as six feet four inches, 206 pounds, with brown eyes and hair. Burtin’s veteran’s file, at, said he enlisted in the Army on July 14 and August 4, 1943 and was discharged on October 6, 1945.

According to the 1950 census, Burtin, his wife and daughter, Carol, resided at 13 West 106th Street in Manhattan. He and his wife designed for dress businesses.

Will Burtin contributed “Trademarks/Tradenames” to the 1952 book, Seven Designers Look at Trademark Design

In 1953, the Burtin family visited Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 

The New York World-Telegram and Sun, April 10, 1959, reported Burtin’s return to Pratt Institute.  

Pratt Institute Names Designer

Will Burton, designer consultant, has been appointed professor of Design at Pratt Institute, president Robert F. Oxnam has announced.

Dr. Oxnam also announced that Mr. Burtin would become head of the department of visual communications, formerly the department of advertising design, at the beginning of the next academic year. Mr. Burtin served on the Pratt faculty from 1939 to 1943.

Burtin’s wife, Hilda, passed away on October 11, 1960. 

Burtin wrote “The passionate eye” for the 1961 book, The Visual Craft of William Golden

The New York State, Marriage Index said Burtin and Cipe Golden were married on January 28, 1961 in Stony Point, New York.

Burtin passed away on January 18, 1972. He was laid to rest at Oak Hill CemeteryObituaries appeared in The New York Times, January 20, 1972 and Journal-News (Nyack, New York), January 24, 1972, below.
Will Burtin, designer
Memorial services were held Saturday at the Church Center for the United Nations for Will Burtin, 64, the interna­tionally noted designer who lived in Stony Point. He died Tuesday at Mt. Sinai Hospital after a brief illness.

Winner of the 1971 Gold Medal of the American Insti­tute of Graphic Arts, he had recently been appointed research fellow in visual and environmental studies of the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts at Harvard University hut was unable to assume the post because of illness. 

At his death he was designing an exhibit for the United Nations Conference on Human Environment to be held in Stockholm in June.

Burtin was one of the fore­most exponents in this country of the principles developed during the twenties and thirties in Europe by architects and designers such as LeCorbusier in France, Mies van der Rohe in Holland and the Bauhaus group in Germany. His application of these princi­ples to problems of mass communication brought him worldwide fame and attracted many students and disciples.

He received his early train­ing in Germany and came to this country in 1938. One of his first commissions here was to design all the exhibition units of the Federal Pavilion at the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

Surviving are his wife, Cipe Pineles Golden; a daughter, Mrs. Robert Fripp of Toronto; a sister, Mrs. Rosa Landsbeck of Cologne, Germany, and two grandsons.

Further Reading
Design and Science: The Life and Work of Will Burtin 
Art Directors Club
Design Observer
Eye Magazine
Museum of Modern Art
Print, Will Burtin’s Seeing is Understanding Design
Rochester Institute of Technology
West Michigan Graphic Design Archives
Will Burtin, Communicating Knowledge Visually

A Few Details About Cipe Pineles

Cipe Pineles was born on June 23, 1908, in Gliniany, Austria, according to her naturalization application. 

On October 6, 1923, Pineles, her mother and sister were aboard the steamship Berengaria when it departed Cherbourg, France. They arrived in the port of New York on October 12th. 

The 1925 New York state census recorded Pineles as Celia, her mother and siblings in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn at 2367 65th Street. 

Pineles graduated from Pratt Institute in 1929.

Pineles, Cipe
943 Carroll St., Brooklyn, N. Y.
Volley Ball, 1927; Class President, 1928.
The most remarkable water colorist in our 
class. Boys, it’s too late; Cipe is wedded 
to her art—and they’re both happy.

According to the 1930 census, the Pineles family numbered five in Brooklyn at 934 Carroll Street. Pineles was a freelance artist. 

Pineles became a naturalized citizen on September 2, 1930. 

Art from New York—Fair or No Fair

Pineles has not yet been found in the 1940 census. 

The New York, New York Marriage License Index, at, said, on October 10, 1942, Pineles and William Golden obtained, in Manhattan, marriage license number 20975. They married the following day. 

Manhattan city directories for 1943 and 1946 listed Pineles at 405 East 54th Street.

Pineles and Golden have not yet been found in the 1950 census. 

Pineles was featured in the magazine Print, September-October 1955. 

Golden passed away on October 23, 1959. 

Pineles, Kurt Weihs and Robert Strunsky were editors of the 1961 book, The Visual Craft of William Golden

On January 28, 1961, Pineles married Will Burtin in Stony Point, New York. 

The Daily News (Tarrytown, New York), October 4, 1963, reported the selection of the Family Service symbol. 

Burtin passed away on January 18, 1972.

Pineles passed away on January 3, 1991, in Suffern, New York. She was laid to rest at Oak Hill Cemetery. An obituary appeared in The New York Times, January 5, 1991.

Related Posts

Monday, May 15, 2023

Comics: Archer St. John, Editor and Publisher

Highly recommended are Ken Quattro’s articles on St. John and his publishing companies at Comic Artville Library, “Archer St. John & the Little Company That Could” and in Alter Ego #77, May 2008, “The Gospel According to Archer St. John”; and John Benson’s Confessions, Romances, Secrets, and Temptations: Archer St. John and the St. John Romance Comics (2007). 

Archer Anthony St. John was born on October 15, 1904, in Chicago, Illinois, according to his birth certificate (transcribed at and his World War II draft card. His parents were Joseph Mathias St. John and Amy Isabel Archer. 

The 1910 United States Census recorded St. John, his parents, older brother, Robert, and younger sister, Dorothy, in Chicago at 1714 Park Avenue. His father was a drugstore pharmacist. His mother was born in Canada.

The 1920 census said St. John’s mother was a widow and head of the household that included another brother, John. The family resided in Oak Park, Illinois at 928 Ontario Street. 

Oak Park, Illinois city directories for 1922 and 1923 listed St. John at 305 Wisconsin Avenue. In 1925 his address was 711 Washington Boulevard.

In the mid-1920s, St. John and and Robert’s investigative reporting on Al Capone got them in trouble. 

In Merchant of Words: The Life of Robert St. John (2014), Terry Fred Horowitz said St. John met actress Gertrude Faye Adams in Chicago. Gertrude’s parents divorced after the 1910 census. Her mother, Martha, married Wilberforce Judson Rand on November 11, 1912 in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Her father, Milo Ezekiel Adams, moved to Chicago and married Harriet. After the 1920 census, Gertrude moved from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Chicago. 

The Camera, January 1922. Photograph by Charles H. Davis

On September 6, 1929 in New York City, St. John and Gertrude obtained a Manhattan marriage license and married the following day. The marriage was witnessed by their brothers, John Quincy Adams and Robert Williams St. John, and noted in the Okmulgee Daily Democrat (Oklahoma), September 10, 1929. On the certificate, Gertrude said she was 29 but the 1900 census recorded her birth as October 1896, making her almost 33 when she married. 

The decision to marry in New York may have been because most of Gertrude’s family had moved there, from Oklahoma, in the second half of the 1920s. Her brother, Charles, became an established artist who painted portraits and worked in advertising and publishing. Her step-father, Wilberforce Judson Rand, was a copyreader at the New York Sun; previously he was editor of The American Saturday Night in Tulsa.

St. John has not yet been found in the 1930 census. The New York, New York Birth Index, at, said Michael A. St. John was born in the Bronx in the summer of 1930. In 1938 Michael and his mother visited relatives in Harlingen, Texas. 

The 1932 Darien, Connecticut city directory said St. John was an advertising manager who lived in Norwalk. (The 1931 directory is not available.) Directories from 1934 to 1938 place him in Noroton, Connecticut off Rings End Road. The 1939 directory said he moved to Wilton, Connecticut. 

According to the 1940 census, St. John and his family were Wilton residents. He was an office manager working in advertising. Two months before the April census enumeration, St. John retuned from Havana, Cuba. 

On February 16, 1942, St. John signed his World War II draft card. His address was Wolfpit Road in Wilton. The Lionel Corporation employee was described as five feet eleven inches, 170 pounds, with blue eyes and brown hair. 

The Wilton Bulletin (Connecticut), September 24, 1942, said
Mr. and Mrs. Archer St. John of Wolfpit Rand moved to their new home in Sherman Tuesday. They have bought a large farm.
St. John’s assignment to the Office of War Information’s outpost in Chungking, China was reported in the Christian Science Monitor, July 11, 1945; Motion Picture Daily, July 11, 1945; and Printers’ Ink, July 20, 1945. 

St. John’s mother passed away on October 14, 1945. 

St. John was a passenger on a U.S. Air Force transport when it landed in San Francisco, California on October 29, 1945. The manifest said his home address was R.F.D. 1, Gaylordsville, Connecticut. 

… Robert’s nephew, Archer and Jeff’s son, Michael, a photographer, told me about his father; Archer was not only an alcoholic but also “given to pills. He took speed, like a lot of people. He picked up the habit in China when he was working for the government.” …
Jeff was the nickname of St. John’s wife whose initials, GF, sounded like Jeff. 

St. John Publications was formed by 1945 and began producing comic books in 1947. The Grand Comics Database has a list of St. John’s comics from 1947 to 1958. Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 has a list of people who produced material for St. John. The Digital Comic Museum has scans of St. John’s comic books. St. John was first to print 3-D comic books and its success was covered in “3-D Comics Knock ’Em Dead”, Writer’s Digest, August 1953. 

St. John had affair with comic book editor and art director Marion McDermott. In Confessions, Romances, Secrets, and Temptations, Nadine French King said McDermott helped on the new magazine Nugget.

King also said Charles Adams was art director on all the magazines which included ManhuntMurderNuggetVerdictMantrap and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery MagazineThe Murder staff (below) included Gertrude’s brother and nephew, Charles and Gerald Adams, respectively. Associate editor N.F. King was Nadine French King, the wife of Warren King.

Gertrude was a stockholder in Manhunt

In the 1950 census, St. John and his wife lived in Westmoreland County, Virginia. He was a publisher who owned a publishing company and she was keeping house in Cople. 

Wikipedia said the farm and house known as Bushfield, in Mount Holly, Westmoreland County, Virginia, was sold to Mrs. [Gertrude] St. John around 1944. The Richmond Times-Dispatch (Virginia), February 10, 11 and 12, 1950, printed a classified advertisement that was submitted by St. John. 

Gertrude sailed to Europe for five weeks beginning on December 17, 1952. She returned on January 26, 1953. 

On September 23, 1954, St. John and Frances Stratford, a divorcee, were aboard a Pan American World Airways flight to Bermuda. They returned three days later. Stratford would be the last person to see St. John alive. 

St. John passed away on August 13, 1955, in Manhattan, New York City, according to the New York, New York Death Index at His death was reported in several newspapers including the Staten Island Advance (New York), August 15, 1955 (below), plus Variety, August 17, 1955, and Advertising Age, August 22, 1955. 

Merchant of Words said St. John was cremated. The day of death is incorrect at Find a Grave.

Almost two years after St. John’s death, Gertrude advertised Bushfield for sale in the April 28, 1957 editions of the Evening Star (Washington, DC) and Houston Post (Texas). Gertrude’s youngest brother passed away July 1936 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her father passed away January 1943 in Chicago. Her step-father passed away October 1956 in Poughkeepsie, New York. Seven years later, Gertrude’s mother passed away March 1963 in New York City. The Social Security Death Index said Gertrude was born on October 4, 1896 and passed away March 1965. Two of her last known residences were 20 Charles Street and 4 Perry Street in Manhattan. John Adams passed away January 1968 in Harlingen, Texas. Ten years later, Charles Adams passed away March 1978 in New York. 

At 100 years old, Robert St. John passed away on February 6, 2003. 

Related Posts
Further Reading
The Internet Archive, Archer A. St. John and Archer St. John