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Great Ideas of Western Man (Illustrated): We really did have some nice ideals.

Great Ideas of Western Man from Codex 99

Walter Paul Paepcke (1896–1960) was only 25 when he inherited his father’s Chicago-based wooden crate empire. Sensing the shift to a consumer goods-driven economy and the need for smaller, lighter packaging, he began moving production from wooden crates to paperboard containers. His bet on the cardboard box paid off and he was soon the owner of several small wood and paper mills that he consolidated into the Container Corporation of America (CCA).

In time the CCA would become the largest cardboard manufacturer in the world – having 76 US and 48 international facilities- but that was a long way off in the middle of the great depression.1 To bolster the company’s profile with their institutional customers and investors Paepcke decided he needed to begin advertising.

It was his wife Elizabeth Nitze Paepcke, a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago and a theater and store designer, who educated him about art and suggested using distinguished, avant-garde designers rather than commercial artists to promote CCA’s image. He supposedly offered her the position of art director, but instead, on her recommendation, he hired Egbert Jacobson who prepared CCA’s first advertising campaign – a series of 12 ads by the French poster designer A. M. Cassandre…

Paepcke had something of a cultural awakening following the war. In 1946 he and Elizabeth began attending Mortimer Alder and Robert Hutchins’ now-famous Great Books discussion group (the so-called Fat Man’s group) and found that studying the classics was the antidote for “the feverish rainbow-chasing and disillusionment characteristic of American life today.” Alder and Paepcke went on to collaborate on the Goethe Bicentennial celebration in 1949 and to found the Aspen Institute a year later.

It was Elizabeth’s idea to follow up the United States series with a series based on quotes from the classics – The Great Ideas of Western Man. Alder supplied the quotes from his Syntopicon3 and a committee consisting of Herbert Bayer, Elizabeth and representatives from the CCA’s advertising agency, assigned the quote to an artist. Aside from CCA’s name and logo, there would be no ad copy at all. The series began in February 1950 with a quote from Alexander Hamilton illustrated by Arthur Williams.

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  • John Venlet February 1, 2021, 10:16 AM

    We really did have some nice ideals.

    Alas, these “nice ideals,” previously known as American ideals, are now nothing more than quaint notions.

  • Anonymous February 1, 2021, 11:06 AM

    No, they are ideas that will very soon put you IN A GULAG somewhere in Colorado.

  • Harry February 1, 2021, 11:12 AM

    I dunno. These ideals don’t seem very “diverse” or “inclusive.” They look like they’re from that Raymond Cyst fellow that everyone insists on talking about these days.

  • James O'Neil February 1, 2021, 11:19 AM

    For some folks America is cardboard boxes.

    For me, right here, right now, with a -24°F. (-31°C.) temperature outside, America is a nice wood fire in the stove across the room.

  • EX-Californian Pete February 1, 2021, 12:19 PM

    Remember all the times that the Liberals in our government swore that they’re “NOT coming after our guns?”

    OOOPS! Looks like they changed their tune, and are admittedly, openly coming to get them after all!

    Why is our Second Amendment the only right that needs a PERMIT, and the other ones DON’T?

  • Kevin in PA February 1, 2021, 12:32 PM

    These ideals are still valid. They did not die. Many of the recipients of the benefits garnered from these ideals simply did not hold them dear enough to preserve them.

    I do believe there are a remnant who will carry on the right and proper traditions of American ideals. I have to believe that those ideals are more like universal truths and that liberty lives in the hearts and minds of men. Otherwise, I would just hang it up and check out.

    Oh, and Gerard, I am stealing your 2021 Evil Twin Sister of 2020 meme!
    Totally nails it and we have only just begun February, but I can feel it. It’s going to be a doozy!

  • Kevin in PA February 1, 2021, 12:45 PM

    Ex-Cal. Pete,

    We knew they were lying all along.
    Americans have a history of defiance and non-compliance. On this issue I’m betting there will massive non-compliance….if there is not, we are doomed as a free people.

    Never forget the paramount lesson of the 20th Century; Governments have a very nasty habit of turning against their own people and murdering them by the millions.

    Gun registration precedes gun confiscation.
    Gun confiscation precedes mass murder.

    Do not let it happen here!

    Oh, and one last thing to be clear.
    My rights are not derived from the Second Amendment. The illegitimate clown show on the Potomac can pass any legislation they wish. It does not alter the fact that my rights exist / have existed “long antecedent to any earthly government”. It is the right and the duty of the people to defend those rights from encroachment by government gone bad.

  • Gordon Scott February 1, 2021, 1:55 PM

    I was in Phoenix this weekend. I visited the Apache Trail swap meet, which has 40 or 50 booths. It has rocks, and a lot of used stuff, and what I suspect is storage unit stuff, and a guy who sells used Ryobi lawn equipment. The guy who runs the place has the brushy mustache and is bowlegged. There is a fair degree of open carry. Trump is very popular here.

    One guy had a pilot’s map case with pistols in it. He sold two on Saturday, and three on Sunday. Glocks, a Colt revolver, a S&W semiauto. I did not see any kind of background check terminal. There wasn’t really room in the map case for one. He didn’t have a table, anyway. He would borrow a chair now and then. I think he wanted $1100 for a Glock 21. Seems high, yes? Perhaps that was for the revolver.

    I also went to the Mesa Swap Meet. This is big, very very big. Acres under the roof, more under pipe-frame supported tarps behind. There’s a picture in the office of the first day, when it was out in the middle of nowhere, in 1992. It’s all built up now. There are two Trump merch stores. Both are doing just fine. I asked one of the owners of the Trump store about his popularity.

    “People here still can’t believe he didn’t carry Arizona by a big margin. Tucson, sure, they’re all communists there, but Phoenix is Trump country.” A 17 year old guy with his girl walked out with a banner for his bedroom: Trump as Rambo. He was excited.

  • ghostsniper February 1, 2021, 2:59 PM

    “I did not see any kind of background check terminal.”
    Pertaining to firearms, the use of such things is in violation of the highest law.
    The last 3 times I tried to buy guns in gun stores I was denied by the background check.
    (I had to wait 5 days before taking possession of said guns)
    My so called constitutional rights were violated.
    The current law violates the original law.
    I know 5 other people that have also been denied by the background check and have been told by 2 gun store owners it is very common.

  • Lance de Boyle February 1, 2021, 3:08 PM

    Speaking for everyone on the American Digest Island of Sanity, we thank you for keeping truth and beauty in our view, Gerard.

    It is easy, in our rage, to regress to the level of chimps-with-funny-hats-gibbering-and-throwing-feces (that is, our rulers and their minions).

    News you maybe can use.
    Stored a couple of M1 Garands. Oil down the barrel and wrapped in oily cloth. A year later, rust from muzzle to 5 inches in. An hour with a bore brush and patches, little change.
    Then I attached the bronze brush on a rod to my electric drill. Cleaned it to shiny bright bright real fast.

    Aside from cosmoline, you think oiling the bore and plugging the barrel with oily cloth at both ends will present rust?

  • Ralph Kinney Bennett February 1, 2021, 5:04 PM

    Thanks for recalling this great and thoughtful series. I remember being impressed by these ads while still a high school and college student. One small point (well, not so small). It’s Mortimer Adler, not Alder. The L is after the D not the A. Your posts in the past few months have been broad, funny, fascinating. And the original writings, as ever, leave me almost worshipfully envious.

  • ghostsniper February 1, 2021, 5:15 PM

    Sacrifice a cheap boresnake.
    Saturate the snake in grease, not oil.
    Drag it through the bore with a tail out each end, leave it there.
    Rust comes from wet air.
    Wrap the gun so that air can’t get to it.
    Store it in an enclosed vessel with desiccants.

  • Lance de Boyle February 2, 2021, 12:50 AM

    Thank, Ghost!

  • Gordon Scott February 2, 2021, 8:25 AM

    Cosmoline: it just sounds like a sexual lubricant for those modern trendy girls.

  • John Fisher February 2, 2021, 9:46 AM

    Not only did we have some great ideas, people considered them ubiquitous enough to use in advertising. I don’t remember them; they are from before I started reading. I’m sure my mom saw them; she read everything in sight.

  • EX-Californian Pete February 2, 2021, 10:11 AM

    Kevin- I agree. At least in my state, we have a “go F yourself” attitude when it comes to anti-gunners. As a matter of fact, there’s a possibility of us becoming a “Second Amendment Sanctuary State.”

    Lance- DO NOT use grease in the bore of your Garands or ANY long gun, especially a semi-auto. Certain types of grease can harden, and/or mix with debris and turn into very undesirable substances. Grease will interfere with movement of many moving parts, and (depending on temperature) may ‘migrate’ out of the barrel into the receiver and other areas that can be difficult, if not impossible to get at. In other words, it could be dangerous.
    Leaving anything like a boresnake in a barrel for extended times is also a bad idea. A very bad idea.
    Here’s some tips on long-term gun storage- https://www.gunvault.com/blog/tips-for-long-term-gun-storage/
    And here’s a product (Z-rust) that will protect your bore for extended periods of time- https://www.amazon.com/Twin-Pack-Zerust-Barrel-Protector/dp/B071DQL1XS/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1522079433&sr=8-13&keywords=zerust

    If you want to be overly cautious, use a heavier viscosity oil up to 50-60 weight but no higher- that would be getting into “gear oil” territory. And storing a firearm in a humidity-free area is VERY important- for short or long term.
    I’ve been gunsmithing for over 3.5 decades, so you won’t get any “FUDD” from me.

    To Gordon- if they still have the Pima County Gun Show in Tucson, check it out- it’s HUGE and one of my favorites.

  • captflee February 2, 2021, 10:56 AM

    Assuming you’re still down here in sleepy old SENC land, use a LOT of dessicant. We’ve got rather more in the way of humidity (relative or absolute) here than anybody other than inhabitants of parts of the Olympic Peninsula or the windward slope of one of the Hawaiian volcanoes…

  • Lance de Boyle February 2, 2021, 11:58 AM

    I realize that this joint isn’t Gun Digest, but maybe Gerard will permit a few more firearm entries.

    First, thanks so much for the advice.

    Second, only the M1’s got any rust, though all rifles are stored the same way.

    Third, and most important, will they still be as accurate as needed if there is some (not much) pitting in one or two spots? The lands and groves are shiny and clearly visible.

  • EX-Californian Pete February 2, 2021, 12:43 PM

    Lance- a few more points for you to consider- if all your guns are stored in the same way, same place, but only your Garands are getting rusty bores, there’s a few other things to check.
    Are you shooting ‘surplus’ ammo in them? If so, the rounds may have “Berdan” primers- they contain corrosives that lead to quick rusting of bores. Check inside a fired round (brass case) to see if there’s one (central) flash hole, or two- one on either side of the primer pocket. Two small holes means Berdan primers. Like this- (oOo)
    After firing a Berdan-primed round, the corrosives need to be cleaned/neutralized IMMEDIATELY. A shot of Windex down the bore (that works great with BP guns, too) after firing will inhibit the corrosives until you get it home for a thorough cleaning. For most of my antique weaponry, I do an electro-chemical bore cleaning once a year, using a setup like Outers Foul Out 3 Bore Cleaning System.

    Another option (after cleaning) is to use a spray-type liquid silicone to coat the bore. Silicone repels water, and leaves a nice thin protective film.
    A warning- despite what many folks say, NEVER use WD40 on guns.

    Lastly, ALWAYS make sure to clean your guns right after shooting them.

  • gwbnyc February 2, 2021, 1:23 PM


    I let some oil down the barrel of a .22 rifle of mine that I never shot, I’d just let some gun oil down the barrel less than once a year while hurrying through the cleaning of other guns. the .22 needed some parts, etc. I bought it at a flea market on 6th avenue in manhattan and walked it home in a garbage bag. eventually I was able to fully assemble the rifle after many years. most all of my other guns were stolen- that expidited completing it. came the moment of truth- wire brush dipped in solvent, a few strokes, bore wiped several times to a clean patch. piece of white paper placed in the breach, sight from the muzzle down the bore- all was bright, and unpitted.

    I was ready for the worst, but no.

    then I oiled it again, and hid it.

  • Vanderleun February 2, 2021, 1:34 PM

    Don’t mind gun entries at all. If I get enough of them I’ll make an item around Cleaning My Gun.

  • ghostsniper February 2, 2021, 2:42 PM

    G, I seen what you did there.

    So, as it stands, “business” has slacked off a bit so I can spend some quality time with my most recent build, a fully custom Ruger 10/22. It started off as a brand new gun stripped of everything, didn’t even have sights, from a private seller. He bought it last spring to give to his nephew for graduation but the parents said “No way.” So he put it on a local site ( https://hoosiertopix.com/ ) and I was on it like stink on a monkey. Been watching for one for awhile. $220 cash and I was laying rubber for the compound. Took it out back and put about 20 blind rounds through it to make sure it worked, after a thorough cleaning. Brought it in and cleaned it again and put it away. Then I got on the web and started researching. My goal was to create an inexpensive to shoot rifle that will put all 25 in the same hole at 100 yards from a rest.

    A week later I bought a Magpul Hunter X-22 stock in flat dark earth. Then I went to Whistle Pig and got a 20″ 1:9 fluted bull barrel. Next stop was Kidd for their best single stage trigger, and then Tandem Kross for a custom bolt, charging handle, mag release guts, and then to Midway USA for a dozen 25 rd mags and a doz 10 rd mags. Next up was a BARSKA AO IR Blackhawk Rifle Scope in 4-16×40. And a visit to Nodak Spud for some hard sights. The bipod, 2 pt sling, and various other accessories and necessary tools came from the usual sources shooters are familiar with.

    Because of the “safety issue” the stock was modified with the dremel to avoid the dreaded rotation of the safety barrel. (don’t ask, it was a nightmare) Then the pencil barrel was removed from the receiver and the new bull barrel was installed with Kidds custom mounting plate and bolts. At that point I was still waiting for the Tandem Kross bolt to be delivered so that I could index the barrel correctly. There is a notch in the breach of the barrel for the acceptance of extractor lever and it has to be precise. So at that point everything was suspended in time and coincidently my business suddenly accelerated with 7 large projects. The last of the 7 was emailed this morning and now I only have a few small projects in the Q so it’s back to my custom build post haste. Oh yeah, also snagged a brand new Plano air valve pluck-foam 6 latch case for it.

    I expect to have 1000 rds down range with this gun by the end of Feb and then I’m going to move forward with another idea I’ve been toying with and this one should be inneresting. I’m going to take a stock 870 12ga and turn it into a box magazine sabot gun with a 24″ barrel. YOW!

  • gwbnyc February 2, 2021, 3:50 PM
  • Snakepit Kansas February 3, 2021, 4:50 AM

    Ghost & fellow gun psychos,
    If you or someone you know gets a “hurry and wait” response on an FBI instant background check when buying a gun, it often means that you have a common name. Also, you probably do not add your SSN which is optional, I never put it down either, and that also can cause the delay. In most cases you wait out the delay and go pick up your gun. If your name is Mike Jones or Tom Anderson and don’t put down your SSN then bets are that you are going to get delayed. If you have a CCH a federal form is still required but no call into the FBI is necessary. No delay.

    In Kansas there are no permits for guns. You can conceal carry or open carry without a license. Getting a CCH license allows you to carry in reciprocating states which means I can, and have driven from Kansas to South Carolina with my heater on my hip, legally. Sales between individuals are private, no paper.

    As for rust on guns, I have used BreakFree for 35 years. It is good for cleaning as well as surface oiling to prevent rust. REM oil is good too but doesn’t smell as pleasant. I agree with the above wise commenter, stay away from WD40 on guns. Easy on oil application or it will soak into wood parts and eventually crack the furniture. If there is concern with oil draining from the bore to the receiver then store your gun bore down. A good wipe-down once/year is a good way to prevent any surface rust. I also agree that the rust in the Garand bore probably came from a corrosive primer.

    We have some smart folks in this chain above.

  • Casey Klahn February 3, 2021, 10:10 AM

    Why do you need this gun, subject?

    To oppose governmental tyranny. Here, I have it in this document.

    Secondary market is best market.

  • Casey Klahn February 3, 2021, 10:16 AM

    Maybe I can post this since it’s a bit of a free for all. I was watching something on Mike Lindell and Dominion. The host was going off about unsubstantiated. As if we’re all idiots, and cannot think. Lawyers; also a group who may, individually, be fine people, but they have some explaining to do as a group. Here is what I wrote about Dominion:

    “Verify the allegations?” ? Seriously. Do people even think anymore? Here’s a thought: votes were counted by computers! Wait for it…wait…that means it’s open to (oh gosh I never even thought of this! ) c h a n g e. OMG I know right? Now, the other shoe is gonna drop. I can’t stand the suspense. It turns out the D machines had a back door! Of course, only an idiot would suspect that/ sarc. Motive. Check. Tool. Check. Results? Checkarooni. Sooo…ergo..I mean ergo and ergo…evidence of fraud would be (oh gosh I can’t stand it…) plausible!

    To spell it out, this. If an accusation is plausible, the smart comment would be let’s consider that. The cuck response is “that’s not verified…”

  • EX-Californian Pete February 3, 2021, 10:50 AM

    Snakepit- Good points.

    And I also live in a FREE state- one with NO background checks for “used” firearms, only “brand new off-the-shelf” ones, and (of course) for our NFA items. Just a few weeks back, I scored a complete lot of shootin’ irons (around 30) at an estate auction I had “dibs” on- perfectly legal, and no Form 4473 or NICS involved.
    AND, I found out that after the long wait to receive the first NFA item here, the process is expedited for my next one, hopefully arriving in less than 6-7 months. We don’t have “permitless concealed carry” here, but do have legal open carry. And legislation is being currently being pushed to make the state a “Second Amendment Sanctuary State.”

    Life is good.