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July 2, 2014

How Railroad Tourism Created the Craze for Traditional Native American Baskets


Collecting Native American baskets was “a beautiful fad,” continues Kania,
“that almost everybody participated in to some extent. Some people would buy hundreds of baskets. It was highly fashionable to take a trip out west on the Santa Fe Railroad and collect baskets along the way. And then, when they got back to, say, Wisconsin, they might build a cabin and decorate it with baskets, rugs, beadwork, and so forth. They might have an Indian room in their house, or a little Indian corner, which greeted visitors when they came through the door. So there were avid collectors, as well as a big tourist market. A wide range of people bought these things. It was a craze.”
| Collectors Weekly

Posted by gerardvanderleun at July 2, 2014 8:03 PM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

Your Say

You should look at some of the Gullah baskets from South Carolina. They are woven by descendants of slaves and are very beautifully made. I fear it will soon be a lost art as the materials are hard on the hands and it is labor intensive, though the baskets are not cheap. I have a couple I got in Charleston years ago that I bought from an elderly lady who made them.

Posted by: twolaneflash [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 2, 2014 11:01 PM

You have to hunt around hard to even hear Gullah accent spoken. It is but only in small pockets of the Low Country and by the older folks. Thank the great homogenizer, TV and the ease of travel.

Posted by: Vermont Woodchuck [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 3, 2014 4:24 AM

Look how beautiful the typeface is on this on this Santa Fe railroad advertising poster. It's as creative as the baskets! Does anyone know the name of the typeface?

Posted by: Fontessa [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 3, 2014 5:18 AM

Looks to me like it was a creation of a Craze for Traditional Native American Baskets (once the realm of "rich" eastern city collectors of leisure travel "trophies") was used to promote railroad tourism.
Admittedly, the artwork and font of the ad is
impressive indeed.
Etched, by hand, and eye, in mirror image, for printing?

Posted by: CaptDMO [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 3, 2014 6:11 AM

You got it Capt. Artwork was drawn on a paper, type was done by hand and pasted then the whole page went to the copy camera where they made the halftone. That went on to the plate, light hardened the resist, then they washed off the unhardened areas, put it into the acid bath and etched the plate. They could make as many plates as needed from the film. Only one for printing since this copy is B&W. A Platen press probably was used although they could have cast a stereo and run it on a web press.
Five years of working as a professional photographer back when they still did run hot type and a BFA in Fine Arts, Visual Arts. Studied printmaking, etching , woodcut and of course photography.

Posted by: Vermont Woodchuck [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 3, 2014 8:27 AM

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